It’s Impossible to Spill on Your Keyboard When Your Drink Is Your Keyboard

Google’s Gboard Yunomi Is a Cylindrical Keyboard

Two types of custom PCBs were created for the cylindrical keyboard, which acts as a sort of extra-functional drink koozie (minus the insulating capabilities). There are 12 longer strips that the actual keys attach to, and a hexagonal base where you’ll find a ATmega32U4-AU microcontroller that makes the whole thing work. Google has no intentions of mass producing and selling this creation, but it has made the firmware, build instructions, and other plans available for download on GitHub for anyone who wants to go to the trouble of making their own.

Given it was created by Google Japan, the Gboard Yunomi features keys with Japanese characters on it, but customizing it to other alphabets should be relatively easy. The hard part is learning to effectively type on this thing. Even if you’re able to more or less preserve the QWERTY layout, wrapping your brain around how to type with all the keys positioned vertically will be challenge. If you’re so worried about spilling, might I suggest wearing one of those Camelbak hydration packs and sipping your morning coffee or afternoon tea through a straw.

Simu Liu’s Alleged Old Reddit Account Is Why You Should Never Post

Somewhat more concerning than the digital company NippedInTheBud kept, though, were ideas expressed in a post likening pedophiles to gay people. In a comment posted back in 2015 (when Liu would have been 26), NippedInTheBud described how they’d done “a significant amount of research” for a show in which they portrayed a pedophile, and how the experience made them “much more sympathetic to anyone who is born with those urges.” The deleted post read: “From a biological standpoint, it’s no different than being gay – a small mutation in the genome that defines our sexual preferences. Depending on what area of the world you were born and what time, it also may have been a perfectly acceptable thing to act on those urges.” The post also made clear that the person writing it felt that people preying upon children was wrong, as is the history of queer people’s sexualities being pathologized by both the medical and criminal justice systems.

Though NippedInTheBud did not mention specifically which role they were describing, because the account seems to be Liu, it stands to reason that it was talking about the actor’s stint on Blood and Water, a trilingual Canadian crime drama that began running in 2015. In the series, Liu portrayed Paul Xie, the eldest son of a powerful real estate magnate, who becomes one of the suspects after his younger brother Charlie (Osric Chau) dies under mysterious circumstances. Over the course of the first season, you learn how, as children, Paul molested Charlie, and the abuse eventually drove Charlie to substance abuse in the following years. When Charlie ultimately threatens to tell everyone what Paul did to him, the elder brother kills his younger sibling in a panicked rage, and the bulk of Blood and Water focuses on detective Josephine Bradley (Steph Song) piecing the mystery together.

What’s particularly galling about NippedInTheBud’s old comments when you consider them in the context of the story Blood and Water was actually telling is that Paul Xie was not just a man suffering from an unfortunate affliction he had no control over. Throughout the series’ first season, Paul’s shown to be a manipulative liar who tries to use the power that comes from being an editor at a local newspaper to get the authorities off his back. When Paul’s father Li-Rong (Oscar Hsu) confronts him, he tells his son that he’s always had some inkling of what was going on, and struggled with the shame of it. The “help” Paul claims he’s received to deal with his compulsions is contrasted by his willingness to deceive others within his family about the circumstances of his brother’s death, and it all creates a picture of a tormented, but ultimately monstrous man who only feels remorse once his secret is exposed.

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To its credit, Blood and Water thoughtfully explores ideas about how familial shame and secrecy often end up becoming sources of trauma in and of themselves. But it was, and continues to be beyond irresponsible and deeply homophobic to liken queerness to pedophilia as NippedInTheBud did after the mountains of research they purportedly put into preparing for the role. Unsurprisingly, Liu’s made no direct statement in response to some of the questions about the NippedInTheBudAccount. However, as the screenshots circulated and gained more attention, the actor added a tweet to a thread from 2019 reiterating that he’s only interested in advocating for “positive cultural pride.”

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io9 reached out to Disney as well as Liu’s management and representatives multiple times and did not hear back by time of publishing. This entire situation certainly seems to be the sort of thing that Liu’s team would want to address concretely with a proper statement, but as it stands now, this is yet another example of why, in the end, it’s probably better to just save these sorts of posts for the drafts. Or better yet, just log off.

Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is now in theaters. Liu is expected to reprise the role in other MCU productions in the future.

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Apple’s Not Digging Itself Out of This One

Apple, however, has made the argument that it has set up multiple fail-safes to stop this situation from ever really happening.

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For one thing, the CSAM hash database encoded into future iPhone operating systems is encrypted, Apple says. This means that there is very little chance of an attacker discovering and replicating signatures that resemble the images contained within it unless they themselves are in possession of actual child porn, which is a federal crime.

Apple also argues that its system is specifically set up to identify collections of child pornography—as it is only triggered when 30 different hashes have been identified. This fact makes the event of a random false-positive trigger highly unlikely, the company has argued.

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Finally, if other mechanisms somehow fail, a human reviewer is tasked with looking over any flagged cases of CSAM before the case is sent on to NCMEC (who would then tip-off police). In such a situation, a false-positive could be weeded out manually before law enforcement ever ostensibly gets involved.

In short, Apple and its defenders argue that a scenario in which a user is accidentally flagged or “framed” for having CSAM is somewhat hard to imagine.

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Jonathan Mayer, an assistant professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University, told Gizmodo that the fears surrounding a false-positive may be somewhat overblown, though there are much broader concerns about Apple’s new system that are legitimate. Mayer would know, as he helped design the system that Apple’s CSAM-detection tech is actually based on.

Mayer was part of a team that recently conducted research into how algorithmic scanning could be deployed to search for harmful content on devices while maintaining end-to-end encryption. According to Mayer, this system had obvious shortcomings. Most alarmingly, researchers noted that it could be easily co-opted by a government or other powerful entity, which might repurpose its surveillance tech to look for other kinds of content. “Our system could easily be repurposed for surveillance and censorship,” writes Mayer and his research partner, Anunay Kulshrestha, in an op-ed in the Washington Post. “The design wasn’t restricted to a specific category of content; a service could simply swap in any content-matching data base, and the person using that service would be none the wiser.”

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The researchers were “so disturbed” by their findings that they subsequently declared the system dangerous, and warned that it shouldn’t be adopted by a company or organization until more research could be done to curtail the potential dangers it presented. However, not long afterward, Apple announced its plans to roll out a nearly identical system to over 1.5 billion devices, in an effort to scan iCloud for CSAM. The op-ed ultimately notes that Apple is “gambling with security, privacy and free speech worldwide” by implementing a similar system in such a hasty, slapdash way.

Matthew Green, a well-known cybersecurity professional, has similar concerns. In a call with Gizmodo, Green said that not only is there an opportunity for this tool to be exploited by a bad actor, but that Apple’s decision to launch such an invasive technology so swiftly and unthinkingly is a major liability for consumers. The fact that Apple says it has built safety nets around this feature is not comforting at all, he added.

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“You can always build safety nets underneath a broken system,” said Green, noting that it doesn’t ultimately fix the problem. “I have a lot of issues with this [new system]. I don’t think it’s something that we should be jumping into—this idea that local files on your device will be scanned.” Green further affirmed the idea that Apple had rushed this experimental system into production, comparing it to an untested airplane whose engines are held together via duct tape. “It’s like Apple has decided we’re all going to go on this airplane and we’re going to fly. Don’t worry [they say], the airplane has parachutes,” he said.

A lot of other people share Green and Mayer’s concerns. This week, some 90 different policy groups signed a petition, urging Apple to abandon its plan for the new features. “Once this capability is built into Apple products, the company and its competitors will face enormous pressure — and potentially legal requirements — from governments around the world to scan photos not just for CSAM, but also for other images a government finds objectionable,” the letter notes. “We urge Apple to abandon those changes and to reaffirm the company’s commitment to protecting its users with end-to-end encryption.”

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The Most Wonderfully Over-Engineered Way to Fix a Broken Clock

The Most Wonderfully Over-Engineered Way to Fix a Broken Clock

In this case, it’s something as innocuous as a broken clock, which could be busted, or simply out of batteries. Either way, bringing it back to life was probably a simple fix, but not an entertaining one. Why pop in a fresh pair of AAs when you can instead throw a considerable amount of engineering and other technology at the problem? Developer Hendrik’s solution was to employ a DIY robotic arm they’d developed which the internet had helped named Serworm Michael simply because Serworm (it looks like a servo-powered worm) and Michael both got the most votes.

The structure of the arm can be created using a standard 3-D printer, but it’s brought to life using a series of Dynamixel XL330-M288-T servos, which can be found for about $20 each, as well as an Arduino MKR WiFi 1010 module and a Raspberry Pi. You’ll need to supply the electronics, but all of the other details needed to build and program your own Serworm Michael arm can be found in Developer Hendrik’s GitHub account.

The arm’s functionality is basic, but its use of servos gives it a level of precision that, as demonstrated here, can be used to accurately advance the hour and minute hands of a clock so it can perform its sole task once again. Could an army of these little arms be used to bring your boss back to life too? It’s hard to say, but the movie version of that experiment will be fun.

What to Expect From Samsung’s Big Foldable Phone Event

Will There Be Foldable Phones?

Yes, we already know there are folding smartphones launching at this event, as Samsung essentially laid out the plan by way of a blog post. Samsung President TM Roh teased the two new foldable devices, the third-generation Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold.

A render of the Galaxy Z Flip 3

The Z Flip folds down like the feature phones of the past, while the Z Fold opens outwardly like a book to reveal a tablet-sized screen. Some leaks point to the Snapdragon 888 powering up both devices, with 8GB of RAM in the Z Flip and 12GB of RAM in the Z Fold. Both phones should have better water resistance, with the Z Flip guarded by an IP68 rating and the Z Fold protected by a more robust IPX8 rating.

Beyond the usual build improvements, we’re expecting the Z Flip 3 to have a main 6.7-inch internal flexible display and a 1.9-inch external display. That external screen is a bit larger than its predecessor’s current 1.1-inch display and will bode for those hoping for more phone functionality on the outside. Several rumors have alleged a 120Hz refresh rate for the Z Flip’s main screen, which would make even pocket-grinding games look smooth as butter. The Flip is expected to have two capable cameras, including a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 10-MP front-facing one. And what would Samsung’s fun folding smartphone be without a pop of color? The Z Flip 3 is rumored to arrive in eight colors: black, white, dark blue, light purple, green, a pinkish hue, and gray for neutral lovers. It should also be more durable, which was a complaint about previous generations of the Z Flip.

A render of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3

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For those who want less of a traditional phone and more of a hybrid device, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 may very well be your next choice. The Z Fold 3 is expected to have a 6.2-inch display on the outside and a 7.55-inch screen inside. A recent FCC listing also revealed its compatibility with Samsung’s S Pen stylus, which will be a boon for anyone looking for some bonafide tablet-like capabilities. The S Pen won’t slot into the device like the Galaxy Note, but it will work with Air Actions.

Like the last version of the Galaxy Z Fold, the third-gen foldable tablet-phone device will likely have an array of cameras. The buzz leads us to believe there are three lenses, including a 12-MP primary, ultra-wide, and telephoto. There might even be an under-display camera making an appearance on the inside of the device.

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What About Samsung’s New Wear OS Watches?

A render of the three upcoming Samsung smartwatches

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Android users have been eager to hear the details on the next batch of Samsung watches after Google revealed the company would be the first to usher in the new version of the Wear platform. There have been numerous leaks about the forthcoming Galaxy Watches, expected to be the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic and Galaxy Watch 4, with the latter packed with fitness-centric features to fulfill the needs of the Watch Active-wearing crowd.

The Watch 4 Classic will, as expected, have a more classic look and come in three sizes: 42mm, 44mm, and 46mm. Small wrists, there’s a classic watch for you yet. It’s expected to sport the durable Gorilla Glass DX+ and will come in aluminum and stainless steel options, with three color selections: a white and silver model, a gray and silver model, and an all-black model.

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A render of the four purported new Galaxy Watch 4 smartwatches coming through the pipeline in black, green, silver, and gold

A render of the four purported new Galaxy Watch 4 smartwatches coming through the pipeline.
Image: OnLeaks/GizNext

The Galaxy Watch 4 will be geared toward folks who want a more fitness-focused watch. The Watch 4 looks like it will be made from aluminum and come in 40mm and 44mm sizes. It’s also expected to run on a 5nm processor, one that’s way more capable than what non-Samsung Android smartwatches are running now. The renders show four color options, including black, silver, green, and gold.

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Amazon Canada accidentally published a listing for the Galaxy Watch 4, which revealed more features. It showed body composition analysis, advanced sleep-tracking, VO2 Max, and SpO2, in addition to the usual continuous heart rate-monitoring. It will also have NFC and built-in GPS, as well as a 1.36-inch display and 361mAh battery.

A render of a Samsung smartphone communicating with a Samsung smart watch

The new One UI Watch software will help unify Samsung’s smartwatches with Google’s Wear OS.
Image: Samsung

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Samsung’s One UI Watch experience has also been leaked, as users are eager to know how Samsung will mold the new Android wearable operating system. One UI will have automatic app installation, meaning it’ll pick up on the apps you have already installed on your phone, so you don’t have to find the companion app in what will hopefully be a more well-stocked app store (one of the reasons for the Google-Samsung team-up). There’s an improved watch face tool coming, too, which will make it easier for developers to take advantage of other sensors and abilities of the Galaxy Watch for more dynamic watch faces.

Will We See New Galaxy Buds?

A render of the new Samsung Galaxy Buds in white

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The last of device we’re expecting to be announced at Samsung’s Unpacked event is the next-gen Galaxy Buds. They’ve been long overdue for a refresh, with the last pair launching two years ago.

The Galaxy Buds 2 were practically revealed in a series of leaked renders. Expect smaller earbuds without fin-shaped wings, and the charging case also looks to be a little bigger than the previous bean-shaped one. There’s no definite word on whether the earbuds will offer active noise cancellation, though a reveal in a published GitHub repository seems to suggest otherwise. The purported $100 to $150 price tag would make the Galaxy Buds 2 a competitor against a slew of other affordable buds on the market, namely the Pixel Buds Series-A and Nothing’s $100 earbuds.

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Stay tuned! We’ll be updating this as more info leaks ahead of the event. We’ll also be live-blogging the whole thing, so join us on Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT to see what Samsung has in store.

Someone Made a Playable Clone of Pokémon for the Pebble Smartwatch

Grab This Playable Clone of Pokémon for the Pebble Smartwatch Fast

Pebblemon is currently available through the Rebble.io repository, which was created shortly after the company died as a place to continue to allow users to maintain their smart wearables, and to give developers a way to distribute new apps. If you don’t already use it, you’ll have to jump through a few hoops to get it to play nice with your Pebble watch, but it doesn’t appear terribly difficult. Alternately, Allen has provided all of his source code through GitHub, if you’re in the mood to compile or adapt it into something else yourself.

There are two things to keep in mind if you want to try Pebblemon out: it’s only compatible with the Pebble Time, Pebble Time Round, and Pebble 2 models—not the original version of the wearable—and you’re going to want to jump on this as soon as possible because there’s a very good chance Nintendo’s eager lawyers are already aware of the game, and are already working to wipe it off the face of the Earth.