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An Electronic Orchestra Baton

The conductor of an orchestra may look unassuming on the street, but once they step onto their podium, they are all powerful. If you’ve ever wanted to go mad with power in the comfort of your own home, try this electronic orchestra baton by [Larry Lu] and [Kathryn Zhang].
The wireless baton “peripheral” part of the system uses a Pico W and an IMU to detect the speed of conducting a 4/4 measure. That information is then transmitted to the “central” Pico W access point which plays a .wav at the speed corresponding to the conductor’s specified beats per minute (BPM). Setting the baton down will pause the visualizer and audio playback.
The “central” Pico W uses direct memory access (DMA) and SPI communication to control the audio output and VGA visualization. Since most .wav files have a sample rate of 44.1 kHz, this gave the students a reference to increase or decrease the DMA audio channel timer to control the playback.
Want some more musical hacks? Checkout this auto-glockenspiel or how the original iPod was hacked.

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Raiders report card: Special teams, coaching get poor grades

How the Raiders performed in a 23-20 loss to the Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis:
Offense: B
This was an improvement game for rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who completed 30 of 47 passes for a career-high 299 yards and two touchdowns to wide receiver Davante Adams. But questionable play-calling on third-and-short cost the Raiders. Adams had a few key drops, but hauled in 13 receptions for 126 yards and the two TDs. He was targeted 21 times and surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for the fourth straight season, tied for the second longest streak in the NFL. Three false starts and a delay of game in the first half consistently hurt drives. Zamir White, again subbing for an injured Josh Jacobs, rushed 20 times for 71 yards and caught five balls for 35.
Defense: C
There was some good over four quarters, but you can’t allow two 50-yard completions, both cashed in for scores. You also can’t have two penalties on a key third down late in the game and your team trailing by seven. Jack Jones had the costly pass interference call with the Colts facing third-and-8 from their 38 that extended a drive. It ultimately led to a field goal and what would prove an insurmountable two-score lead. The Colts had 349 total yards, including 134 on the ground. They were 6 of 13 on third down. Nate Hobbs led the Raiders with eight tackles, and Adam Butler had the team’s lone sack of quarterback Gardner Minshew.
Special teams: D
You would think this grade might be much better, but you can’t have an offside call, by Jones, on a missed field goal late in a seven-point game. That all but ended things, as Colts kicker Matt Gay then made good from 45 yards for a 10-point advantage. Daniel Carlson made both of his field-goal attempts for the Raiders and has 167 makes since 2018, third most in the NFL during that span. AJ Cole dropped four of five punts inside the 10-yard line.
Coaching: D
The NFL’s least penalized team was all sorts of undisciplined with seven penalties for 54 yards, some game-killers. There were questionable timeouts in the first half by interim coach Antonio Pierce and those forgettable offensive calls in short-yardage situations. On defense, having no safety set and isolating Amik Robertson on one of the Colts’ fastest players in Alec Pierce — which resulted in a 58-yard score — was brutal.
Ed Graney, a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing, can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on X. […]

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Raiders CB Jack Jones Calls out Refs for Blown Call vs. Colts

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Las Vegas Raiders CB Jack Jones.

With the 23-20 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the Las Vegas Raiders are officially eliminated from the playoffs. However, the team was very close to staying alive had it not been for a number of questionable calls from the officials.With just minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Raiders were down 20-13. The Colts attempted a 50-yard field goal that missed wide right. Las Vegas was set to take the ball with over three minutes left and good field position. Instead, cornerback Jack Jones was called offsides. The Colts attempted the field goal again and made it.The problem is that it doesn’t look like Jones was offsides on the replay. Based on the replay, it appears that the cornerback’s burst is timed perfectly with the snap. Jones took to X and said “watch the tape” with a clip of the replay attached.Though he doesn’t directly say anything, it’s clear that Jones isn’t thrilled with how the play was called. Just a few plays earlier, he was called for a questionable pass interference call that put the Colts in field goal range.Jones even said in a subsequent X post that he checked with the officials and they confirmed that he didn’t go offsides.It’s been a season of questionable officiating decisions and the Raiders’ loss against the Colts is the latest example.Missed Opportunity for Las Vegas RaidersIt will be easy for fans and players to blame the officials for the Raiders losing against the Colts but that doesn’t change the fact that the team didn’t play well. There were plenty of opportunities but penalties and playcalling ultimately cost the Raiders.Coming off of wins over the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs, the Raiders looked like one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Their playoff hopes became realistic but they needed to win out. The Colts have played well this year but just came off of a blowout loss to the Atlanta Falcons.They certainly weren’t a powerhouse. The Raiders had every chance to win but mistakes caught up to them.What’s Next for Las Vegas Raiders?There’s only one game left for the Raiders and there’s not much left to play for. The playoffs are out of reach and the only thing the team can really hope for is to improve draft position. However, the team is playing the Denver Broncos at home to end the season so they’ll likely be fired up to play a rival.The biggest thing for the Raiders going forward is figuring out who their head coach and quarterback will be next season. Interim head coach Antonio Pierce appeared to have the job locked up after beating the Chiefs but losing a winnable game with the season on the line will likely stick in owner Mark Davis‘ head.While Pierce is still in the mix, the Raiders need a new quarterback. Aidan O’Connell can make nice throws from time to time but he has no mobility whatsoever. He’s not a franchise quarterback and the Raiders likely know that. If the team gets the coach and quarterback right, it’s clear there’s enough talent for them to be in the playoff mix again next season. […]

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3D Printing Your Own Triboelectric Generators

A triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) certainly sounds like the sort of thing you’d need to graduate from Starfleet Engineering to put together, but it actually operates on the same principle that’s at work when you rub a balloon your head. Put simply, when friction is applied to the proper materials, charges can build up enough to produce a short burst of electrical energy. Do it enough, and you’re on the way to producing useful power.
In a recent paper, [Leo N.Y. Cao], [Erming Su], [Zijie Xu], and [Zhong Lin Wang] describe how a functional TENG can be produced on a standard desktop 3D printer. What’s even more impressive is that the method doesn’t appear to require anything terribly exotic — just some commercially available filaments and a bunch of PTFE beads.
TENGs can be printed in any size or shape.
So how do your print your own TENG? First, you load up an electrically conductive PLA filament and lay down a base into which a series of channels has been designed. At around the half-way point, you pause the print to insert your PTFE beads, and then swap over to standard filament for a few layers to produce an insulator. Finally, you pause again and switch back over to the conductive filament for the rest of the print, encasing the beads inside the structure.
As [Leo N.Y. Cao] demonstrates in the video below, you then clip leads to the top and bottom of the print, and give it a good shake. If everything went right, LEDs wired up to your new high-tech maracas should flash as the PTFE beads move back and forth inside. But there’s a catch. Going back to the balloon-on-the-head example, the effect at play here produces high voltages but low current — the paper says a TENG containing 60 beads should be capable of producing pulses of up to 150 volts.
Naturally, you won’t get very far with just one of these. Like other energy harvesting concepts we’ve covered in the past, such as vibratory wind generators, it would take a bunch of these working together to generate a useful amount of power. But given how cheap and quickly these printable TENGs can be produced, that doesn’t seem like it would be too much of a challenge.

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Raiders Rumors Gain Steam After Jim Harbaugh Hires Tom Brady’s Agent

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Connections between Tom Brady (left) and Jim Harbaugh fueled Raiders rumors this week.

It’s a longshot, but as the season draws to a close, there will be a distinct uptick in Raiders rumors coming forth. With good reason: The Raiders have played well down the stretch of the season and the future of interim coach Antonio Pierce remains unsure. What was once seen as a dead-end job for an NFL coach suddenly looks a lot more promising. That makes the Tom Brady-related action taken by Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh this weekend all the more relevant to the Raiders rumors mill.Harbaugh, ahead of his Wolverines’ appearance against Alabama in the Rose Bowl, the semifinal for the college football playoffs, hired prominent NFL agent Don Yee to represent him. The news was reported by Adam Schefter and Pete Thamel of ESPN. Schefter tweeted early Sunday morning: “Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has hired football agent Don Yee to represent him, sources tell me and @PeteThamel. Amongst others, Yee represents Tom Brady and Sean Payton and has deep NFL ties.”

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has hired football agent Don Yee to represent him, sources tell me and @PeteThamel. Amongst others, Yee represents Tom Brady and Sean Payton and has deep NFL ties. pic.twitter.com/9fFe9yElNI
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 31, 2023
It was an abrupt and eye-opening move by Harbaugh, and one that sparked Raiders rumors because of the client who made Yee famous: Brady, a confidant of owner Mark Davis, and whose bid to become a part owner of the Raiders is ongoing.Raiders Rumors: Would Tom Brady Steer Coach Pick?Now, whether Yee and Tom Brady would or could steer Harbaugh to the Raiders is an open question. While anything can happen in the next two weeks, the consensus is that, if Harbaugh left Michigan to go the NFL, he would do so to coach the Chargers. Harbaugh played for the Chargers at the end of his career.There is also an increasing consensus suggesting that the Raiders will bring back Pierce as the permanent coach in the offseason. Players have been outspoken in their support of Pierce, who has done an impressive job of getting his team to play more inspired football since taking over for Josh McDaniels on Halloween.But that does not mean Jim Harbaugh-to-the-Raiders rumors are dead altogether. The assumptions on Pierce and the Chargers are mostly media-based.  Much can change between now and when actual hires are made.Many prominent voices made note of that this week, giving some juice to the idea that Harbaugh could be headed to Vegas.

The only way Antonio Pierce shouldn’t be coaching the Raiders next year is if Jim Harbaugh wants that job.
— Zach Gelb (@ZachGelb) December 25, 2023
It’s also not out of the question that Harbaugh surprises everyone and sticks around in Ann Arbor. As NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported last week: “Sources say Jim Harbaugh, whose current deal runs through 2026, received an offer from Michigan for a 10-year, $125-million contract extension that would make him one of the highest-paid coaches in college football.Jim Harbaugh Declines to Talk NFLThe hiring of Don Yee is the clearest thing that Harbaugh has said about his impending decision. That’s because he was decidedly evasive when asked about it during a Rose Bowl press conference this week.“Such a one-track mind,” Harbaugh said when asked about his future, via Joe Reedy of the Associated Press. “That’s the way we’ve gone about things. It’s literally whatever day we’re in, looking to get the most out of it. Dominate the day. Then we’ll go to sleep tonight, and wake up tomorrow and see if we can’t dominate that day. It’s a single-minded group. It’s very focused on just taking care of business today and see if we can’t do the same tomorrow.“It’s just a very one-track mind about this game. Right now, it’s just, have fun with the family and the team and the players. We’re at the happiest place on Earth. We’re going to enjoy ourselves and then get back to business. See if we can’t dominate the day.” […]

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Welcome To The Year Of The Diagonal Linux Desktop

Sometimes you come across one of those ideas that at first appear to have to be some kind of elaborate joke, but as you dig deeper into it, it begins to make a disturbing kind of sense. This is where the idea of diagonally-oriented displays comes to the fore. Although not a feature that is generally supported by operating systems, [xssfox] used the xrandr (x resize and rotate) function in the Xorg display server to find the perfect diagonal display orientation to reach a happy balance between the pros and cons of horizontal and vertical display orientations.
As displays have gone wide-and-wider over the past decades, some people rotate their displays 90 degrees to get more height instead, which is beneficial when reading documents, yet terrible when watching most video content, barring vertical videos, so you either need more than one display, keep rotating, or settle on an optimal intermediate compromise. Interestingly, this wasn’t found at a straight 45°, but instead at 22° of rotation for [xssfox]’s 21:9 ratio ‘ultra-wide’ display. The xrandr settings for other display ratios can be easily calculated using the provided formula and associated JS-based tool.
So what are the advantages here? You get to keep long line lengths in IDEs, while gaining more vertical pixels in some areas. As disadvantages it only works with Xorg at this time, it’s a terrible setup for people prone to vertigo, and it’s decidedly hostile towards top-of-display mounted webcams. Yet with others picking up on this new trend, Linux might just corner the diagonal desktop. […]

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TSMC to open Japan’s most advanced semiconductor production facility in February – chip production begins in H2

TSMC is set to host a formal opening ceremony for its first fab in Japan, scheduled for February 24, 2024, China Times reports citing Japanese media sources. The semiconductor production facility will be capable of making chips using TSMC’s N28 (28nm-class) technologies and will be the most advanced logic fab in the Land of the Rising Sun. TSMC’s Japanese fab will be located near Kumamoto, a city on the Japanese island of Kyushu. The semiconductor manufacturing facility is set to process wafers using a variety of production nodes derived from the company’s N28 (28nm-class) technology. This includes several N28 variants and the 22ULP fabrication process, a specialty node for ultra-low-power applications. While these manufacturing technologies are too outdated for use in advanced system-on-chips (SoCs) for smartphones or PCs, as well as high-performance CPUs or GPUs, they are adequately suited for components used in the automotive and consumer electronics sectors. There remains a lot of demand for such processors in Japan with its multitude of sizable companies operating in these sectors.These technologies are expected to remain relevant for an extended period, given the long lifecycle of many integrated circuits (ICs). TSMC now plans to host a formal opening ceremony on February 24 and the fab will start producing chips in the second half of 2024, as planned. It is rumored that eventually, TSMC will build another fab in Japan that will be capable of processing wafers using TSMC’s N16-derived process technologies, which include N16, N12, and N12e, which belong to 16nm and 12nm classes. The fab will employ approximately 1,700 people when fully operational. Currently, the facility has about 1,400 employees and 250 new graduates are expected to join in the spring of 2024, according to China Times.TSMC — the world’s No.1 contract maker of chips — is expanding its operations beyond Taiwan, driven both by a surge in chip demand and influenced by the current geopolitical landscape. In Japan, the company is building up its fab in collaboration with Sony. The monthly production capacity of the fab near Kumamoto is set to be 45,000 wafer starts per month and the initial investment in the fab was set to be $7 billion, with the Japanese government subsidizing the project. The final cost is unknown though.TSMC is also in the process of setting up a research and development center in Japan and is engaged in various collaborative projects with the University of Tokyo.  […]

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Raiders Inquired About Adding MVP QB Prior to Jimmy Garoppolo Signing: Report

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Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis.

The Las Vegas Raiders went into the 2023 offseason hoping to sign quarterback Tom Brady but once he retired, plans had to change. The team eventually landed on Jimmy Garoppolo but that was almost not the case.According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Raiders were one of two teams to reach out about Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.“But last offseason, there weren’t any other teams that made a major push to sign Jackson, and only a couple appeared to have expressed mild interest in signing the star quarterback to an offer sheet,” Schefter wrote in a December 30 column.“The two teams known to have inquired about Jackson’s services were the Las Vegas Raiders and Carolina Panthers, according to league sources, but neither team got overly aggressive with Jackson, and neither came close to signing him to an offer sheet that the Ravens would have had a chance to match.”The Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, which allowed teams to make an offer to the quarterback and if he accepted, the Raiders would’ve had to give up two first-round picks. It may have been worth the asking price as Jackson has already won one MVP in 2019 and is the favorite to win it again this season.Should Las Vegas Raiders Have Signed Lamar Jackson?If the Raiders gave Lamar Jackson an offer he liked, the Ravens would’ve had the ability to match the offer, which the quarterback could’ve accepted. That likely played a big reason as to why Las Vegas didn’t take the pursuit too far. Jackson eventually landed a five-year, $260 million contract from Baltimore.In hindsight, the Raiders should’ve pursued Jackson more aggressively. General manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels may still have their jobs if they didn’t commit to Jimmy Garoppolo. A big reason for the Raiders’ struggles this season has been due to quarterback play.Jackson is still one of the most dynamic players in the NFL and has led the Ravens to an NFL-best 12-3 record. Having him on an offense that features Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs and Jakobi Meyers would’ve been electric. Add that to the fact that the Raiders’ defense has been much improved this season and they likely would’ve been a playoff team with Jackson at quarterback.Las Vegas Raiders Back to QB Drawing BoardHad the Raiders found a way to get Lamar Jackson to Las Vegas, they wouldn’t have to think about the quarterback position for years to come. Now, the team heads into the 2024 offseason with major questions at quarterback. Jimmy Garoppolo was benched early in the season and will likely be let go once the year is over.Rookie Aidan O’Connell hasn’t proven that he’s a starting quarterback in the NFL. He projects to be more of a backup in the future. The Raiders will have to address quarterback this offseason and there aren’t any players on the level of Jackson who could be available.Las Vegas could look to the draft to try and find a franchise quarterback. That’s never a sure thing but there aren’t great options. The other options could be trades for Kyler Murray or Justin Fields. […]

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Raiders running back to miss 3rd straight game

INDIANAPOLIS — Running back Josh Jacobs has been ruled out of the Raiders game against the Colts on Sunday.
Jacobs will miss his third straight game with a quadriceps injury.
The Raiders (7-8) will start second-year running back Zamir White for the third consecutive game. White ran for a career-high 145 yards last week in the Raiders 20-14 win over the Chiefs. The Raiders need to sweep their final two games, including next week’s home game against the Broncos, to put themselves in position to claim either the AFC West title or a Wild Card berth.
The Raiders ruled out tight end Michael Mayer out with a toe injury earlier in the week. The rookie from Notre Dame will miss his second straight game.
The rest of the Raiders inactives are Brian Hoyer, who will serve as the Raiders’ emergency quarterback, defensive tackle Byron Young, cornerback Tyler Hall, center Hroniss Grasu and tight end Zach Gentry.
Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X. […]

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Raspberry Pi Pico Becomes Emotionally-Aware Music Visualizer

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the nascent world of digital music was incredibly exciting. We all cultivated huge MP3 collections and spent hours staring at the best visualizers Winamp and Windows Media Player had to offer. [Rafael] and [Eric] decided to bring back those glory days with their music visualizer that runs on the Raspberry Pi Pico.
The design is quite interesting, going beyond the usual simplistic display of waveforms and spectrograms. Instead, the Pi Pico uses a Fast Fourier Transform analysis to determine the frequencies of the music, ideally then to determine the key, and thus the mood, of the tune.  Then, the visualizer uses different colors to represent those moods, such as green for happy music in a major key, or deeper blues for a sad piece in a minor key. The output of the visualizer is via Bruce Land’s 8-bit color VGA library, which allows the Pi Pico to drive a monitor directly.
Whether the visualizer really gets the music is up for debate.  The visuals simply don’t look sad and depressing enough when listening to Hallelujah, but maybe that’s just the lack of Jeff Buckley’s vocals in the instrumental. Furthermore, getting an FFT analysis to pull out reliable musical information from an audio recording is finicky to say the least. In any case, the blocky and colorful animations are nice to watch nonetheless. They’d make an excellent basis for visuals at your next underground chiptune show, that much is for certain. Video after the break.

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