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Gear for getting better at your side gig

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work.

In this day and age, either you have a side gig or you know someone who does. The type of work that’s done outside of your 9 to 5 is one thing that sets side hustles apart—the type of gear that’s used is what can help you get better.

From vlogging to graphic design to music production, accessories and must-have equipment should come with features and capabilities that enhance your projects. Here are a few of our favorite picks fit for upping your side gig skills.

Podcasting: Yeti USB Microphone

The Yeti by Blue, our top pick for USB microphones, sits above the competition because it offers the best overall audio, build and included features. It’s a good option for podcasters because its balance of bass and frequency peaks help to make a wide range of voices sound clear and captivating. It has a dial that can be set to four different pickup patterns, which comes in handy when conducting interviews with multiple people. Whether used for live or pre-recorded voice work, its zero-latency and mic-gain control features allow you to do most anything you want — and well.

Of all the microphones we tested, the Blue Yeti makes it easiest to sound good on a podcast, live stream, video call, or most any other kind of recording. (Photo: Nick Guy)

Vlogging: Sony RX Mark IV Camera and GorillaPod 1K Kit Tripod

High-quality video is no longer something that’s only necessary for filmmaking. In our guide for the best vlogging camera and gear, we recommend the Sony RX Mark IV as an also great pick—and the best vlogging camera—for its small size, image stabilization and its ability to record in slow motion. YouTubers and social media video fanatics can easily create top-notch video content recorded at 4K resolution.

Use Wi-Fi and your smartphone as a remote to capture the best selfies with the camera’s flip-up screen and facial recognition feature. Coupled with the flexible GorillaPod 1K Kit Tripod, the camera can be positioned to snap difficult shots.

The Sony RX Mark IV’s small size, image stabilization and ability to record in slow motion make it our best pick for a vlogging camera. Photo: Michael Hession

Video and Photo Editing: Dell XPS 15 Laptop

The ports and connections on the Dell XPS 15 Laptop accommodate all types of gear used for capturing and transferring video. In addition to having a huge 4K display, it has a powerful processor and graphics card. This means you’ll spend less time waiting around as large files load and render faster.

One reason that it’s our top pick for video and photo editing laptops is because its keyboard is comfortable enough to use during long editing sessions. The XPS’s trackpad is responsive and its touchscreen is intuitive—two features which contribute to the ease of making precise edits.

The Dell’s 4K display and powerful processor and graphics card make this laptop well-suited toward video editing.

Building & Prototyping: CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit

It’s a lot easier to create hardware prototypes when you have a legitimate starting base. The Raspberry Pi 3, a mini Linux computer, can operate as a starting point and brain of a variety of gadgets. We recommend the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit to get going on building anything from a gaming console to a smart-home speaker. The included Raspberry Pi 3 Model B computer has software and general input/output pins for running added lights, sensors, or switches. The kit is also packed with everything you need to begin a project including cables, a power supply, a microSD card, and a case for convenience.

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. (Photo: Andrew Cunningham)

Music Production: Arturia MiniLab MkII MIDI Keyboard Controller

Listening to music is a favorite pastime for many, creating it is possibly a curiosity for more. You don’t have to break the bank when buying gear that’ll help you take a stab at music production. The Arturia MiniLab MkII is our top pick for MIDI keyboard controllers for beginners and it’s perfect for making electronic music or playing it live. Its compact design is a plus and its pads offer the responsiveness you need, especially when paired with its included software. The MiniLab Mkll comes preconfigured but it’s functions can be customized through a separate app.

This set-up for beginners is perfect for making electronic music or playing it live. Photo: Michael Hession

Digital Art: Wacom Intuos Draw

There are endless graphic design software options and it’s helpful to have a tool that seamlessly pairs with them. The Wacom Intuos Draw, our top pick for drawing tablets for beginners, comes with its own software (Art Rage Lite), and it’s compatible with Windows, macOS and top-rated art programs. Artists who are just starting out will find the tablet’s grid pattern useful.

It connects to other devices via USB and also comes with a comfortable, customizable pen that can be used for drawing and painting. We like the tablet’s pressure sensitivity and the precision of its pen which will allow for easier detailing and add to the overall quality of your creations.

The Wacom Intuos Draw is the top pick for drawing tablets for beginners. Photo: Michael Hession

This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter.

Note from Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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Artificial Intelligence

Nvidia’s researchers teach a robot to perform simple tasks by observing a human

Industrial robots are typically all about repeating a well-defined task over and over again. Usually, that means performing those tasks a safe distance away from the fragile humans that programmed them. More and more, however, researchers are now thinking about how robots and humans can work in close proximity to humans and even learn from them. In part, that’s what Nvidia’s new robotics lab in Seattle focuses on and the company’s research team today presented some of its most recent work around teaching robots by observing humans at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), in Brisbane, Australia.

Nvidia’s director of robotics research Dieter Fox.

As Dieter Fox, the senior director of robotics research at Nvidia (and a professor at the University of Washington), told me, the team wants to enable this next generation of robots that can safely work in close proximity to humans. But to do that, those robots need to be able to detect people, tracker their activities and learn how they can help people. That may be in small-scale industrial setting or in somebody’s home.

While it’s possible to train an algorithm to successfully play a video game by rote repetition and teaching it to learn from its mistakes, Fox argues that the decision space for training robots that way is far too large to do this efficiently. Instead, a team of Nvidia researchers led by Stan Birchfield and Jonathan Tremblay, developed a system that allows them to teach a robot to perform new tasks by simply observing a human.

The tasks in this example are pretty straightforward and involve nothing more than stacking a few colored cubes. But it’s also an important step in this overall journey to enable us to quickly teach a robot new tasks.

The researchers first trained a sequence of neural networks to detect objects, infer the relationship between them and then generate a program to repeat the steps it witnessed the human perform. The researchers say this new system allowed them to train their robot to perform this stacking task with a single demonstration in the real world.

One nifty aspect of this system is that it generates a human-readable description of the steps it’s performing. That way, it’s easier for the researchers to figure out what happened when things go wrong.

Nvidia’s Stan Birchfield tells me that the team aimed to make training the robot easy for a non-expert — and few things are easier to do than to demonstrate a basic task like stacking blocks. In the example the team presented in Brisbane, a camera watches the scene and the human simply walks up, picks up the blocks and stacks them. Then the robot repeats the task. Sounds easy enough, but it’s a massively difficult task for a robot.

To train the core models, the team mostly used synthetic data from a simulated environment. As both Birchfield and Fox stressed, it’s these simulations that allow for quickly training robots. Training in the real world would take far longer, after all, and can also be more far more dangerous. And for most of these tasks, there is no labeled training data available to begin with.

“We think using simulation is a powerful paradigm going forward to train robots do things that weren’t possible before,” Birchfield noted. Fox echoed this and noted that this need for simulations is one of the reasons why Nvidia thinks that its hardware and software is ideally suited for this kind of research. There is a very strong visual aspect to this training process, after all, and Nvidia’s background in graphics hardware surely helps.

Fox admitted that there’s still a lot of research left to do be done here (most of the simulations aren’t photorealistic yet, after all), but that the core foundations for this are now in place.

Going forward, the team plans to expand the range of tasks that the robots can learn and the vocabulary necessary to describe those tasks.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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Delhi

58-year-old NRI masturbates sitting beside woman on board flight, held at Delhi airport

The security control room at the IGI Airport was informed in the early hours today that there was an “unruly passenger” on board a Turkish Airlines flight approaching Delhi.

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Delhi

After tens of thousands of pre-orders, 3D audio headphones startup Ossic disappears

After taking tens of thousands of crowd-funding pre-orders for a high-end pair of “3D sound” headphones, audio startup Ossic announced this weekend that it is shutting down the company and backers will not be receiving refunds.

The company raised $2.7 million on Kickstarter and $3.2 million on Indiegogo for their Ossic X headphones which they pitched as a pair of high-end head-tracking headphones that would be perfect for listening to 3D audio, especially in a VR environment. While the company also raised a “substantial seed investment,” in a letter on the Ossic website, the company blamed the slow adoption of virtual reality alongside their crowdfunding campaign stretch goals which bogged down their R&D team.

“This was obviously not our desired outcome. The team worked exceptionally hard and created a production-ready product that is a technological and performance breakthrough. To fail at the 5 yard-line is a tragedy. We are extremely sorry that we cannot deliver your product and want you to know that the team has done everything possible including investing our own savings and working without salary to exhaust all possibilities.”

We have reached out to the company for additional details.

Through January 2017, the San Diego company had received more than 22,000 pre-orders for their Ossic X headphones. This past January, Ossic announced that they had shipped out the first units to the 80 backers in their $999 developer tier headphones. In that same update, the company said they would enter “mass production” by late spring 2018.

In the end, after tens of thousands of pre-orders, Ossic only built 250 pairs of headphones and only shipped a few dozen to Kickstarter backers.

Crowdfunding campaign failures for hardware products are rarely shocking, but often the collapse comes from the company not being able to acquire additional funding from outside investors. Here, Ossic appears to have been misguided from the start and even with nearly $6 million in crowdfunding and seed funding, which they said nearly matched that number, they were left unable to begin large-scale manufacturing. The company said in their letter, that it would likely take more than $2 million in additional funding to deliver the existing backlog of pre-orders.

Backers are understandably quite upset about not receiving their headphones. A group of over 1,200 Facebook users have joined a recently-created page threatening a class action lawsuit against the team.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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