Insofta Cover Commander 6.6.0

Cover Commander

Cover Commander creates professional, custom-designed three-dimensional virtual boxes for your software, e-books, iPhone/iPad apps, manuals, DVD and CD boxes, CD disks, cards, and even screenshots. Just a few mouse clicks – that’s all it takes to get the job done. Extensive light, shadow, and reflection controls at your disposal will enable you to create an image of just about any complexity and view the final picture as it is being made in the real-time preview window.

Cover Commander

Reasons to go with Cover Commander:

  • Get your cover designed in just a few mouse clicks – Box, Box with disc, Disc, Screenshot, Curved screenshot, Book, Thin book, Manual, Vista box, Card, Spiral book, Monitor, TV, iPhone 5s/5c, iPad, iPad with cover, Blu-ray box, Blu-ray with disc, DVD box, DVD box with disc, CD box, CD box with disc.
  • Let the built-in wizards do the dirty work for you and focus on the artistic details of the cover.
  • Create multiple projects, parse multiple images – with a single command (batch mode).
  • Save the result image with transparent background and use the picture for the complex web or print designs.
  • Save the light, shadow, and reflection settings under a unique name and use those settings in other projects.
  • Set the result image size (up to 4000×4000) and margins in pixels.
  • Draw your customer’s attention with an animated box, cover or screenshot.
  • Cover Commander does not require 3D accelerator to render 3D objects.
  • Don’t pay more than what it actually costs to create a great cover. Create additional covers at no cost at all!

Cover Commander 6.6.0 changelog:

  • Added support for Asian languages for 3D text (Japanese, Chinese, Korean).

  • Added Minimal White and Minimal Dark styles for devices.

  • Added a status bar in the internal image viewer.

  • Added Japanese, Hungarian, Slovenian languages.

  • Fixed several bugs.

Download: Cover Commander 6.6.0 | 44.5 MB (Shareware)
Link: Cover Commander Home Page

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No more slaves and masters: Twitter engineers BAN whole range of terms in fight for ‘more inclusive language’

Twitter’s engineering team will systematically purge a list of offensive terms from its source code and internal documents in the name of political correctness. Terms like “master” and “slave” will go, as will gendered pronouns.

“We’re starting with a set of words we want to move away from using in favor of more inclusive language,” Twitter Engineering announced on Wednesday. 

Among the terms to be terminated are “whitelist” and “blacklist,”“master” and “slave,” which will be replaced with “allowlist” and “denylist,” and “leader” and “follower” respectively. Gendered pronouns like “guys” will be swapped with gender-neutral terms like “folks” and “y’all,” while the terms “man hours” and “grandfathered” will have their patriarchal connotations expunged, and will be replaced with “person hours” and “legacy status.”

Even “dummy value” was deemed offensive.

The company is putting some serious muscle behind the effort, and will develop “warning tools” to comb through its source code for offending words. Internal documentation, FAQs, readmes and design manuals will all be sanitized, and Twitter will even develop a browser extension to root out any problematic stragglers.

Though the change comes amid a nationwide breakdown on all things racial, the plan has apparently been in the works since January, and is the brainchild of a black programmer who was offended when he read the line “automatic slave rekick” in a page of code. Now, with the higher-ups on his side, the programmer described the new changes as “a small step,” stating that his goal is to “eventually adopt inclusive language across Twitter.” 

Some Twitter’s users were aghast, marveling at the list’s Orwelian overtones. 

Yet the social media giant is not the only tech firm to embrace a new, woke lexicon. The developers of the Python programming language removed the terms “master” and “slave” in 2018, while programmers at Apple, Google, and Microsoft have recently brought in similar changes.

Twitter, however, has committed itself in earnest to the progressive cause since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. The company has promised donations and free advertising to Black Lives Matter, instructed brands on how to tweet about racism, and compiled an instruction guide for white users, telling them how to leverage their “voice and privilege to amplify Black and Brown communities.”

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

RAVPOWER PD Pioneer 20000mAh 65W Power House REVIEW

A worthy option for remote power, but needs updates to product information.

In the world we currently live in, you have to be flexible — adaptable — and you have to be ready to work remotely at a moment’s notice. So, what happens when you have to grab a laptop with only 20% left to work in a remote location? We all know that 20% goes really quickly and then you are left with a brick and no way to continue working. This is what the RAVPower PD Pioneer 20,000mAh 65W 2-Port Power House was designed for. 

DETAILS 

The Power House is a large capacity portable battery that is built specifically to charge laptops. It offers a 2-prong AC outlet with a power supply on/off indicator. This AC outlet is designed for devices that require up to 50W of power. With the 65W Power House you also have the option to charge two devices simultaneously. The charging tower houses a large capacity battery of 20,000mAh, which is enough to charge  an iPhone 11 Pro 6.5 times. The 65W Power House features advanced protection and keeps connected devices from overcharging, short circuiting, and power surges. The USB-C port provides 5V/3A of output power delivery to connected devices. 

RAVPOWER PD PIONEER 20000MAH 65W POWER HOUSE REVIEW

Capacity: 20,100 mAh (according to product page on RAVPower.com)
1 x USB-C input/output port (5V/3A)
1 x USB-A output port (5V/2.4A)
1 x AC Outlet
Dimensions: 7.4 x 6.8 x 3.4 inches
Weight: 1.85 pounds

WHAT’S IN THE BOX

The Power House comes in a standard RAVPower white and green box. There is no image or illustration of the product on the box, but the name “RAVPower PD Pioneer 20000mAh 65W 2-Port Power House” is printed on the front. The box doesn’t provide a lot of information about the product, but it does include the model number and some contact information for RAVPower. Inside the box, you will find a travel case (semi-hardshell) that contains the Power House, USB-C charging cable, travel pouch, and user manual. 

RAVPOWER PD PIONEER 20000MAH 65W POWER HOUSE REVIEW

Usually, this is the point where I leave the unboxing process and move into the testing phase of my reviews. But, with the Power House, I had a few quality control issues that were discovered and because it mainly has to do with how the item was packaged and/or listed on RAVPower’s website, I thought this was the best place to discuss. 

User Manual: As I began writing out the device’s details and features, I was looking at the user manual that was included with the Power House. At one point, I flipped it back to the cover and noticed that the user manual actually belonged to the 80W version of the RAVPower Power House charger. What is particularly deceiving is that both versions of the Power House have the same model number (RP-PB054). 

RAVPOWER PD PIONEER 20000MAH 65W POWER HOUSE REVIEW

Lack of DC Charger: As I was reviewing the information on the product page for the 65W Power House I noticed that the information on RAVPower’s website about the 65W Power House indicated that the devices come with a DC charger. “The 19V/1.6A DC input allows for faster recharging than almost any other portable charging device.” It does not. The way you recharge the device is to plug in the USB-C cable into the USB-C port and then plug the other end into a wall charger (not included). 

RAVPOWER PD PIONEER 20000MAH 65W POWER HOUSE REVIEW

What’s Included List: The list of items included in the package varies depending on the source. The product page for the 65W Power House does not include any list while the 80W version does. The user manual for both versions of the Power House do list out items, but they are incorrect. The 65W user manual (found online through RAVPower’s website) states that it should come with 2 Micro USB cables and the 80W user manual doesn’t mention the storage case. As it turns out the list from the 80W Power House product page on RAVPower’s website is correct. 

  • 1x RAVPower Portable Power House (RP-PB054)
  • 1x USB-C to USB-C Cable (60cm/23.6in)
  • 1x Carrying Pouch
  • 1x Storage Box
  • 1x User Guide

Capacity: The box, user manual, and product all indicate that it’s a 20,000 mAh capacity, but the product descriptions on the RAVPower website state it is a 20,100 mAh capacity battery. 

RAVPOWER PD PIONEER 20000MAH 65W POWER HOUSE REVIEW

FORM

One of the things I was first struck by was the size of this device. Yes, it is designed to be able to charge laptops, but I still found its case to be extraordinarily large. It measures more than 6 inches high and weighs almost 2 pounds. To me, that’s not the most ‘portable’ battery. Now, I do want to know that the Power House has an internal fan to help keep its heat regulated. The fan kicks on when a device is connected and begins charging. There don’t appear to be any specs about the fan or its operation in the user manual or on the product page. I do like that there are two different LED indicators on this devices — one to indicate the power level (5 blue LEDs on the side of the tower) and one to indicate the AC outlet on/off operation. I like the easy access there is to the ports and outlet and the soft feel of the exterior of the charging tower. 

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FUNCTION

When it comes to function of the the Power House, I’ve been pretty impressed. In order to charge a device, you simply plug it into one of the ports (USB-C or USB-A) and the device will automatically start charging. As I noted above, the fan will also kick on inside the case of the Power House. To use the AC outlet, you do have to press/hold the Power button for 3 seconds until the green on/off indicator light comes on. Once you are done charging from that outlet, you simply press/hold the Power button again until the light turns off. 

RAVPOWER PD PIONEER 20000MAH 65W POWER HOUSE REVIEW

Charging the Power House was a little bit of a challenge at first because there is no wall adapter included with the unit. According to the 65W manual, a 24V/1A power adapter is required to charge the Power House. The 80W manual states that a 30W PD 3.0 charger is required. I pulled out the RAVPower PD Pioneer 90W 2-Port  USB-C Wall Charger and attempted to charge it directly from a wall outlet. The Power House never got above 40% according to the LED indicators. Even though the 90W wall charger should have provided more than enough power for this task, I pulled out a 65W wall charger with PD and the Power House charged right up. 

When it came to charging devices, I decided to try charging my 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro. This machine requires a 61W power adapter and it was on the compatible list on RAVPower’s website. So, I charged the Power House to 100% and then plugged my laptop in to charge using the USB-C port first. I let it charge for approximately 60 minutes and then calculated the charging rate at 0.52% per minute. I did notice around the 43 minute mark that the power indicator on the Power House dropped to 4 and then 11 minutes later, it dropped to 3, which meant the battery was between 41-60% power level. 

RAVPOWER PD PIONEER 20000MAH 65W POWER HOUSE REVIEW

Next, I plugged the laptop into the AC outlet using a wall charger and charged it for approximately 32 minutes. During that time the LED indicator dropped to level 1 meaning there was 20% or less battery life left. The charging rate was much better with the AC outlet at 0.9% per minute. While I was charging the laptop, I was still working on it, but I wasn’t doing anything that was too power-hungry. I was doing moderate tasks like word processing, internet browsing, and listening to music. I also had a USB-C hub plugged in with two dongles attached for my wireless keyboard and mouse. While these things might have affected the charging rate, I don’t think it would have dragged it down too badly. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Despite the quality control issues I found when it came to product details, the Power House is an intriguing charging device. It does what it is designed for — charging laptops – but it does seem a bit large for extensive travel. I do appreciate the built-in fan to help dissipate heat (and it works!), which I’m sure contributes to the size of the device. While I would like to recommend this to people who frequently work remotely, I’m hesitant to do so because of the inaccuracies of the information available on the product. If RAVPower can reevaluate the information provided for the device and ensure that it’s all accurate, then this is a wonderful option for travelers and those who work remotely. 

For more details, visit RAVPower, Facebook, and Twitter.

Spas are reopening amid COVID-19: Here are the rules

Spas are reopening amid COVID-19: Here are the rules

coronavirus pandemic, nonessential businesses, including spas, are beginning to reopen. But many are wondering, "Is it safe?"” data-reactid=”23″>With America still on the road to recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic, nonessential businesses, including spas, are beginning to reopen. But many are wondering, “Is it safe?”

When most people think of a visit to a spa, feelings of relaxation immediately come to mind. However, the fears induced by the reality of COVID-19 have forced many spas to pivot or upgrade their offerings under new guidelines.

Will deep tissue massages, skin-enhancing facials and body treatments still be a thing? The short answer is yes, but staff and clients alike are approaching these beloved services with heightened awareness.

The CBON Group, Canada’s largest supplier of professional infection control products, said in a statement.” data-reactid=”26″>”One thing consumers do know is that they will likely be encountering a very different world when salons and spas start once again to take appointments,” Jeff Alford, the president of The CBON Group, Canada’s largest supplier of professional infection control products, said in a statement.

restrictions provided by the state Division of Consumer Affairs.” data-reactid=”30″>Gov. Phil Murphy advised that day spas in New Jersey could open on June 22 under restrictions provided by the state Division of Consumer Affairs.

Some of these restrictions include reopening the premises to facilitate social distancing, establishing protocols for scheduling of client appointments and prescreening and temperature checks for staff and customers.

MORE: Nail salons are reopening: Here’s what to know and how to stay safe” data-reactid=”32″>MORE: Nail salons are reopening: Here’s what to know and how to stay safe

“Even before you book an appointment, you should be aware of what measures your salon or spa are taking to keep you safe while in their care,” advised Alford.

He suggested that it’s best to check company websites, social media channels or email notifications for announcements surrounding changes in policy that might include required face masks, restrictions in services, reduced or extended hours and more.

Alford also suggested looking for any signage or posted letters that are visible to customers at your spa before entering. “This will let you know that policies are being universally applied to everyone,” he said. “Remember, the risk of infection does not just come from within the facility, but also from other patrons.”

MORE: Here’s how hair salons are reopening amid COVID-19” data-reactid=”37″>MORE: Here’s how hair salons are reopening amid COVID-19

Once you arrive, it’s best to check in if reception is providing hand-sanitizing options as well as PPE, such as masks or gloves.

“If these measures are not in place, you may need to ask yourself why and what other precautionary steps are not being taken to keep you safe?” said Alford.

La Prairie Spa at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, told "GMA." "We have rewritten all of our training manuals to include our adjusted measures and have scheduled training days for the team before we reopen so they can feel confident and comfortable with the new safety practices."” data-reactid=”41″>”We are following the guidelines set out by the county and implementing extra precautionary measures and sanitation protocols,” Amanda Raich, spa director at La Prairie Spa at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, told “GMA.” “We have rewritten all of our training manuals to include our adjusted measures and have scheduled training days for the team before we reopen so they can feel confident and comfortable with the new safety practices.”

La Prairie Spa has also announced that guests and team members must wear masks, and have installed plexiglass dividers at reception and adjusted locker spacing for social distancing. Access to steam rooms has been prohibited for the time being.

Self-serving stations at the facility have also been eliminated. Each guest will be given their own amenity kit full of La Prairie products and individual spa snacks to enjoy.

For those looking to get a massage anytime soon, many of these services will still be available in most places.

“Since the closure, we’ve implemented updated brand standards that every franchisee is required to follow based on our work with third-party experts on industrial hygiene and occupational health,” Massage Envy CEO Beth Stiller told “GMA.” “They also helped us develop a specific plan for the franchisees to follow when reopening their independently owned and operated franchised locations based on CDC guidance and taking into consideration CDC’s geographic risk assessment for the coronavirus.”

Other plans for the popular massage franchise include requiring each location to meet enhanced mandatory cleaning and disinfection protocols for treatment rooms and equipment used in services, as well as ensuring proper hand hygiene and linen-changing protocols are followed while also complying with requirements related to personal protective equipment.

PHOTO: Massage Envy announces new guidelines for reopening amid COVID-19. (Massage Envy)

Charlotte-based Urban Med Spa has bounced back with an immediate return of approximately 80 to 90% of pre-COVID revenue. Founder and licensed esthetician of Urban Skin Rx and Urban Med Spa Rachell Roff also told “GMA” many guests have applauded how the spa has adapted.

“In addition to strict social distancing guidelines and meticulous cleaning/disinfectant practices, we now require and provide face masks upon entering the building, have moved to virtual check-in via cellphone so that guests can wait from the comfort of their cars, take temperature checks upon arrival and strictly enforce a stay home policy for any employees and/or clients who’ve not felt well recently,” she said.

Urban Med Spa has also shut down waiting rooms to limit the number of clients in the building at one time.

PHOTO: Spas share reopening plans amid COVID-19. (Urban Skin Rx)

Dermalogica, told "GMA" that the company’s skincare-dedicated spaces created a Clean Touch 12 principals of enhanced service safety, which feature touch centric treatments in the most sanitary environment possible.” data-reactid=”77″>Heather Hickman, senior director of education at Dermalogica, told “GMA” that the company’s skincare-dedicated spaces created a Clean Touch 12 principals of enhanced service safety, which feature touch centric treatments in the most sanitary environment possible.

Through the Clean Touch initiative, Dermalogica staff has access to courses outlining sanitary protocols they will receive a certificate for upon completion.

Dermalogica locations will have new protocols for skin therapists amid COVID-19. (Dermalogica)

“Our focus is to deliver much-needed touch, connectivity and innovative skin services in an environment that still feels warm and welcoming but with very visible elevated hygiene standards,” said Hickman.

She added, “As an industry and as a brand, we have always cared about both skin health and client health. Every precaution is being taken to ensure your skin is taken care of in the safest way possible. It may look a little bit different, but the results in your skin health will be the same.”

Spas are reopening amid COVID-19: Here are the rules originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com” data-reactid=”92″>Spas are reopening amid COVID-19: Here are the rules originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com

Canon Has Officially Dropped ‘Master’ and ‘Slave’ Terms

Since the global response for Black Lives Matter, many industries, including photography, have been shifting for the better. So, it’s welcome news that Canon has officially dropped their master/slave terminology.The terms “master” and “slave” used to be and in some cases still are commonplace in photography, especially when it comes to flash units. A master flash gun usually controls the trigger of another flash gun called the slave. This technique is used to synchronize multiple off-camera flash devices and is commonly used instead of wireless (or wired) triggers to either save time or money.Godox XProN TTL wireless triggerFlash guns set to master can be used to trigger other flash guns set to slave mode where wireless triggers, like this Godox XProN TTL, aren’t used.I spoke recently about my reservations with the master/slave terminology and some other issues I had with specific terms within the photographic community. I’ve since been in touch with Canon who confirmed, much to my surprise, that they’ve actually dropped the master and slave terms. In fact, they dropped them around the end of 2017. Here’s what a Canon Europe Spokesperson had to say:Canon started to phase these [terms] out since the end of 2017. [In] all new products and materials, these terms are no longer used. Products released before this time, and still available, will still have the term as it’s often a physical part of the LCD display so can’t be changed by firmware etc.So, why then wasn’t I aware of the terms being changed? I’m sure this is news to most of you as well. Well, they went on to say that the terminology change isn’t yet immediately obvious to most customers because the terms are mostly used with flash guns, which are presumably less popular than the cameras and lenses. To compound this issue, the most popular flashes were launched pre-2018, so when customers use the manuals, the terms are still there.Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT flash gunThe popular Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT speedlite was released in 2016, before Canon officially dropped the terms “master” and “slave.”Many photographers buy used gear, so will also not notice the terms change either on devices or in manuals for a little while, until the newer models start to drop in price and are more widespread in the secondhand community. But until then, at least it’s good to know that Canon has dropped the terms. Who knows, maybe old manuals and flashguns will become more museum pieces, holding historic knowledge for the photographic community at large?

Give Trump credit for the First Step Act — but not for much else on criminal justice issues

Trump’s record brims with proposals and policies that enrage civil rights activists and negatively affect African Americans. With diverse groups of demonstrators in every state taking to the streets to protest police violence and systemic racism, it’s time to look at the administration’s record on criminal justice issues.

There is good news.

Trump signed the bipartisan First Step Act in 2018. Among other things, it aimed to lessen the overincarceration of black people and the racially disparate impact of federal criminal justice practices by reducing some mandatory minimum sentences. The Bureau of Prisons was instructed to improve and expand inmate rehabilitation programs and prohibit the shackling of pregnant prisoners.

The Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute, called the measure “a major win for the movement to end mass incarceration.” Trump gushed over the legislation, saying it gives “countless current and former prisoners a second chance at life and a new opportunity to contribute to their communities, their states and their nations.”

But for civil rights analysts, what the First Step Act gives doesn’t make up for what Trump has taken away.

“The administration loves to take credit for signing the First Step Act into law,” said Connor Maxwell, who until Tuesday was a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, “but in reality [the Trump administration] has undone decades of progress and contributed to the national crisis we’re in now.”

Among the administration’s actions riling civil rights and criminal justice advocates:

●The Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention diminished a research program that sought to eliminate the overincarceration of black and Latino youths compared with their white counterparts. States receiving grants no longer have to provide specific data on black and brown youth arrests and convictions to determine whether there is “disproportionate minority contact” with law enforcement. Instead, state officials — according to the Marshall Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization focusing on criminal justice — are asked less detailed questions that fail to specifically address the problem. A Justice Department statement said a research unit was moved from one office to another “to improve coordination and support the development of a coherent and broad research agenda.”

●The juvenile justice office also withdrew training manuals used by local officials to reduce racial disparities in the name of cutting regulations, the Marshall Project reported. The Justice Department said that a tool to monitor youth contact with law enforcement was removed from the agency’s website “based on new legal guidance” and that data collection requirements were simplified.

●A 2017 Trump executive order allowing police departments to get federal military equipment. The order overturned a policy President Barack Obama implemented after an uproar against the use of what he called “militarized gear” against crowds protesting the police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teen in Ferguson, Mo. Trump, referring to his executive order and other actions later that year, said he “promised to restore law and order to our country. . . . We will spare no resource in fighting, so that every American child can grow up free from violence and fear.”

●The sharp reduction of the Justice Department’s “pattern and practice” investigations of certain police departments to determine how often they use force, what kind of force and whether that force is used excessively against black people.

●The slashing of the use of consent decrees, court-approved agreements between the Justice Department and local police agencies accused of excessive force, often against black residents. The agreements were designed to reform police practices and improve community relations.

Investigations can lead to decrees. The Trump administration has initiated one pattern-and-practice investigation and no consent decrees. Attorney General William Barr told CBS News that “you can actually get more focused change and more real change by working in more collaboration with the police. . . . We are working with police departments to address use-of-force policies, personnel policies, standards and practices . . . without the collateral effects that some of these consent decrees have,” such as having “police pull back” from their duties.

Vanita Gupta, who led pattern-and-practice investigations and consent decrees as head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division in the Obama administration, rejects that. “The Trump administration’s record on the criminal legal system reform is abysmal,” said Gupta, now the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Although the First Step Act moves away from mandatory minimum sentences, she cited the administration’s encouragement of the toughest possible penalties, its plans to increase private prison use and other factors as counters to Trump’s praise for the law.

“Trump himself has also called for police to rough up suspects, threatened protesters with military response and has halted police reform and accountability for unconstitutional conduct,” she said.

The widely touted First Step Act “is an anomaly against the backdrop of how his administration . . . has systematically undone almost all existing federal reform efforts,” Gupta added. “The First Step Act doesn’t erase any of this long record of dismantling criminal justice reform.”

Splatoon 2 gets a fan-made instruction booklet

We unfortunately live in an era where instruction booklets are a rarity. Most companies ship games without any physical manuals, instead opting for digital guides that you find in-game. The older gamers out there, myself include, certainly miss the days when you had a physical booklet to flip through to learn a little bit more about your experience. Thankfully, some fans are willing to go the extra mile to indulge the nostalgia.

Nintendo fan Nosey Tengu teamed up with 13 other Splatoon 2 super-fans to create an instruction booklet for the game. The project took about a year to put together, and was certainly a labor of love. The booklet slots right into your Splatoon 2 box, so you can pretend it came along with the package from day one!

If you’d like to grab one of these instruction booklets for yourself, you can hit up Nosey Tengu on Twitter via DM. He’s been giving them away for free, but he does accept donations via Ko-fi to recoup production and printing costs.

I built my own camera with a Raspberry Pi 4

a hand holding a camera © Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge

It’s always been a dream of mine to put my vintage camera lenses to work again, so when the Raspberry Pi Foundation put out a camera system that supported C- and CS-mount lenses, I knew I had to get one and turn it into a custom digital camera. There was only one thing standing in the way: my total and complete lack of coding knowledge.

My plan was to put the new Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera inside the body of a toy 35mm camera I had, giving me a way to use my vintage lenses without having to pay for processing film.

a hand holding a cell phone: The Becca Cam: a camera made with the Raspberry Pi HQ Camera mod. © Provided by The Verge The Becca Cam: a camera made with the Raspberry Pi HQ Camera mod.
a close up of a hand holding a cellphone: I used a 3.5-inch touchscreen for the viewfinder. © Provided by The Verge I used a 3.5-inch touchscreen for the viewfinder.
a hand holding a small camera: The USB-C power cable comes out of the top, next to the mini push button switch used for triggering the shutter. © Provided by The Verge The USB-C power cable comes out of the top, next to the mini push button switch used for triggering the shutter.

The Raspberry Pi is a super tiny computer that is highly programmable. People have used these to program everything from smart mirrors, to portable arcades, to COVID-19 case counters, and even super smart, super techie greenhouses. They are tiny boxes that — if you know how to code — can do pretty much anything.

For my build, I used the $50 HQ Camera Mod, a Raspberry Pi 4 computer, a USB-C portable 10,000mAh charger, a 3.5-inch touchscreen, jumper wires, a mini push button switch, the body of a Ninoka NK-700 35mm camera, and two vintage C-mount lenses.

a hand holding a remote control: The Raspberry Pi HQ Camera mod with the 16mm C-mount lens. © Provided by The Verge The Raspberry Pi HQ Camera mod with the 16mm C-mount lens.
a hand holding a cell phone: A Raspberry Pi 4 computer. © Provided by The Verge A Raspberry Pi 4 computer.

The plan was simple: plug in the HQ camera board to the Raspberry Pi, program the system to take photos using a button, and then place all of the components into the gutted body of a toy, 35mm camera I found in my basement. Carrying out the plan was, well, not as straightforward.

The official Raspberry Pi Camera guide is free online and filled with code for programing different functions like stop-motion photography or setting up a security camera. But I quickly realized that, for an amateur like myself, copying and pasting code into a terminal was a game of chance, and one in which I had very little luck. Most code returned error messages, and on the off chance the code yielded the results I wanted, I had absolutely no idea how or, more importantly, why it worked.

After phoning many friends and reading the HQ Camera’s user manual upward of 50 times, I was able to program my camera to take photos using a button, which allowed me to assemble the camera’s hardware and ultimately get me out in the world taking photos. I added an external battery pack to power the system and a 3.5-inch touchscreen for previewing and operating my camera’s software.

But even that didn’t go to plan. Tune into the video for more setbacks and my rapid decline in self confidence.

Outside of the hellscape that is coding as a complete beginner while also creating a nine-minute video alone during a pandemic, Raspberry Pi’s HQ Camera mod is extremely capable for its size and the $50 it costs. There are endless possibilities with these tiny computers, but for now, I’m happier seeing what everyone on Reddit comes up with rather than trying to create something of my own.

Photography by Becca Farsace / The Verge

Cover story: Book binding in the age of online education and publishing

With the shift to online learning in 2020, most students in India may have started the new academic year without one of their most popular rituals — a trip to the book binder.

Meant to protect textbooks not just from the elements but also from rough handling by its users, hardcover binding has been a staple of school life. But in a trade taken over by mechanisation, book binders have had to adapt to new market requirements by updating their method of working. “The new academic year in schools and colleges is perhaps the only really profitable time for book binders these days,” says Subhash Chandran, whose Sree Meenakshi Printers in Kelambakkam, Chennai, offers modern and cheaper options like spiral and perfect binding along with the traditional hardcover variety, mostly to school and college students.

Manual binding of administrative records was the norm in sectors such as banking, insurance, automobiles, judiciary and so on before digital archiving led to large-scale ‘paperless’ office systems from the late 1990s.

“In the early 2000s, I used to bind 30-40 books per office, especially in banks, where accounts would be maintained for up to seven years for auditing. Car companies would bind automobile manuals for workers in large numbers. One could easily earn ₹4,000 in a day,” says M Kumaravel, a Chennai-based book binder.

A binder prepares the protective covers for a book at printing press in Tiruchi.

A binder prepares the protective covers for a book at printing press in Tiruchi.   | Photo Credit: B. Velankanni Raj

 

Things have changed now, because nobody takes printouts and waits for them to be bound into volumes. “Everything has gone online, or on CDs. The cost of a readymade box file is equal to book binding charges now, so our business has shrunk drastically,” he adds.

A long history

Book binding is thought to have been first documented in 100 BC in India, when religious verses were inscribed on seasoned palm leaves, numbered and tied together with twine in an accordion style. Covers made of wood or metal protected the fragile leaf inscriptions inside.

The Mughals introduced artistic leather binding to India by employing master binders from Persia, who excelled in creating ornate book covers with special sewing techniques. Binders were an important part of library staff during the Mughal era.

Tooled leather binding with gold foil lettering was widespread in India until cardboard, chart paper and synthetic options brought down the prices further in the 1970s and ’80s. The heritage art is the mainstay of businesses like the Antique Leather Craft store in Delhi’s Daryaganj area for over three decades.

Workers in a manual book binding shop in Chawri Bazaar, Old Delhi. Photo: Monica Tiwari/THE HINDU

Workers in a manual book binding shop in Chawri Bazaar, Old Delhi. Photo: Monica Tiwari/THE HINDU   | Photo Credit: Monica Tiwari

“Our customers typically want to preserve their books within leather covers, both for their beauty and durability,” says proprietor Aslam Agha, who heads the family-run business.

“Leather binding is a laborious process. Depending on the size of the book and the workmanship involved, it can take us from a week to several months to complete one order,” says Agha, who also restores old books.

Rule of the machines

With handwriting itself becoming a rare skill these days, stationery binding has understandably lost ground to electronic means of communication. However the automated mass production of books has thrived, with indigenously produced binding equipment also emerging as an important revenue earner for the country.

India exported book-binding and -sewing machinery worth $13 million in 2019 to African and European countries, according to United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade).

Nowhere is the boom more obvious than in Sivakasi, a small town in Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar district. Though it is often in the news for its fireworks and safety matches industry, Sivakasi is also considered a hub of mass publishing.

With a market reportedly worth ₹1,000 crores, Sivakasi has over 600 printing and ancillary industries that employ over 20,000 people. Big print orders led to mechanisation of manual processes like binding since the 1980s here.

“While documents generated by institutions like schools, colleges, banks and Government offices still require manual binding, automation of this process has changed commercial printing in a big way,” says V Ganesh Kumar, president of Sivakasi Master Printers Association and director, SFA Print.

As binding machines in the vintage of 1980s up to 2018 are being used in Sivakasi, learning how to use them has largely been a hands-on experience, says Kumar. “We train diploma and technical institute students to use all the different machines that are used in our bindery, so that they can be comfortable with any level of technology in other units as well. We want them to be skilled so that they can survive as freelance operators on their own,” he says.

SFA Print recently launched a high-speed binding machine that can produce up to 40,000 copies per day. “Compared to this, one can bind only around 2,000 copies by hand, and that too, of uneven quality,” he says.

Whether bound by hand or machines, the printed book has its own appeal, says Kumar. “We continue to print copies of The Bible, Bhagvad Gita and Koran in large numbers, because readers still want to buy them. The unique experience of holding and reading a book cannot be replicated by electronic devices,” he says.

The Last Of Us Part 2 Training Manuals Guide: Where To Find All Upgrades

In the world of The Last of Us Part 2, finding supplements can help you build new skills to do all kinds of things, from developing more efficient crafting to improving your stealth capabilities. But earning those skills first requires that you first unlock them by discovering Training Manuals, books that impart knowledge to Ellie so she can start to hone her new abilities.

The thing is, many of those Training Manuals require some scavenging to discover, and are often hidden off the beaten path, meaning you can completely miss certain upgrades if you aren’t thorough. To help you out, we’ve tracked down and listed out the location of every Training Manual in The Last of Us Part 2, to help you grab every skill and earn a variety of Trophies. Check out the full list below. It’s worth noting that it’s possible you might find Training Manuals in places we haven’t marked–similar to its weapons, it seems The Last of Us Part 2’s items are somewhat dynamic, and if you miss a manual at one location, it might appear further into the game in another. That said, we’ve located manuals at all these places outlined below, and if you follow our guide, you should be able to ensure you get them all during your playthrough.

There’s tons of more coverage of The Last of Us Part 2 for your enjoyment now that the game is out. Check out our big The Last of Us Part II guide roundup, which includes our spoiler-free complete walkthrough. You’ll also want to check out our The Last of Us Part 2 review, which comes in non-spoilery and more-spoilery versions.

Seattle Day 1 – Downtown

Your first Training Manual requires some effort to get to. Head for the highway overpass at 6th and Marion. Approaching from Marion street, you’ll see some collapsed roads and a fire engine. Ride to where the military trucks are parked, get out, and climb the one closest to the edge near the fire engine. You can jump across from that one to the other overpass. Go around the right side of the engine to find a rope you can use to repel down over the edge of the overpass. Swing down to the chunk of broken highway below to get inside a cargo crate. Inside is a Crafting Training Manual.

Seattle Day 1 – Capitol Hill

After getting through Eastbrook Elementary, you’ll enter a new section of town, where you can explore several empty storefronts. Once you’ve passed through the motel, look for a bookstore near the gas station–it has a blue door you can enter through in the back, or windows you can break. In the adjoining cafe, find the table near the front door to grab the Stealth Training Manual beside a typewriter.

Seattle Day 2 – Hillcrest

As you explore the neighborhood of Hillcrest, you’ll hop over a truck to clear a fence. Look for a liquor store near a sinkhole that divides you from the staircase you’re trying to reach. Inside the liquor store, to the back and drop down into the basement. There are two shamblers here, so watch your step. When you hit the exit, a destroyed staircase, you’ll enter a daycare center. Look for a body of an infected with a Precision Training Manual on the ground beside it.

Seattle Day 2 – The Seraphites (Dusk)

The Training Manual you’re looking for is in a WLF safehouse located in an apartment building. Keep going down Route 5 until you hit a metal gate you can’t open. (If you jump the fence to get inside, you’ll find a puzzle with a dumpster to solve.) Across the street from the gate is an apartment building with several routes inside, but the easiest path is accessed by climbing on top of the panel truck alongside the building to get to the second floor. Pass through the apartment to the hallway beyond, where you’ll see the white door of another apartment. Inside that one is a Workbench. Use it, then look in the bedroom of this apartment for the Explosives Training Manual.

Seattle Day 1 – On Foot

After getting through the hardware store, you’ll use a rope to get onto the roof of a building. Dropping down inside, you’ll discover it’s a boat repair shop. As you progress toward finding your way out, you’ll get access to the second floor. Use the ladder you find there to make a bridge to the boat in the center of the room. Inside its cabin, you’ll discover the Covert Ops Training Manual.

Seattle Day 1 – Hostile Territory (Dusk)

On your way to the aquarium, you’ll soon come to a string of linked storefronts. Inside the Jasmine Bakery, you’ll find a safe. You’ll need to go looking in the other stores for the note that contains the combination (which, if you’d rather speed up the process, is 68-96-89). To find it, go through the Red Dragon bar to find a path to the second floor, then jump from the balcony to the building across the way. Find a hole in the floor you can drop through, but before you do, grab the Jasmine Bakery Safe artifact off the shelf to the left. Open the safe in the bakery to find the Close Quarters Training Manual.

Seattle Day 1 – The Forest (Night)

Keep moving through the woods until you find an auto shop; you’ll have to lift up the door to get inside. Once you’re in, you’ll find a Workbench. Look for a door on the side of the room, then turn right so you can reach the front office. Inside is the Firearms Field Manual.

Seattle Day 1 – The Coast (Night)

Further on after moving through a cargo shipping yard, you’ll climb into a crashed ferry. Keep moving toward the top deck, but when you hit the long hallway on the side, push to the back to find the Mutiny Note artifact, which has a safe code you’ll need. When you get outside to the sun deck, turn left at the top of the stairs to reach the back of the boat. Inside the cabin at the aft end, you’ll find a safe: use the code 90-77-01 to open it and get the Ordinance Training Manual.

With that, you should have all the Training Manuals, unlocking every skill tree and earning you the Journeyman Trophy. In order to earn the trophies for unlocking all the skills, you’ll need to replay The Last of Us Part 2 on New Game Plus mode to find the supplements you need.

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