The Morning After: Boston Dynamics' dancing robots are back

Engadget, Mat Smith and Richard Lawler
·3 min read

Today, we’ve got stories on Apple’s “ultra” security measures, someone squeezing entire movies on floppy disks and a deep dive on the ways we might connect, without touch, in a post-pandemic world. But for this opening salvo, let’s home in on a family of dancing robots.

Boston Dynamics
Boston Dynamics

Watch the Atlas robot and the entire Boston Dynamics family, including the dog-like Spot and box-stacking Handle, dance to “Do You Love Me” from The Contours, and you’ll either feel affection or, well, repulsion. Boston Dynamics may now be 80 percent owned by car maker Hyundai, but it’s keeping its sense of humor.

-Mat Smith

Google’s discontinued Home Max smart speaker is back on sale

You can get the $400 smart speaker for as low as $159.

Google Home Max
Google Home Max

Despite Google’s Home Max being officially retired and pulled from sale a couple of weeks ago, the Google Store is once again offering the speaker for sale. While flashing a message saying the device is sold out and prompting customers to try out a pair of the new Nest Audio devices instead, it will still let you check out a Charcoal-colored Home Max speaker for $179.

Everything we said in our review still stands, in that this voice-activated speaker has excellent sound quality and plugs directly into Google’s Assistant ecosystem. The best part now being it doesn’t cost $400 anymore -- at least while stocks last.
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A Redditor is squeezing entire movies onto a single floppy disk

They can watch their low-res version of 'Shrek' on a custom VCR.

A Redditor is compressing entire feature movies to a resolution of 120 x 96 pixels at a silky smooth four frames per second. As such, they were able to cram Shrek onto a medium with a storage size of 1.44 MB, or around 0.03 percent of a DVD's 4.7 GB capacity. In fact, u/GreedyPaint pulverized Shrek down to 1.37 MB, so there was even some room to spare.

To play the thing, you could connect a floppy disk drive to a Raspberry Pi as part of a custom VCR system affectionately called the LimaTek Diskmaster. When the device powers up, it displays a homemade animation which asks the Redditor to insert a disk. When they do, the movie plays automatically. Just don’t expect it to look any good, at all.
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How technology confronted a pandemic in 2020

And the ways we might connect in a post-pandemic world.

Ideum
Ideum

What will the post-pandemic world look like? However it shakes out, technology will be central to it all. The memories of this year are still raw and the conditioning — wash your hands for two “Happy Birthday” songs! Don’t touch your face! — is still instinctive.

During 2020, the tech industry has pushed products geared towards minimizing, sanitizing or tracking physical touch. Think: wearables that stop you touching your face, or touchless touch screens and buttons. Which of these will we discard as society fully re-opens and what might become permanent? Chris Ip reports on what’s happened in 2020 and what we might expect to see next year.
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Why Apollo Neuro is a must-have wearable for busy professionals

StackCommerce
StackCommerce

Google Cloud Print goes away with 2020

There’s only two days left.

Google Cloud Print
Google Cloud Print

We knew this day was coming since 2019, but now that it’s finally here, consider this a friendly reminder. For most people, chances are the shutdown won’t be anything more than a minor inconvenience when they discover Cloud Print is still their default printing option.

Once upon a time, it was a way to print from Chromebooks before they added native device support, and made it easier to print remotely on a number of home/office devices. Now, like so many other Google services, it’s going away, so double check your print settings in Chrome before you get an awkward surprise on Monday morning.
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But wait, there’s more...

Samsung TVs with HDR10+ Adaptive will take your room's lighting into account

Google removed the Pixel 5's and 4a 5G's ultrawide astrophotography mode

Man sues police over a facial recognition-related wrongful arrest

A Spotify loophole allowed people to upload bootleg remixes as podcasts

American Airlines will resume Boeing 737 Max passenger flights today

How Twitch kept its crown in a controversial year

Leaked videos, pics show Apple's 'Ultra' security testing of prototype Watches