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    Anet A8 Build Guide to 1st Print

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    Last week, I bought the Anet A8 printer for the low low price of £114 GBP. I believe it has brought the cost of 3D printing so low that every true hobbyist now owes it to themselves to look into owning one. During the process of building and customising our A8, we took a ton of notes in the hopes that it might prove useful to others. In this article, we’re dumping our build guide, set-up guide and upgrade guide in massive write-up. For those of you who recently purchased an Anet A8, we hope this helps you get started!

    Anet A8 Build Log with Pictures

    The printer came with a digital manual that can be accessed on the SD card that comes packaged with it. I was actually pretty impressed with the quality of the manual. Much like the manuals you get from Ikea, it expressed the entire process pictorially and I generally found it pretty easy to follow. It was, however, missing a section and really needed some extra pictures at certain points. To alleviate this, I used a video released by the Anet team in tandem with the written instructions. Here is part 1 of that video:

    I took pictures of the process of building my Anet A8, which you can find by expanding the section below this paragraph. I want to note that this was my first 3D printer build and I screwed up in a few places (which I have documented). I would not use the pictures below as your sole source of information for building this printer.

    Click here to view my complete build log

    Setting up your Anet A8 for the First Print

    The instructions terminate with a completed printer, but do not provide any guidance on how to do the first time set-up so that you can do your first print. I find this pretty unforgiveable – at this point you still have a considerable amount of set-up work to do! Anet provides a pretty handy “debugging” video which covers most of these steps, which you can find here:

    I’ll also write out exactly what I did after building my printer:

    Bed Covering Material

    The printer bed of the A8 comes from the factory with a brown masking tape covering it. This isn’t just for shipping – Anet intends for you to print on top of this! In fact, painters tape is one of the better beginners bed printing materials. Hopefully you, unlike me, did not remove this tape.. Another material you can use is called Kapton tape, which is a tape which remains sticky in a wide range of temperatures. This will provide an arguably better printing surface. Luckily for me, I had some Kapton tape which we have used with our Lulzbot lying around so I put it on my Anet A8’s print bed.

    The best solution for bed covering material is to buy a small block of glass to seat on top of the bed. This is discussed later.

    Whatever bed material you use, make sure you get it sorted out and applied before you continue on to the next steps. Anytime the material is changed, you’ll need to re-level the bed at least.

    Aligning the Z-Axis Rods

    Finer alignment of the Z-Axis rods should be completed first. The Z axis motors should always move together and keep this alignment, so you basically set it now and check after every few hours of use. Misalignment here can cause the same symptoms as an unleveled bed. Furthermore, any time this is messed with, you’ll need to re-level your bed (and possibly set the z-axis limit switch).

    Setting the Z-Axis Limit Switch

    The limit switches are used to tell your printer where its “home” is. This location is then used as a relative point from which all the rest of your printing begins. Of all the limit switches, the Z-axis (vertical motor) limit switch is the most important. It is used to tell your printer where the point is where the extruder head is just slightly over the bed.

    This limit switch will need to be adjusted. To perform this adjustment:

    1. Power up your printer and access the main menu.
    2. Go to Quick Settings->Home All. The printer head should move to all the limit switches.
    3. Disable the motors by going to Quick Settings->Disable Stepper Motor.
    4. Move the printer head X-axis and printer bed Y-axis so that the head is over the bed.
    5. Measure the distance between the tip of the extruder and the bed.
    6. Subtract 2mm from that distance and lower the Z-axis limit switch down that amount.
    7. Repeat step (2) to re-center everything against the limit switches.
    8. Repeat step (3) and check the extruder head. It should now be within 2mm of the bed, but not touching it.
    9. Continue to leveling the bed.
    Leveling the Bed

    Leveling your bed is probably most important calibration you can do. The procedure configures your printer so that your extruder tip is a set distance from the bed at all points across the bed. This allows the printer to accurately print the base layer of plastic which forms the foundation for everything you print.

    Leveling the bed on the A8 should be accomplished at first set-up, every 5 or so prints after that, and anytime you move the printer or otherwise adjust it. In most cases, the process should only take about 5 minutes, so don’t worry about it too much.

    If your prints are having problems where the base layer is not adhering to the bed properly – particularly if it is just one area of the bed that is having this problem – bed leveling is very likely to be the problem.

    1. Power up your printer and access the main menu.
    2. Heat the bed and extruder to PLA settings by going to Quick Settings->Preheat PLA. Do not touch the extruder tip after completing this step! It will be extremely hot. The bed will also be hot, but touchable.
    3. Go to Quick Settings->Home All. The printer head should move to all the limit switches.
    4. Disable the motors by going to Quick Settings->Disable Stepper Motor.
    5. Move the printer head along the X-axis and bed along the Y-axis so that it is over the close-left corner of the bed relative to you.
    6. Adjust the printer bed screw until you can just fit a piece of card stock paper (measuring .2mm in width) between the bed and the extruder tip. You want the tip to be hitting the cardstock but not pressing it into the bed. You can test this by moving the head with the card under the tip. If the card moves with the head, that’s great. You don’t want it to be hard to move or for it to make scratching noises while it drags on the paper though. You should be able to insert and remove the card easily.
    7. Repeat (4) and (5) for the other 3 corners of the printer bed.
    8. Repeat the whole process again, noting any errors.
    9. If any adjustments were made in step (7), repeat the process again. Keep repeating it until you check all four corners with no errors found at all.
    10. Screw on and tighten the wing nuts which secure the bed leveling mechanism.
    11. Repeat the leveling process one more time – sometimes the wing nuts can throw it off.

    Your First Print

    With the bed leveled, you’re ready to attempt your first 3D print. Before you do that, though, you need to understand the different types of printer input files and how to generate them.

    STL

    A 3D print generally starts with an STL file. This type of file describes a 3D part as a set of triangles is generated from a CAD modeling program like Sketchup, Blender, Solidworks, etc. These are also the types of files you download from online open-source 3D printing sites like ThingiverseYeggi and others. To read more about how to find or create your own STL files, check out our article on using 3D printing for drones.

    GCode

    3D printers do not have the capability to print an STL file, however. As sophisticated as they might look, they are actually controlled by pretty dumb little computers. These computers can only follow a very basic set of commands – like “move X-axis motor left 1mm”, “extrude filament .5mm”, “turn extruder temperature to 210 degrees”, etc. These sorts of simple commands are exactly what make up “.gcode” files.

    An important thing to know about gcode files is they are compiled for the printer. A gcode file built for our Lulzbot Mini, for example, should not be used with the Anet A8 built in this article. It may work – but more likely it’s just going to make a wasteful, dangerous mess of stringy plastic.

    Slicers – Converting STL to GCode

    “Slicer” programs fill in the important middle ground of converting STL files you can download from the internet into the gcode instructions your printer needs to build a model. The Anet A8 SD card comes with two slicer programs – “Cura” and “Repetier”. We are going to recommend you use Cura in this guide since we are more familiar with it (it is the slicer of choice for our other 3D printer).

    Printing your first gcode

    For people who have never done a 3D print in their lives, I recommend you start out by printing one of the pre-compiled gcode files that is on the SD card that came with your A8. There are several options you can choose from, it doesn’t matter which one you pick. The objective is to see if your printer is properly put together and can print out something basic that has already been designed for it.

    The process of printing a gcode file is a few easy steps:

    1. Put the file on the root of your SD card.
    2. Insert the SD card into your Anet A8 printer.
    3. Access the main menu by pressing the center button and select “SD Card->Mount”.
    4. Access “Print File”.
    5. Select the gcode file you wish to print.

    The extruder head and bed will begin heating up immediately. Once they are up to temperature, the printing process will begin. Watch it carefully for the first few minutes to ensure the first layer is properly laid down onto the bed and is sticking fine. If it is – you’re free to walk away. If not, you’re in for some troubleshooting.

    Printing some STL files

    This is the real reason you likely got a 3D printer – you wanted to turn some camera mounts or other quadcopter parts from STL files into real plastic bits you can actually use. In this section, I’m going to walk you through how I printed out my first few STL files on my Anet A8.

    Cura

    As mentioned above, I will be using Cura as my “slicer” – the program that will convert STL files to gcode files the printer can use. I recommend using Cura 14.07 with the Anet A8. It is almost a year old at this point, but I was able to get it working very quickly.

    Version 14.07 of Cura should come on the SD card that comes with the printer. You can find it under “A8*\A8*\A8\Software\Cura 14.07”. You can also download versions of Cura here. We highly recommend you download Cura 14.07.

    I briefly tried to get the latest version of Cura – 2.5.0 – working, but was unable to due to some printing problems with the settings I was using. I will continue to attempt to get this to work and will update this guide if I figured it out. Honestly, though, unless you are trying to do some pretty advanced prints, Cura 14.07 should be more than enough for your needs. I have yet to find a model it could not print.

    Configuring your Printer in Cura

    Configuration of Cura is pretty simple. When you first launch the application, you’ll be prompted with the “Machine Creation Wizard”. Click “Next” to access the first configuration page.

    In the next step, select “Custom”.

    Finally, copy the settings seen in this screenshot on the next page:

    With that completed, you’ve told Cura the hardware specs for your printer. You still need to configure it to tell it how to best print. I recommend doing this by loading a pre-programmed “profile” file from Anet. This profile can be found in the ini file on the SD card that comes with the printer (under “A8*\A8*\A8\Software\Cura 14.07”).

    Once you have the file, load it into Cura by clicking File->Open Profile.

    Generating your Gcode File

    Now that Cura is set-up, you can start generating Gcode files that your Anet A8 can use to print objects. This process isn’t too difficult but has a small learning curve to it. To start “Load” an STL 3D model file into Cura using the button in the main window. Position the 3D object inside of the printing box where you want it. You can rotate, resize and move the object using tools which you can find in the main window of Cura. Once you’re done, you can create the GCODE file by clicking the “Toolpath to SD Card” button, which saves a GCODE file to an attached SD card.

    From here, the printing process is identical to the steps above “Printing your first GCODE file”. Plug your SD card into your printer and cross your fingers!

    Anet A8 Upgrades

    Purchased Upgrades

    Mosfet Upgrade – Highly Recommended for Safety

    The extruder and hotbed FET drivers are one of the big weak points of this printer. Left to their own devices, they will slowly melt the plastic connectors on the main board where you plug in the extruder / hotbed wires. A couple of people have even reported smoking boards. For this reason, I highly recommend bypassing these FETs by using a specialized expansion board. Luckily, these are pretty cheap and readily available. I picked mine up for $16 on Amazon.

    The installation process is pretty simple and covered in this guide:
    //3dprint.wiki/reprap/electronics/heatbed_mosfet

    I did the mod on both my hotbed and extruder, though most people only suggest the hotbed. This removed all load from my Anet mainboard:

    Borosilicate Glass Bed

    The stock aluminum bed must be covered with painters tape or kapton tape to print well (or at all). This is a little frustrating to work with because it needs to be replaced regularly and it is extremely difficult to get it perfectly flat. The result is 3D prints that have imperfections on the bottom and issues with the first layer of the print.

    The best workaround I’ve come across in the printing community is to use a glass sheet on your bed. You can have this sheet made by a local glass specialty store, or you can purchase one on Amazon. Living in a small community with no glass artisans, I opted for the latter. Unfortunately, Amazon only offers glass beds that are slightly smaller than the 220x220mm printing surface available on the A8. Here is the one I picked up: Signtek Heated Bed Glass Plate.

    There are many ways to install a glass plate on the bed. I opted to just use Kapton tape to do it. Installation is relatively simple:

    1. Remove the heated bed.
    2. Place glass sheet in center of the bed plate.
    3. Use Kaptop tape to secure it.
    4. Screw heated bed back on.
    5. Re-level bed – always necessary!

    Printed Upgrades

    This might be the coolest thing about the Anet A8 for me – when you first build it, you have a low-end 3D printer, but you can actually upgrade it to a pretty decent machine by simply using it to print out upgrades for itself. I find the notion of the machine improving itself pretty pleasing. Maybe I’m just a little weird though. Anyhow, here are some of the upgrades I printed for my Anet A8 that I can recommend to anyone:

    High-Efficiency Extruder Cooling Fan Duct

    Upgrading the fan duct had an immediate improvement on the quality of my 3D prints. Had I known what I do now, it would have been one of my first prints. Unfortunately, it is a pretty challenging object to print (it requires supports, among other things). So – if you’re new to 3D printing, don’t try this as your first print! But try it soon.

    //www.thingiverse.com/thing:2133328
    Spool Holder and Top Mount

    Getting my filament spool attached to my Anet A8 was a top priority. I didn’t like having to place it on top of a workbench or cabinet. While I was at it, I printed a proper spool adapter / holder, which was a massive print which took almost 16 hours! I recommend both – they really improved the ergonomics of the printer.

    Spool mount for A8: //www.thingiverse.com/thing:2162266
    Spool holder for A8: //www.thingiverse.com/thing:1624641

    Extruder Harness Chain

    This is a feature that came with the higher-end Lulzbot mini we own that I wanted on my A8. It confines the movement of the wiring harness for the extruder to simple push-pull motions and protects the wiring. It looks really snazzy once completed.

    Extruder harness chain for A8: //www.thingiverse.com/thing:1872473

    More..

    These are just my favorite parts I gathered off of Thingiverse. There are hundreds of parts on that site though. Simply search “Anet A8” to see them.

    Netflix Starts Testing Timer Feature to Stop Streaming Content After a Certain Period

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    Netflix has started testing a new feature that will allow viewers to set a timer for their favourite show or movie. The latest addition, currently live for select Netflix subscribers on Android devices globally, is another move by the US streaming platform to enhance its viewing experience. Netflix is testing the timer feature for adult profiles, though it could be expanded to its Kids viewers over time — depending on the feedback it receives during the initial testing period.

    A Netflix spokesperson told Gadgets 360 that the timer feature would be rolled out broadly after the initial testing, if the company found it improved the member experience.

    “We’re always looking for new ways to improve the Netflix mobile experience,” the spokesperson said in a prepared statement emailed to Gadgets 360. “This test is the latest example – a new timer that gives members more control over their viewing experience by simply choosing their favourite show or movie and setting a timer without having to worry about pausing it before it’s over.”

    The arrival of the timer feature on the Netflix app for Android devices was first reported by The Verge. It is currently limited to adult profiles and is aimed to help save battery life on Android devices when Netflix subscribers fall asleep while watching a show or movie on the app.

    There is no clarity whether Netflix will expand the timer feature beyond Android devices. However, The Verge mentioned in its report that the company would explore bringing it to other devices, including TV sets and desktops — subject to the adaptation of the initial testing.

    How to set timer on Netflix

    Once the feature reaches your Android device, you’ll see a Timer icon next to the casting button at the top-right corner of the screen. You’ll need to tap that icon and select from 153045, and Finish Watching.

    Netflix already has over 200 million subscribers globally. However, the platform is facing heat from the likes of Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ (Disney+ Hotstar in India).

    In the recent past, Netflix has worked hard to attract smartphone users, alongside the people who watch its content on their TVs and through its Web presence. The company recently developed better audio using xHE-AAC codec and audio-only mode as a few of its key offerings specifically for Android users. It also reportedly started testing spatial audio support for AirPods Pro and AirPods Max to uplift the experience.

    Last year, Netflix also upgraded its mobile and basic plans to HD video quality as well as started testing its Rs. 349 Mobile+ plan with HD video and desktop access to persuade new viewers.

    On his way out, Trump emits exec order suggesting US cloud giants must verify ID of all foreign customers

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    On Tuesday, during his last full day as US President, Donald Trump issued an executive order seeking to curtail cyber attacks by directing the government to come up with rules requiring cloud service providers to better identify foreign customers.

    It now falls to the incoming Biden administration to implement the order, which may end up simply being ignored, given the recent flood of executive orders.

    The “executive order on Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency with Respect to Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities” calls for the US Secretary of Commerce to propose rules to “require United States IaaS providers to verify the identity of a foreign person that obtains an Account.”

    In a letter to Congressional leaders, Trump explains that foreign actors use US cloud service providers to carry out malicious cyber activities and that America must be able to obtain more extensive information from service providers about foreign individuals using their computing infrastructure.

    “Foreign actors use United States IaaS products for a variety of tasks in carrying out malicious cyber-enabled activities, which makes it extremely difficult for United States officials to track and obtain information through legal process before these foreign actors transition to replacement infrastructure and destroy evidence of their prior activities; foreign resellers of United States IaaS products make it easier for foreign actors to access these products and evade detection,” Trump’s letter says.

    In addition to soliciting rules for customer identification and record keeping, the order calls for setting up ways to limit certain foreign actors’ access to US cloud services and to promote greater cyber threat data sharing among service providers.

    The order gives the Secretary of Commerce 180 days to propose such rules and offer them for comment. It also calls for a report from the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security about how to encourage cloud providers to share threat information more readily.

    We can imagine the cloud giants’ view on the logistics of having to verify the identity of every non-American customer who clicks the sign-up button to spin up an off-prem virtual machine.

    Looking long term

    Trump’s order was not published in the Federal Register, but that doesn’t mean it’s automatically invalid.

    T. Greg Doucette, an attorney based in Durham, North Carolina, told The Register that normally, failure to publish an executive order would create due process problems if the government attempted to enforce the order without adequate public notice.

    But in this instance, the order wasn’t published because it simply calls for rule making from federal officials.

    “It’s not published because it falls within the exception, only directing the assorted Secretaries to prepare regulations for notice and comment,” said Doucette. “Those proposed regulations will matter, and after the required notice and comment period under the Administrative Procedure Act, final regulations would have the force of law and be published in the Federal Register.

    “But this is just typical Trump bluster that doesn’t really do anything. All of this presupposes Biden’s Secretaries follow through, as opposed to just ignoring it.”

    A former cyber official from the Obama administration who spoke to The Register agreed that it will be up to the Biden administration to decide whether anything comes of this executive order. Incoming cyber officials may decide there are some good ideas in terms of the “know-your-customer” obligations, our source said.

    However, the devil is in the details, our source opined. Any rules will need to balance benefits with compliance costs that might make US cloud providers less competitive or add to the existing skepticism that foreign entities have about the privacy of their data at US companies.

    When we asked Amazon, Google, and Microsoft to offer their thoughts on the executive order. None of the companies responded. 

    Uppbeat: Leeds-based startup Music Vine launches free music platform for content creators with no YouTube copyright or demonetisation issues

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    Music Vine, a Leeds-based startup, has launched Uppbeat, a new music service for YouTubers and other content creators. With this platform, the company aims to become the go-to resource for creators across the world.

    Why Uppbeat was launched?

    Uppbeat has launched to meet various demands like avoiding copyright claims, and loss of ad revenue from YouTubers and other content creators. As per the company’s claims, the music platform removes the barrier to high-quality music and guarantees no YouTube copyright issues or demonetisation of content.

    With years of experience and a carefully curated catalog of talented artists, composers, and producers from all around the world already at its disposal, the team of eight is now poised to shake up the YouTube and content creator space.

    1000 registered tracks

    At present, the platform has over 1,000 registered tracks from indie artists, producers, and composers from around the world.

    Lewis Foster, CEO, Uppbeat said: “The lack of affordable copyright-free music has been an obstacle in the content creator space for far too long. With Uppbeat we see a real opportunity to become the go-to resource for YouTubers and creators that are seeking quality music for their content.”

    “Beyond providing a great experience for our users, supporting our artists and music producers is immensely important to us. They’re the beating heart of our platform, so we’ve devised an ethical business model that allows us to remunerate them from several revenue streams. It means our artists are always paid fairly for their music.”

    Free and premium account

    Uppbeat’s free users can download ten full-length tracks per month, which they can freely use in YouTube videos without risking copyright claims.

    Otherwise, they can opt for a £6.99 Premium account that provides unlimited and unrestricted access to Uppbeat’s catalog, as well as the ability to whitelist YouTube channels and preempt any future copyright claims.

    AirPods Max get the full iFixit teardown

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    iFixit has completed its extensive teardown of the Apple AirPods Max wireless headphones. The teardown has been in progress since the headphones went on sale and is now complete with a full list of all the chips onboard along with a teardown of the Sony WH-1000XM4 and the Bose Headphones 700 alongside for comparison.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from this teardown.

    • The grille for drivers is held by the typical Apple pentalobe screws. However, they are not meant to be turned all the way but rather half-way to release a locking wedge on the inside. Despite doing that, the grille won’t come off as it’s still held down by some glue.
    • The dual cell battery pack is located only on one side, the right side to be exact. Despite this, and the left side having no counterweight, the headphones seemingly aren’t unbalanced.
    • The battery has 2.54Wh capacity. The Sony 1000XM4 have 4.1Wh while the Bose 700 have 2.39Wh.
    • The hinge has a fairly elaborate and intricate electromechanical joint. This allows the hinge to transfer electrical signal without having cables running through the headband into the earcups.
    • Perhaps the most interesting thing about this entire design is that headband plug into the earcups using what looks like a really thick Lightning connector. By pressing into a hole using a SIM ejector tool, you can just detach the earcup entirely from the headband.

    Overall, iFixit found the AirPods Max to be surprisingly serviceable, even though things like the glue under the grille and the choice of screws used make it tricky to do so. They gave them 6/10, which is their first non-zero score for an AirPods product.

    While compared to the Sony and the Bose alternatives, the Apple headphones exhibited superior craftsmanship in a way that almost justifies their $550 price and the internals make the other two headphones “look like toys in comparison”.

    You can check out the full teardown, along with the x-rays, videos, and chip details in the link below.

    Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra teardown reveals hard to swap screen and battery

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    After the Galaxy S21 got disassembled on video earlier this week, PBKreviews has switched their focus to the flagship of this year’s S-lineup – the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

    Taking the glass back off reveals the camera lens cover is made from metal just like the frame of the device. It’s held by adhesive to the glass panel and should be substantially more durable compared to the glass camera covers of the previous S-series models. Since this is the international version of the S21 Ultra, the phone is missing the mmWave antennas which would be located on the left and right sides. The actual slots for the antennas are still in place though.

    Going deeper into the phone we can see Samsung used plenty of graphite film on the NFC antennas and motherboard. We then get confirmation that all three cameras on the S21 Ultra come with optical image stabilization.

    Interestingly enough the top speaker does not come with foam ball insulation which was present on the smaller and cheaper Galaxy S21. Unlike the standard S21, the S21 Ultra’s screen connector cable is not detachable and is fixed to the screen which makes the process of replacing the screen more difficult.

    Android 12 will let you share Wi-Fi passwords with nearby devices

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    Android 12 isn’t exactly around the corner but it’s nice to get bits and pieces that tell us what to expect from the future OS. The nearby share of Wi-Fi passwords, for example, is a neat new functionality that awaits and solves one of the worst “first-world problem” we have.

    Currently, Android 10 users and above can share Wi-Fi passwords using the generated QR code. With Android 12, you won’t even have to do that. The password will be integrated in the Nearby Share feature will be introduced allowing you to share the Wi-Fi password of the network you are connected to.

    However, for the Nearby Share to work, you probably need to have both devices on Android 12 and it’s still unknown what kind of protocol the system will use. Hopefully, since the Android 12 developer preview release is drawing near, we will know more soon enough.

    Some Galaxy S21 units only support NFC terminals for Samsung Pay

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    Some Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra units do not support MST for Samsung Pay. It looks like availability of the feature varies by country – some get it, others do not, and not in a way that makes much sense.

    MST allows the phone to work with point of sale terminals that only support old-school magnetic stripe cards. This is a big deal in the US where such terminals are quite common, less so in regions where NFC terminals are abundant.

    Unfortunately, the S21 phones sold in the US are in the group that does not have MST. Phones sold in the UK do have it. Is this because of the different chipsets (Snapdragon in the US, Exynos in Europe)?

    That doesn’t seem to be the case. The spec sheets from the French, Italian and German press releases make no mention of MST. The Dutch one does list MST, as does the Polish, Russian and Indian press releases.

    Here is Samsung’s statement on the matter when asked by XDA:

    Due to the rapid adoption of near field communication (NFC) technology by consumers and businesses, beginning with devices launched in 2021, Samsung Pay will focus its support on NFC transactions, across the Galaxy portfolio. While future devices will no longer include magnetic stripe technology (MST), customers with previous, compatible Galaxy devices will be able to continue using Samsung Pay, including MST.

    MST was introduced with the Galaxy S6 in 2015 and has been a staple of high-end Galaxys ever since. Now it has one foot out the door.

    A Moog For Your Mac

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    Moog Music tells us that their Model 15 Modular Synthesizer App is now available for macOS Big Sur. Free to all current Model 15 iOS App owners, this update to the app makes it the first official desktop soft synth from Moog. Here’s the story in their own words…

    The first Moog modular synthesizer and synthesis educational tool created exclusively for iOS is now also available on macOS Big Sur.

    This free update to the Moog Model 15 Modular Synthesizer App, available for Mac users running Big Sur, makes it possible to recreate the sounds and workflow of the classic hardware Model 15 modular synthesizer using a macOS device through Audio Unit v3, or as a standalone sound design tool.

    Each facet of the Moog Model 15 modular synthesizer has been meticulously recreated in this application to ensure the power and transcendent sound quality of each module remains intact. The character, harmonic complexity, and mystique of the instrument’s modules–from the legendary Moog 921 series oscillators and 904A Low Pass Filter to the coveted 907 Fixed Filter Bank–have been painstakingly preserved as the app continues to add more value for users.

    What’s New

    This update allows for seamless integration with Logic, GarageBand, and MainStage for use in studio and live performance environments. The Model 15 App can be used standalone, as an Audio Unit v3 plugin, or as an effect in your existing audio chain.
    A new expansion pack, free to download for app owners, features 80 modular patches with a range of styles that will inspire both budding synthesists and advanced sound designers alike. From sub-rattling basses to mix-cutting leads, punchy percussion to dynamic pads, the Synthesist’s Toolkit has something for everyone, no matter where you are on your modular journey.
    Seven new built-in tutorials encourage the exploration of modularity, introducing synthesis concepts and unique scenarios an artist would not encounter with hardwired synthesizers. Focusing on the nuances of modular patching, these tutorials are designed to inspire users to discover new levels of depth and movement in their sound.

    This added universal compatibility is now included in all future downloads of the Model 15 App (at the same price). If you already own the Model 15 App on your iOS device, no additional purchase or upgrade is required to use the app on your Apple Silicon or Intel based Mac laptop or desktop, and it can be downloaded from your previously purchased items.

    More about the Moog Model 15 App

    The Moog Model 15 App is an iOS and macOS version of the iconic, ultra-powerful 1970s modular synthesizer. Designed to evoke the joyous experimentation and sonic bliss of its predecessor’s vintage hardware, the Moog Model 15 App meticulously recreates the look, feel, and sound of its highly expressive analog namesake.   

    The Model 15 Modular Synthesizer App features both monophonic and four-voice polyphonic operation, easily commanded via four seamlessly integrated controllers. Simple controls provide instant access to a traditional Moog keyboard, 1150 ribbon controller, eight-step sequencing arpeggiator, and the award-winning Animoog keyboard with 22 built-in scales and polyphonic modulation capabilities. Also included are extended features which expand the capabilities of the app beyond the traditional offerings of the hardware Moog Model 15, including total MIDI integration. Learn more here.

    Pricing and Availability:

    $29.99

    More information:

    Pupils in Scotland struggle to get online amid Microsoft issue

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    Pupils across Scotland have been experiencing problems accessing Microsoft Teams as the majority move to home learning.

    A number of schools, pupils and parents have reported the technology running slowly or not at all.

    It is one of the main platforms being used for remote learning with schools shut to most pupils until at least the beginning of February.

    Microsoft Teams tweeted that the issue was being investigated.

    A Microsoft spokesperson said: “Our engineers are working to resolve difficulties accessing Microsoft Teams that some customers are experiencing.”

    When pressed on whether demand as a result of home schooling was causing the issue, Microsoft declined to comment.

    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon highlighted the problem during her daily coronavirus briefing.

    “This is not an issue that is unique to Scotland or indeed unique to schools, but I understand Microsoft is currently working to address it,” she said.

    “More generally I don’t underestimate how difficult this is both for young people learning away from friends… and for parents to juggle home schooling with working.”

    Ms Sturgeon was also asked about problems which were being experienced by users of digital learning platform Glow.

    She replied: “It is not an issue with Glow. It is affecting Glow, but the core issue is not with Glow… the issue is with Microsoft Teams.”

    Two schools in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, said the problem was a “national issue” although Renfrew High School urged pupils experiencing difficulties not to panic.

    ‘Please be patient’

    Clyde Valley High School tweeted: “Our online learning provision begins today for all of our pupils. Due to the very high demand for Microsoft Teams across Scotland, there may be issues initially getting logged on or accessing some files.

    “This is a national issue on the site and may take a little time to rectify.”

    Coltness High School said: “Unfortunately it appears Microsoft Teams is struggling to cope with the traffic this morning.

    “This is across Scotland and not isolated to Coltness. Pupils and staff are having difficulty loading files. We have reported the issue and hopefully this will be resolved soon.”

    Edinburgh City Council have texted all parents saying: “There is a city-wide problem with Microsoft Teams this morning. Please be patient as the council is working to resolve it.

    A Scottish government spokesman said: “Microsoft has confirmed that this issue is affecting users in the UK and elsewhere in northern Europe. Education Scotland is working closely with the company to resolve the issues.”

    After one teacher complained to Microsoft Teams on Twitter, a staff member said: “We’re currently investigating an issue where some users in the UK region are unable to access Microsoft Teams. We will provide further information as soon as this is available.”

    According to an Ofcom report in December, about 34,000 (1.2%) premises in Scotland were without a decent broadband connection, while superfast broadband coverage had increased to 94% of homes.

    It also said that fixed and mobile networks in Scotland had “generally coped well” with increased demands during the pandemic.

    It comes as plans for remote learning during the latest lockdown reveal big disparities between Scotland’s 32 councils.

    Not all pupils will be offered live lessons – instead the decision on the best approach has been left to individual schools and teachers.

    Guidance on remote learning published by the Scottish government on Friday recommended a “a balance of live learning and independent activity”.

    The Scottish government said it had invested £25m to address digital exclusion in schools with funding allocations for digital devices and connectivity solutions made to all 32 local authorities.

    More than 50,000 devices such as laptops have been distributed to children and young people to help with remote learning and the programme in total is expected to deliver about 70,000 devices for disadvantaged children and young people across Scotland.

    Gearslutz announces that it will be changing its name, following an online campaign

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    Gearslutz founder Julian Standen – known on the site as Jules – has confirmed that the pro audio website will be changing its name. The decision comes in response to an online petition asking for the name change, which was signed by almost 5,000 people.

    Explaining his decision on the Gearslutz forum, Standen said: “A recent petition for a forum name change has generated impassioned debate.

    “We recognise and agree that the word-play pun in the name has gotten old and it is now time to move forwards.

    “Gearslutz will be changing its name. 

    “We have not yet decided what it will be but we can assure you that the new name will be more inclusive, and will stand the test of time. The site will operate as usual, only the domain name and logo will change.

    “This process is going to take a while as it is a significant technical task. Thus, we are asking you to bear with us as we embark on it.

    “Thanks and here’s to the future!”

    In response, Cam Ran, who started the petition, said: “This is an amazing step for equality in the industry and inspiring for anyone who has felt like their concerns or thoughts haven’t been taken seriously in the past. Thank you Jules and everyone at Gearslutz for hearing us out and taking the right step towards progress. You have gained the support of many in the process.”

    Standen expanded on his decision to change the name in an interview with Working Class Audio. You can listen to it below.

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