A Smoke Alarm That Doesn’t Detect Smoke?

Smoke DetectorOK, this is embarrassing!

Dumb Smoke Alarm Recalled Because It Can’t Even Detect Smoke

Gizmodo – By: Adam Clark Estes – “If you own a Kidde smoke detector, you might want to inspect it. The company just issued a recall on nearly 500,000 smoke detectors that, sadly, did not detect smoke. The Kidde PI2010 and the Kidde PI9010 are the models affected by the recall.

The situation is definitely dangerous for half a million smoke detector owners. It appears that Kidde or one of its partners simply failed to remove a part of the smoke detector that blocks the smoke detector from detecting smoke. Said part is a yellow cap that may or may not be present in the smoke detector you own.

So check out your own situation. If your smoke detector is called Kidde and it also has this yellow part, you might be in trouble. CPSC recommends you contact Kidde, which can provide you with a replacement alarm that isn’t worthless.”

Alexa REALLY DID Lose Her Voice… Briefly

You mean the Super Bowl ad is real? Wow.

Alexa briefly lost its voice amid widespread Amazon Web Services outage

The Verge – By: Chris Welch – “Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa went quiet Friday in an unintended, real world reproduction of the company’s Super Bowl ad. A regional outage impacting Amazon’s servers led to Alexa becoming unresponsive on Echo products and other devices that support the assistant. I tried a simple weather inquiry on the Echo Dot in my living room, and the signature blue ring stayed lit up for about 15 seconds without any answer. A tone eventually sounded, and Alexa said it had lost connection. Subsequent attempts also failed, producing a red ring accompanied by Alexa asking me to try again later.

By mid-afternoon, Alexa had returned to normal and was responding to voice commands again. The issue was likely tied to troubles today with Amazon Web Services. Slack and other applications that depend on AWS as a backbone experienced downtime earlier in the day.”

The Black Panther Movie: A Non-Spoiler-ly Review

Black PantherThe Black Panther movie was awesome! Here is my non-spoiler-ly review. First, you HAVE to see this movie! Second, this movie does more to advance the African-American heritage than any movie has in a LONG time! The good guy in this movie is a GOOD guy! He is thoughtful, strong, honorable, wise… he thinks deeply, he cares deeply. He honors his father, even when he discovers his father is only human and not perfect. He honors tradition… and he is… dare I say it… truly patriotic! He shows that patriotism can be a strength, not a weakness, or a flaw.

The movie unflinchingly shows negative historical events… mistakes of the past, both of people, of cultures, and of countries, WITHOUT leaving it that those mistakes, issues, and problems are insurmountable. You can rise above them, you CAN win over your baser nature!

African culture is shown in a POSITIVE, strong light, but other races are not diminished to do so, rather, the movie shows that ANY culture can rise and overcome, if strong core values are maintained.

“Wakanda,” in the movie, as a nation, is the most technically advanced nation on the planet, but for all their superior engineering, riches, and culture, they end up HELPING the world… not “rubbing the nose” of the world’s other nations in it! They don’t have to scream “we are awesome!” They simply ARE awesome! The very last scene demonstrates this… I won’t give it away. But a gentle smile says it all!

Go see this movie… and celebrate African heritage with our brethren of African origin. This is how art can influence culture positively!

Electric Harley Update!

I mentioned this back in June of 2014 on the show (Dr. Bill.TV Netcast #342) … but now it is about to be released. I want one!

TechCrunch – By: Jake Bright – “Harley Davidson will launch its first production e-motorcycle in 2019.

Yes, the iconic symbol of American steel and piston popping internal combustion is shifting to voltage.

‘We announced we’ll invest more aggressively in…electric technology in premium motorcycles,’ Harley Davidson CEO Matt Levatich said on the company’s recent earnings call.

Project Livewire‘You’ve heard us talk about Project LiveWire… it’s an active project we’re preparing to bring to market within 18 months.’

The Milwaukee based company didn’t provide much more detail on its e-motorcycle plans. CFO John Olin added HD ‘expects to spend an incremental $25 million to $50 million per year’ on EV infrastructure.

A spokesperson wouldn’t confirm specs on Harley’s first production e-motorycle to TechCrunch. But per the CEO’s comments, it will likely be an extension of HD’s LiveWire concept bike. The 460 pound battery powered machine debuted in 2014. It has 74 horsepower, a 93 mph top speed, 50 mile ride time, and automatic drivetrain (i.e., no clutch or shifting),.

HD’s battery-bike news comes as the American motorcycle market struggles to attract younger buyers and lags behind the auto-industry in EV development.

Overall U.S. sales have dropped by roughly 50 percent since 2008, with a sharp decline in ownership by those in their 40s and under 30. The majority of the market is now aging baby-boomers, whose ‘Live to Ride’ days are winding down.

The one bright spot in American motorcycle demographics is increased female ownership. But by most straw polls women prefer lighter motorcycles with smaller engines—pretty much the opposite of Harley Davidson’s design template of the last half-century.

For years the company’s best sellers have come from its voluptuous cruising and touring lines, including the 798 pound, 1340cc Road King.

Unsurprisingly, prevailing trends have brought financial pains to many big motorcycle makers, including Harley Davidson. Along with HD’s EV news, the latest earnings call announced a Kansas City plant closure and 8 percent U.S. sales drop.

As for the overall U.S. motorcycle market, shrinking sales and shifting consumer preferences offer manufacturers a tricky equation. The industry is attempting to serve very different buyer groups: an aging segment that prefers yesteryears’ big engine cruisers and then women and millennials—who aren’t yet enthusiastic about buying bikes, but appear privy to lighter motorcycles and EVs.

Companies have mixed things up to cope with the shifting U.S. landscape. On design, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki now offer more smaller engine, lower weight models. Harley Davidson launched its Street series of leaner bikes, including the 492 pound Street 500.

Companies are also launching learn to ride programs and lifestyle brands—such as Harley’s Riding Academy and Ducati’s Scrambler series—to bring in new buyers and create fresh social groupings around motorcycles.

On the tech side, two-wheel manufacturers have mostly stagnated around EV concepts. None of the big names—Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, BMW, KTM—offer a production electric street motorcycle in the U.S.

Meanwhile, some e-motorcycle startups have emerged. Italy’s Energica announced a 2018 U.S. sales campaign. California also has Alta Motors and Zero Motorcycles—whose Zero SR has 75 horsepower, a 135 mile range, and $10K price.

EVs from these new ventures are closing the gap on gas bikes in price, performance, weight, recharge times, and ride distance.

So how could this all come together to pivot the mainline motorcycle industry toward electric?

A combination of competitive pressure from these upstarts and the number 1 American motorcycle seller, Harley Davidson, debuting an e-bike.

This could prompt the likes of Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki to quickly transition their EV programs from concept to production.”

Angry Birds Champions – Play for Real Money!

‘Angry Birds Champions’ lets players fling pheasants for real money

Engadget – By: Jessica Conditt – “Angry Birds Champions is now available on iOS devices and through the developer’s website, allowing players to fling their feathered friends against precarious piles of pigs in a bid to win real money for the first time. The game is accessible through the WorldWinner iOS app or on WorldWinner.com, joining the studio’s other real-money tournament games like Wheel of Fortune, Solitaire, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit.

‘It’s really the original Angry Birds physics game — and obviously Rovio’s done a number of different derivatives using the iconography — but this is the core physics game of shooting birds and killing pigs,’ WorldWinner boss Jeremy Shea told Engadget.

Angry Birds Champions is an officially licensed title, made in conjunction with Rovio. It uses an asynchronous multiplayer format: Someone pays to enter a tournament and completes one of the two modes, best-of-three or progression, and their highest or combined score is recorded. The game finds another similarly skilled player in the tournament and that person plays the same levels. Whoever ends up with the highest score wins the cash prize, and WorldWinner takes a little off the top of each match.

WorldWinner’s matchmaking system takes a number of factors into account, including how many games you’ve played, how well you’ve performed in specific tournaments, your win-loss ratio, and average or best scores.

These competitions are generally worth a few dollars each and cost less than a dollar to join. Shea wants to be clear that this isn’t gambling — WorldWinner has been building real-money tournament games for 18 years and it knows the laws inside and out. A handful of big-name games, including Star Wars: Battlefront II and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, have come under scrutiny in recent months over their use of loot boxes and other gambling-adjacent systems. WorldWinner argues games like Angry Birds Champions are skill-based competitions, eliminating the element of chance that would turn them into gambling.

Still, 10 states have regulations that make WorldWinner’s lawyers squirm, so cash tournaments aren’t available in those areas (Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee).

‘We’re always in conversations with members of different states, and obviously there are players that want to play from certain states that we don’t allow and they’re disappointed when they find out,’ Shea said. ‘But in terms of gambling laws and regulations on a state-by-state or country-by-country basis — we spend a considerable amount of money on attorneys and we’re absolutely in line with the regulations as they are today and will be tomorrow.’

Angry Birds Champions also isn’t trying to become the next big eSport — though Shea would forgive you for thinking so. Players do win real money by playing Angry Birds Champions, but it simply isn’t built to be a spectator sport.

‘We clearly deliver competitions for money, from small two-player tournaments up to thousands of people participating,’ Shea said. ‘We deliver the entry fee and the prize model that most of your eSports competition deliver. But… we’ve never been in the viewership model. So I think that’s the one area where we evolve our lingo from saying we are eSports to we are really on the edge of eSports.’

Angry Birds comes with a built-in player base, with 4 billion downloads (and at least one movie) since the franchise’s launch in 2009. Shea expects Angry Birds Champions to have tens of thousands of players, easily.

‘That is one of reasons that we went with the partnership with Rovio, in particular at this stage of our development: In the past six months we have shifted our focus from being very committed to delivering a PC-based consumer experience where we’ve had our success for close to two decades, to trying to enter the mobile space,’ Shea said. ‘Our expectation is that this week, we hit all of our launch targets and this will quickly scale to be one of our top-performing games, which would put it in the thousands of players playing in a given day.’

And that’s just on iOS — WorldWinner is working on an Android version of the game as well, though there’s no launch window just yet.”

“Starman” Heads Toward the Asteroid Belt!

Elon Musk shot a dummy called “Starman” toward Mars in his own Tesla Roadstar using his “Falcon Heavy” rocket. It is going to miss Mars and is heading toward the Asteroid belt! And, it looks cool!

“That was epic,” said Mr Musk. “That’s probably the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen, literally.” And, how cool is this: the driver’s seat contains a dummy wearing a spacesuit, nicknamed “Starman.” The in-car sound system is paying David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” on a loop, and, a “Don’t Panic” sign on the dashboard references Douglas Adam’s “Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy!” Ah, a touch o’ whimsey!

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