All posts in “Tech”

Plugable gaming headset is $5 off on Amazon

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
No surround sound gimmicks — these are the real deal.
No surround sound gimmicks — these are the real deal.

Image: plugable

Maybe you’re a homebody who doesn’t much feel like taking part in the outdoor festivities that come along with Memorial Day Weekend — and maybe some of your friends feel the same way (we think that’s just fine). A great way to enjoy the comfort of the great indoors: video games. And if you’re looking to play them online with your other buddies, you’re going to need a top-of-the-line gaming headset

And Amazon has just the one you need — you can pick up Plugable’s Onyx Performance Gaming Headset for $5 off of its usual price for the next four days, so get a move on if you really want to enjoy your home-loving self this weekend. 

This headset is a truly immersive auditory experience — no surround sound gimmicks that much more expensive models bring to the table. The large ear cups reproduce the sound elements in games the way they were to be heard, and the high-precision retractable microphone is perfect for chatting with your Apex Legends squad as you compete for the top spot. What’s even more impressive is how comfortable they are — the plush memory foam padding and wide headband will get you tons of gaming mileage without having to rest your ears (you might even forget that you’re wearing the headset). With this quality at this price, it’s a hard deal to beat. 

Grab the Plugable Onyx Performance Gaming Headset and get online this weekend — save $5 when you purchase on Amazon

Watch Samsung’s new AI turn Mona Lisa into a realistic talking head

Soon, it might be trivially easy to create a fake video of someone -- anyone -- talking.
Soon, it might be trivially easy to create a fake video of someone — anyone — talking.

Image: Samsung AI Center, Moscow

Need more convincing that it will soon be impossible to tell whether a video of a person is real or fake? Enter Samsung’s new research, in which a neural network can turn a still image into a disturbingly convincing video. 

Researchers at the Samsung AI center in Moscow have achieved this, Motherboard reported Thursday, by training a “deep convolutional network” on a large number of videos showing talking heads, allowing it to identify certain facial features, and then using that knowledge to animate an image. 

The results, presented in a paper called “Few-Shot Adversarial Learning of Realistic Neural Talking Head Models,” are not as good as some of the deepfake videos you’ve seen, but to create those, you need a large number of images of the person you’re trying to animate. The advantage of Samsung’s approach is that you can turn a single still image (though the fidelity of the resulting video increases with more images) into a video. 

You can see some of the results of this research in the video, below. Using a single still image of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Salvador Dali, Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe and even Mona Lisa, the AI was able to create videos of them talking which are realistic enough — at moments — to appear to be actual footage. 

[embedded content]

None of these videos will fool an expert, or anyone looking close enough. But as we’ve seen in previous research on AI-based generated imagery, the results tend to vastly improve in a matter of years. 

The implications of this research are chilling. Armed with this tool, one only needs a single photo of a person (which are today easily obtainable for most people) to create a video of them talking. Add to that a tool that can use short snippets of sample audio material to create convincing, fake voice of a person, and one can get anyone to “say” anything. And with tools like Nvidia’s GAN, one could even create a realistic-looking, fake setting for such a video. As these tools become more powerful and easier to obtain, it will become tougher to tell real videos from fake ones; hopefully, the tools to discern between the two will get more advanced as well. 

Uploads%252fvideo uploaders%252fdistribution thumb%252fimage%252f85191%252f7a3ca773 92e9 4824 8e81 13eb1ea93fc0.jpg%252foriginal.jpg?signature=gwziawwcwvsch6g3wckzh tassg=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

Two Teslas race, one above ground, one underground. Guess which one won?

In 2016, while stuck in dreadful LA traffic, Elon Musk envisioned a faster way of transportation in busy cities — by driving underneath them. 

Soon after that, Musk started the Boring Company, dedicated to alleviating traffic issues by building underground tunnels, just wide enough for a Tesla car to blaze through. 

Now, Boring Company has put Musk’s original idea through the test, by racing two Tesla cars; one through normal traffic, and the other through the company’s test tunnel in Hawthorne, California. 

The company posted the results in a video, below. 

Even though the drive is quite short (either way), the underground Tesla reaches its goal in about one and a half minutes. It takes more than four and a half minutes for the other one to arrive at the same spot. 

The video is a cool illustration of just how fast driving underground could be, but it doesn’t take into account other factors which will surely play a part once the Boring Company’s tunnels go commercial, such as wait times at the tunnel elevator. 

One interesting tidbit from the video is the lack of any sort of platform or wheel guide for the car in the tunnel, which were planned in initial design. One commenter asked whether the car is driving “127mph in a narrow tunnel just in autopilot,” and Elon Musk said that this is “pretty much” the case. 

The Boring Company won its first commercial contract yesterday — it will be building two tunnels to connect the four halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), with the deadline being January 2021. 

Uploads%252fvideo uploaders%252fdistribution thumb%252fimage%252f91540%252fa0b1eaba cd1e 4dd9 9f85 4faf9b3ced54.jpg%252foriginal.jpg?signature=8ai4rglxzyhfm4317f 5wwszo0w=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

Conquer the business world with these five courses — all under $20

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Learn the ins and outs of the business world.
Learn the ins and outs of the business world.

Image: Pexels

Business school: A surprisingly contentious topic worthy of any protracted Twitter tirade. Depending upon who you ask, it’s (A) a two-year networking party with a six-figure price tag, (B) only worth pursuing if you get into a top-5 school, or (D) totally not worth it.

Not to say that B-school doesn’t provide any value, but just know there are worthy alternatives if you’re not into shelling out $200K or two years of your life for some business know-how. Exhibit A: the five courses we’ve handpicked below, featuring instruction by award-winning business professor Chris Haroun.

If you’re serious about getting a venture off the ground — or even just getting your foot into the business world — check them out. They’re all on sale for a limited time only:

This course will teach you how to turn a business idea into reality through a well-crafted business plan. Besides Haroun’s step-by-step instruction, you’ll also get 50 business plan templates and his 13-step process for crafting rock-solid business plans, as well as 25 business presentations specifically tailored for startups.

The MSRP is $199 but you can grab it now for $14.

Based on a popular business book of the same name, this course will teach you all the tips and tricks Haroun’s gleaned in the business trenches. You’ll get insights from his experience working with some business bigwigs — including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates — plus master everything from management to how to navigate the murky waters of corporate politics.

It normally retails for $49.99, but you can get it now for $11.99.

Take a deep dive into some core business school essentials, like how to start a company, accrue customers, and raise capital. Plus, get the lowdown on the value of investment banking firms to your business, master quantitative and qualitative market analysis, and much more.

It normally retails for $200, but grab it now for $14.99.

All the quant courses you would have taken in an MBA program? They’re distilled into this quick and dirty course. You’ll master everything from accounting and finance to how to formulate an income statement, plus dive into how to value companies with a variety of methodologies and whip up a cash flow statement.

It usually retails for $199.99, but get it now for $19.99.

Become a stellar public speaker through exercises, examples, and templates designed to help you craft and deliver an effective message to your audience. You’ll get 25 speech guides and over 50 slide templates for various types of speech-giving occasions: investor pitches, corporate presentations, and the like.

This typically goes for $200, but grab it now for $14.99.

12 great Memorial Day deals for gamers

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Wireless controllers, headsets, and mice are all on sale in the Mashable Shop for Memorial Day weekend.
Wireless controllers, headsets, and mice are all on sale in the Mashable Shop for Memorial Day weekend.

Image: 8bitdo

With the recent release of Rage 2, John Wick’s Fortnite debut, and Red Dead Online‘s long-awaited move out of beta, it only makes sense to spend your Monday off playing video games this Memorial Day weekend. 

To mark the occasion, we’ve cobbled together some of the internet’s best deals on gaming accessories, from a Nintendo Switch projector to some cutting-edge headsets. Plus, you can save an additional 15% on the item(s) of your choice just by entering our coupon code WEEKEND15 at checkout. 

So go ahead — settle into that couch of yours and let the gaming marathon begin:

This pro-grade gaming mouse from Pwnage is in a league of its own thanks to a Pixart PMW-3360 sensor that’s capable of tracking faster than 250 inches per second. What makes it truly unique, though, are its myriad of customization options. You can choose from 11 different lighting modes, tweak its USB polling report rate, and save your specifications using its onboard memory. 

Normally $24.99, you can get it in black or white for just $21.24 when you apply WEEKEND15

The ultra-portable Nintendo Switch makes it easy to play your favorite games on the go, but let’s face it: You’re going to get *all* the death stares if you’re playing Skyrim in public without headphones. Enter: This Bluetooth audio adapter for the Nintendo Switch. It connects to your Switch — no cord required — to stream your game’s audio right to your headphones, and supports the latest aptX and aptX Low Latency codes to ensure great sound quality. 

The adapter typically retails for $39.99, but it’s yours today for a mere $33.99 when you apply WEEKEND15

You can turn any room into a gaming theater for four-plus players with AAXA’s mini projector for the Nintendo Switch. The device attaches easily to the back of your Switch console, taking it from a 6-inch single-player screen to a 120-inch multiplayer screen, and features two stereo speakers that have been optimized for popular Nintendo titles for a truly immersive experience. 

This projector is usually sold for $298, but Mashable readers can get it for only $253.30 using WEEKEND15

Deemed by PC Mag as “one of the best gaming headsets you can buy,” Logitech’s G933 headset packs quite a punch with 40mm Pro-G™ drivers for incredible audio clarity; DTS® Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound for amazing depth; and a 2.4 GHz wireless signal for strong, reliable connectivity. This particular pair is certified refurbished, which means it’s pre-loved but guaranteed to work and look good as new — and way more affordable than a fresh-out-the-box unit.

Typically $107.99, you can get Logitech’s headset in either Black or White for just $91.79 by entering WEEKEND15 at checkout. 

Compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems, this wired gaming headset boasts all the features that make for a legendary, hours-long gaming session: 50mm drivers for pinpoint positional accuracy, an omnidirectional mic with podcast-worthy pickup quality, and comfy, cushy ear cups. 

TaoTronics’ headset usually sells for $30.99, but it’s yours now for just $26.34 when you apply WEEKEND15

Old meets new in this Bluetooth gamepad that’s been designed to look just like a vintage controller. It adds a touch of retro flair to your Mario Kart marathons (without cluttering up your console with wires) and comes fully ready for use with Nintendo Switch, Steam, Android, Mac OS, Windows, and Raspberry Pi devices.

Normally $21.99, you can get 8BitDo’s retro gamepad for a mere $18.69 with WEEKEND15

Anda Seat’s gaming chairs have been featured on Mashable before, but here’s a quick refresher in case you missed them the first time around: They’re a truly premium piece of furniture that’s been crafted from high-density shaping foam, breathable mesh, and PVC leather. Each one features an ergonomic design created specifically to keep you supported and stable while gaming and includes its own head pillow and lumbar cushion for your utmost comfort. In other words: No more floor-sitting for you, dear reader. (Check our our full list of the best gaming chairs here.)

This luxe chair is normally $269.99, but you can get it for only $229.49 in your choice of five colors just by applying WEEKEND15

Geeks, rejoice: This charging dock has been specially designed just for your Nintendo Switch Pokéball Plus controllers. It includes one storage stand and one charging stand and features a built-in LED indicator that’ll let you know when your console is juiced up and ready to catch ’em all.

Typically $9.99, you can get this charging dock in black or white for just $8.49 with WEEKEND15

Got a couple of old GameCube controllers sitting around? Well, dust them off and put them to good use once more with this adapter. It lets you connect up to four GameCube controllers to a Wii U system, PC, or Nintendo Switch and supports their vibration feedback.

The adapter is usually sold for $9.99, but you’ll pay just $8.49 if you enter WEEKEND15 at checkout.

A drained and dead controller can stop a gaming session before it even starts, but you can keep the (Mario) party going with this charging stand for PlayStation 4. It’s equipped with a pair of micro USB adapter ports so you can charge two PS4 controllers simultaneously — and without having to connect them to the system — while staying organized.  

Normally $12.99, you can get this charging stand for only $11.04 by applying WEEKEND15 during checkout. 

Expand on the fun of your favorite Nintendo Switch titles with these wireless controllers from Geek Supply. Featuring a potential battery life of more than six hours (depending on the software and usage), they can be used separately or together for a solid afternoon’s worth of gaming escapades. 

Typically sold for $37.99, you can get a pair of these controllers for just $32.29 with WEEKEND15

You’ll experience your favorite titles like never before once you pop on Audeze’s Mobius 3D headphones, which are fully customizable and come jam-packed with features. Its impressive spec lineup includes planar magnetic drivers for high-quality cinematic sound, Waves Nx technology for real-time 3D processing, and anatomy calibration that adjusts the audio based on the specific user for remarkable accuracy. 

A pair of these headphones go for $399, but you’ll pay just $339.15 by entering WEEKEND15 at checkout.