Learn the Basics of Music Theory With This Interactive Tutorial

Image credit: Ableton

As a fan of music, I’d love to learn how to make a song. Devoting time to learning music theory, however, isn’t exactly on my list of priorities. Music lessons are intimidating, they’re a little inconvenient, and definitely pricey.

So this interactive tutorial on beat-making from Ableton is perfect for the budding musician in all of us. It’s got a ton a tools that make advanced concepts dead simple, especially since you can play with them yourself.

The lessons are broken up in chapters and subsequent lessons, starting with the basics of beat-making. The lessons break down what you need to know in just a few sentences, provide an example of the concept. Each lesson, from chords to song structures, has an interactive component so you can experiment with what you’ve just learned. The scales section, for example, presents you with a full piano scale you can play around with, along with a looping piano track you can mess with to learn about scales. It even features examples of beats from Queen and Beyoncé, among others.

The interactive music-making tools are easy to understand and present one concept at a time, letting you understand how each one interacts with the other as you progress. By the time you finish the six introductory chapters you’ll understand how to use the playground section, a page where all the tools are available for you to make some rudimentary tunes. You can clear the work to experiment or export it to work on it in Ableton Live.



If you want to learn more you can check out the advanced section, which offers even more song creation tools to explain concepts like inversions and diatonic triads. In an hour I made a beat I thought was pretty cool, and just exported it with a click.

from Lifehacker http://bit.ly/2rHptAM

Hackers reportedly altered and stole voting data before 2016 election


As the United States continues to investigate the extent of hacking in the 2016 election, reports continue to emerge that make things sound a lot worse than they did a few months ago. The latest comes from Time, which reports that the attack included "at least one" successful attempt at modifying voter information. It also states that thousands of voter records were stolen by Russian agents, which exposes sensitive information including partial social security numbers. Time was careful to note that this hacking was specifically related to state and local election databases and says its information comes from current and former officials.

Specifically, Time’s sources claim that an investigation discovered a county-level election database where voter data had been manipulated. Those alterations were discovered and fixed but Time doesn’t say when that investigation took place. In this case, it’s not clear whether the hackers were Russian agents.

As for the data that was stolen, the state of Illinois had almost 90,000 records stolen by Russia — more than 90 percent of which contained driver’s license numbers. About 25 percent of that 90,000 also contained the last four digits of people’s social security numbers. Sources have also said that an ongoing investigation is looking into whether any of this data made its way back to the Trump campaign.

This news follows a report claiming that hackers attacked voting databases in 39 states. That reported stated that hackers had tried to alter and delete data in Illinois’ voter database — it appears that attempt wasn’t successful, but hackers were able to make off with some data.

The US continues to state that none of the attacks directly election vote counts. "It is true there is no evidence that the tampering with voter machines or tampering with voter registrations or any of like that affected the counting of the votes," Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), who serves on the House Intelligence committee, said back in January. "That’s not the same thing as saying there was no impact on the outcome [of elections]."

Meanwhile, Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues to investigate if any laws were broken relating to the hacking attacks last fall. Regardless of what he finds, there’s no doubt that security relating to the 2018 mid-term elections will be a major focus over the next year — and that’ll be doubly true for 2020’s presidential election.

Source: Time

from Engadget http://engt.co/2sVPkIJ

This Super Pretty Vibrator Is Basically a Stress Ball for My Vagina

All images: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

Staring at this squishy little vibrator, that looks more like something you’d find on the beach than in a sex store, two thoughts went through my mind. The first was that I now understood what the seashells in Demolition Man were for. The second thought was perhaps more relevant to Tenga’s $120 Iroha Kushi: It is the perfect example of the rising trend of sex toys as art. It’s the sex toy industry venturing past pure utility into art for art’s sake, and it feels great humming against your clit.

The Iroha Kushi is ribbed and beige, taking its inspiration from a conch shell. It comes with a sleek square wireless charging dock, and the kind of clear plastic cover that basically demands it be put on display by the edgy sex-positive set. Sort of like that vibe you wear around your neck so you look cool and also know you can rub one out in an Amtrak bathroom.

The Iroha Kushi lasts an hour on a charge, but it also takes two hours to charge fully, so you’re all but required to put it back on its pedestal charger between uses or find yourself running out of batteries at a very inconvenient time. It’s also difficult to see whether it’s charging or not because the charge light is smaller and more baffling than the Playstation 4’s power and eject buttons.

As a vibrator, its features are pretty unremarkable and perfectly comparable to any bullet vibrator you can pick up on Amazon. There’s no tiny vacuum. Just a few different vibration speeds and patterns. If clitoral stimulation is your jam it will get you off once you find the speed and vibration pattern that best suits your particular needs. While the ridges do nothing for grip the shape is great and fits easily into the palm. Also, because it’s waterproof it’s a cinch to wash and put back in rotation.


And it’s super squishy—an unusual feature for a vibe. The Iroha Kushi is made of body-safe silicone and begs to be squeezed and formed in the hand. It’s essentially a vibrating stress ball for your snatch, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.


As pleasant as it is to squeeze, what really distinguishes the Iroha Kushi from the pack is that it’s beautiful to look at. It’s discreet and pretty enough to leave on your nightstand when your parents come to visit. If you were not well-versed in sex toys, you might have no idea what you were even looking at, exactly. The only thing stopping me from having it out on display at all times is the harrowing thought of someone mistaking it for a particularly stylish wireless mouse. That and the fact that, you know, I don’t want houseguests fondling my vibrators.

But don’t get it twisted, the Kushi is not the queen of vibes. There will always be the mammoth and unmistakable Hitachi Magic Wands hidden in bureau drawers beneath the period underwear. After all, they get the job done. But Tenga Kushi is a different breed. It’s vibrator as sculpture. It is meant to be displayed proudly in the home. Your grandmother had her Precious Moments figurines, now you’ve got your Japanese squishie-inspired sex toys to put on the mantle. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I have vibrators I can leave out and that I like more. The MIMIC Massager by Clandestine Devices ($125) is another work of art, but with a shape and vibration features that make it infinitely more appealing. I cannot say that Iroha Kushi is going to supplant the MIMIC any time soon. But the look of the Kushi, and the squeeze of it, keep me from shoving it into the recesses of my closet full of rejected sex toys. I mean, I don’t exactly have a lot of sex toys that I just like to sit around squeezing. This is one of them. Like any strange piece of modern art, the Iroha Kushi grows on you. I’m not saying I’d put it in a museum and sell postcards of the thing, but when it comes to something I use to tend to my vagina’s orgasmic needs that’s a hell of a lot more than some other vibrators have to offer.


  • It might last an hour on a charge, but takes two whole hours to charge and that is very lame.
  • Squishie likes a stress ball.
  • Shell shape design makes it easy to hold for most users.
  • 5 vibration strengths, 2 rhythm pattern settings means most people into clitoral stimulation can find a setting that will work
  • Can join you in the tub without electrocuting you.

Rebecca Jane Stokes is writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY. She’s the senior sex writer for YourTango and her work has appeared on Jezebel, XOJane, The Hairpin, The Toast, Bustle, MTV News, The Barnes and Noble Books Blog, and elsewhere. Follow her on twitter @beccastokes 

from Gizmodo http://bit.ly/2tTbSqX

Automakers Are Changing To Integrated Exhaust Manifolds Because The Benefits Are Staggering

Photo: Engineering Explained/YouTube (screengrab)

An integrated Exhaust Manifold, or “headifold,” is an exhaust manifold cast into an engine’s cylinder head and cooled by antifreeze. This type of design, where the exhaust manifold is no longer a separate part, is becoming a lot more common in the auto industry (see 2017 Honda Civic Type R). Here’s why.

Let Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained walk you through the benefits of a water cooled exhaust manifold:

One of Fenske’s main points is that coolant collecting heat from the exhaust gets the engine up to temperature faster, which yields faster cabin warmup times and better initial engine oil flow (and thus better fuel economy, emissions and engine longevity).

Another benefit, he says, occurs at high engine loads where exhaust gases are so high, they risk compromising the life of the catalytic converter. Cooling these gases with coolant, Fenske mentions, prevents the engine control unit from having to dump more gas into the combustion chambers to lower exhaust temperatures. This means a staggering 20 percent better highway fuel economy on the 2017 VW Golf Alltrack he was driving. Not to mention, the lower CO2 emissions that go along with that.



Three benefits he doesn’t mention are weight, packaging space, and catalytic converter warmup. Weight is a big one, as typically, cars use a separate cast iron exhaust manifold bolted to a head with a gasket in between. This integrated setup gets rid of that manifold, all the bolts, and the gasket, the latter of which can also act as a potential failure mode.

Related to this weight savings is packaging space, as these tightly-integrated manifolds are typically smaller than a separate manifold bolted to a cylinder head. This benefit in packaging space can, according to a Ford patent on the technology, yield faster catalytic converter warmup times (and thus lower emissions after startup) and better turbo response, due to the shorter exhaust paths to the catalyst and turbocharger turbine, respectively.

Of course, as Fenske mentions, this integrated exhaust manifold adds more heat load to the cooling system, and makes tuning more difficult. But despite these drawbacks, the benefits in emissions, fuel economy, cabin warmup, weight, complexity and turbo response are hard to ignore, which is why “headifolds” have become so prevalent over the past decade or so.

from Gizmodo http://bit.ly/2sv144C

Emerging Gear: Outdoor Products This Week


A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.

Integrated Tool Kit

Always be prepared with bike tools. Launched this week on Kickstarter, the Dialed Cap by Rugged Components installs into the steer tube and sits beneath the top cap. The $50 kit includes 4, 5, and 6mm hex, and T25 Torx wrench.

Eco Kayak

Invest in personal recreation and the planet! Oru’s limited-edition tree-print kayak launched on Kickstarter this week, and 1% of its funding will go to Yvon Chouinard’s environmental organization, One Percent For The Planet. Buy-ins for the specially designed 12′ Bay ST foldable kayak start at $1,500.

Bamboo SUP Paddle

Known for bamboo ski poles, the brand Grass Sticks launches a bamboo SUP board paddle, the SUP Stick. Built in Steamboat Springs, Colo., the SUP Stick is light but strong enough for mountain whitewater and finished with marine-grade clear coat.

Boiling Tumbler

No fire? No problem. The 16-oz. stainless steel Cauldryn bottle will boil water atop its electric rechargeable base. We’ll get a peek at the Cauldryn, which launches on Kickstarter in July, at this year’s Outdoor Retailer.

Smallest Folding Drone

Two square inches and less than one ounce, that’s the size of the world’s smallest folding video drone. Aerix releases the Varius, a 0.8-ounce quadcopter that can fly up to 30 mph for 5-7 minutes, record video, and transmit real-time to a VR headset. The pocket copter costs $65.

Debut Climbing Shoe

Black Diamond’s first climbing shoe is perfect for sweaty gym climbers. That’s because the Momentum, launching in October, will sport a mesh knit upper, designed for breathability. Read our preview of Black Diamond’s full debut shoe line.

Secret Survival Knife

Slice, cut, chop, fish, start fire, and purify water, using your knife. The 10-inch 4Ever is a 5.5-inch blade that protrudes from a magnetic removable scale. Inside is a mini-Wazoo survival kit that contains fishing line and hooks, first aid-tinder packs, ceramic firesteel, magnetized needle, and water-purification tablet. Available on Kickstarter with 440c or Damascus steel blade.

Dynamic Water Vessel

Fill it, treat it, filter it — the Vecto collapsible water bottle, launched today on Kickstarter, can be a bottle, gravity filter, or sterilization pack. That’s because its narrow cap is compatible with Sawyer and other water filters, and the wide sealable top accommodates chemical treatment or UV purifiers. It also works for holding water, soda, tea, or any other ready-to-drink liquid.

Women’s Summer Raincoat

Hike into the wettest conditions with Showers Pass latest summer rain jacket for women. The Refuge jacket uses eVent’s waterproof-breathable three-layer membrane, has reinforced fabric on the shoulders to prevent wear from backpack straps, and sports a removable hood. Available now for $279.

Air Filtration Gaiter

Breathe better air with this filtration-equipped gaiter. The Inversion Air Pollution Gaiter, live on Kickstarter, has a built-in activated carbon filter to trap dust, pollen, mold, even combustion molecules from car exhaust.

Polartec Delta T

Enhance your body’s ability to keep cool and dry with Triple Aught Design’s first shirt using Polartec Delta technology. We’ve reviewed Polartec’s hydrophilic-hydrophobic-blended fabric and can verify it works. The Mercury Tech T retails for $60.

Pocket Lantern

Calling a portable light “the best outdoor lantern ever” is a bold statement. But Flextail believes it has just that in the 220-lumen HELIO, which at 45g weighs less than an egg (chicken). The waterproof HELIO measures about 1.5 inches on each side, has a 10-hour battery life, and can clip to backpacks, bikes, or inside a tent. Live on Kickstarter with discounts on its $34 retail price.

Emergency Wearable

Blast a panic siren, light the path ahead, record what’s happening in all directions, and receive emergency support in an accident. The Occly Blinc was designed with adventurists and bikers in mind, with its myriad safety functions and automatic emergency-response contact feature that activates when it senses sudden impact. Available August starting at $199.

Anniversary Travel Tripod

One hundred years after it launched, Gitzo unveils a limited-edition, centennial travel tripod. Only 100 of the Arsene Edition full-carbon-spider, collapsible tripods are available at select retailers worldwide.

Party Robot

Start the party at home or around the campfire in the most unusual way possible: With a robot-shaped, bluetooth speaker and smoke machine. The K-Sound Hero stands two-and-a-half-feet tall, blasts tunes with a 30-watt subwoofer and treble speaker, churns out smoke, and has 16 million LED color variations. Get weird on Indiegogo with discounts on its $440 retail price.

Hemp For A Cause

Experience the feel and performance of hemp, perhaps the most sustainable fabric available, with Nau’s 2017 line of men’s and women’s apparel. And feel good knowing Nau donates 2% of every sale to its charitable partners: People For Bikes, Mercy Corps, and Conservation Alliance.

Weightless Denim

Stay covered and cool with DUER’s lightest, moisture-wicking summer denim pants. The $128 Beachcomber pants use a cotton-Spandex blend to create a lightweight 5-oz. denim

Stylish Performance Sunglasses

Electric builds optics for functionality on motorcycles or other active pursuits, but these also look quite slick for daily wear. The Zombie S has a tough Grilamid frame, 100% UV protection, and 98% blue light protection. $100.

CORDURA Work Hoodie

The startup brand 1620 launched to redefine workwear earlier this year. It just released its first shirt, the NYCO Work Hoodie. Made from 78% cotton and 22% CORDURA, it retains a soft feel while offering the long-lasting durability of CORDURA Nylon. The brand claims it also meets the U.S. Military uniform standard for No Melt/No Drip fabrics. It’s on pre-sale now for $128.

The post Emerging Gear: Outdoor Products This Week appeared first on GearJunkie.

from GearJunkie.com – Outdoor Gear Reviews http://bit.ly/2rGYhCf

Rihanna DMs breakup advice to heartbroken fan and, honestly, we’re pretty jealous



Breakups are the absolute worst. But, sometimes all you need is a friend’s shoulder to cry on. Or, you know, Rihanna’s shoulder. 

Rihanna fan @WaladShami posted a Twitter conversation between him and RiRi, in which she dished out some pretty timeless breakup wisdom. 

"How did you get over your first heartbreak? I’ve been struggling," he asked via direct message. 

Thank you, I love you @rihanna http://pic.twitter.com/DsYHOTChxP

— Samer / سامر (@WaladShami) June 21, 2017

Several hours later, Rihanna came back to him with some words of wisdom. "Just believe that the heartbreak was a gift in itself!" she wrote. Read more…

More about Watercooler, Twitter, Celebrities, Heartbreak, and Rihanna

from Mashable! http://on.mash.to/2tyht6F

IFTTT’s powerful new initiative connects up with government data streams


Today, all around cool internet thing IFTTT is hooking all kinds of useful public data into its powerful platform. With the launch of its new Data Access Project, IFTTT will add support for a broad selection of government agencies, organizations and research and cultural groups. That includes public data from federal and state government feeds on down to municipal transit information.

The new data streams have the potential to be all kinds of useful. In practice, that means every time there’s a relevant new SEC filing, your Hue lights can flash green (or red, depending). Or you can get a text every time the State Department posts a travel warning. Or a Slack notification each time the Department of Defense posts an update. Or lots of things — infinitely configurable things, really.

Put simply, IFTTT lets you connect things to other things. It does this through easy to set up custom formulas, like “every time @techcrunch tweets, call my phone.” These logic statements, all take the form of “if x happens, do y,” hence the name If This Then That (IFTTT). IFTTT used to call these formulas Recipes but now they’re calling them Applets, which is more confusing in our book but the functionality remains the same.

IFTTT’s more than 40 new sources include:

  • Department of Labor
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Library of Congress
  • National Science Foundation
  • Energy Information Association
  • USA.gov
  • Pew Research Center
  • Department of Defense
  • Centers for Disease Control
  • Amtrak
  • Caltrain
  • Texas Legislature
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • American Civil Liberties Union

For IFTTT, the public data initiative stands to breathe some new life into a platform that in recent years is perhaps best known for letting you automate quirky things in your smart home. As a (really) long time IFTTT user, I have to say that it’s an exciting and potentially very useful new direction. I fully expect to lose hours configuring my own public data streams in the coming days.

According to IFTTT CEO Linden Tibbets, the beauty of the service’s new direction is that it can help users organize yet another kind of information that might otherwise be overwhelming and put it to good use.

“It’s not that the information isn’t out there — companies, governments, and institutions are releasing information all the time. But for the average person, it’s overwhelming,” said Tibbets.

“We’ve built out services whose data impacts people in very real ways: governments, agencies, non-profits, transits, and other institutions. Now people can easily find, and use, that information in brand new ways. We’re excited to see the response, and plan to expand the Data Access Project with more services in the near future.”

Apparently, this could be the tip of the iceberg for IFTTT’s foray into helping people harness the power of public information that’s already floating around.

“People are hungry for public data, especially when it comes to staying on top of the news and government,” said Anne Mercogliano, IFTTT Vice President of Business Operations and Marketing. “Our IFTTT team kept seeing more and more amazing data resources out there and realized it was something we wanted to invest in and help build and bring onto the platform. We hope the Data Access Project is helpful for the average person, researcher, official and more.”

Mercogliano notes that ProPublica’s IFTTT channel saw a significant boost in interest after November 8, 2016. And in March of this year, IFTTT launched a collection of “Applets for activism” that sought to tap into that same phenomenon.

“Customizing your experience is at the heart of IFTTT and we want to ensure you’re getting all of the data you need but in a way that works for your lifestyle,” Mercogliano said. “The Data Access Project is an ongoing initiative for us and we’re looking for any government, local agency or nonprofit to be a part of our project.”

Interested groups can contact IFTTT at dap@ifttt.com to get started.

from TechCrunch http://tcrn.ch/2svdV6N

I Can’t Wait to Play This Nintendo Switch Battery


The Nintendo Switch is a tiny console with tiny controllers all powered by tiny batteries with tiny capacities. Charging is just part of life with the Switch, which is why it’s spawned hundreds of power accessories, including this portable battery that looks like the most boring Switch game you can play.

But while Bionik’s Power Plate looks like a smaller version of the console, with only half a screen, it’s actually a 4,500 mAh rechargeable battery with a built-in black and white LCD display showing what devices are currently being charged.

The Switch’s Joy-Con controllers can attach to either side of the Power Plate and be recharged three times over, letting you continue to play games with them while the console is connected to a TV. Or you can connect the Switch itself to the Power Plate via a USB-C cable and top off its own internal battery, but just once, given how power hungry the portable console is.


The $50 battery is available now, and probably not as fun to play as Breath of the Wild.


from Gizmodo http://bit.ly/2sv2Um5