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LEGO with Friends: Blade Runner Blaster

Kicking off a new week of LEGO with Friends, special guest Angus Maclane visits the Tested office to share with Adam his latest project--a LEGO Blade Runner blaster! Adam brings his own blaster over to compare, of course.

Google Play App Roundup: EasilyDo Email, Splitter Critters, and unWorded

Money doesn't grow on trees, and those $0.99 app purchases do add up. It's best to go into the Play Store with some idea of what's up your alley and what isn't. That's what the Google Play App Roundup is here to do. We bring you the best new and newly updated app and games every week. Just click on the app name to head to the Play Store and test it out yourself.

EasilyDo Email

Your phone came with the Gmail app, and maybe you've since branched out to the Inbox app. Support for non-Google email accounts in Inbox is poor, but the new Email app from EasilyDo is a bit like Inbox for whatever email account you want to use. It's essentially an email app wrapped around the EasilyDo Assistant app.

Adding an account is very quick, especially for Gmail accounts you already have on your phone. Just select it and you're done. There's also a guided setup process for popular apps like Yahoo, Outlook, and AOL Mail. You can also plug in any other account via IMAP. Syncing and general app navigation are quite fast.

Your inbox defaults to a Gmail-style conversation view—the app doesn't try to imitate Inbox's bundling. The style is a little different, though. Instead of seeing all the emails collapsed in one screen, tapping on an email brings up a new screen with a list of all threaded messages. I don't know if I like it more than Gmail's approach, but it's something new.

One of my favorite things about EasilyDo Email is the customizable swipe gestures. Each message in the inbox can be swiped left or right. You can have those gestures do things like archive, delete, and mark read/unread. The assistant functionality is neat as well. You'll find this in the navigation panel. The app automatically finds emails that fit into categories like travel, subscriptions, and packages. Tap on any of them to get a filtered view of your inbox. Some of these lists will include a handy breakdown of all the relevant details. For example, flights found in the travel list have flight numbers, reservations, seat numbers, and times. The assistant seems reasonably smart, but it does miss some things.

The subscriptions section also showcases one of Email's main features; one-tap unsubscribing. You'll see this button at the top of any email it detects as a subscription with a supported method of removing yourself from the list. It seems to work on most of my email subscriptions. Simply tap the button, the app thinks, and you're unsubscribed.

EasilyDo Email is free, so check it out if you want to get a different take on your email.

This Old FX Shop: Miss Monster's Masks

One of our favorite aritsts is Melita Curphy--aka Miss Monster--who sculpts beautiful figures and masks with a distinct techno-organic style. We're thrilled to paint two of her masks on this episode of This Old FX Shop!

Adam Savage's One Day Builds: Chewbacca's Bandolier!

Time for some Star Wars prop building--Adam Savage makes an upgrade to one of his favorite costumes! Adam's never been satisfied with the original bandolier strap and satchel he made for his Chewbacca cosplay, so today he fabricates new ones from scratch with metal and leather. And of course Adam hides an easter egg into this Wookiee prop!

RC Indoor Rock Crawling with the ECX Temper

I've talked about RC rock crawlers before, and I've also taken a look at small-scale indoor cars. This time around, I'll combine the two and also toss in a dash of FPV. Rock crawlers are especially good for indoor driving because you do not need a lot of space, nor do you have to worry about having a smooth, spotless floor. In fact, as driving surfaces go, the rougher, the better.

The ECX Temper is a 1/24-scale rock crawler. It is about the same size as most plastic model car kits.

ECX Temper

The vehicle I chose is the Temper ($80), a ready-to-run model from ECX. This model is available in either 1/24 or 1/18 scale. I chose the 1/24-scale version, which is the same scale as most plastic car models. It is about 6.75" (171mm) long and 4" (102mm) wide.

In many respects, this downsized crawler is just like my larger 1/10-scale machine (which is a lot like full-scale crawlers). It has full-time 4-wheel-drive, locked differentials, 4-link suspension, super-soft tires…all the stuff you would expect on a rock crawler. The only obvious difference is that the Temper uses friction dampers rather than oil-filled shocks.

The radio receiver and ESC are integrated into a single unit.

A 2.4GHz radio system is included. The transmitter looks smaller than most others, but it is a comfortable fit in my hand. It has servo reversing and adjustable control rates. It's a neat, compact piece. The receiver and ESC are combined into one unit aboard the car. Steering is handled by a tiny analog servo.

Power comes from a 4-cell 150mAh NiMH battery. The battery is removable, so you can buy a few spares ($14) and not have to worry about down time. The included charger is a simple USB-powered device. To be honest, I haven't had much luck with it. I've tried powering the charger from a few different USB sources and it never seems to give the battery a full charge. I've reverted to using my Hitec X4-Eighty charger (huge overkill) with good success.

Maker Spaces - Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project - 2/14/17
We're joined by a special guest this week--artist Jen Schachter, who worked with Adam on the White House SXSL sign and is in town to collaborate on more projects. Jen visits us from Baltimore, where she researches the cultures of maker spaces around the country. This is also our last podcast before Adam goes on tour, but we'll be recording with him remotely in the coming weeks!
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The Special Effects of SyFy's The Expanse

Adam Savage goes behind the scenes of Syfy channel's The Expanse, one of our favorite science fiction shows of the past year. At the offices of SpinVFX, Adam learns how digital effects artists work with the show's directors to realize the breathtaking environments of this futuristic show.