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The Norm Show - Episode 52 -10/21/16
This episode of CreatureGeek, we talk to Norm Chan, the man behind! We chat about my visit to Robert Kurtzman's Creature Corps Studio and The Paranormal Penitentiary, about the haunted house season and we get into it in our discussion about Westworld. Yee-hah! Listen in! If you're digging this podcast, please head over to and support us with a few bucks.
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How Google Assistant is Different from 'OK Google'

We've been able to talk to our Android phones in a conversational manner for years thanks to the power of Google search. However, Google has been focusing more on voice over the years with features like the "OK Google" commands. Then at Google I/O, the company started talking about Assistant, but it neglected to really explain what Assistant is and how it's different from the Google search features you already have on your phone. Let's see if we can work it all out.

Google Everywhere

At its heart, Assistant is an impressive artificial intelligence engine. It's like Google search, but more powerful and aware of context. Google's voice and text search features in the past have always been built into the Google Search app on Android. However, Assistant is designed to be integrated into more places, and it will be explicitly labeled as Assistant instead of just being some amorphous "Google" thing that can go by any number of names depending on the context (eg, Google Now, voice actions, and so on).

In the new Allo chat app, Assistant is what powers the Google chatbot. On the Pixel (and maybe more Android phones in the future), Assistant is the omnipresent voice-activated search tool. In Google Home, Assistant can do voice searches and control connected smart home devices like Hue lights and the Chromecast.

The way Google Assistant and all of Google's other voice tools is really unchanged. Your words are transcribed locally on the device, then uploaded as text snippets. That's faster than streaming the raw audio to be processed in the cloud. That's why Assistant in its chatbot form and conversational voice form work in mostly the same fashion. So, when you hear about Google Assistant, it's not really a replacement for Google voice search or OK Google—it's more of an evolution.

Adam Savage Chats Cosplay with Jay Justice

Adam meets up with cosplayer Jay Justice at New York Comic Con to talk about comics fandom, inclusiveness and diversity in the cosplay community, and some of their favorite costumes from the convention.

Adam Savage at The White House's South by South Lawn Festival!

Working alongside 50 kids at a maker space in Baltimore, Adam helps build the official display sign for the first ever South by South Lawn. SXSL is a gathering of artists, entrepreneurs, thinkers, and makers at The White House's south lawn to share ideas, art, and action. And at the event, Adam meets and chats with some of the scientists, educators, and makers who are all working to make a positive impact in our shared future.

Hobby RC Testing: ARRMA Nero 6S Monster Truck

I've been excited to get my hands on the ARRMA Nero 6S monster truck ($700) ever since it was released a few months ago. First of all, being a 1/8-scale vehicle, the Nero is bigger than any of my previous RC ground-pounders. With a large brushless motor and 6-cell LiPo battery, the Nero also promised to be much more powerful than anything I'd ever driven.

Size and power are certainly alluring, but the real reason I was intrigued by the Nero had to do with a feature called Diff Brain (a version of the Nero without Diff Brain is also available). This package provides the ability to lock and unlock the Nero's differentials on the fly. I've never seen such a feature on any RC vehicle before. I had no idea if this was a useful capability or just marketing hype. I couldn't wait to test it myself.

Nero 6S Overview

The Nero is pre-built and comes equipped with everything except batteries. You'll need two 3-cell LiPo batteries of about 5000mAh capacity. I used a pair of Duratrax Onyx 3S-5400mAh packs. You'll also want to make sure that your batteries have a high discharge capability, since the Nero will pull a lot of amps under hard acceleration. The 50C discharge rating for these Onyx units seems to be more than adequate.

The difference between a common RC truck in 1/10-scale and one in 1/8-scale doesn't seem like it would be that significant. After all, the physical dimensions aren't that far apart. I soon found that assumption to be false. The Nero has more than double the mass and power of most of my 1/10-scale rides. Moving up to a 1/8-scale vehicle brings a whole new level of performance and significantly beefier components. You'll also need to be prepared for increased maintenance overhead.

The ARRMA Nero 6S is a completely prebuilt model that includes a 3-channel radio system.

Two red-anodized aluminum plates comprise the backbone of the Nero's chassis. All of the other chassis components are made of black nylon. The suspension is damped by four large, oil-filled shocks. The shocks are in a horizontal orientation with bellcranks and pushrods connecting them to the suspension arms.