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LEGO with Friends: Labyrinth Maze, Part 2

As the team continues on the LEGO Ideas Labyrinth Maze, we realize that it was designed by none other than the incredibly talented Jason Allemann (aka JK Brickworks), who created the LEGO Automata Sisyphus!

Everything You Need to Know About Custom Mechanical Keyboards

Mechanical keyboards come in all shapes and sizes, many of which you can find on Amazon or via some other retailer. If you need a new board, buying a pre-built one is the cheapest and easiest way. However, building a custom keyboard gives you the chance to choose everything from the case material, to the switches, to the keycaps.

A WhiteFox with GMK Hyperfuse caps

The popularity of custom keyboards has exploded in the last few years, making it a confusing and intimidating hobby to pick up. Let's break it all down.

Layouts and firmware

One of the things you'll notice about custom keyboards rather quickly is they tend to have unusual layouts, and they're often tiny compared to the standard full-sized 104-key layout. There are tenkeyless (80%) boards that lack a number pad, but also 65%, 60%, and smaller. A 60% is fairly common these days—these boards have only the main alphas, number row, and modifiers. The arrows and other keys are accessible via a function layer. A 65% board adds back the arrows and a few extra keys, but 40% boards go the other way with the alpha keys and a just a few modifiers. Then there are various split and ergonomic boards, like the Ergodox.

Some of these are available as niche pre-built keyboards, but there's one main difference between those and a truly custom board. A custom board is programmable, meaning you can have any of the keys do whatever you want. This is extremely important when you're dealing with fewer physical keys because you will need at least one robust function layer to fit in all the standard keyboard commands.

A RedScarf II with DSA Overwatch caps

The firmware on a custom keyboard offers much more power than the desktop clients many fancy "gamer" keyboards use. After a board is programmed with your preferred layout, it doesn't rely on any software on a computer. It works exactly the same no matter which device you plug it into. The things you can do are also much more advanced. Some boards include advanced macro support or the option to control the mouse cursor.

A smaller keyboard layout can be much more efficient than a full sized one. By relegating some commands to a function layer, your hands don't have to move as far while typing, and your mouse stays closer to your hands. True, some people can't get by without a full layout and number pad, but most people who think they do are wrong. It's much easier to scale back the size of your board than you think.

Adam Savage Incognito as Chewbacca with C-3PO!

For this year's Silicon Valley Comic Con, Adam goes incognito in one of his favorite cosplays--Chewbacca! This upgraded Chewie is a bit different than the Wookiee costume he wore a few years back, with a new bandolier, bowcaster, and mask. Plus, Adam rigs up an animitronic C-3PO to wear on his back, complete with custom dialogue!

Silicon Valley Comic Con and Science March! - Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project - 4/25/17
Recording later in the week, Adam, Will, and Norm catch up on Star Wars Celebration's reveal of The Last Jedi's teaser trailer, drop some Pete Seeger knowledge, and dive into a Spoilercast discussion of the recent film Passengers. Plus, we get excited for Silicon Valley Comic Con and the Science March this weekend!
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Google Play App Roundup: Microsoft To-Do, Invert, and Card Thief

Your phone or tablet might be cool, but it could be a lot cooler with the right apps. So what? Spend like mad until you find the apps that suit your needs? Nah, just read the weekly Google Play App Roundup here on Tested. We strive to bring you the best new, and newly updated apps on Android. Just click the app name to head to the Play Store.

Microsoft To-Do

Microsoft has a habit of buying the developers behind popular apps, then killing the app they just bought. As counterintuitive as that is, Microsoft has done it more than once. Remember Sunrise Calendar? So do many others, which is why Microsoft's release of Microsoft To-Do is so concerning. See, the company recently acquired the maker of the popular to-do manager Wunderlist. Could this be the beginning of the end for Wunderlist?

Microsoft To-Do bears a superficial resemblance to Wunderlist, and there's even support for importing your current lists from Wunderlist. This app lets you create to-do lists, set reminders, and keep track of your lists and projects over time. To create a new to-do, just hit the floating action button in the lower right corner. To create a new list, open the slide-out navigation panel and tap "New list" at the bottom. This is also where you'll find all your existing lists.

The big draw for Microsoft To-Do is the My Day feature. It's an attempt to help users focus on daily tasks by offering a new list each day. In addition, there's a suggested to-do feature. It will allegedly learn from your usage and offer frequent tasks for quick adding to My Day. I have only seen a few things pop up here, but it might become more useful after using it longer.

Microsoft To-Do is available on the web, iOS, and Android. The Android app has a proper material interface with the aforementioned navigation panel, FAB, and a soothing purple-blue theme. This is totally unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but I like the little "ding" sound when tasks are checked off. It makes me feel like I really accomplished something.

The app is tied into your Microsoft account and integrated with Office 365 and Outlook. It's still in the early stages, so it's hard to say if it'll rival Wunderlist eventually. Right now, it's lacking many of the features that made that app popular. Microsoft hasn't announced the demise of Wunderlist, but it can't be long for this world with Microsoft To-Do around. It's free and very polished, though. If you are looking for a to-do manager, this is a capable one.

These Intricate Animatronic Music Boxes are Delightful

At this year's Replica Prop Forum showcase, we meet Michael Asanuma, who brought a collection of beautiful animatronic music boxes that he worked on at Mccune Masterworks. These displays, while not replicas of movie props, are bespoke kinetic art pieces with eyecatching detail and charming animations. We loved checking them out!

PROJECTIONS, Episode 8: Dexmo's VR Haptic Exoskeleton

In this episode of Projections, Jeremy and Norm discuss how hand presence has presented itself to consumers over the past three years of virtual reality hardware. We get a demo of Dexmo, a wireless exoskeleton controller that tracks individual fingers and promises to provide haptic feedback to let you actually feel objects in VR. Jeremy chats with Dexta Robotics' CEO about challenges to haptics technology and how they're tackling the problem.