The Lenovo Meet is a collaboration with Google to bring Google Meet to customers in a ready to install kit for conference rooms and similar. Also called the Google Meet Series One, it features a number of cameras, speakers, display and more, along with the base unit. It is this base unit that [Bringus Studios] on YouTube tried to install a different OS capable of running Steam games on in a recent video. Along the way many things were learned about this device, which is – unsurprisingly – just another ChromeOS box.
After removing the rubber bottom (which should have been softened with a hot air gun to prevent damage), the case can be opened with some gentle prying to reveal the laptop-like innards. Inside are an 8th gen Intel CPU (i7-8550U @ 1.8 GHz), a 128 GB SATA M.2, 2 GB DDR4 RAM, along with 2 more GB of DDR4 a MicroSD slot and a Google Coral DA1 TPU on the bottom of the mainboard. It should be easy to install Linux, Windows, etc. on this other than for the ChromeOS part, which locks down the non-UEFI BIOS firmware.
We’ve seen a lot of AI tools lately, and, of course, we know they aren’t really smart, but they sure fool people into thinking they are actually intelligent. Of course, these programs can only pick through their training, and a lot depends on what they are trained on. When you use something like ChatGPT, for example, you assume they trained it on reasonable data. Sure, it might get things wrong anyway, but there’s also the danger that it simply doesn’t know what you are talking about. It would be like calling your company’s help desk and asking where you left your socks — they simply don’t know.
We’ve seen attempts to have AI “read” web pages or documents of your choice and then be able to answer questions about them. The latest is from Google with NotebookLM. It integrates a workspace where you can make notes, ask questions, and provide sources. The sources can be text snippets, documents from Google Drive, or PDF files you upload.
The Google Nest Mini is a popular smart speaker, but it’s very much a cloud-based Big Tech solution. For those that want to roll their own voice assistant, or just get avoid the corporate surveillance of it all, [Justin Alvey’s] work may appeal. (Nitter)
[Justin] pulled apart a Nest Mini, ripped out the original PCB, and kitted it out with his own internals. He uses the ESP32 as the basis of his design, since it provides plenty of processing power and WiFi connectivity. His replacement PCB also interfaces with the LEDs, mute switch, and capacitive touch features of the Nest Mini, for ease of interaction.
As a demo, he set up the system to work with a custom “Maubot” assistant using the Matrix framework. He hooked it up with Beeper, a messaging client that collates all your other messaging platforms into one easily-accessible place. The assistant employs GPT3.5, prompted with a list of his family, friends, and other details, to enable him to make calls, send messages, and handle natural language queries. The demo itself is very impressive, and we’d love to try setting up a similar assistant ourselves. Seeing two of [Justin’s] builds talking to each other is amusing, too.
It is always controversial to have home assistants like the ones from Google or Amazon. There are privacy concerns, of course. Plus they maddeningly don’t always do what you intend for them to do. However, if you do have one, you’ve probably thought about something you wanted to do that would require programming. Sure, you can usually do a simple list, but really writing code wasn’t on the menu. But now, Google Home will allow you to write code. Well, at least script using a YAML file.
The script language is available in the web app and if you opt in on the mobile app as well. There’s a variety of ways you can trigger scripts and many examples you can start with.
In just a few days time, Google’s Stadia game streaming service will finally shut down for good. But not for any technical reason, mind you. Microsoft has managed to demonstrate that streaming modern games over home and even mobile Internet connections is viable with their immensely popular Game Pass Ultimate service, and NVIDIA is making similar inroads with GeForce Now. No, like so many of Google’s failed experiments, they’ve simply decided they don’t want to play anymore and are taking their proverbial ball home back with them.
In a forum thread titled “A Gift from the Stadia Team”, Community Manager [DanFromGoogle] explains that information on how you can enable Bluetooth on the controller will be coming next week. In the meantime, he also announced the immediate release of “Worm Game”, a tech demo that staffers apparently used to test out capabilities of the streaming service before its public release.
That this ridiculously simple game, which looks all the world like something a kid would crank out during an after-school programming class, will be the final title to officially release on Stadia is a stunningly insulting epitaph for the fledgling service. But then, Google seems to have developed a special affinity for mistreating their most loyal cattle users over these last few years.
Enabling Bluetooth on a game controller might not seem like such a big deal, but in this case, it will potentially give the piece of hardware a second chance at life. The Stadia controller is unique in that it uses WiFi to communicate directly over the Internet to Google’s streaming service, so once those servers stop responding, the orphaned device will end up being little more than a curiosity. Although it does technically work over USB, being able to use it wirelessly will not only provide a more modern experience, but help justify its internal batteries.
Issac Asimov wrote Caves of Steel in 1953. In it, he mentions something called trimensional personification. In an age before WebEx and Zoom, imagining that people would have remote meetings replete with 3D holograms was pretty far-sighted. We don’t know if any Google engineers read the book, but they are trying to create a very similar experience with project Starline.
The system is one of those that seems simple on the face of it, but we are sure the implementation isn’t easy. You sit facing something that looks like a window. The other person shows up in 3D as though they were on the other side of the window. Think prison visitation without the phone handset. The camera is mounted such that you look naturally at the other person through your virtual window.
Our favorite raft of otters is back at it again with another display of open source audio prowess as they bring us the OtterCastAmp, the newest member of the OtterCast family of open source audio multitools. If you looked at the previous entry in the series – the OtterCastAudio – and thought it was nice but lacking in the pixel count or output power departments then this is the device for you.
The Amp is fundamentally a very similar device to the OtterCastAudio. It shares the same Allwinner S3 Cortex-A application processor and runs the same embedded Linux build assembled with Buildroot. In turn it offers the same substantial set of features and audio protocol support. It can be targeted by Snapcast, Spotify Connect or AirPlay if those are your tools of choice, or act as a generic PulseAudio sink for your Linux audio needs. And there’s still a separate line in so it source audio as well.
One look at the chassis and it’s clear that unlike the OtterCastAudio this is not a simple Chromecast Audio replacement. The face of the OtterCastAmp is graced by a luscious 340×800 LCD for all the cover art your listening ear can enjoy. And the raft of connectors in the back (and mountain of inductors on the PCBA) make it clear that this is a fully fledged class D amplifier, driving up to 120W of power across four channels. Though it may drive a theoretical 30W or 60W peak across its various outputs, with a maximum supply power of 100W (via USB-C power delivery, naturally) the true maximum output will be a little lower. Rounding out the feature set is an Ethernet jack and some wonderfully designed copper PCB otters to enjoy inside and out.
As before, it looks like this design is very close to ready for prime time but not quite there yet, so order at your own risk. Full fab files and some hints are linked in the repo mentioned above. If home fabrication is a little much it looks like there might be a small manufacturing run of these devices coming soon.