"DIY" entries

Four short links: 6 November 2012

Four short links: 6 November 2012

Internet of Copters, Privacy Game, Visualizing Data, Secure Configs

  1. Tilt-to-Fly Controller and Copter (Kickstarter) — This looks totally awesome and hackable. The controller has a USB port, the protocol is documented, and you can even connect your own electronics payload, like an Arduino, camera, or homebrewed project to the auxiliary serial (UART + power) port.
  2. The Privacy Game (The Open University) — This game is designed to highlight how privacy and consent work online. Players make decisions about which information they reveal, who they reveal it to and why. For example, you may decide to trade some information for gifts when shopping on a website; or you may decide to keep other information secret when posting on a social networking site. (via BoingBoing)
  3. statwing — very easy analysis and visualization of data.
  4. duraconfa collection of hardened configuration files for SSL/TLS services. It’s easy to reduce crypto effectiveness with crappy choices and options, so it’s good to have solid configurations to go from.
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Four short links: 15 October 2012

Four short links: 15 October 2012

DIY Thermal Camera, Watching Trolls Wither, Discovering Dark Social, and Student Mobile Phone Use

  1. Cheap Thermocam — cheap thermal imaging camera, takes about a minute to capture an image. (via IEEE Spectrum)
  2. Observations on What’s Getting Downvoted (Ars Technica) — fascinating piece of social work, showing how the community polices (or reacts to) trolls. (via Hacker News)
  3. Dark Social (The Atlantic) — Just look at that graph. On the one hand, you have all the social networks that you know. They’re about 43.5 percent of our social traffic. On the other, you have this previously unmeasured darknet that’s delivering 56.5 percent of people to individual stories. This is not a niche phenomenon! It’s more than 2.5x Facebook’s impact on the site.
  4. A Tethered WorldAll students, across all 56 represented countries, are doing generally the same few things. Facebook and Twitter, above all else, are the predominant tools for all information use among the participants. The predominance of these few tools are creating a homogenizing influence around the world.
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Four short links: 2 October 2012

Four short links: 2 October 2012

3D Parts, ISP Surveillance, Sensors for Espionage, and Typed Javascript

  1. Print Your Own 3D Parts (Wired) — Teenage Engineering, makers of a popular synthesizer known as the OP-1, posted the 3-D design files of various components on digital object repository Shapeways, and is instructing 3-D printer-equipped users to print them out instead of buying them.
  2. Legacy Media Demanding Surveillance In ISPsmusic rights groups including the Recording Industry Association of Japan say they have developed a system capable of automatically detecting unauthorized music uploads before they even hit the Internet. But to do that they need to be able to spy on Internet users’ connections and compare data being transferred with digital fingerprints held in an external database. That can only be achieved with the assistance of Internet service providers who would be asked to integrate the system deeply into their networks. It’s Japan for now …
  3. Sensors for Industrial Espionage (NPR) — Genscape also places electromagnetic monitors beneath the power lines running into the Cushing tank farms to measure their power usage. This gives them an idea of how much oil is being pumped into and out of Cushing.
  4. TypeScript — Apache2 licensed typed superset of JavaScript that compiles to plain JavaScript.
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Four short links: 25 September 2012

Four short links: 25 September 2012

Disappearing Optimism, Delayed Drones, Multicore Conference, and Massive 3D Printer

  1. Stewart Brand Interview (Wired) — full of interesting tidbits. This line from the interviewer, Kevin Kelly, resonated: One other trajectory I have noticed about the past 20 years: Excitement about the future has waned. The future is deflating. It is simply not as desirable as it once was. (via Matt Jones)
  2. Commercial Use of Small Drones Still Without RegulationsFAA officials have also been working for the past five years on regulations to allow commercial use of small drones, which are generally defined as weighing less than 55-pounds and flying at altitudes under 4,000 feet. The agency has drafted regulations that were initially expected to be published late last year, but have been repeatedly delayed. Five years. That’s as long as the iPhone has existed. Just sayin’. (via Jim Stogdill)
  3. Multicore World 2013 — conference just for multicore. Check out the last conference’s program for what to expect. No word on whether it’ll have parallel sessions, ho ho ho.
  4. Turning a Shipping Container into a 3D Printer — a walk-in printer. AWESOME.
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Four short links: 21 September 2012

Four short links: 21 September 2012

Farm Servers, Federal GitHub Activity, Industrial Robots, and Crowdfunding Medical Appliances

  1. Business Intelligence on FarmsMachines keep track of all kinds of data about each cow, including the chemical properties of its milk, and flag when a particular cow is having problems or could be sick. The software can compare current data with historical patterns for the entire herd, and relate to weather conditions and other seasonal variations. Now a farmer can track his herd on his iPad without having to get out of bed, or even from another state. (via Slashdot)
  2. USAxGITHUB — monitor activity on all the US Federal Government’s github repositories. (via Sarah Milstein)
  3. Rethinking Robotics — $22k general purpose industrial robot. “‘It feels like a true Macintosh moment for the robot world,’ said Tony Fadell, the former Apple executive who oversaw the development of the iPod and the iPhone. Baxter will come equipped with a library of simple tasks, or behaviors — for example, a “common sense” capability to recognize it must have an object in its hand before it can move and release it.” (via David ten Have)
  4. Shift LabsShift Labs makes low-cost medical devices for resource-limited settings. [Crowd]Fund the manufacture and field testing of the Drip Clip […] a replacement for expensive pumps that dose fluid from IV bags.
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Four short links: 20 September 2012

Four short links: 20 September 2012

Distributing Content, Effective Project Dictatorship, Ubiquitous Hardware, Wheelcasts

  1. The Shape of the Internet Has Changed98 percent of internet traffic now consists of content that can be stored on servers. 45% of Internet traffic today is from CDNs, and a handful of them at that, which makes CDNs like Artur Bergman’s fastly super-important. (via Donald Clark)
  2. Be a Good Dictator (Rowan Simpson) — There is no shortage of advice online about how to be a good designer or a good software developer. But what about advice for those who aspire to be good product dictators? Guidance seems pretty thin on the ground. […] Being a deep expert in just one area is not enough for good dictators. You need to be a polymath living at an intersection.
  3. Hardware is Dead7-inch tablet, Wi-Fi only with all the attributes of a good tablet. Capacitive touchscreen. Snappy processor. Front facing camera. 4GB of internal memory and an expandable memory slot. for USD75. At these levels there is almost no profit margin left in the hardware business. A $45 tablet is cheap enough to be an impulse purchase at the check-out line in Best Buy. A $45 price puts tablets within reach of a whole host of other activities not traditionally associated with computers. (via Steve Bowbrick)
  4. Car Transmissions and Syncromesh (YouTube) — cheesy old Chevy educational movie that does a great job of explaining how manual transmissions work. Such videos were the screencasts for the auto DIY folks. (via Nat Friedman)
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Four short links: 17 September 2012

Four short links: 17 September 2012

Aaron Swartz, Baghdad Makerspace, Teaching in Africa, and Ephemeral People

  1. Aaron Swartz Defense Fund — American computer systems are under attack every day of the week from foreign governments, and the idiot prosecutor is wasting resources doubling down on this vindictive nonsense.
  2. Baghdad Community Hackerspace Workshops (Kickstarter) — Makerspace in Baghdad, built by people who know how to do this stuff in that country. (via BoingBoing)
  3. Teaching Web Development in AfricaI used the resources that Pamela Fox helpfully compiled at teaching-materials.org to mentor twelve students who all built their own websites, such as websites for their karate club, fashion club, and traditional dance troupe. One student made a website to teach others about the hardware components of computers, and another website discussing the merits of a common currency in the East African Community. The two most advanced students began programming their own computer game to help others practice touch typing, and it allows players to compete across the network with WebSockets.
  4. Transient Faces (Jeff Howard) — only displaying the unchanging parts of a scene, effectively removing people using computer vision. Disconcerting and elegant. (via Greg Borenstein)
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Four short links: 5 September 2012

Four short links: 5 September 2012

DIY Spectrometry, Mind-Controlled Drones, Javascript Games, and Open Source Font

  1. DIY Spectrometry KitThis open hardware kit costs only $35, but has a range of more than 400-900 nanometers, and a resolution of as high as 3 nm. A spectrometer is essentially a tool to measure the colors absorbed by a material. You can construct this one yourself from a piece of a DVD-R, black paper, a VHS box, and an HD USB webcam.
  2. Mind-Controlled Drones — Chinese demo of EEG to Bluetooth to laptop to wifi to UAV.
  3. Pac-Man in Javascript — in-browser loving recreation of a bunch of original Pac-Man games, with source on github. Cf this article on building Atari Arcade in CreateJS. (via Javascript Weekly)
  4. Source Sans — Adobe’s first open source typeface.
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Four short links: 27 August 2012

Four short links: 27 August 2012

Broadband Data, Being Evil, DIY Access Control, and In-Place Web Page Editing

  1. International Broadband Pricing Study Dataset for Reuse3,655 fixed and mobile broadband retail price observations, with fixed broadband pricing data for 93 countries and mobile broadband pricing data for 106 countries.
  2. The Dictator’s Practical Internet Guide to Power Retention — tongue-in-cheek “The goal of this guide is to provide leaders of authoritarian, autocratic, theocratic, totalitarian and other single-leader or single-party regimes with a basic set of guidelines on how to use the internet to ensure you retain the most power for the longest time. The best way to achieve this is to never have your authority contested. This guide will accompany you in the obliteration of political dissidence. By having everyone agree with you, or believe that everyone agrees with you, your stay at the head of state will be long and prosperous.” (via BoingBoing)
  3. Ultra Cinnamon (GitHub) — arduino-based monitor & access system for restricted locations.
  4. CKEditor Beta 4 Out — moving to Github, added inline editing. (via Javascript Weekly)
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Four short links: 7 August 2012

Four short links: 7 August 2012

DIY Medical Devices, 3D Exoskeletal Arms, Scientific Data Depository, and Zombees

  1. Why Toys Make Good Medical Devices (YouTube) — Jose Gomez-Marquez profiled by CNN. His group at MIT is Little Devices.
  2. 3D Printed Exoskeletal Arms for Little Girlresearchers at a Delaware hospital 3D printed a durable custom device with the tiny, lightweight custom parts she needed. Good for iterations, replacements, and an astonishingly high number of “awww” moments in the video.
  3. Figshareallows researchers to publish all of their data in a citable, searchable and sharable manner. All data is persistently stored online under the most liberal Creative Commons licence, waiving copyright where possible. figshare was started by a frustrated Imperial College PhD student as a way to disseminate all research outputs and not just static images through traditional academic publishing. It is now supported by Digital Science, a Macmillan Publishers company.
  4. Zombeeshoney bees that have been parasitized by the Zombie Fly Apocephalus borealis. Fly-parasitized honey bees become “ZomBees” showing the “zombie-like behavior” of leaving their hives at night on “a flight of the living dead.” See also NPR interview.
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