- Why Our Kids Should Be Taught To Code (Guardian) — if we don’t act now we will be short-changing our children. [...] their world will be also shaped and configured by networked computing and if they don’t have a deeper understanding of this stuff then they will effectively be intellectually crippled. They will grow up as passive consumers of closed devices and services, leading lives that are increasingly circumscribed by technologies created by elites working for huge corporations such as Google, Facebook and the like. We will, in effect, be breeding generations of hamsters for the glittering wheels of cages built by Mark Zuckerberg and his kind. (via Karl von Randow)
- The Pwn Plug — $770 gets you a wall-wart full of network attack tools and wifi for remote access. Plug and Pwn. (via Ars Technica)
- Mobile Phone as Companion Species (Matt Jones) — They see the world differently to us, picking up on things we miss. They adapt to us, our routines. They look to us for attention, guidance and sustenance. We imagine what they are thinking, and vice-versa.
- 8-Bit Linux — Ubuntu 9 ported to an 6.5KHz 8-bit CPU (running a 32-bit emulator because Linux itself requires at least a 32-bit system). Takes 2 hours to boot up the kernel, four more to get to a login prompt. Moore’s Law for the win: I’ve seen more than 1000x improvement in speed from my first computer (1MHz C64) to current (1.7GHz i5). (via Slashdot)
"hardware hack" entries
CS for Kids, Pwn in a Box, Mobile Companions, and 8-bit Linux
The Quantified Professor, Bus Monitor, Arduino Confessor, and Ethics of Deceit
- Examining His Own Body (Science Now) — Stanford prof. has sequenced his DNA and is now getting massively Quantified Self on his metabolism, infections, etc. This caught my eye: George Church, who has pioneered DNA sequencing technology and runs the Personal Genome Project* at Harvard Medical School in Boston that enrolls people willing to share genomic and medical information similar to what’s presented in the Cell report, says some might critique Snyder’s self-exam as merely anecdotal. “But one response is that it is the perfect counterpoint to correlative studies which lump together thousands of cases versus controls with relatively much less attention to individual idiosyncrasies,” Church says. “I think that N=1 causal analyses will be increasingly important.”
- Bus Arrival Monitor (John Graham-Cumming) — hacked a toy doubledecker bus with LED display feeding bus arrival info from the Transport for London API via a modded Linksys WRT router.
- Arduino Tool That Connects Each Board to Its Own Source (Ideo) — If you create something with Arduino and put it out into the world, there is no well-established link to the source. If you personally made the device, the source can get lost over time. If you didn’t create it, you could have a tough time tracking the source down. You have the physical device, why can’t it tell you where it’s code lives? I made a tool for Arduino called “Upload-And-Retrieve-Source” that for the most part solves this problem. (via Chris Spurgeon)
- Mike Daisey is a Liar and So Am I — I linked to the original This American Life story, so now I’m linking to the best commentary on their retraction of the story. This is an excellent piece on the ubiquity and ethics of Daiseyesque means-justifies-the-end for-a-good-cause deceit.
Squirrel Targeting with Computer Vision, Audio Recognition, Single Page Apps, and Persisting at Failing
- Militarizing Your Backyard With Python and Computer Vision (video) — using a water cannon, computer video, Arduino, and Python to keep marauding squirrel hordes under control. See the finished result for Yakkity Saxed moist rodent goodness.
- Soundbite — dialogue search for Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. Boris Soundbite quickly and accurately finds any word or phrase spoken in recorded media. Shoot squirrels with computer vision, search audio with computer hearing. We live in the future, people. (via Andy Baio)
- Why Finish Books? (NY Review of Books) — the more bad books you finish, the fewer good ones you”ll have time to start. Applying this to the rest of life is left as an exercise for the reader.
Crowdsourced Monitoring, DIY Neurobio, A Plethora of Memory Stick Computers
- Crowdsourcing Radiation Data in Japan (Freaklabs) — wardriving pollution detection.
- Backyard Brains — measuring electrical activity of a neuron in a cockroach leg. Astonishing how much science is within the reach of backyard hackers now. (via BoingBoing)
- Cotton Candy Stick Pre-Orders — a $200 Android computer on a USB stick, with HDMI out etc.
- Raspberry Pi Launches — $35 USB+CPU+video+audio ships. Interesting that both of these have come to fruition at the same time. Something is in the air. How will the world change when every memory stick is a computer, not just every phone?
Corruption Remains, Automated Instruction, Eolas Victory Incomplete, and CI Arduino Hack
- Why I Hate The STOCK Act (Clay Johnson) — an attempt to reform insider trading within government, but because Congress exempts itself from substantial penalties then it has little effect where it’s needed most. We won’t see change on the issues that matter to us (copyright, due process for Internet takedowns, privacy, etc.) while the lawmakers are distracted by money.
- Instruction Medium is the Message (Dan Meyer) — Print is a medium. Same as digital photos. Same as a teacher’s voice. Same as a YouTube video. Same as a podcast. These are all different media. And as we know, the medium is the message. The medium defines and constrains and sometimes distorts the message. The math that can be conveyed in a YouTube video is not the same math that can be conveyed in a digital photo or a podcast or a print textbook. Anything that can be replaced by a computer should be; it’s doubtful that successful widespread education consists only of things a computer can replace.
- Eolas Patent a Hollow Victory (Simon Phipps) — those who were extorted by the patent troll will go uncompensated, and the loss of one patent leaves their business model still intact. The patent system is extremely broken in the US, it’s a giant cost of doing business, a regulation-created tax that is paid to trolls instead of to the US Government. What idiot supports a tax that doesn’t go to the government? An ethically-corrupted one (see point 1 above).
- Monitor your Continuous Integration Server with Traffic Lights and an Arduino — nifty little hardware hack. It’s an example of making physical objects which control or portray virtual systems, and it’s tied into this Continuous Integration trend whereby software changes go live as soon as possible rather than being held off until 2am on the first Thursday of the month, when the IT team come in to manage the rollout of the new code. CI, in turn, is an example of failing early on something small rather than failing later and larger. (via Sandy Mamoli)
DRM Good for Amazon, Arduino Updated, Open Source Foundations, Distributed Search
- Cutting Their Own Throats (Charlie Stross) — DRM on ebooks gives Amazon a great tool for locking ebook customers into the Kindle platform. This essay is gold and so very true. Read, believe.
- v1.0 of Arduino Out — this is the dev environment, with language additions and lots of features in the libraries. Glad to see the 1.0 stamp put on this important piece of the homebrew hardware world.
- Koha and Why We Need Foundations — Simon Phipps looks into the Koha trademark dispute and says that it shows why open source needs foundations (collective IP ownership).
- Majestic-12 — a World Wide Web search engine based on concepts of distributing workload in a similar fashion achieved by successful projects such as SETI@home and distributed.net.
Android meets Arduino as the ADK and NFC allow new physical interfaces.
Brian Jepson and Tyler Moskowite discuss Near Field Communication, the Open Android Development Kit, and the role Android can play in hardware hacking.