- SideStep — Mac OS X program that automatically routes connections through a secure proxy when you’re on an unsecured wifi network. (via Gina Trapani)
- Junkyard Jumbotron (MIT) — lets you take a bunch of random displays and instantly stitch them together into a large, virtual display, simply by taking a photograph of them. It works with laptops, smartphones, tablets — anything that runs a web browser. It also highlights a new way of connecting a large number of heterogenous devices to each other in the field, on an ad-hoc basis.
- Kinect-Controlled Tesla Coil (YouTube) — “now say: Fools, I’ll Destroy You All!”. (via AdaFruit)
ENTRIES TAGGED "makers"
Twitter Numbers, Online News, Emotional Complexity, and Making Described
- Twitter Numbers — growing at half a million accounts a day (how many are spammers, d’ya think?), over 140M tweets sent each day.
- Online vs Newspaper News (Mashable) — The Poynter Institute, a landmark of American journalism research, has determined that as of the end of 2010, more people get their news from the Internet than from newspapers — and more ad dollars went to online outlets than to newspapers, too. (via Sacha Judd)
- Blue Lacuna: Lessons Learned Writing the World’s Longest Interactive Fiction (PDF) — While I felt Progue was largely a success, the extreme complexity of the character’s code made difficulties with him both intensely difficult to diagnose and repair, and failures all the more mimesis-breaking for an engaged audience. In addition, the subtle text substitutions and altered behaviors provided in many cases too opaque a window into Progue’s interior workings. From informal interviews and published reviews I gathered that players could often not tell which conversation responses might cause Progue to become more submissive, paternal, and so on. In many cases, the change was not noticeable at all, and did not successfully indicate to players that their actions had had an eect on the character. More mechanisms to let the player shape their relationship with Progue more directly might have created a stronger feeling of agency for players, and an increased ability to shape the story more to their liking. Lessons for people designing complex emotional states into their products. (via Zack Urlocker)
- From Head to Hand (Slate) — I was searching for the place where someone, anyone, writes about that epiphany where you see what you have made and it is different from what you had conceived. I was searching for a description of how an object can displace a bit of the world. I was avid. I wanted someone to write a description of Homo faber, the maker of things. I wanted a story of making told without the penumbra of romanticising how hard it is, without nostalgia.
The first challenge: create kits that can be built in a classroom and sent on-board suborbital flights.
If you are fascinated by space, it's a great time for you to be able to do something as a maker and make a real contribution. Makers can now participate in a new kind of space program, one that expands beyond NASA to include commercial space collaboration.
RSS Dashboard, Hardware Filesharing, Making is Learning, and Revenue/Customer
- NiftyUrls — open source elegant wee RSS dashboard. I haven’t looked into the source yet, but I’m already thinking of applications.
- The PirateBox — small piece of hardware that creates a wifi network for local filesharing. Not connected to the Internet. (via BoingBoing)
- More Hammer, Less Yammer (Julian Bleecker) — If you’re not also making — you’re sort of, well..basically you’re not doing much at all. You’ve only done a rough sketch of an idea if you’ve only talked about it and didn’t do the iteration through making, then back to thinking and through again to talking and discussing and sharing all the degrees of material — idea, discussions, conversations, make some props, bring those to the discussion, repeat. Why O’Reilly prefers makers to fakers.
- Revenue per Unique Visitor (BusinessInsider) — Amazon makes $189/user, Google $24/user, Yahoo! $8/user, Facebook $4/user. (via Greg Linden)
Educators discover how hands-on learning can help teach writing.
When I began talking with folks from the National Writing Project last year, we hit on the idea that getting teachers to see themselves as makers was a great way to encourage making in schools.
If the DIY Desktop CNC Machine gets funded, we'll be closer to personal replicators.
The DIY Desktop CNC Machine project on Kickstarter could bring reasonably-priced 3D fabrication technology to the masses.
- How MOS 6502 Illegal Opcodes Really Work — first time I’ve really seen the chip architecture linked to the machine code and assembly language in an explanation. This should also shut up anyone who thinks I don’t post enough hard tech stuff to Four Short Links :-)
- Ecologists from Nature to Networks (Scientific American) — interesting profile of two ecologists, one who gets his feet wet on an island studying an ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest, the other who uses computers to study scientific disciplines as though they were ecosystems. (via Tim O’Reilly on Twitter)
- Insights into DIY Project Communities (Instructables) — results of a survey on Instructables. Interesting to see that people participate for the same reasons open source developers participate [PDF]: to learn and to create. (via Ponoko blog)
- A Room to Let in Old Aldgate — a lovely collection of photographs of lost buildings from The Society for Photographing Relics of Old London. Think of them as the Wayback Machine of their day. (via Fiona Rigby on Twitter)
- Wikipedia Fundraising A/B Tests — get a glimpse into the science that resulted in Jimmy Wales’s hollow haunted gaze staring at you with the eerie intensity of a creepy hobo talking about how tasty human liver is.
- It Takes A Lot of Money to Stay in Business (Ponoko) — guest blogs by Chris Anderson on the lessons and rules of maker businesses. Most Maker businesses that I’ve talked to have to hold parts inventory closer to 25% of their annual sales.
School tech should start with a simple question: Will students absorb others' ideas or make their own?
Today's technology lets us choose if we want to absorb other people's ideas or build our our own. Shouldn't that be starting point when we argue about the role of technology in schools?