- 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)
"moore’s law" entries
Power limitations with mobile devices are just the tip of the iceberg.
I’ve spent the past decade of my professional life working to enable connectivity everywhere with Wi-Fi. Back when I started working with Wi-Fi, it was a way of connecting laptops to the network more easily. These days, Wi-Fi is more likely to be used as a way of getting an entirely new type of device connected — a phone, tablet, or even a sensor or automation device.
The downside to all this mobile computing is that batteries are not keeping up with the demands placed on them. Computing power grows exponentially, following Moore’s Law, but the ability of batteries to store energy grows much more slowly. To take one example, the battery capacity of the various models of iPhone have grown about 15% since its introduction, but the increase in the capabilities of the device has far exceeded that mere 15% growth.
Engineers working on battery technology continue to eke out gains, and the energy storage capability of lithium rechargeable batteries is high. According to one memorable turn of phrase, the energy density of lithium batteries is now comparable to hand grenades, even if it is only about 4% of the density of gasoline. Read more…
CS for Kids, Pwn in a Box, Mobile Companions, and 8-bit Linux
Web Stack Catalogue, DIY Microscopes, Open Source Covenant, and Moore's Law Redux
- StackParts — catalogue of different parts of the open source web stack, from Joshua Schachter. He’s looking for helpers.
- DIY Microsocopes — Keeling’s lowfi contraption, featured in MAKE magazine and virally spreading across science classrooms the country over, is bringing microscopes not just to eye level, but street level. Blowtorch and pipette glass makes for a Leeuwenhoek microscope.
- The Covenant — Lexis Nexis are open sourcing their Hadoop-alike. They want to dual-license, requiring contributor copyright assignment, but copyright assignment and dual-licensing have a bad rep in the open source world because companies can subsequently abandon the open source component. Bruce Perens crafted a covenant: each copyright assignment of a patch can only happen if the company agrees not to abandon the open source project for three years. This document is a good read, though, for a lot more of the thinking behind the agreement. Unfortunate name, though: The Covenant were the villains in the Halo game.
- Ben Hammersley on The Future — Moore’s Law means anything that is dismissed on the grounds of the technology-not-being-good-enough-yet is going to happen. In a fantastic talk (I linked to Ben’s notes), this sentence jumped out. I hadn’t really appreciated this before, but it is absolutely true.