- OpenPCR Shipping — A PCR machine is basically a copy machine for DNA. It is essential for most work with DNA, things like exposing fraud at a sushi restaurant, diagnosing diseases including HIV and H1N1, or exploring your own genome. The guy who discovered the PCR process earned a Nobel Prize in 1993, and OpenPCR is now the first open source PCR machine. The price of a traditional PCR machine is around $3,000. This one is $512 and would go well with Ben Krasnow’s Scanning Electron Microscope. Biological tools get closer to hobbyist/hacker prices. (via Gabriella Coleman)
- Apple App Store Figures (Fast Company) — 1 billion apps in a month, 200M iOS users, $2.5B revshare to developers so far (implying a further $5.8B revenue kept by Apple). Another reminder of the astonishing money to be made by riding the mainstreaming of tech: as we move from dumb phones to smart phones, the market for Apple’s products and App Store sales will continue to rise. We’re not at the fighting-for-market-share stage yet, it’s still in the boom. (via Stephen Walli)
- Open Hardware Repository — open source digital hardware projects, such as a tool for generating VHDL/Verilog cores which implement Wishbone bus slaves with certain registers, memory blocks, FIFOs and interrupts. CERN just approved an open license for hardware designs. (via CERN)
- Wingu — SaaS startup to help scientists manage, analyze, and share data. Recently invested by Google, it’s one of several startups for scientists, such as Macmillan’s Digital Science which is run by Timo Hannay who is one of the convenors of Science Foo Camp. (via Alex Butler)
"open hardware" entries
DIY Bio Hardware, App Store Numbers, Open Hardware Repository, and Science Startups
Bounty Paid, C Archived, Blind Queried, and Links Shared
- Open Kinect — less than a week after the bounty for developing an open source driver for Microsoft’s Kinect controller was announced, it is claimed. libfreenect is the software.
- CCAN — the Comprehensive C Archive Network.
- TextCAPTCHAs — simple questions, written in English, that are accessible to blind users.
- F1 — Mozilla browser extension for sharing links via Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail. (via Chris Blizzard on Twitter)
Chrome Extensions in Firefox, AUI Opened, Closing Open Hardware, Fixing Science Metrics
- Chrome Extensions Manager for Firefox — lets you run Chrome extensions in Firefox. I don’t think, though, that people choose Chrome over Firefox for the extensions (quite the opposite, in fact).
- Open Source Ethics and Dead End Derivatives — open source hardware is dealing with the problem of people changing open source designs but not publishing their modified source. Open source software hasn’t found an efficient and reproducible mechanism for dealing with this, though I’d love to be shown one. (via bre on Twitter)
- Let’s Make Science Metrics More Scientific (Nature) — excellent paper about the problem of the metrics for measuring scientific performance are based around papers and citations, but fail to take into account teaching, mentoring, communicating, etc. (via dullhunk on Twitter)
Hardware, open source, and AI today:
- Geek Tour China 2009 — how did I miss this? Bunnie Huang has led a tour of China manufacturing for hardware hacking geeks. Read the blog posts from participants: here, here, here, here, and here. Just go ahead and add these bloggers to your feed reader: sweet sweet candy they post. My favourite: American Shanzai, asking where are the USA hackers like the Chinese who make working phones out of packets of cigarettes? But read the posts for giant single-digit LED clocks, markets of components from torn-down phones, and 280km of velcro/day machines.
- Open Source Hardware Central Bank — an interesting idea to fund the manufacture of larger runs than would be possible with self-funding, so as to achieve modest economies of scale. “Looking at Open Source Software, it’s a thriving ecosystems of communities, projects, and contributors. There are a few companies, but they mostly offer “paid-for” services like consulting, tech support, or custom code/build-to-order functionality. I’d like the same for Open Source Hardware. I’d like the money problem to go away for small contributors like me and others. And I’d like to help guys like Chris and Mike and Mark and David and Jake build more cool stuff because it’s fun.”
- Wolfram Alpha — everyone is skeptical because it smells like AI windmill tilting mixed with “my pet algorithms are the keys to the secrets of the universe!”, but it’ll be interesting to see what it looks like when it launches in May. “But what about all the actual knowledge that we as humans have accumulated? […] armed with Mathematica and NKS I realized there’s another way: explicitly implement methods and models, as algorithms, and explicitly curate all data so that it is immediately computable. […] I wasn’t at all sure it was going to work. But I’m happy to say that with a mixture of many clever algorithms and heuristics, lots of linguistic discovery and linguistic curation, and what probably amount to some serious theoretical breakthroughs, we’re actually managing to make it work. Pulling all of this together to create a true computational knowledge engine is a very difficult task.”
- Open Source, Open Standards, and Reuse: Government Action Plan — “So we consider that the time is now right to build on our record of fairness and achievement and to take further positive action to ensure that Open Source products are fully and fairly considered throughout government IT; to ensure that we specify our requirements and publish our data in terms of Open Standards; and that we seek the same degree of flexibility in our commercial relationships with proprietary software suppliers as are inherent in the open source world.” Great news from the UK!
Or, My Enterprise is Appliancized, Why Isn't Your Web? I wrote a couple of posts a while back that covered task-optimized hardware. This one was about a system that combined Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA's) with a commodity CPU platform to provide the sheer number crunching performance needed to break GSM encryption. This one looked at using task-appropriate efficient processors…