- As a Working Manager (Ian Bicking) — I look forward to every new entry in Ian’s diary, and this one didn’t disappoint. But I’m a working manager. Is now the right time to investigate that odd log message I’m seeing, or to think about who I should talk to about product opportunities? There’s no metric to compare the priority of two tasks that are so far apart. If I am going to find time to do development I am a bit worried I have two options: (1) Keep doing programming after hours; (2) Start dropping some balls as a manager.
- Introducing Yosemite (Facebook) — a modular chassis that contains high-powered system-on-a-chip (SoC) processor cards.
- The Joyless World of Data-Driven Startups — There is so much invisible, fluid context wrapped around a data point that we are usually unable to fully comprehend exactly what that data represents or means. We often think we know, but we rarely do. But we really WANT it to mean something, because using data in our work is scientific. It’s not our decision that was wrong — we used the data that was available. Data is the ultimate scapegoat.
- History of the Urban Dashboard — the dashboard and its user had to evolve in response to one another. The increasing complexity of the flight dashboard necessitated advanced training for pilots — particularly through new flight simulators — and new research on cockpit design.
"open source hardware" entries
Turning a hobby into a company just got a lot easier.
Download a free copy of “Building a Hardware Business,” a curated collection of chapters from our IoT library. Editor’s note: this post is an excerpt from “The Hardware Startup,” by Renee DiResta, Brady Forrest, Ryan Vinyard, which is included in the curated collection.
Over the past five years, we’ve begun to witness the emergence of Maker pros: entrepreneurs who started out as hobbyists and now want to turn their creations into full-fledged companies. The difference between a project and a product is the difference between making one and making many.
To turn a project into a company, the product has to be scalable. “Making many” has traditionally been a problem of cost and accessibility; it’s historically been both expensive and difficult to manufacture. Growing a company further requires keeping costs low enough to profit, setting up distribution channels, and managing fulfillment. Over the past few years, several trends have combined to create an environment that’s mitigated those problems. This has resulted in the growth of a hardware startup ecosystem.
Advances in rapid prototyping technologies have fundamentally changed the process of taking an idea from paper to the physical world. Hobbyist and prosumer-level 3D printers, CNC routers, and laser cutters have altered the landscape of personal fabrication, enabling quick and affordable iteration. While 3D printing has been around since the 1980s, the cost of a machine has dropped dramatically. Materials such as metals and ceramics enable higher-fidelity models. Cloud-based fabbing services, such as Ponoko and Shapeways, can produce a single prototype and ship it to you within a week — no need to own the printer yourself! Inexpensive boards (such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and BeagleBone) make electronics prototyping accessible to everyone. As interest in the Internet of Things has grown, products such as Spark Core and Electric Imp (startups themselves) have hit the market to make connected-device prototyping fast and easy. Simultaneously, computer-aided design (CAD) software has become more sophisticated, more affordable, and easier to use. Read more…
Retired General James E. Cartwright says the future of warfare needs better human-machine interfaces and adaptable platforms.
As the United States military marches further into the age of networked warfare, data networks and the mobile platforms to distribute and access them will become even more important.
This fall, the (retired) eighth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff described a potential future of the military that’s founded not only in open source thinking, but in next-generation user interfaces and biohacking straight out of science fiction. If even some of the strategic thinking he described at this year’s Military Open Source Conference in D.C. is applied to how the technology that supports the next generation of war fighters is built, dramatic evolutionary changes could cascade down the entire supply chain of one of the world’s biggest organizations.
In his remarks, James E. “Hoss” Cartwright, a four-star general who retired from the United States Marine Corps in August 2011, outlined a strategic need to make military technology more modular, based upon open standards and adaptable on the battlegrounds of the future.
Cartwright, the first holder of the Harold Brown Chair in Defense Policy Studies for the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a member of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, and an adviser to several corporate entities in the defense industry, is well placed to have an informed and influential opinion.
Over the course of his talk at the Military Open Source Conference, Cartwright outlined how open source software models could be applied to hardware, making vehicles into adaptable platforms for different missions, not vertically integrated programs that can take a decade or longer to design, build or change. Read more…
Last year, for Ada Lovelace Day, I wrote a post about why I admire Limor Fried, the founder and CEO of Adafruit Industries. This year, I thought I'd talk about Limor again, both because she is such a great example of the engineer/entrepreneur, and because she's working in an emerging area that still isn't being taken as seriously as it…
By combining OpenStack with Facebook's OpenCompute project, Nebula could bring cloud computing to everyone.
Newly launched Nebula will combine open source software with open source hardware developed into an appliance. If Nebula succeeds, its "cloud controller" could enable every company to implement cloud computing.
- 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.