ISS

Video Urthecast Brings You Earth Images and Videos from the ISS (Video) 16 16

Most of us probably won't ever visit the International Space Station (ISS) and look down at the Earth (motto: "The only planet we know has beer, so let's not ruin it"). Looking at pictures and videos made by cameras mounted on the ISS is about as close as we're going to get. There's already an ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment on Ustream, but Urthecast is putting out higher-definition images than what you see on Ustream, and has plans to put out even clearer images and video before long. While Urthecast is likely to accumulate plenty of "oohs" and "aahhs" as it rolls along, according to CEO Scott Larson their real objective is to sell imagery -- and not necessarily just from the visible light band of the overall spectrum -- to industrial and government users. People like us are still invited to look at (and marvel at) lovely images of our planetary home.

NOTE: Today's video is about 4:30 long. If you want to watch and listen to more of Mr. Larson, we have a second "bonus" (Flash) video for you. Or you can read the transcript, which covers both videos.
GNU is Not Unix

Video Purism Offers Free (as in Freedom) Laptops (Video) 75 75

Purism uses its own OS, PureOS, which is a Debian derivative by way of Ubuntu and other members of the Debian-derivative family, but with no taint of proprietary code. Now imagine all the binaries stripped out of the Linux kernel, making it closer to the FSF ideal of a 100% free operating system than the Linux kernel in use almost everywhere else.

They're still using a proprietary BIOS, but have people working on a Free one. The main thing, though, is that Purism is working to give you all the privacy and freedom they can -- with more coming as they keep working to replace proprietary bits of the OS, BIOS, and hardware drivers with Free Software. Best of all, even if you don't need a new laptop right now, you can download PureOS and run it on any compatible hardware you already own.
Security

Video Veteran IT Journalist Worries That Online Privacy May Not Exist (Video) 43 43

Tom Henderson is a long-time observer of the IT scene, complete with scowl and grey goatee. And cynicism. Tom is a world-class cynic, no doubt about it. Why? Cover enterprise IT security and other computing topics long enough for big-time industry publications like ITWorld and its IDG brethren, and you too may start to think that no matter what you do, your systems will always have (virtual) welcome mats in front of them, inviting crackers to come in and have a high old time with your data.

Note: Alert readers have probably noticed that we talked with Tom about cloud security back in March. Another good interview, worth seeing (or reading).
Hardware Hacking

Video You3dit is Working to Help Crowdsource 3D Design and Printing (Video) 12 12

The example you3dit (You 3D It) person Chris McCoy uses in this video is a prosthetic hand they wanted to make because one of their people lost fingers in a construction accident. Instead of drawing up plans for a new hand, they searched online -- and found enablingthefuture.org, which is all about making 3-D printed prosthetic hands. Using a predesigned hand was obviously much simpler than starting from scratch, and was totally in line with the Open Source "Why reinvent the wheel?" philosophy.

So you3dit helps make 3-D printed items of one sort or another, and can either print them for you at their place or help you find someone local to help with the printing, assuming you can't do it yourself. As you might expect, they did a Kickstarter project. It was for a product called Raver Rings. Unlike many Kickstarter projects we mention on Slashdot, this one didn't fly. In fact, it only got $2,275 in pledges against a $10,000 goal. No matter. There are many other useful things the you3dit community can make -- or help you make -- without Kickstarter.
Open Source

Video Meet OpenDaylight Project Executive Director Neela Jacques (Video) 14 14

The OpenDaylight Project works on Software Defined Networking. Their website says, "Software Defined Networking (SDN) separates the control plane from the data plane within the network, allowing the intelligence and state of the network to be managed centrally while abstracting the complexity of the underlying physical network." Another quote: it's the "largest software-defined networking Open Source project to date." The project started in 2013. It now has an impressive group of corporate networking heavyweights as sponsors and about 460 developers working on it. Their latest release, Lithium, came out earlier this month, and development efforts are accelerating, not slowing down, because as cloud use becomes more prevalent, so does SDN, which is an obvious "hand-in-glove" fit for virtualized computing.

Today's interview is with OpenDaylight Project Executive Director Nicolas "Neela" Jacques, who has held this position since the project was not much more than a gleam in (parent) Linux Foundation's eye. This is one of the more important Linux Foundation collaborative software projects, even if it's not as well known to the public as some of the foundation's other efforts, including -- of course -- GNU/Linux itself.
Mars

Interviews: Shaun Moss Answers Your Questions About Mars and Space Exploration 48 48

Recently the founder of the Mars Settlement Research Organization and author of The International Mars Research Station Shaun Moss agreed to sit down and answer any questions you had about space exploration and colonizing Mars. Below you will find his answers to your questions.
Education

Video CanSat Helps Students Make & Launch Sub-Orbital 'Satellites' (Video) 22 22

The Magnitude (motto: "Powered by Curiosity") "Can-sized satellites" aren't technically satellites because they're launched on rockets that typically can't get much higher than 10,000 feet, or as payloads on weather balloons that can hit 100,000+ feet but (obviously) can't go beyond the Earth's atmosphere. But could they be satellites? Sure. Get a rocket with enough punch to put them in orbit and off you go -- something Magnitude Co-founder and CEO Ted Tagami hopes to see happening in his local school district by 2020. Meanwhile, they'll sell you assembled CanSat packages or help you build your own (or anything in between), depending on your schools resources and aspirations. Have a question or an idea? Talk to Ted. He'd love to hear from you. Use the Magnitude Web form or send email to hello at magnitude dot io. Either way works.
Networking

Video How Will IT Workers' Roles Change in the Next Five Years? (Video) 138 138

We asked Sarah Lahav this question. She's founder and CEO of service management and help desk software company SysAid, and a staunch supporter of Sysadmin Appreciation Day, so keeping an eye on the future of IT is essential for her company, her clients, and the friends she's made in her years as an IT person and -- later -- IT service company executive. As she says in the interview, "[Some] people say that the IT person will not exist because everything will go to the cloud. And the other half claims that people from the IT [department] will have new skills. It wouldn’t be the same IT person as we know him now, there will be focus more on firewalls than on fixing computers and stuff like that." Is she right? Is she wrong? Or will changes in IT people's roles be so different from company to company that there is no one right answer?
Education

Interviews: Ask Dr. Temple Grandin About Animals and Autism 131 131

Being listed in the "Time 100" of the most influential people in the world in the "Heroes" category, is just one of the many awards received by Temple Grandin. Diagnosed with autism at the age of two, Temple overcame many obstacles and earned a doctoral degree in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a professor at Colorado State University. Dr, Grandin is recognized as an expert in animal behavior and one of the leading advocates for the rights of autistic persons. She lectures, and has written numerous books on animals and autism, and was the subject of the award-winning, biographical film, Temple Grandin . Dr. Grandin has agreed to take some time out of her schedule to answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.
Hardware Hacking

Video Keyboardio is a Hackable 'Artisanal Keyboard' That's Already Kickstarted (Video) 46 46

I bumped into Jesse Vincent and his keyboard project called Keyboardio at last year's Solid conference. Then, it was a developing project with a lot of literally rough edges, but since I'm a bit of a keyboard enthusiast, it grabbed my attention. In the time since, his plan to bring a truly hackable keyboard to the world has gained momentum, and the dozens of layouts and material combinations that he and partner in design Kaia Dekker have considered have been boiled down into one nearly-ready final version. The result is a compact split keyboard housed in an "heirloom quality" wooden case. It has some features you might consider overwrought -- like an RGB LED beneath each key, a precision mouse feature via WASD keys, and the ability, theoretically, to put more than a dozen feet between each half of the board. But if you're designing a keyboard from scratch, why not?

Vincent and Dekker put their project onto Kickstarter, then spent weeks on a road trip showing it at hacker and maker spaces around the U.S.; the project updates make a nice travelogue about just how widespread and varied is the world of DIY culture. I caught up with him in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on the road between some of those demo gigs, to talk about the long path from idea to (hopefully) shipping a product to backers. By the time we had this conversation, the project was well past fully funded, andI was impressed enough to order one myself; hopefully, the clicky keys will be worth the cost of a middlin' Chromebook, though Vincent admits they're not going to fool anyone looking for a buckling spring action. On the other hand, at least at the Kickstarter price, it beats some of the Maltron keyboards I've been eyeing for years. Plus, it comes with a screwdriver.
Space

Video Planet Labs Has Launched Over 100 Imaging Satellites with Many More to Come (Video) 15 15

According to a recent CNN article, Planet Labs produces Great photos of Earth from the world's smallest satellites. Most satellites these days are about the size of a car. Planet Labs micro-satellites are closer to the size of a shoebox. The company was founded in 2012 and has attracted major venture capital. They're using that money to launch an ever-increasing number of Flocks (their word) of satellites they call "Doves," which are basically nothing but cameras and simple comm equipment, along with solar panels, batteries, and control circuitry required to make everything work. Interviewee Shaun Meehan gets into most of this in the video; for more detail, please read the transcript.
Games

Interviews: Ask Brianna Wu a Question 727 727

Brianna Wu is the head of development at Giant Spacekat, a company specializing in cinematic experiences using the Unreal engine. She’s also a frequent speaker on women-in-tech issues and was one of several women subjected to a campaign of attacks in Gamergate. Wu has worked as a journalist and politico. She currently has a patreon campaign which helps to offset the costs of doing speaking engagements and work to further the goals of feminism and women in tech. Brianna has agreed to give us some of her time and answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.
Open Source

Video MetaMorph Helps non-Engineers Design Circuits (Video) 21 21

MetaMorph grew out of Vanderbilt University’s Institute for Software Integrated Systems. The introduction video you see here explains and steps you through its basic operation. The second "bonus" video goes a little deeper into the software's function. And the transcript covers everything in both videos, so if you prefer reading to watching you aren't left out -- except for the visual design process walk-through, of course. It's all open source, and their site has free demos available, so if you want to try your hand at designing circuitry with MetaMorph, go right ahead.