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Hardware

A Bike Taillight that Goes Beyond Mere Taillighting (Video) 86

Posted by Roblimo
from the a-bike-light-that-plays-pong-on-your-back dept.
Meet David. Tim Lord ran into him at the 2014 Maker Faire Bay Area. He didn't have a display, and he wasn't obviously trying to sell anything or promote a Kickstarter campaign. He was just walking around with a panel full of LEDs that he wears as a backpack while riding his bike, which beats the heck out of regular bike taillights, even the blinky flashy ones a lot of us have these days. So good on you, David. This is your three minutes of Slashdot fame -- and please note, people, that you can now fast-forward through any preroll ads longer than 30 seconds, so you won't get bombed with multi-minute ads to watch a three minute Slashdot video. (Alternate video link)
Transportation

Not A Hoverboard, but Close (Video) 66

Posted by Roblimo
from the if-one-wheel-is-$1500,-does-the-two-wheeled-version-cost-$3000? dept.
It's a one-wheeled, self-balancing electric skateboard called (appropriately) the Onewheel. You can't buy one right now. They've already shipped all of their first production runs and still have Kickstarter backers' orders to fulfill. After that, though, they might make one for you -- if you come up with a deposit of $500 against a total price of $1499. Plus shipping. This may seem like a lot of money to some people, but enough folks have found it reasonable that Onewheel has sold out not just its first production run but also the second one. Their Kickstarter success was nothing short of amazing, with $630,862 raised although their goal was only $100,000. Inventor Kyle Doerksen is the man behind Onewheel, but he's also one of the people behind Faraday Bicycles, whose flagship model costs $3500 -- and whose initial production run is also sold out -- which means there are people around who are willing to pay $3500 for an electric bicycle instead of putting a motor kit on a used Schwinn for a total cost of less than $500 (with a little careful shopping). Alternate video link.
Hardware

Bunnie Huang Shows Off His Open Source Laptop (Video) 24

Posted by timothy
from the something-we've-been-waiting-for-since-1995 dept.
Bunnie Huang is both a hardware and software hacker, but that's greatly understating the case: renaissance man is more like it. Bunnie doesn't just tinker with one-off system modifications or console mods (though he's done that, too) -- he creates and repurposes at scale. (He's also an author, respected researcher with interesting thoughts on a wide range of topics, like how to think of the H1N1 flu from the point of view of a security researcher.) Bunnie's latest long-term project has been mentioned a few times on Slashdot: It's an open-source laptop computer that goes much farther than some other open-source hardware projects, and as a bonus includes an FPGA as well as a conventional -- but unusual -- processor. (Bunnie grants that there are still bits that aren't quite open source, but points out that we also don't have the software that runs the fabs; there's a point of diminishing returns.) A crowd funding campaign (via CrowdSupply) was successful enough to also fund several stretch goals, including a general purpose breakout board. I talked with Bunnie at the recent Bay Area Maker Faire. (Expect more from that show in coming weeks.) He walked us through the state of the hardware, and talked about some of the design decisions that go into making a computer that is of, by, and for hackers. (Alternate video link)
Hardware

Printed Circuits as Part of a 3-D Printed Object (Video) 42

Posted by timothy
from the next-thing-you-know-we'll-be-printing-electronic-ray-guns dept.
Affordable 3-D printing is still young; just a few years ago, it would have been nearly impossible to have an arbitrary three-dimensional piece of plastic (or resin, or sometimes metal) created from a software description in a box that fits on your desk. But in the several years the printing of *things* has moved fromquaint, quixotic, futzing-about hobby into something that works (fairly) reliably in ever more garages, schools, and hackerspaces, it's gotten good enough that you can now download and print quite a few objects that are available for download, or scan small items to replicate, or scan your friends to print out as statuettes. However, for the most part, these printed pieces are static, and finished. With care, you can print things like a chain, or even a ball joint, but you're still limited mostly to one basic material at a time. (Printing with multiple colors is getting easier, though.) If you want to print a flashlight or a robot, you'll need to add wires and other circuitry as a separate step. That's what the folks at Rabbit Proto (get it?) are trying to change. With the system they're working on, a filament printer is used to fabricate the object itself, but at the same time, both capacitive and conductive features can be baked -- or rather printed -- right in, with a separate print head. We talked with Alexandre Jais and Manal Dia of Rabbit Proto about how the system works, and why you might want to use it. (Alternate video link.)
Hardware

Printing 3-D Replicas of Human Beings with a Home Brew Printer (Video) 41

Posted by timothy
from the honey-i-shrunk-the-gamers dept.
When I bumped into Abram Thau at Metrix Createspace in Seattle's Capitol Hill, he showed me a few printed figurines, including a Storm Trooper (of the Star Wars variety), and I thought at first that he had printed them as duplicates of similar-sized commercial products. Not so: It turns out these are made-from-life, specifically from cos-players who have stood on Abram's human-suitable turntable (powered by a chicken rotisserie motor hooked to a 3-D printed pulley) while he scanned them in. Thau's apartment is practically shouting distance from Metrix, but that pulley was made on a large Deltabot filament printer in the corner of his living room. (A living room usefully cluttered with tools, bottles of resin, projectors in various states of repair, and more printed objects.) More interesting still, Thau's figurines are produced with a home-built resin printer. Resin is messier to work with than the filament feedstock of RepRap/Makerbot style printers (and the resin itself has a slight odor), but it allows different results. Overhanging pieces are possible without requiring elaborate support pieces built into the mesh, and the resulting product can be noticeably smoother than typical filament printing, though all 3-D printing techniques are getting better. Thau didn't buy one of the commercially available resin printers, though (like FormLabs's), but instead decided to build his own out of scavenged and off-the-shelf components. Budget concerns and improvisation rule the day (Thau is also a grad student, studying to be a middle school teacher): That means there's a book holding up the projector which is vital to curing the resin, and the printer's case is recycled from a previous one. The results look as good as the affordable commercial ones I've seen, and he's excited to teach others to make their own. Third-party resin makers and a robust market in used projectors mean that other hobbyists can follow his lead and turn their friends into figurines. (Alternate video link)
Your Rights Online

Interviews: Ask Jennifer Granick What You Will 58

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.
samzenpus (5) writes "Jennifer Granick was one of the primary crafters of a 2006 exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and served as the EFF's Civil Liberties Director. She has represented many high profile hackers during her career and was sought out by Aaron Swartz after his arrest. She currently serves as the Director of Civil Liberties for the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. Jennifer has agreed to answer your questions about security, electronic surveillance, data protection, copyright, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Please limit yourself to one question per post."
Cloud

Victoria Livshitz, Cloud Pioneer and Serial Entrepreneur (Video) 36

Posted by Roblimo
from the the-network-is-the-grid-computer-in-the-cloud dept.
Victoria is someone we'd all like to sit down with and learn from. She's worked as a software engineer for Ford, as an engineer for Sun, as founder and CEO of a company called Grid Dynamics, and as founder and CEO of her latest company, Qubell. Before that, she and her husband taught chess. Here's an article in which Victoria talks about "Envisioning a New Language" back in 2005 when she was still at Sun. Because of this and other early musings on what came to be called network computing, grid computing, and later cloud computing, Victoria has been called "the mother of the cloud." Maybe, maybe not. In any case, she knows a great deal about cloud developments. For this conversation she brought along Qubell's CTO, Stan Klimoff, who also knows his stuff.

This interview doesn't cover all we learned from Victoria and Stan, just all we could fit into our new "keep videos under 10 minutes" mandate, which we don't mind because, in return, there's a new button that lets you skip preroll ads longer than 30 seconds after only five seconds. Yay! We'll post another conversation with Victoria next week or the week after. We're looking forward to it and hope you are, too.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Linux Sucks (Video) 293

Posted by Roblimo
from the to-learn-how-badly-linux-sucks,-you-need-to-use-it-for-at-least-five-years dept.
How do we know Linux sucks? Because Bryan Lunduke says so. How did he become a Linux authority? By using Linux, of course. He has also written a kids Linux book, Linux for Hank, and a grown-up Linux book, Linux is Badass. But wait! That's not all! Bryan is also one of the people behind the infamous Bad Voltage podcast.

And now, for something slightly different: In moments of weakness, Bryan admits that maybe Linux suckage isn't total, and Linux may have a good point or two and maybe some of the suckage could be removed. Zounds! Is that possible? Watch our video chat with Bryan (and/or read the transcript) and see. Or watch the entire 44 minute speech he gave at the 2014 LinuxFest Northwest, which was the 5th (or maybe 6th) "Linux Sucks" speech he's given at LFNW. That makes this a tradition, not just a speech. So if you find yourself in or near Bellingham, Washington, in 2039 you might want to pop in and see if Bryan is still updating his "Linux Sucks" speech. He'll be the geezer hobbling to the front of the room with help from his AutoCane, a device sure to be developed between now and then -- which will no doubt run Linux. (Alternate video link)
Transportation

Interviews: Ask Travis Kalanick About Startups and Uber 79

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.
samzenpus (5) writes "Travis Kalanick founded Scour, where he had the distinction of being sued for $250 billion by more than 30 media companies, and peer-to-peer file-sharing company Red Swoosh, but he is probably best known for co-founding transportation network company Uber. Seeking to be 'Everyone's Private Driver', Uber operates in a number of cities world-wide but has met with some regulation issues, and controversy. Travis has agreed to take a break from arranging rides and answer your questions. Normal Slashdot interview rules apply."
Cloud

Don't Be a Server Hugger! (Video) 409

Posted by Roblimo
from the old-stewball-was-the-most-loyal-server-horse-we-ever-done-had dept.
Curtis Peterson says admins who hang onto their servers instead of moving into the cloud are 'Server Huggers,' a term he makes sound like 'Horse Huggers,' a phrase that once might have been used to describe hackney drivers who didn't want to give up their horse-pulled carriages in favor of gasoline-powered automobiles. Curtis is VP of Operations for RingCentral, a cloud-based VOIP company, so he's obviously made the jump to the cloud himself. And he has reassuring words for sysadmins who are afraid the move to cloud-based computing is going to throw them out of work. He says there are plenty of new cloud computing opportunities springing up for those who have enough initiative and savvy to grab onto them, by which he obviously means you, right?
NASA

Interviews: Ask Former Director of JPL Edward Stone About Space Exploration 58

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.
Edward Stone is a professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology who has served as project scientist for the Voyager program from 1972 to the present. Since the launch of the two Voyager spacecraft in 1977, Stone has coordinated the efforts of 11 teams of scientists in their investigations of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. He served as director of Jet Propulsion Laboratory from 1991 to 2001. Highlights of his career include: Galileo's five-year orbital mission to Jupiter, the launch of Cassini to Saturn, the launch of Mars Global Surveyor and a new generation of Earth science satellites such as TOPEX/Poseidon and SeaWinds, and the successful Mars Pathfinder landing in 1997. Dr. Stone has agreed to sit down with us and answer any questions you may have about his time at JPL and space exploration. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Education

The Foundry Will Soon be a Makerspace in Bellingham, Washington (Video) 35

Posted by Roblimo
from the maybe-one-day-we'll-have-4-D-printing-from-recycled-quantum-plastic dept.
The Foundry has people, tools, machines, and a place to operate. The only thing it lacks is insurance, and insurance is a problem because Chief Creative person Mary Keane's vision for The Foundry includes children instead of limiting membership and machine use to people over 18. Other makerspaces have managed to allow children, so it's likely that Mary will find appropriate insurance before long and get the doors open. Besides being a creative space for children, not just adults, Mary is excited about having The Foundry use recycled plastics in its 3-D printers, which hardly any makerspaces do right now, although many are surely interested in this way to lessen their impact on the Earth. (Alternate Video Link)
Open Source

The Mifos Project Makes Software To 'Accelerate Microfinance' (Video) 39

Posted by Roblimo
from the sometimes-little-things-can-help-as-much-as-big-ones dept.
You think you have problems getting a bank loan? It's much harder for a small-town woman in Uganda or India. But Indian microfinance provider ASOMI has more than 50 branches and over 40,000 clients, and is an active Mifos user. The loans ASOMI makes are absurdly small by U.S. bank (or Indian bank) standards. Ugandans in the same "I just need a little bit of money to start (or expand) my business" predicament can turn to RedMutual Microfinance. And so on around the world, with the bulk of microfinance operators who use open source Mifos concentrated in S. and S.E. Asia and India. "But," you say, "I'm an IT person. I don't want to go into the microfinance business, and one of the little loans (often less than $100) they deal with wouldn't help me." True. But you can become a Mifos Specialist, which Mifos defines as "a consulting firm that provides technical support and consultation for microfinance institutions evaluating and deploying Mifos, and for ongoing use and customization." You won't get rich doing this, but it looks like there's a decent living (by Kenyan or Indonesian standards) in working with Mifos. They can use volunteer help, too. So check out Mifos and see if it has anything to offer you -- or if you have anything to offer Mifos. Either way, you can help poor people in poor countries become entrepreneurs and break the cycle of poverty that holds them down. (Alternate video link)
Linux

Jon 'maddog' Hall On the Future of Free Software (Video) 47

Posted by Roblimo
from the tomorrow-is-just-a-future-yesterday dept.
You know who maddog is, right? He's one of our favorite speakers on what we might call the Linux/FOSS circuit. So you know, despite the Noel Coward song that says, "Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun," Jon prefers shade much of the time when he's in a tropical climate, based on personal observations at Linux conferences in Florida and Hawaii. But sun or shade, maddog is an eloquent and interesting speaker. We'd like to take you all to hear him in person, but we can't, so this video is the next best thing. (Alternate Video Link)
Linux

Another Year of LinuxFest Northwest (Video) 12

Posted by Roblimo
from the volunteer-for-15-years-and-you-get-15-shirts-with-logos-on-them dept.
We last interviewed LinuxFest volunteer Jakob Perry in January, 2013, when he and the rest of the crew that makes this event happen were gearing up for their 14th version of this outstanding regional Linux/FOSS conference. Now they've gotten through LinuxFest 15, which makes this one of the longest-lasting Linux shows around. And Jakob is still helping to put it together, as he has since he was a teenager. Since he's been with LinuxFest Northwest since the beginning, this gives him some serious longevity cred, especially when you realize that he has been volunteering with LFNW since he was 15 years old -- and hasn't seemed to lose a bit of his enthusiasm in all that time. (Alternate Video Link)
Earth

Ask Stewart Brand About Protecting Resources and Reviving Extinct Species 59

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.
samzenpus (5) writes "Stewart Brand trained as a biologist at Stanford, was associated with Ken Kesey and the "Merry Pranksters", and served as an Infantry officer in the U.S. Army. His books include Whole Earth Discipline: The Rise of Ecopragmatism, The Clock of the Long Now, How Buildings Learn, and The Media Lab. He is the founder/editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, the co-founder of The Long Now Foundation, The WELL, and the Global Business Network. His latest project, Revive & Restore, may be his most ambitious yet. Revive and Restore aims to bring back extinct species and provide genetic rescue for endangered species that are spiraling down with inbreeding problems. Mr. Brand has agreed to answer any questions you may have but please limit yourself to one question per post."
News

Interview: Ask Ben Starr About the Future of Food 137

Posted by samzenpus
from the ask-me-anything dept.
samzenpus (5) writes "Ben Starr is a chef, travel writer, reality TV star, wine and beer brewer, cheesemaker, and ultimate food geek. Ben traveled all 7 continents in his early 20s, staying with local families and learning to cook the cuisines of the world in home kitchens and local markets. FRANK, his underground Dallas restaurant, has a waitlist of 3,000 and reservations are selected by random lottery. He is a passionate local and sustainable food advocate. Ben is a flag waver for the new generation of chefs who embrace modern technology, and his Camp Potluck feeds hundreds of hungry Burning Man attendees every year. Ben has agreed to put down his chef's knife and answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post."

C makes it easy for you to shoot yourself in the foot. C++ makes that harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg. -- Bjarne Stroustrup

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