Showing posts from January, 2013

Excerpt from The Tinkerers, by Alec Foege

In The Tinkerers, Alec Foege presents a version of American history told through feats of engineering, large and small. He argues that reports of tinkering’s death have been greatly exaggerated; since World War II, it has been the guiding force behind projects from corporate-sponsored innovations (the personal computer, Ethernet) to smaller scale inventions with great potential (a machine that can make low-cost eyeglass lenses for people in impoverished countries, a device that uses lasers to shoot malarial mosquitoes out of the sky). Think tanks and companies have recognized the benefits of tinkering and have done their best to harness and institutionalize it. But as systems become more complex, budding inventors may become intimidated. Foege argues that this would be an enormous loss to a nation that achieved its strength largely thanks to the accomplishments of its innovators. He shows us how tinkering remains, in new and unexpected forms, at the heart of American society and cultu…

Safaricom Intel Yolo Review | Techweez

Safaricom Intel Yolo Review | Techweez:

Intel has been working on smartphones powered by the Intel Atom processor and it’s been having impressive results. Intel is quite new in the smartphones  foray but the devices they are entering with are quite disruptive, plus they are making some quite strategic deals with Mobile carriers. Here in Kenya, they partnered with Safaricom to develop a product for this market. Safaricom played a part in the development contributing input on how the finished product will be, and here it is.....The Intel Yolo actually performed quite well in the benchmark tests, at AnTuTu it did an impressive 12365(more is better), outperforming the first Galaxy Note from Samsung with a good show at 3D graphics processing and RAM performance against hardware. I went into the task of pushing it to the edge, and opening ten apps concurrently seemed to wear it down. I take it that the RAM was responsible for the reduced response at that point.
Sound on the earphones is quit…

Panasonic Shows Off 20” Tablet with 4K Screen Resolution.

Panasonic Shows Off 20” Tablet with 4K Screen Resolution.

Panasonic Shows Off 20” Tablet with 4K Screen Resolution.Panasonic Demos 4K Tablet Concept with Microsoft Windows 8
Panasonic’s prototype of 20” tablet with 3840*2560 screen resolution is based on Intel Core i7 3427U (1.8GHz) “Ivy Bridge” microprocessor and is equipped with an unknown Nvidia GeForce graphics adapter capable of 4K resolution, 4GB DDR3 RAM (expandable to 16GB), 128GB solid-state drive, stereo speakers, microphone, 720p web-cam, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, microSD card reader and so on. The device weighs 2.4 kilograms (5.3lbs), just like a mainstream 15” notebook. 

via Metagrinder

Construction Adhesive

Construction adhesive has a major role in building construction, but I have been using it as a household adhesive. It has a number of unique characteristics that make it possibly more useful than most of the alternatives.
It fills gaps with strength, unlike cyanoacrylates like Superglue or polyurethanes like Gorilla Glue. It is somewhat flexible, which often makes a more durable repair for things like shoes, clothing, tents, etc. It is much stronger than Shoe Goo or urethane sealers, which the clear versions resemble superficially. It has tremendous initial tack. Often you can spread it, stick the two pieces together, and you are done. The glue is sticky enough that often you don’t need clamping (which is a virtual necessity for Gorilla Glue and its relatives).
It is easy to apply. Unlike contact cements like Barge Cement, you don’t have to apply it to both sides, let them dry, then carefully stick them together (and get an instant that you cannot realign if you didn’t bring the pieces …

Instant irresistibility: The 7 keys to advanced social skills

I did not want to hit on this woman.

But my friend noticed her checking me out, so he glanced at me and raised his eyebrows. I looked at him, silently saying, “Really? Do I have to?” He just tilted his head and raised his eyebrows even higher. Nothing more needed to be said — every guy knows what that look means. We can’t back down from a challenge in front of our friends, so I sighed and walked over to her.

Keep in mind this woman was a lot older than me, not really my type, and I hate approaching at bars. But among men, pride comes first. Plus, she seemed nice.

Ramit: “Hi, I’m Ramit.”
Woman: “Hi, I’m (whatever).
Ramit: “You look like a vodka soda kind of girl” (I know, I know. I don’t know where this horrific line came from)
Woman: “NO!!”
I was a little surprised at how aggressively she said no, so I decided to have some fun.
Ramit: “Aw come on, I’ve been right 100/100 times for the last 5 years. How are you gonna break my streak like that?”
Woman: “I’m a recovering alcoholic.”

Shortest bar c…

"Some future gadgets I'd buy," aka Brian Lam's only post from CES

Former Gizmodo gadget writer and chief editorial whip-cracker Brian Lam has covered many a CES in his time; since leaving Gawker media for ocean adventures and his Wirecutter electronics blog, I think his work has become much more interesting. He revisited CES this year, and produced exactly one post from it, highlighting interesting stuff he says he'd actually buy himself. The "luggage tracker" and HD camera are tugging at my credit card's heartstrings, too.

from Boing Boing

Aaron Swartz digital archive

Brewster Kahle, Carl Malamud, and Aaron Swartz's other radical archivist friends have put together an open repository for peoples' electronic Aaron Swartz files. Brewster writes,

"The Web team of the Internet Archive have been archiving all the aaronsw sites they are finding.

But, Carl suggested we make a way for people to store digital archives related to him: email, photos, code, etc... It might be the first crowd-sourced Personal Digital Archive, or a digital memorial collection."

Welcome to The Aaron Swartz Collection

from Boing Boing

Filabot: turn scrap plastic into 3D printer filament

Filabot: turn scrap plastic into 3D printer filament:

Filabot, "The Personal Filament Maker" is an ongoing open-source hardware kit project that aims to perfect a plastic grinder/melter that you can use to turn scrap plastic (including failed 3D printouts) into filament that can be fed into 3D printers. It's a promising step towards the blunderbussification of 3D printers, turning them into devices that can use any random junk as ammo for useful work:

The Filabot Reclaimer, is our flagship system, that allows for the already innovative 3D printing movement, to become more self sufficient, experiment with new materials, and recycle bad prints.

The Filabot Reclaimer includes the grinding, extruding, and spooling systems. The Grinder will tear up bottles and can handle up to a good 3in by 3in chunk of plastic. Material from the grinder can either be stockpiled or fed directly into the extruder. From there the extruder will melt and pressurize the molten plastic to push it th…

Adding an LCD screen terminal for TP-Link routers

here's an add-on to the non-battery powered version of the TP-Link router.

Adding an LCD screen terminal for TP-Link routers:

Routers running embedded Linux offer quite a bit of power depending on what you need to do. To extend the usefulness of his TP-Link router [Roman] built a rig that adds an LCD screen to display the terminal. But it ended up being quite a bit more powerful than that.
The first portion of the project was to build a USB video card for the display. [Roman] went with an STM32 development board which resolves the USB device end with the QVGA screen driver (translated). This seems like it would be the lion’s share of the project, but he still needed a driver on the router to interface with the device. This thrust him into the world of USB-class drivers (translated). It even included building graphics support into the kernel of OpenWRT. The final piece of the puzzle was to write a frame buffer (translated) that would help regulate the output to the screen. The result…

New Version of SuperSpeed USB to Support 10Gb/s Data Rate.

New Version of SuperSpeed USB to Support 10Gb/s Data Rate.

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group on Monday announced development of a SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) enhancement that will add a much higher data rate, delivering up to twice the data through-put performance of existing SuperSpeed USB over enhanced, fully backward compatible USB connectors and cables. This supplement to the USB 3.0 specification is anticipated to be completed by the middle of 2013. “Doubling SuperSpeed USB performance will be especially beneficial for emerging USB docking andstorage applications,” said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 promoter group chairman. Key characteristics of the higher-rate SuperSpeed USB solution include 10Gb/s USB data rate, compatibility with existing cables and connectors, improved data encoding for more efficient data transfer leading to higher throughput and improved I/O power efficiency, compatibility with existing USB 3.0 software stacks and device class protocols and so on. Thanks to higher power effic…

Commemorative coins are sneaky pork

You know those cool commemorative coins that the US Mint keeps issuing? Turns out that they're a handy way for Congress to get around the ban on porky earmarks for their home district. As reported last April in The Foundry:

Here’s how it works: In June of last year, Rep. Peter Roksam (R-IL) introduced legislation authorizing a commemorative coin honoring the Lions Club, a service organization based in Oak Brook, IL – part of Roksam’s district.

The legislation dictates that proceeds from the coin sales be used to pay for the cost of producing the coins, but adds: “all surcharges received by the Secretary from the sale of coins issued under this Act shall be promptly paid by the Secretary to the Lions Clubs International Foundation for the purposes.”

In other words, assuming the costs of production are covered, the legislation will steer federal funds to an organization in Roksam’s home district. No earmarks required.

There's a long list of other commemorative coins, mostly issued a…

Make your own plastic friction welder

[Fran] shows us how to build a plastic friction welder. It’s a method of connecting plastic pieces. While it’s new to us, apparently this type of tool was given to kids about forty years ago to use with craft project (when plastic was all the craze).
The tip of the friction welder is a styrene rod. If it’s spun fast enough the friction will cause the material to heat to the melting point, depositing a bead of styrene into the joint. The tool seen here is a cheap DC rotary tool acquired from Harbor Freight. It really did a horrible job, but [Fran] discovered that it was the power supply that was under-rated. When she replace the wire that feeds it and used her bench supply it spit out 16,000 rpm without any trouble. The welding rods can be found at the craft store and fit the chuck of the tool quite nicely. You can see her demo in the video after the break. The seam she’s working on comes out very strong, surviving a slew of violent whacks on the workbench.
We’ve seen a few other methods…