Tags: hardware

ST4I - Stuff That Talks To The Internet - workshop on Vimeo

Seb will be running this workshop again at the start of February—details here. I can’t recommend it highly enough—it’s so, so good!

RFID podcast radio-in-a-box (needs sound to make any sense) | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

This is so nifty! A combination of the Radiodan, Huffduffer, and RFID, all wrapped up in a box.

Backstory here.

As we may understand: A constructionist approach to ‘behaviour change’ and the Internet of Things by Dan Lockton

An epic braindump by Dan, covering connected devices, product design, co-creation, DIY, and knopening stuff up. That’s right: knopening.

Knopen, a fairly obvious portmanteau of know and open, can be a verb (to knopen something) or an adjective (e.g. a knopen tool).

JS Parse and Execution Time - TimKadlec.com

Tim’s been running the numbers on how long it takes various browsers on various devices to parse JavaScript—in this case, jQuery. The time varies enormously depending on the device hardware.

Physical Web by google

This is what Scott Jenson has been working on—a first stab at just-in-time interactions by having physical devices broadcasting URLs.

Walk up and use anything

New product opportunities for the Internet of Normal Things | Berg Blog

I like Matt’s observation here that the simple combination of a barebones data format like HTML delivered over HTTP is a good-enough low-level API for joining up all kinds of internet-connected things.

In the last 60 years, the biggest software platform for interop and integration – for new products, services, businesses, and value creation – has not been Android, or iOS, or Windows, or the PDP-11. The biggest and best platform has been the web.

One implication is that successful products are not necessarily those with seamless, beautiful, tightly-controlled “experiences”, but rather the ones that are capable of talking to each other.

Small things, loosely joined.

Wearables versus there-ables.

Some interesting thoughts that follow on nicely from Scott Jenson’s ideas around just-in-time interactions:

What if the technology was actually already in the room when we got there? Maybe that’s the kind of Internet-of-things that will be more sustainable and will win long-term.

Curiosity Hub

This nifty place in Brighton is just down the street from me:

Our classes allow kids to get creative with exciting, cutting-edge technology and software.

Photography, hello — Software ate the camera, but freed the photograph by Craig Mod

Craig recently had a piece published in the New Yorker called Goodbye, Cameras. It’s good …but this follow-on piece on his own site is truly wonderful.

Read. Absorb. Ponder.

Being close to the network does not mean being on Facebook, thought it can mean that, too. It does not mean pushing low-res images to Instagram, although there’s nothing wrong with that. What the network represents, in my mind, is a sort of ledger of humanity. The great shared mind. An image’s distance to it is the difference between contributing or not contributing to that shared ledger.

Spimes: A Happy Birthday Story « optional.is/required

Expanding on an exercise from last year’s Hackfarm, Brian and Mike have written a deliciously dystopian near-future short story.

Explorers of the combined territory.

Inspired by dConstruct, Ellen is going to start exploring the world of smart objects.

The Twittertape Machine

I would love to have a ticker-tape machine for my tweets.

Should JavaScript devs build real things?

This post is about the pros and cons of using JavaScript to programme hardware, but within it is a great summation of what makes JavaScript so powerful:

In my opinion the greatest strengths of JavaScript are its immediacy and its accessibility. It has plenty of weakness (insanely weak typing, implicit casting for comparison, terrible problems with numbers, fluid syntax, I could go on…). Regardless, these weaknesses are entirely overcome by those two points above.

Having taught quite a few people to code, the benefit of being able to open a text editor or a browser console and type code that can immediately and reliably be executed is incredible. The power this brings to the learner is unmatched. When trying to learn new things it’s important to get positive reinforcement very quickly and JavaScript has this ability in spades.

Executing console.log(“hello world”) or window.alert(2+5-20) brings immediate feedback, makes you feel as though you’re getting somewhere and that you are interacting directly with the computer as a programmer. For those of you old enough to own a Spectrum, C64 or Vic20 – BASIC (itself heavily derided) had the same benefit.

Technical Machine

This looks rather exciting: Tessel is Rasperry Pi-like piece of hardware, but running JavaScript (Node.js) by default.

What’s Holding Up The Internet Of Things

This echoes what Scott Jenson has been saying: the current trend with connected devices is far too reliant on individual proprietary silos instead of communicating with open standards.

So instead of talking directly to one another, devices on today’s nascent Internet of Things now communicate primarily with centralized servers controlled by a related developer or vendor. That works, after a fashion, but it also leads to a bunch of balkanized subnetworks in which devices can communicate perfectly well with each other - but can’t actually talk to devices on any other balkanized subnetwork.

The $12 Gongkai Phone

A fascinating analysis of a super-cheap phone from another world.

Welcome to the Galapagos of Chinese “open” source. I call it “gongkai” (公开). Gongkai is the transliteration of “open” as applied to “open source”. I feel it deserves a term of its own, as the phenomenon has grown beyond the so-called “shanzhai” (山寨) and is becoming a self-sustaining innovation ecosystem of its own.

Just as the Galapagos Islands is a unique biological ecosystem evolved in the absence of continental species, gongkai is a unique innovation ecosystem evolved with little western influence, thanks to political, language, and cultural isolation.

A Stormy Sky of Cranky Clouds by Scott Jenson

Scott points out a really big problem with the current state of the “internet of things”: everyone is inventing their own proprietary walled-garden infrastructure instead of getting together to collaborate on standards.

The single biggest fallacy I want to blow up is this utopian idea that there is this SINGLE thing called ‘The Cloud’. Each company today reinvents their own cloud. The Cloud as a concept is dead and has been for years: we are living within a stormy sky of cranky clouds, all trying to pretend the others don’t exist.

Device lab

These device holders/stands look really nice, and they’d be a real help keeping my spaghetti cables in check.

The changing face of computers on screen

A look at the depiction of computer hardware and peripherals in sci-fi movies over time.

» Responsive Design for Apps — Part 1 Cloud Four Blog

A great piece by Jason analysing the ever-blurring lines between device classes.

Mind you, there is one question he doesn’t answer which would help clear up his framing of the situation. That question is:

What’s a web app?

On Open Platforms, Wifi, Home Automation, and Kitty Litter | John Battelle’s Search BlogJohn Battelle’s Search Blog

This echoes Scott Jenson’s call for more open standards when it comes to networked devices. We’ll need it if we want “If This, Then That” for an internet of things.

Is it the Internet of Things?

Wondering whether that network-enabled device of yours is worthy of being considered part of the “internet of things?” Just answer these few short questions.

Was the Internet just an accident? | Scott Jenson

Man, I just love Scott Jenson.

Our brains have collectively gone startup-crazy, seeing the world through stock option colored glasses, assuming that if there is no money, there is clearly no value. This is madness. I’m so desperately worried that the internet will turn out to be a happy accident.

Turning his focus on “the internet of things” he makes the very good point that what we need isn’t one company or one proprietary service; we need an ecosystem of open standards that will enable companies to build services.

We all have to appreciate how we need a deep, open solution to solve this problem. If we don’t understand, demand even, that hardware devices need to be just as discoverable an open as web servers are today, we’ll never see the internet of things come to pass.

Building a device stand

Pictures and plans for building a plywood stand for your device lab. I definitely want one of these for the Clearleft office.

The best interface is no interface | Cooper Journal

Interaction dissolving into the environment.

Dough Globe - Your little living world

My last shipment from the Quaterly contained everything I need to get a sourdough starter going (thanks to Alexis Madrigal). I think I might have to get me one of these cute sourdough globes: “It’s like a Tamagotchi, but actually alive.”

Be sure to check out the the blog documenting the design and development.

Myself, quantified | Extenuating Circumstances

Dan writes about how data saved his life. That is not an exaggeration.

He describes how, after receiving some very bad news from his doctor, he dived into the whole “quantified self” thing with his health data. Looking back on it, he concludes:

If I were still in the startup game, I have a pretty good idea of which industry I’d want to disrupt.

Resizable Displays | Fluid Interfaces

See now, this is why liquid layouts are the way to go.

Descriptive Camera

Oh, this is just wonderful: a camera that outputs a text description instead of an image (complete with instructions on how to build one yourself). I love it!

Camping at Kiwifoo | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

The Kiwi Foo Space Program (a weather balloon with an Android device attached) captured some beautiful images.

Camping at Kiwifoo

BLDGBLOG: Object Cancers

You think that Digital Rights Management is bad? What about Physible Rights Management?

Molly - She turns your tweets into sweets.

A cute little internet-enabled sweet dispenser, powered by your retweets.

MAKE ROOM NOW

Matt is offering up his space in central Brighton every Wednesday afternoon for free-for-all Arduino tinkering. I should try to get over there.

Buxton Collection

Bill Buxton’s collection of input devices going back thirty years.

3D Printing, Teleporters and Wishes - Anil Dash

Anil shares his thoughts on where there’s room for improvement in 3D printing, or as he calls it, teleporting.

Twine : Listen to your world, talk to the Internet by Supermechanical — Kickstarter

This looks truly wonderful: like a hardware version of “if this, then that.”

russell davies: again with the post digital

In a single post, Russell Davies manages to rehabilitate the term “post digital.” And he paints a vivid picture of where our “Geocities of things” is heading.

The Future of Open Fabrication

A thorough hypertext report from those good folks at the Institute For The Future on our fabrication overlords.

Calling all UK Makers to Brighton’s First Mini Maker Faire | Brighton Mini Maker Faire

Hardware hackers, you’ve got until June 30th to submit something for Maker Faire in Brighton this September (the day after dConstruct).

Matter Battle! - there is a lot to say, of this we are sure

The difference between software and hardware; the digital and the instantiated.

Welcome | sugru | Hack Things Better

A versatile material to help you fix things.

The real reason why Steve Jobs hates Flash - Charlie's Diary

Charles Stross peers into his dilithium crystal ball and tells tales of the future as decided by Apple.

haroon baig | projects | twitwee clock

A cute hardware hack: send a tweet with the word TwitweeClock, the hashtag #TwitweeClock, or the username @TwitweeClock, and this cuckoo clock will, well, cuckoo.

RCA student radically improves the UK plug | ICON MAGAZINE ONLINE

Superb product design.

tomtaylor.co.uk : projects : microprinter

The details of Tom's hardware hack at PaperCamp: an old-school printer receipt printer hooked up via arduino.

All Together Now!: 30GB Zunes Failing Everywhere, All At Once

Schadenfreude by software. Every singe Zune on the face of the planet froze at exactly the same moment.

Ztamp:s - RFID stamps that makes your objects come alive - Violet •• Let All Things Be Connected

Reading through some of the things that peope have made with these RFID tags is making me itchy to hack something tangible.

Plants that Twitter when they need to be watered | Geek Gestalt - A blog by Daniel Terdiman - CNET News.com

Check out this cool arduino project: input from the moisture level of a plant sends an SMS to Twitter so you know it needs to be watered.

Apple - Mac mini - Big Ideas

There's a page on the Apple website devoted to Mac mini mods, including one in a Millennium Falcon casing.