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Cellphones

Meet the Firmware Lead For Google's Project Ara Modular Smartphone (Video) 25

Posted by Roblimo
from the build-it-one-piece-at-a-time dept.
According to Wikipedia, 'Project Ara is the codename for an initiative that aims to develop an open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones.' Google is the sponsor, and the project seems to be moving faster than some people expect it to. There's a Project Ara website, of course, a GitHub repository, a Facebook page, even an Ara subreddit. During his conversation with Timothy Lord, Ara firmware project lead (and spokesman) Marti Bolivar said it won't be long before prototype Ara modular phones start user testing. Meanwhile, if you want to see what Marti and his coworkers have been up to lately, besides this interview, you can read a transcription of his talk (including slides) from the January Project Ara Developers Conference in Singapore.

Comment: Re:Desert Bus for Hope (Score 2) 34

I've had problems logging in and sometimes can't post as other than AC even when logged it, too. Try emailing feedback@slashdot.org. That should bring your comment to the attention of people who can help. (I'm can't help because I'm an old retired guy now, and do a little work on Slashdot videos as a contractor.)

Comment: Re: And no one cares (Score 1) 34

If you don't want to watch Slashdot videos, don't. If you want the *information* in them, read the verbatim transcripts we include with almost every one. And if you don't like the info in our videos, Don't click on them.

  Believe it or not, many different people look at Slashdot every day. Some want to read about *BSD, some want science news. Some -- usually many thousands -- watch the videos, while 10 (on average) complain about them. I learned long ago that not every story on Slashdot is going to please everyone. Such is life.

AND if you think you can do better or more informative videos than we do, XLNT! Submit a video -- or maybe an idea for one, along with links to videos you've done elsewhere. We stay simple on purpose, because our job in these videos is to introduce you to the people in them, often with a "you are there" feel at conferences and shows where background noise is part of the environment. Remember that we are not looking for star wipes and such. We can do them as well as anyone else, but we know that just because you *can* do something doesn't mean you *should*.

Something that happened all the way back in 2000: We did a reader-generated questions interview with Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. He'd been complaining that nobody was ever fair to him; that they edited his words to twist their meanings. So, being us, Timothy talked to Lars for hours because Lars said it would have to be verbal, that he wasn't going to do all that typing. So Timothy transcribed every word of that interview verbatim, including every "uh" and mumble and obscenity.

Lars was not thrilled to be quoted verbatim even though that's what he said he wanted. But that interview gave Slashdot people a better sense of who Lars was as a person than all the laundered interviews in the world.

So we do video interviews with people a Slashdot editor considers interesting, often after a reader suggests interviewing that person (and includes contact information). Or they're people Timothy meets at conferences and trade shows. Some interviewees are making major contributions in one field or another. Some think they are, but aren't. Some are well-known. Some aren't - - but should be. And some live in obscurity and should stay there.

It's a mixed bag. I say again: if you want to suggest video interview subjects *or* want to be interviewed yourself *or* do an interview, let's go!

- Rob

PS - Slashdot has always done a little original content, and for many years was associated with original content sites NewsForge and Linux.com. If you dip into the pool of internet content every day, shouldn't you be obliged to add to it? :)

Games

How and Why the U-Pick Game Marathon Raises Money With Non-Stop Gaming (Video) 34

Posted by timothy
from the don't-tase-me-bro-it's-only-a-game dept.
On June 12 through 14th of this year, the fourth (not "fourth annual," but close) iteration of the U-Pick Video Game Marathon for Charity --“UPickVG IV” for short --will be streaming on an Internet connection near you. The U-Pick crew's volunteers will be playing and broadcasting video games, non-stop, as a fundraiser for Charity Water, a cause they've supported since the beginning. I talked with organizers Stephanie and Grant Kibler from their video-game lounge of a living room about what it takes to broadcast an online gathering like this, and why they've adopted this as an annual event. Hint: some esoteric video-capture hardware helps, and so does a beefy network connection, for high-quality streaming of games that pre-date today's multiplayer, network-oriented options. That's significant, because U-Pick's stable of titles isn't limited to modern ones, and observers are encouraged to suggest appropriate games (hence "U-Pick").The remote viewers' choices and donations influence the event by deciding which games are represented on the Wheel of Destiny that the team spins to decide which games get played.The play itself, though,*is* limited to the players who'll be on hand at a Northern Virginia co-working space that will serve as this year's venue. It turns out to be easier to stream the output of old consoles than it is to control them from remote (never mind the latency that would mean), but maybe one day participants will be able to play as well as shoulder-surf and laugh at the players' running commentary. You can check out the Upick page on Facebook, too, and watch one of their practice runs each Sunday. (Note: Video #1 talks mostly about the game play and how you can join. Video #2 - below - talks more about hardware and behind-the-scenes work.)
Robotics

Learn About FIRST's New Embedded Linux Controller (Video) 26

Posted by Roblimo
from the rocking-and-socking-more-powerfully-than-ever dept.
Our interviewee today is Mike Anderson, an adviser to FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Team 116 at Herndon High School in Virginia. He's here to tell us about the new embedded Linux controller FIRST is using this year. It is apparently a bit short of documentation at this stage, so team 116 and others have been posting what they learn at Chief Delphi, which is 'the' FIRST online discussion forum (and fun to read to keep up with all things FIRST). We've talked about FIRST before. We've taken you to FIRST competitions, and looked behind the scenes at the building of a FIRST robot, and will no doubt keep covering a selection of FIRST activities in the future.
Robotics

John Hawley Talks About UAV Controls (Video) 20

Posted by Roblimo
from the monocopter-bicopter-tricopter-quadcopter dept.
John 'Warthog9' Hawley was the boss sysadmin on kernel.org before he jumped to Intel in April, 2014, as an open hardware technical evangelist. He last showed up on Slashdot in June, 2014, with his Dr. Who-inspired Robot K-9. Now he's talking about flight computers for quadcopters, specifically ones based on MinnowBoards. Last month (April 2015) he was speaking at the Embedded Linux Conference + Android Builders Summit. That's where he and Timothy Lord had this conversation about flight controllers for UAVs, which makes it a fitting sequel to yesterday's video, which was also about controlling drones with real-time Linux.
Robotics

Embedded Linux Takes to the Skies (Video) 26

Posted by Roblimo
from the robot-drones-want-you-to-take-them-to-your-leader-(beep) dept.
This is an interview with Clay McClure. He makes his living designing 'custom Linux software solutions for technology start-ups in Atlanta and the San Francisco Bay area.' He also works on Embedded Linux for autonomous drones. Here's a link to slides from a talk he gave on exactly that topic: Flying Penguins - Embedded Linux Applications for autonomous UAVs, and that's far from all he has to say about making Linux-controlled drones. However, for some reason Timothy and Clay didn't talk about using drones for target practice. Perhaps they can discuss that another time.

NOTE: We urge you to read the transcript of this interview even if you prefer watching videos; it contains material we left out of the video due to sound problems.
Businesses

IT Consultant Talks About 'Negotiating for Nerds' (Video) 61

Posted by Roblimo
from the paying-it-forward dept.
Matt Heusser did a Slashdot video interview back in 2013 titled How to Become an IT Expert Companies Seek Out and Pay Well. Despite noise from a few yammerheads about Matt getting 'free advertising' on Slashdot, which is unlikely since the vast majority of Slashdot users are more likely to compete with him than to hire him, most of the people who saw that video (or read the transcript) knew he was giving helpful advice to peers who might want to get out of the cubicle and work for themselves.

Today, Matt is with us again. This video is about 'Negotiating for Nerds.' Matt talks about negotiating a pay raise or consulting fee increase, starting with learning who has the actual power to negotiate with you. This is essential knowledge if you are employed (or self-employed) in IT and want to make sure you're getting all you are worth.
Hardware Hacking

Another 'Draw Your Own Circuits' System at SXSW (Video) 27

Posted by Roblimo
from the is-this-an-easy-way-to-connect-the-'rear'-speakers-in-your-home-theater-system? dept.
While Timothy Lord was at SXSW, he chatted with Yuki Nishida of AgIC and learned about the company's conductive ink products. But AgIC wasn't the only company at SXSW showing off conductive ink. You could also meet the Electroninks people and see their Circuit Scribe product, which had a Kickstarter campaign a while back that raised $574,425.

This kind of product seems to be attractive to the kind of people who fund Kickstarter projects, and this bunch seems to have good resumes and some interesting, well thought-out products. There is apparently room in the 'draw circuits and learn electrical basics' market for both AgIC and Electroninks -- and probably for another dozen competitors, too.
Hardware Hacking

eBay Sales Patterns Show That the Maker Movement is Still Growing (Video) 24

Posted by Roblimo
from the homemade-always-tastes-better dept.
Meet Aron Hsiao. He works for Terapeak, a company that tracks sales through online venues such as eBay and Amazon in order to help merchants decide what to sell -- and how. The five 'maker' categories Terapeak tracks (drones, robotics, Arduino, Raspberry Pi and 3D printing) outsold Star Trek-related merchandise by a huge amount, namely $33 million to $4.3 million, during a recent 90 day study period. Star Wars merchandise did better at $29.4 million, but still... And as another comparison, Aron says that all Apple laptops combined, new and used, sold $48.4 million, so the DIY hobbyist movement still has a ways to go before it catches up with Apple laptops -- but seems to be heading steadily in that direction.

Drones are the hottest hobbyist thing going right now, Aron says, but all five of the hobbyist/tinkerer' categories Terapeak tracks are growing steadily at a rate of up to 70% year over year, with drones leading the way and robotics trailing (but still growing). It's good to see people taking an interest in making things for themselves. If you remember (or have heard of) the Homebrew Computer Club, you have an idea of what tinkerers and hobbyists can produce if given even a tiny bit of encouragement. And it's good to see that the DIY mindset is not only still alive, but growing -- even if it seems to be moving away from traditional hobby tinkering (cars; radios) toward concepts (drones; robotics) that weren't considered mass market 'homebrew' possibilities even a few years ago.
Hardware Hacking

Armstrap Claims to Make ARM Prototyping Easier (Video) 41

Posted by Roblimo
from the not-just-easy-but-fun-too dept.
It almost seems too perfect that the originator of the Armstrap 'community of engineers and makers' is named Charles Armstrap. He just introduces himself as 'Charles' on the Armstrap.org website. Names aside, Armstrap.org is 100% open source, including circuit board designs. This is not a 'draw your own circuit boards' bunch, although you certainly could if you wanted to badly enough since they provide schematics and even full CAD drawings of what they make. The reason they do this is laid out on their Core Values page. The boards Armstrap sells are not expensive, but if you are going to be truly open source, you need to supply the means to duplicate and modify or extend your work, as is totally permitted under the MIT License they use.

Comment: Re: If i can't work on my car (Score 3, Insightful) 292

by Roblimo (#49401689) Attached to: EFF Fighting Automakers Over Whether You Own Your Car

Two years ago traded my 1994 Jeep Cherokee in for a... 1996 Jeep Cherokee. Yes, it's fuel injected and computer-controlled, but everybody from Autozone to Hector at Segundo Auto (a traditional, highly-skilled "Mexican" mechanic from L.A.) has a reader that works on it. Can I fix my Jeep? My eyes are horrid and I'm sick and weak, but up to a point, yes. I still know how, and I still do the light stuff like tuneups and a/c recharges -- essentially annual service. Plus belts and hoses, which I routinely change because as all taxi and limo owners know, rubber is responsible for at least 80% of all road breakdowns. (check my login name - I used to own a small limo service.)

Brakes and more physical work? Hector needs to feed his kids, and he has a hoist and air tools -- and doesn't rip us off. Like when my wife went to the Hyundai dealer for a $19.95 oil change and tire rotation and they gave her a $2000 estimate for a 60,000 mile service (includes timing belt change) and Hector did all the work for $200 - not counting the timing belt kit, which includes the serpentine belt, water pump, and front main seal, that I got online for something like $120.

The day I can't fix my own car or hire someone like Hector instead of going to the dealer is the day I stop driving. Hopefully I'll be dead before things get that messed up.

As the trials of life continue to take their toll, remember that there is always a future in Computer Maintenance. -- National Lampoon, "Deteriorata"

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