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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).

Comment Re:I AM AMAZED! (Score 1) 12 12

Re additive technology: You're right. This is why I don't care much about the people who "make guns" with their 3-D printers. Some of them make lower receiver units because that's the legal definition of a "gun" even though in my eye's it's kind of like making the driver's door frame on a car and claiming you made a car because that's where the VIN goes.

To make a gun or anything else that needs to contain strong forces, I'll join TWX and put my faith in old-fashioned, non-groovy tools like milling machines, lathes, and drill presses. Yay, subtractive technology!

(Not knocking the 3-D print people - Fun stuff, no question.)

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.

Comment Re:ARLISS (Score 1) 22 22

They're hooked together -- Bob Twiggs is the common point, and "the man" behind a lot of the "citizen satellites" stuff that's been popping up in the last decade.

Arliss:
"ARLISS began as a cooperative program between Professor Bob Twiggs of Stanford, his colleagues at other universities worldwide and members of AeroPac led by Pius Morizumi and Tom Rouse. The first ARLISS event was held in 1999."

Magnitude.io:
ADVISORY BOARD
Professor Bob Twiggs
Robert Twiggs has been a professor of astronautical engineering at MSU in July 2009. He was instrumental in the development of a space systems curriculum. Prior to his time at MSU, Twiggs was a consulting professor in the aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University for 14 years. He is responsible for developing the curriculum for students interested in designing, building and operating small space experiments. He helped develop the original concepts for the CricketSat, CanSat, CubeSat and the PocketQub for educational applications for use in space. In 2010 he was selected as by the Space News publication as one of 10 space professionals “That Made a Difference in Space”. One of his recent publications is as a co-author of the article “Citizen Satellites” in the February 2011 Scientific American. He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Idaho and an master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

Question: "Why doesn't Slashdot do an interview with Prof. Twigg?"
Answer: We should. I'll talk to Tim, see who he wants to do it. :)

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?

Comment Re:Flash ... (Score 1) 46 46

For some reason Flash seems to be the default, but I can watch /. videos on my Linux laptop that doesn't have Flash installed. The thing that irks me is that if we put two videos on one story the second one is always flash, period. Timothy and I have told the software engineers and management people that this isn't a good idea, and sooner or later maybe they'll get around to fixing the problem. Meanwhile, let me get the transcript for *this* video edited and uploaded - it came in late. Garg.

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.

You may call me by my name, Wirth, or by my value, Worth. - Nicklaus Wirth

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