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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Hardware Hacking

Hand-Drawn and Inkjet Printed Circuits for the Masses (Video) 32

Posted by Roblimo
from the give-your-kids-paper-plates-with-lights-that-tell-them-to-eat-their-veggies dept.
We started looking at ways to make instant hand-drawn or inkjet-printed circuit boards because Timothy met an engaging young man named Yuki Nishida at SXSW. Yuki is a co-founder of AgIC, a company that makes conductive ink pens and supplies special paper you can use to write or draw circuits or, if you have the right model of Brother printer, to print them with special inkjet inks. The AgIC people are agressvively putting the 'A' in STEAM by marketing their products to artists and craftspeople. Indeed the second line on their website's home page says, 'AgIC offers handy tools to light up your own art works.' This is an excellent niche, and now that AgIC has developed a circuit eraser (due to ship this April), it may lead to all kinds of creative designs. And as is typical with this kind of company these days, AgIC has been (at least partly) crowdfunded.

A little cursory Google searching will soon lead you to other companies selling into the home/prototype circuit board market, including Cartesian Co and their Argentum 3-D printer that does prototype and short-run PCBs and only costs $899 (on special at the time this was written) and Electroninks, which markets the Circuit Scribe pen and associated materials with an emphasis on education. There are others in this growing field, and a year from now there will probably be more of them, all working to replace the venerable breadboard the same way electronic calculators replaced slide rules.
Medicine

Is the Apple Watch a Useful Medical Device? (Video) 47

Posted by Roblimo
from the all-we-want-is-for-you-to-be-happy-happy-happy dept.
Let's kill the suspense right away by answering the title question, 'Probably not.' For one thing, according to interviewee Alfred Poor, the Apple Watch is in no way linked to the Apple Research Kit. Dr. Poor is editor of the Health Tech Insider website, so he follows this kind of thing more carefully than most people. And the Apple watch is not the only device mentioned in this video (or transcript, if you prefer reading to listening). If you want to ruminate about the possibility of direct mind control, for instance, you need to know about the Thync, whose vendor calls it 'A groundbreaking wearable device that enables you to shift your state of mind in minutes.' They say it 'induces on-demand shifts in energy, calm, or focus.' It even has a 'pleasure' setting. Crank that to 11 and you might happily spend your days prone, being fed by a drip and emptied by a catheter, moving only when an attendant turns you over to keep bedsores from developing -- not that you'll care if they do -- as you spend the rest of your life in an artificially-induced joyful stupor.
Networking

Dueling Home Automation Systems at SXSW (Video) 47

Posted by Roblimo
from the to-serve-man dept.
Austin has a strong western heritage and more country and western music than you can shake a fiddle bow at. So when Timothy came back from SXSW with video clips from two home automation companies with different approaches to this question: "How can you work with a whole bunch of lights and thermostats and other IoT home automation pieces that all have different OSes and control APIs?" we obviously had to call the resulting video 'Dueling Home Automation Systems.'

The two companies shown in this video are called WigWag and Yonomi. WigWag sells you a "Relay," which they say "is a powerful mini computer that gives you control of your home's smart devices." The minimum pre-order buy-in for WigWag seems to be a $149 WigWag Relay. Their 'products' page his page shows the Relay -- and many other gadgets and kits that could easily run your total tab up to $1000 or more. Yonomi, on the other hand, "resides on your phone and in the Cloud. No need for a hub, controller box or other additional hardware. Yonomi magically finds and enhances your existing connected devices allowing them to interact with one another in ways never before possible."

Yonomi may start with a free Android app (iOS coming soon), but you still need to buy lights, speakers, thermostats, and other things that are Internet-aware, so you're not going to save much (if anything) over buying a WigWag relay and the rest of what you need to create your own, private Internet of Things. And what about good old X10 and other home control systems? They're still out there, still doing their thing in millions of homes even if they aren't getting all the IoT buzz. In any case, it's nice to see new home automation alternatives coming down the pike, even if their cloudness may make them easier to hack than an old-fashioned appliance like this coffeemaker.

Comment: Re:Steamed people (Score 1) 79

by Roblimo (#49333655) Attached to: Better Disaster Shelters than FEMA Trailers (Video)

I'd far rather camp in a Shelterbox tent than in a plastic sweatbox since I, too, live in FL. I have a week's worth of food, water, and cooking fuel stockpiled in case of a hurricane, and I can charge our laptops and smartphones from our cars.

If our house trailer blows away, so it goes. We have a tent, and while my wife whines a little about camping, she's basically okay with it and has the necessary skills to 'live rough' comfortably. A FEMA trailer would be fine with us. We happily live in a 1 bedroom trailer now, so no BFD living in a travel trailer. Or a tent. Civilization is nice, but we can do without most of its trappings if we must.

We have guns and a shitpot of ammunition, too, because you never know...

Earth

Better Disaster Shelters than FEMA Trailers (Video) 79

Posted by Roblimo
from the they'd-better-have-internet-routers-built-in dept.
An aerospace engineer and Mississippi native named Michael McDaniel "watched helplessly as Hurricane Katrina forced thousands of people out of their homes and into crowded, poorly equipped 'shelters.'" This scenario led to Michael founding Reaction Housing and the creation of its first product, the Exo (as in exoskeleton) shelter. This company isn't holding its hand out for crowdfunding. It got $1.5 million in seed capital in March, 2014, later got another $10 million, and is now going into mass production of its Exo housing units.

Reaction Housing is not the only attempt to make post-disaster housing better, or at least less expensive, than the infamous FEMA trailers. A charity called ShelterBox in Lakewood Ranch, FL, fills boxes with everything a family or group of up to 10 people needs, including a heavy-duty tent, bedding, and kitchen supplies, in order to survive after a natural disaster. (Here's an interview video I shot in 2010 about ShelterBox.) Exo, ShelterBox or any one of dozens of other emergency housing alternatives are good to have around, ready to go, for the next Katrina, Sandy or Tsunami. High tech? Not necessarily, but technology has obviously made emergency housing faster and easier to erect than the "earthquake shacks" that were built in San Francisco to house people made homeless by the 1906 earthquake.

Comment: The first real AI scare was in 1909 (Score 1) 292

by Roblimo (#49329815) Attached to: Steve Wozniak Now Afraid of AI Too, Just Like Elon Musk

The Humanoids, first published as 'With Folded Hands,' was a science fiction novel first published as a novelette in 1947. It was the first book or article I read (in the late 50s) about machines taking over.

The Machine Stops dates all the way back to 1909 and posits a world where humans depend on a global Machine -- and what happens when the machine stops working.

Security

How 'The Cloud' Eats Away at Your Online Privacy (Video) 86

Posted by Roblimo
from the it-seems-the-network-is-the-computer-after-all dept.
Tom Henderson, Principal Researcher at ExtremeLabs Inc., is not a cloud fan. He is a staunch privacy advocate, and this is the root of his distrust of companies that store your data in their memories instead of yours. You can get an idea of his (dis)like of vague cloud privacy protections and foggy vendor service agreements from the fact that his Network World columnn is called Thumping the Clouds. We called Tom specifically to ask him about a column entry titled The downside to mass data storage in the cloud.

Today's video covers only part of what Tom had to say about cloud privacy and information security, but it's still an earful and a half. His last few lines are priceless. Watch and listen, or at least read the transcript, and you'll see what we mean.

Comment: Re: Nice Slashvertisement (Score 4, Informative) 57

by Roblimo (#49286947) Attached to: Project an Interactive Game on Your Floor or Wall (Video)

Your assumption is wrong. Timothy made the video. I just edited and posted it. And he chooses video subjects based on what he finds interesting and doesn't get paid to make them.

FYI, if you ever see a piece of sponsored content on Slashdot, it will say 'sponsored content' or 'advertisement' or will otherwise be easily distinguishable from editorial content.

Why should everything on Slashdot be negative? Being positive (or at least neutral) about something doesn't necessarily mean someone got paid.

I wouldn't pay $500 for this thing any more than you would. If anything, I might look at their $39 (proprietary) software and try it with a computer and webcam. And probably not even that.

The 11 is for people with the pride of a 10 and the pocketbook of an 8. -- R.B. Greenberg [referring to PDPs?]

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