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Submission + - The Muddy Truth About Kickstarter "Staff Picks"

szczys writes: Crowd Funding is the wild-wild west of business financing, and it's not just the people starting campaigns that are playing without many rules. One of Kickstarter's sort algorithm triggers is the "Staff Pick". Research points to projects labeled as a Staff Pick succeeding 89% of the time. But there is no published benchmark for how these are chosen. More shocking is that Kickstarter only discourages users from falsely labeling their campaign as a Staff Pick. To protect backers and ensure the crowdfunding ecosystem isn't sullied by scammers, Kickstarter needs to boost their transparency starting with this Staff Pick conundrum.

Submission + - Robots Are Coming For Our Jobs. Just Not All of Them.

szczys writes: There was a video published on YouTube about a year ago called Humans Need Not Apply which compared human labor now to horse labor just before industrialization. It's a great thought-exercise, but there are a ton of tasks where it's still science-fiction to think robots are taking over anytime soon.

Kristina Panos makes a great argument for which jobs we all want to see taken by robots, others that would be very difficult to make happen, and some that would just creep everyone out.

http://hackaday.com/2015/08/24...

Submission + - ElectroMagnetic Drive Will Be More Important the Internal Combustion; If Real

szczys writes: The EM drive has the promise of turning radio waves into thrust. That has huge implications for many different types of transport, both on this planet and through space. The problem is that real scientific tests have turned up conflicting and confusing information.

Supporting data could end up being just a statistical anomaly. But until proven impossible or made a reality, it's fun to think about the effect EM Drive could have on humanity. If it actually works we get Helicarriers.

http://hackaday.com/2015/08/19...

Submission + - You Can Have my TIPs When You Pry them from my Cold, Dead Hands

szczys writes: Should you trash brand new parts developed decades ago and adopt newer models? The argument centers around TIP parts which are a standard type of transistor developed in 1969.

This debate started out with a post from Tom Jennings who is known as the creator of Fidonet but works a lot with electronic hardware. Adam Fabio — himself and Electronics Engineer — picked up on the argument for the other side. He attests that if used in the proper application these parts are second to none.

http://hackaday.com/2015/08/17...

Submission + - A Dozen Hardware Badges Seen at DEF CON this Weekend

szczys writes: This was "The Year of the Unofficial Hardware Badge" at DEF CON. The official badge was non-electronic: a vinyl record. But there are a ton of people who made their own hardware badges and either gave them away or sold them. I took pictures and interviewed the creators of each badge including: Whiskey Pirates, Queercon, Car Hacking Badge, DarkNet Badge, Crypto Villiage Badge, DEF CON Shoot badge, and several others.

http://hackaday.com/2015/08/10...

Submission + - Leading the Computer Revolution in a Totalitarian State

szczys writes: How do you enter the information age when computers, and the components that go into them, are embargoed by other countries and imports of any value are restricted by your own? This and a myriad of other barriers didn't stop Voja Antonic from building his own computers and teaching others how to do so during the 70's, 80's, 90's, and beyond.

He managed to get a TRS-80 into Yugoslavia by having a friend cut the cables between the two boards and send them separately to avoid getting caught in customs. He bootstrapped his own personal computer and published the plans in the country's first computer magazine. It was built by over 8000 people. Check out these stories and his experience of living in the Eastern Bloc and through the war in '90s, all while continuing to build and promote computers in what is now Serbia.

http://hackaday.com/2015/08/03...

Submission + - The Biohacking Movement and Open Source Insulin

szczys writes: Since early last century insulin has been produced from the pancreas of animals. In the late 1970's we figured out how to synthesize insulin using bacteria or yeast. As the biohacking movement has grown insulin production has been a common target, but for some reason we're not there yet. Dan Maloney looked into the backstory (including the amazing story of the Saxl family who produced life-saving insulin during WWI) and a new startup that is trying to get Biohackers working on the problem.

http://hackaday.com/2015/07/30...

Submission + - The Factory of the World - Documentary on Manufacturing in Shenzhen

szczys writes: This documentary looks at the changing ecosystem of manufacturing in the Pearl River Delta (Shenzhen, China) through interviews with product engineers involved with the MIT Media Lab manufacturing program, Finance professionals in Hong Kong, and notables in the Maker Industry.

Worth checking out for anyone thinking of a hardware startup or just interested in how hardware gets made.

http://hackaday.com/2015/07/27...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

Submission + - Drones Ground Aerial Firefighting Fleet->

szczys writes: Over the weekend, planes and helicopters fighting forest fires in California were grounded when drones (quadcopters) were spotted in the area. This is not an isolated incident and has been happening more frequently. Drones pose a hazard to the firefighting planes which could be damaged during collision.

Reports are varied on the issue. Adam Fabio looked into the claims that there were drones right over the fires taking video, and that the reported drones were actually in a designated RC flight park. He also shows off some websites which provide information about flight bans for drones.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - ProxyHam Talk pulled from DEFCON -- Here's how to build it and why you shouldn't->

szczys writes: Use WiFi anonymously from a mile away? It's obvious why the ProxyHam talk got a lot of interest when it was announced as part of this year's DEFCON line-up. Yesterday the talk was cancelled and no reason was given for doing so.

From photos and what little information is available, Brian Benchoff explains how you can build your own ProxyHam without it ever being presented. There are a few caveats, the radio and encryption technologies combined will have you breaking a few laws, and there's really no reason to go to these lengths.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Did you know the randomness of unintialized RAM is a quality Entropy source->

szczys writes: When you power up a device, the RAM is always in an unknown state. You might think it would be similar most of the time but you're wrong. Voja Antonic looked into the concept and built a few different True Random Number Generators (TRNG) which use the random state of the RAM at power-on to produce random seeds. He's able to build 10MB random collections which do extremely well in the best of entropy testing.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - How to Build Beautiful Enclosures from FR4 -- aka PCBs->

szczys writes: For decades Voja Antonic has been perfecting his technique of building enclosures form FR4, which is the substance used to make most printed circuit boards.

He shared his method in this amazing post which includes a bunch of illustrations he made to showcase the tips and tricks that make this method work. Building enclosures out of FR4 has been done for a long time, but I've never seen a guide that walks you through everything needed to achieve this level of quality.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - 1-Pixel Pac-Man->

szczys writes: Retro games just aren't the same since the display technology resolution has exploded. I went the opposite direction and chose a display with less resolution than the original.

This reinvention of Pac-Man uses a 32x32 RGB LED module which are made for LED billboards. This makes the player just one pixel. Add in an Atari joystick and we have a winner.

This is a great programming challenge. If you've never looked at Pac-Man AI before, it's fascinating and worth your time!

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Hanging out with Someone who Walked on the Moon->

szczys writes: Greg Charvat recently sat in on an MIT course called "Engineering Apollo". For this set of sessions, David Scott recounted his experience as an astronaut. David was the commander of the Apollo 15 mission, flew several others, and took part in the development of much of the equipment used in the moon missions. This class is him hanging around with a bunch of engineers talking in a level of detail rarely heard.
Link to Original Source

Do you suffer painful elimination? -- Don Knuth, "Structured Programming with Gotos"

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