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Comment Ricochet did this post-9/11, routing worked fine. (Score 3, Interesting) 45

While much of Manhattan's traditional communications infrastructure was literally a smoking crater after 9/11, the Ricochet mesh network was alive and well, built to barely notice the loss of individual nodes.

The company had recently gone bankrupt, but all the hardware was still in place, so some ex-employees drove from Denver to NYC with a bunch of modems and laptops, to bring mobile connectivity to the recovery effort.

Mesh works in this case because MCDN uses geographic routing -- the packet header literally contains a packed lat/long for the destination, and nodes make their routing decisions by angle and distance. There's a layer of name-to-geo resolution which makes that all work, and in the Ricochet days it was centralized, but I believe it could be made to operate with DHT like torrent networks do now.

Comment General-purpose OS for a camera (Score 1) 179

A decade ago, there was a small series of digital cameras that ran a somewhat-open OS: Slashdot covered DigitaOS before. Yes, some people ran games on their cameras; I was one. But more importantly, new applications could be developed. Long before EXIF and geotagging, there was a guy with a GPS hooked to the serial port (yes, back when cameras used RS232) of a camera, and a Digita program to save the coordinates where each shot was taken. There are countless new ideas waiting to happen, when an open OS is paired with serious optics. I can't wait.

Comment Hackerspace connections (Score 5, Interesting) 239

I got my current job because another guy at the local hackerspace saw me working on stuff and figured I'd be a good fit at the place he worked. No big deal, makes sense, okay. But the sheer number of times this has happened, still astonishes me. With a membership of about 70 people, I can count 9 who've gotten jobs through connections made at the hackerspace. That's noteworthy.

Comment Re:Libraries at their core.... (Score 2, Insightful) 158

It's a valuable resource to a community, but so are parks and swimming pools. The library doesn't have those things attached to it, either, for obvious reasons of indoor air quality and such.

For years, I've described i3 Detroit specifically, and hackerspaces/makerspaces in general, as being "something like a library, but for beings with opposable thumbs in addition to eyes". Learning and making and tinkering is in our nature, and I think it enhances us as humans to exercise these abilities. The word "literacy" needs an analog for "skilled with tools and understanding of mechanical things", so we can talk about it.

I think everyone should have access to such a space, just like access to a library. But should they be under the same roof? No, I don't think so. My personal feeling is that libraries as dead-tree collections are obsolete, and that we should not be talking about expansion, but complete conversion. Librarians are cool and library science is interesting, but paper artifacts don't need to live in every community. Let's take the spirit of learning and access and freedom, which libraries embody, and give it new life with the valuable things that every-day people don't have in their homes, like books once were.

Comment But PCI isn't, and never was, a local bus. (Score 1) 415

PCI has a controller sitting between the CPU and the expansion slots -- it's not truly local. The definition of a "local bus" was stretched (mostly by Intel) to include PCI despite this, but in its original meaning, it referred to an architecture where the expansion slots are directly connected to the CPU, possibly permitting level shifters or buffers but certainly no logic. PCI doesn't even run at the CPU's FSB anymore! How local is that?

VESA Local Bus truly was, although its reliance on 5-volt levels condemned it to obsolescence as soon as chips went to 3.3 and lower voltages for their I/O. These days nothing except the northbridge is local.

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