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Hardware

Video A Chat With the Author of 'Abacus to smartphone: The evolution of mobile and portable computing' (Video) 6

The last time we spoke with Evan Koblentz it was about a vintage computer festival. This time we talked about a book he's written written titled Abacus to smartphone: The evolution of mobile and portable computing. Yes, he's obsessed with computer history. But somebody has to be, and we're glad it's Evan because he is eminently suited for this task.
Build

Video Why Hardware Development Takes Longer in the West Than in China (Video) 65

This was originally going to be a second video about the Popup Factory Demo we talked about last Wednesday. But this section of Tim's lengthy interview with people from the Popup Factory seemed like it would be of broader interest to Slashdot people -- and your coworkers, bosses, and friends who may be involved in device production or prototyping. There are some hard words here, because David Cranor is talking about problems that go way beyond the usual perceived Chinese advantages such as low labor costs and a lack of environmental regulations.
Build

Video Popup Factory Demo at Solid Conference 2015 (Video 1 of 2) 9

With rapid, low-cost "maker" tools including 3-D printers, low-volume circuit board etching and populating equipment, and lots of outsourcing to independent designers and engineers rather than having everyone on staff, it is easier every year to make Internet of Things things -- and many other electronic, mechanical, and electro-mechanical devices, too. Formlabs was the company that did the demo at O'Reilly's 2015 Solid Conference for Slashdot's Timothy Lord that he made into this two-part video (second part coming soon) to give you an idea of what's happening in this fast-moving field. Please note that these videos are not an endorsement of Formlabs. There are many companies doing similar things these days. Please feel free to mention your favorite in the comments (below).
Businesses

Video Brady Forrest Talks About Building a Hardware Startup (Video) 8

Brady Forrest is co-author of The Hardware Startup: Building Your Product, Business, and Brand. He has extensive experience building both products and startups, including staffing, financing, and marketing. If you are thinking or dreaming about doing a startup, you should not only watch the video to "meet" Brady, but read the transcript for more info than the video covers.
Hardware

Video The IoT, the MinnowBoard, and How They Fit Into the Universe (Video) 25

The IoT is becoming more pervasive partly because processor costs are dropping. So are bandwidth costs, even if your ISP isn't sharing those savings with you. Today's interviewee, Mark Skarpness, is "the Director of Embedded Software in the Open Source Technology Center at Intel Corporation," which is an amazing mouthful of a title. What it means is that he works to extend Intel's reach into Open Source communities, and is also aware of how hardware and software price drops -- and bandwidth price drops at the "wholesale" level -- mean that if you add a dash of IPV6, even lowly flip-flops might have their own IPs one day.

This video interview is a little less than six minutes long, while the text transcript covers a 17 minute conversation between Mark Skarpness and Slashdot's Timothy Lord. The video can be considered a "meet Mark" thing, and watching it will surely give you the idea that yes, this guy knows his stuff, but for more info about the spread of the IoT and how the Open Hardware MinnowBoard fits into the panoply of developer tools for IoT work, you'll have to read the transcript.
Build

Video 'My Name is C.H.I.P. and I'll Be Your $9 Computer Today' (Video) 111

Think of C.H.I.P as a tablet computer that runs Linux instead of Android, "without the tablet bits," says interviewee Dave, who gave a talk -- which was mostly live demos -- at OSCON 2015. 50,000 C.H.I.P.s have already sold for $9 through their successful Kickstarter campaign, and Next Thing Co. plans to stick with the $9 price for the foreseeable future -- plus add-on boards (that they call "shields") they hope to sell you, but that won't flatten any but the skinniest wallets; given the projected price scale, you'll have trouble spending as much as $50 for a fully-accessorized C.H.I.P. unit.

"But," you may ask, "is C.H.I.P. Open Source?" You bet! No hedging here, just flat-out Open Source, from the bottom to the top, with all software (and hardware specs) freely available via GitHub. And lastly, the "I'll Be Your $9 Computer Today' statement in the headline above is allegorical, not factual. We've seen projected shipping dates for C.H.I.P ranging from "by the end of 2015" to a simple "2016." Either way, we're waiting with bated breath.
Open Source

Video Marvell's Kinoma Create Keeps On Creating (Video) 14

Marvell is the parent company. Kinoma is the company Marvell bought in 2011 that "provides an open-source, cross-platform ECMAScript stack aimed at developing software for Internet of Things products and other embedded devices." They'll sell you a little hardware, too, which makes sense when you realize that parent company Marvell is big-time in the hardware business and will happily help you produce your IoT product -- for a fee, of course. Slashdot interviewed Peter Hoddie at last year's OSCON, so please consider this video an update. And before you ask: Peter says Kinoma is open source, from the bottom to the top -- to which we reply, "we like it like that."
Open Source

Video MetaMorph Helps non-Engineers Design Circuits (Video) 21

MetaMorph grew out of Vanderbilt University’s Institute for Software Integrated Systems. The introduction video you see here explains and steps you through its basic operation. The second "bonus" video goes a little deeper into the software's function. And the transcript covers everything in both videos, so if you prefer reading to watching you aren't left out -- except for the visual design process walk-through, of course. It's all open source, and their site has free demos available, so if you want to try your hand at designing circuitry with MetaMorph, go right ahead.
Build

Video Going Beyond the 'Stock' Arduino with Justin Mclean (Video) 12

Justin McLean is probably best-known for his work with Apache Flex. He also started playing with open source hardware before Arduino, and now works with systems like Fritzing, an open source hardware initiative that can take you all the way from initial concept to production-ready PCBs you can have made by a production house -- or make yourself if that's the way you roll. This can be an educational activity, a way to make prototype boards for potential Internet of Things products or even just a fun way to occupy yourself by making LEDs light up.
Hardware

Video The 2015 Vintage Computer Festival East is April 17-19 (Video) 23

The Vintage Computer Festival East is where you go to see working computers from the forties through the eighties. It's held at the Information Age Learning Center (InfoAge) in Wall, New Jersey, a site that is full of electronics history on its own. In addition to displays (including a number of items for sale), there are sessions on topics ranging from "Keyboard Restoration" to "Fixing what's hopelessly broken." Event volunteer Evan Koblentz, today's interviewee, says that most of the several hundred people the event draws every year come from the United States, but there are always at least a few international visitors. And if New Jersey isn't your thing, there are other Vintage Computer Festivals you might want to attend. To get current news about these events, you might want to sign up for the VCF email list.
Hardware

EnOcean Wireless Sensors Don't Need Batteries (Video) 46

'The EnOcean technology is an energy harvesting wireless technology used primarily in building automation systems; but is also applied to other applications in industry, transportation, logistics and smart homes,' says Wikipedia. There's also a Siemans spinoff company called EnOcean, and today's video is an interview with its president, Jim O'Callaghan. But EnOcean technology is the real star here. The idea is that energy-efficient sensors can be powered by energy harvesting, i.e. drawing energy from their surroundings, including such low-level sources as light, temperature changes, and pressure, which can be the pressure of your finger on a switch or even changes in barometric pressure. The EnOcean Alliance has a professionally-produced video that describes their technology and notes that self-powered wireless sensors not only save energy but save miles of wire between sensor nodes and controllers, which means it's possible to install more sensors sensing more parameters than in the past. (Alternate Video Link)
Education

DuinoKit Helps Teach Students About Electronics (Video) 61

This is something Timothy Lord ran across a few months ago at a Maker Faire near Atlanta: The DuinoKit. Think of it as a fancier (and pricier) version of the venerable Radio Shack Electronic Learning Labs and you won't be far off. Plus, as the name DuinoKit implies, it's based on an Arduino, which means that right off the bat it packs a lot more learning punch than the Radio Shack kit. DuinoKit was financed by a KickStarter campaign that asked for $19,500 and raised $57,478 from 250 backers. And for those of you who worry about being called nerds because you're carrying a DuinoKit around, you can relax. It comes in a 'Secret Agent Carrying Case.' Really. Read their What is the DuinoKit? Web page carefully and you'll see. (Alternate Video Link)
Science

Video CMI Director Alex King Talks About Rare Earth Supplies (Video 2) 11

Yesterday we ran video #1 of 2 about the Critical Materials Institute (CMI) at the Iowa State Ames Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. They have partners from other national laboratories, universities, and industry, too. Obviously there is more than enough information on this subject that Dr. King can easily fill two 15-minute videos, not to mention so many Google links that instead of trying to list all of them, we're giving you one link to Google using the search term "rare earths." Yes, we know Rare Earth would be a great name for a rock band. But the mineral rare earths are important in the manufacture of items ranging from strong magnets to touch screens and rechargeable batteries, so please watch the video(s) or at least read the transcript(s). (Alternate Video Link)
Hardware

Video CMI Director Alex King Talks About Rare Earth Supplies (Video) 27

CMI in this context is the Critical Materials Institute at the Iowa State Ames Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. They have partners from other national laboratories, universities, and industry, too. Rare earths, while not necessarily as rare as the word "rare" implies, are hard to mine, separate, and use. They are often found in parts per million quantities, so it takes supercomputers to suss out which deposits are worth going after. This is what Dr. King and his coworkers spend their time doing; finding concentrations of rare earths that can be mined and refined profitably.

On November 3 we asked you for questions to put to Dr. King. Timothy incorporated some of those questions into the conversation in this video -- and tomorrow's video too, since we broke this into two parts because, while the subject matter may be fascinating, we are supposed to hold video lengths down to around 10 minutes, and in this case we still ended up with two videos close to 15 minutes each. And this stuff is important enough that instead of lining up a list of links, we are giving you one link to Google using the search term "rare earths." Yes, we know Rare Earth would be a great name for a rock band. But the mineral rare earths are important in the manufacture of items from strong magnets to touch screens and rechargeable batteries. (Alternate Video Link)
Build

Video Liking Analog Meters Doesn't Make You a Luddite (Video) 155

Chris Gordon works for a high-technology company, but he likes analog meters better than digital readouts. In this video, he shows off a bank of old-fashioned meters that display data acquired from digital sources. He says he's no Luddite; that he just prefers getting his data in analog form -- which gets a little harder every year because hardly any new analog meters are being manufactured. (Alternate Video Link)

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