Matt

Apr 232010
 

Quoting an excerpt from Mitch seen on Make Blog:

Notacon was way wonderful this year. The Hardware Hacking Area was way bigger than last year (as is the case *everywhere*!), and it was totally hopping! More than a third of people at the con made something!

Me and Jimmie joined in on the Hardware Hacking Area set up by the new Makers Alliance hackerspace in Cleveland. We love giving these workshops at hacker conferences and hackerspaces around the world! It is just so incredibly gratifying to see so many people happily making cool things together! That’s why we do this! We actually don’t make any money from doing it — but we do break even, which means that we make enough from each workshop to allow us to pay for the overhead of the next one. And it works out really well! We love teaching people how to make cool things!

The only bummer about Notacon this year (besides for my train being canceled, necessitating me taking a Greyhound to NYC!) is that someone(s) stole a bunch of my kits and Jimmie Rodger’s kits. $585 worth of my kits were taken, including a pile of FTDI cables, a pile of MiniPOV3 kits, plus a bunch of other kits. Jimmie had 2 Arduino boards taken plus a few of his kits, which comes to about $250 of his stuff taken. Last year was my first Notacon, and though I loved it more than enough to come back this year, $690 of my kits were stolen there (again mostly FTDI cables and MiniPOV3 kits).

Out of all of the workshops I’ve given over the last few years, I’ve never had kits stolen from any of them — Notacon is the only place. That is so odd, because Notacon is such a great conference! It draws a great group of people, most of whom get to know one another over the weekend. The organizers do a great job of creating an intimate atmosphere with lots of interesting talks, demos, workshops, and way fun activities. I’d recommend it to anyone. I’d also love it if whoever has taken my kits would return them.

Cornfield Electronics
572 Hill St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
Mitch Altman mitch@CornfieldElectronics.com

Mitch is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He’s dedicated himself to going around the planet ( quite literally ) and getting people of all ages excited about making stuff. I helped Mitch run the hardware hacking space at Notacon the year before last, and it was amazing. This year was even better thanks to the local Cleveland hackerspace guys. And I’ve been pretty adamant about Notacon being one of my favorite conferences. It’s small, but it’s got great people, and one of the only demo scene events in the US. Hearing this really makes me feel horrible. I’ve been to almost every Notacon since Notacon 1, and I’ve never had an issue inside of the conference area. People tend to look out for each other. I can’t imagine what someone would be thinking when they took this stuff.

Anyways, if you have any idea where / what happened to Mitch’s stuff please step up and right the wrong.

I am not currently aware of any sort of formal effort to help get Mitch back on his feet with a supply of kits. But, I suppose the biggest issue here is time. Getting new boards, components, and kits put together for upcoming events could be tough if not impossible. Hoping whoever is responsible has a change of heart. Spreading this throughout the community hopefully will get their attention.

Anyways our thoughts are with Mitch right now.

 Posted by at 9:22 am
Apr 112010
 

Makerbot made parts for Model 15 Teletype

I gave Zach several months to post this. And he hasn’t. I am not sure why, but it’s probably because he’s too busy advancing his skills and the capacity of his makerbots to take the time. A few months ago we hosted an amazing hackathon at NYC Resistor. During that event Bill was hard at work getting to grips with how the model 15-ro teletype, that I bought on e-bay for a dollar, operated.

It turns out the teletype only has 2 electromechanical parts… the motor and an actuator. Everything else is mechanical. All the amazing engineering and mind blowing beauty aside… that makes it very difficult to debug the device. So while Bill was struggling to step the device through it’s instructions Zach was building and perfecting yet another makerbot.

As the two of them conversed about their trials and tribulations Zach set out to use his makerbot to help Bill out. He designed a gear that bill could use to manually advance the main rotational shaft in the device and thusly step through instructions. Moderately simple little thing, but obviously designing these obvious components is… somewhat harder than it looks.

The amazing part to me isn’t the component made by zach, or the teletype. It’s the fusion of a prototyped component made using 2010 technology used to solve a problem on a 1930s machine. Just because two guys working on very different projects just happened to be sitting next to each other when they worked on their respective contraptions.

To me the image of this one new component on this amazing piece of antiquity is a thing of subtle beauty. A clash of cultures, a contrast of design, and a community of exceptional craft all there in one simple photo. Sometimes a thousand words simply isn’t enough to describe it.

Anyways, I hope you guys are seeing something as amazing here as I am.

 Posted by at 3:03 am
Apr 072010
 

So there’s been some news regarding Scrabble making some rule changes as of late. I’m not sure I hold with all those rules, but I figured if we’re looking at making scrabble better I’d toss my hat into the ring.

My new scrabble tile set provides game players with a fully international character set through the miracle of character set encoding standards. By using my entirely hexadecimal tile set you can deploy your scrabble words in full unicode, or simple ascii. I think however, I might need a bigger board. The memory space on this bit of antiquity is a bit on the small side.

More on My Flickr

Dear Parker Brothers, this is a parody. Please do not threaten litigation. I mean you no harm. In fact I am quite sure my suggestion of homebrew tile sets can only increase interest in scrabble and scrabble related paraphernalia. I am your friend. Love me as I have loved you. Please.

 Posted by at 10:01 pm
Apr 072010
 

There’s a lot of discussion going around on the web about the controversial new device placed onto the free market by Apple Computers, the iPad. I was thinking about the app store approval process, and the potential for how shall we say, abuse that might occur through such a system. That’s when it occurred to me, Apple is right. Developers should be able to safeguard the experience of their users. So I opened up the terminal.

Here’s the php code that you might want to use on your web applications to let iPad users know that their device might not meet the user experience requirements that you feel are necessary for the full enjoyment of your applications. You know, requirements such as screws on the device, or the ability to multitask, or install software without an approval process controlled by some megalomaniac in Cupertino. I’ve modeled the response to be somewhat familiar in wording to apple developers. You know, just to show that I care.

Anyways, if you like me feel that the iPad is ruining the web experience for users, and don’t want to see your web applications tainted by it’s inferior design choices use the code below to protect yourself and your work. You aren’t making a tool, you are creating an experience. Remember place the code such that it executes before your page data is displayed. If you have a header include or something that would be an awesome location.

 Posted by at 11:57 am
Apr 042010
 

The venerable and highly esteemed Mr Stabby. An orphan robot found upon the streets of new york, and eventually dropped off at NYC Resistor has found a home in our hearts. Luckily we’ve kept him thus far from plunging a knife into that home. We did however decide that since Mr Stabby means so much to all of us, that we’d celebrate his birthday. This year stabs got to take out a pinata shaped like a penguin.

Here’s a video of stabs showing us that even the surliest robots can sometimes find a home full of love, and support if hackerspaces are willing to open their doors to them.

Stabs… this one’s for you man.

(Updated: Photos from the event posted to Flickr)

 Posted by at 10:37 pm
Mar 102010
 

From thenexthope.org:

2600 Magazine presents The Next HOPE, the eighth conference in the 16 year history of the Hackers On Planet Earth series. It will happen at the Hotel Pennsylvania in the middle of New York City from July 16-18, 2010, and will be the largest creative technology conference on the U.S. East Coast.

Traditionally HOPE conferences have been more about the talks than the physical projects, but with the 2008 conference that started to change, and this time organizers are pushing for an even stronger showing of projects and tech art. This call for projects goes out to hackers, makers, technologists, artists, and free thinkers around the world. Come share your passions and ideas with 3,000+ of your soon-to-be closest friends.

If you want to pitch in and you don’t know what to do…

* Lounge/Hang-Out Spaces
o HOPE usually has work spaces, seminar spaces, and crash spaces. Can you organize more chill zones for simple conversation?
* Games
o You have 3,000+ people, three floors of a massive hotel, an RFID tracking system, and The City of New York. What can you do with that? Teach, play, explore.
* Art
o What’s your vision of the future? Show us using hardware, software, electricity and imagination.
* Night Life
o The talks usually stop around midnight. What else could be going on between midnight and 9am? Plan it, make it interesting, make it happen.

The main visual theme of the conference is visions of the future from the past, so things that reference The World’s Fairs, The Jetsons, flying cars, DaVinci, Asimov, and so forth would be very appropriate. However, projects are not required to carry the central theme in any way. Some projects, such as OpenAMD, are already being planned to be simply visions of the future from the present, rather than referencing any futurist thoughts from antiquity.

Some projects already in the works include…

* The Attendee Meta-Data Project (“OpenAMD”)
o An expansion of the RFID crowd tracking project from The Last Hope.
o Needs programmers and hardware hackers, and is prime for spinoff projects.
o Many possibilities exist for the development of games, data mining, and visualizations.
o Ask about the OpenAMD API.
o http://amd.hope.net/
o contact: amd@hope.net
* Radio Statler!
o Streaming 24 hours a day live from the expo floor.
o Needs people to do shows, experienced engineers, reporters, and people with interesting audio gear.
o Needs a large isolation booth.
o http://radio.hope.net/
o contact: radio@hope.net
* Installation Art
o The Next HOPE invites artists, local and beyond, who have a vision of the future expressed as installation art.
o Installations must be technology-based. They can range from electrical experiments to computer-controlled machines, to data and information processing visualizations, they can be static or interactive, and they could be visual or musical, this is a very open field.
o This is an unpaid exhibition, but the selected installation artists will be given free admission to the conference, and an online gallery with artist biographies will be set up for promotional purposes.
o What are your space, power, time, and data connection requirements?
o contact the curator: artspace@hope.net
* The Hackerspace and Hardware Hacking Village
o A 24 hour gathering point for the hackerspace community, a hardware hacking workshop area, and a supply post for hardware hacking tools and expendables.
o Are you involved with a hackerspace? Reserve a special area for your group to chill and show off projects!
o Looking for hardware hackers and hackerspaces from all around the world to come together and and share ideas.
o contact: hackerspace@hope.net

If you need help with your project, you can find a lot of people on our forum before the conference starts, at talk.hope.net. The HOPE wiki is also available for your use, wiki.hope.net.

Contact the projects coordinator with a plan of action, along with your space, power, time, and data connection requirements: projects@hope.net.

 Posted by at 4:41 pm
Mar 052010
 

Sure it’s 3:20…. but fsck it!

Here’s my day 4 script. A c based script that will generate an NYCR logo… of sorts.

Anyways… it’s utterly horrendous code… but it’s 3 am so leave me alone about it… plz.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 4:26 am
Mar 052010
 

So we had our first Craft Night this week in the new space. We moved in Saturday. So in less than a week you can see how far we have come. I am pretty excited about what we’re going to be able to do.

 Posted by at 1:51 am
Mar 042010
 

Under the wire… with a rather boring script. Here’s an apache log parser that uploads log data to MySQL. Interesting part about it? If your user auth field has LDAP data this will parse that properly.

Click through for code…
Continue reading »

 Posted by at 12:29 am
Mar 022010
 

So today I decided to mix things up a bit. I figure, how else can one honor the time honored world of languages than by paying homage to the language wrought by Knuth himself…. LaTeX.

Here’s the resulting PDF: m2
I will post the associated EPS file later, currently NYCR’s blog is very anti EPS.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 1:29 pm