Dec 092014

Join us for a two part discussion on Bitcoin by Andrew Sheppard. Andrew (“Shep”) is a consultant on Wall Street who works in the areas of Big Data and Big Compute. He is also a part-time professor teaching on the Masters in Financial Engineering (MFE) program at Baruch College.

Bitcoin is a new form of electronic cash growing in popularity. As a system it is a protocol, a P2P network, and a bunch of cryptographic algorithms. Oh, and add a new form of global currency to that list. In short, Bitcoin is a bundle of technology and economic concepts all rolled into one.

Bitcoin is also like the tooth fairy: most have heard about it, but few have actually encountered it for real. And even those who have actually encountered Bitcoin don’t really know what it is at a basic (read “fundamental”) level; in particular, too emphasis is placed on the technology and not enough on the economics of Bitcoin, though both are highly novel. This talk remedies that.

Reserve a seat, it’s FREE

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Nov 162014


Due to a fire the laser is down again this week. Laser night will be open for hacking, but alas no lazzzoring. You may have noticed we’ve been experiencing a lot of downtime lately. This is the current state of the laser:

The laser is old

Our laser has been in pretty consistent use for seven years. Many projects and even companies have been built on it. We’ve done our best to do regular maintenance and upgrades, but it’s nobody’s job and so it doesn’t always get done.

The laser is abused

Not all materials are created equal. We try to make sure people do burn tests to make sure we’re not doing damage to the laser, but it’s not perfect. Even wood and acrylic can be hard on it when doing long jobs with thick material. Everything that is lasered away ends up gunking up the lenses and mirrors.

The laser needs more air

The ventilation system that we have hooked up to the laser is also old and it’s underpowered at this point. We need new blower, hoses and filters. This will be a significant upgrade, and we may not have the finances to do this ourselves.

So that’s where we’re at. Stay tuned, we’re putting together a plan and we’re probably going to need help. Thanks for your patience and support!

Update: We’ve been working on the ventilation system this week, and work continues on figuring out the power problems. We hope to have the laser back in action in a week or so. Thanks for your patience!

Nov 162013

There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom.

Just a reminder, no laser night tonight. You’re welcome to come by and hack instead! The laser is down but should be repaired by Tuesday!

DomeStar In-Depth

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Oct 052012

An in-depth look at DomeStar is long overdue. Now that it’s back from Maker Faire it’s time to take it apart and see how it works.

Find out more after the break..

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Jun 012012

This is a little late, but we’ll be profiling each of the exhibits from this years Interactive Show. This week we’re taking a look at Asa Alger‘s Adventure Box.

Adventure Box is an ongoing project designed to take an ordinary experience and turn it into something extraordinary. Built inside a typical toy vending machine, Adventure Box is packed with a bevy of electronics and micro controllers that add lights, sounds, displays, and connectivity to the machine’s normal function.

The machine is themed and designed to inspire adventure and creativity within the consumer who uses it. The exterior will be covered in an illustrated mural depicting heroes, monsters, and great adventure. Within each capsule will be a unique hand made toy that could be anything from a 3d printed figurine, a typewritten story, a seed bomb, or even an electronic invention.

Additionally a tag with a unique code will be paired with every toy, that will provide a code that links to an online page for the toy that contains pictures and information about the toy and its creator. This information will also be displayed on an LCD display when the toy is vended. The machine has several RFID readers that can identify each individual toy, and using an Arduino Ethernet shield pull information from an online inventory database. The toy will then be marked as sold and the project’s twitter feed will announce the toys sale with a link to its information page. Lastly the machine itself will respond with lights and sound as the identified toy is delivered to the waiting hands of its owner.

This was a really great project, and people really enjoyed getting toys imbibed with personality. I got a Gray Gunner, but the person behind me lucked out with a DayGlo Death Squadder.

Asa has more plans for Adventure Box, you can keep tabs on the project at AdventureBoxProject.com.

May 152012

Pictured here, one eighth of the RGB LEDs and an emulator used in the DomeStar project, featured at this weekend’s Interactive Show.

Tickets are just $20, and your bar tab is on us! Proceeds help keep NYC Resistor going strong.