by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jul 3rd 2013 6:29pm
by Mike Masnick
Sat, Mar 30th 2013 9:00am
from the fruit-ninjas-are-everywhere dept
- First up, is the MiiPC. It's an Android-powered PC that's designed for family use. From the screenshots/video they show, they at least appear to have done a decent job making Android functional as a desktop OS. Some of the "family" features seem a little hokey and overhyped, but perhaps it appeals to some people.
- So that's a more modern take on a PC, but how about one that's a bit more retro? The the X500 is a modern computer case, but which takes its design cues from classic early 1980s gaming consoles like the Amiga, Atari and Sinclair. My first computer was an Atari 800, so I've got a soft spot for this style of design, even if it's probably not that practical these days.
- Since we're talking about DIY, howzabout the DUO, the world's first DIY 3D sensor. If you've been living under a rock for a while, you may have missed all the buzzy and hype about the Leap Motion controller for gesture recognition on your computer. The DUO, conceptually, is pretty similar to the Leap, except that this not about fancy shiny locked up boxes, but about making your own damn fancy gesture controller. Basically, the different levels get you started at different points along the process of making your own such device (though, yes, you can also purchase fully assembled ones, but they're much more expensive than the Leap).
- And since we're on the subject of gesture recognition for computers, how about the the NUIA eyeCharm, which is an add on to the Kinect (which we'll assume you already know about...), to make it so you can control your computer via eye movements. There were rumors that Samsung was working on something like this to be built into phones and tablets, but these guys are doing it as a simple add on to the Kinect.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Nov 1st 2012 3:02pm
from the one-way-out dept
The second post in the series comes from Richard Stallman, who notes that it seems quite unlikely that the US will carve out software patents, noting (correctly) that this might not solve the problem anyway, since patent lawyers would just change how they write patent applications to get around any such carve-out. Instead, he suggests a different solution: limiting how widely software patents can impact new technology:
My suggestion is to change the effect of patents. We should legislate that developing, distributing, or running a program on generally used computing hardware does not constitute patent infringement. This approach has several advantages:It's an interesting suggestion, but I'm not so sure it would go over that well. People would certainly question why general purpose computing gets a pass. Also, the "generally used computing hardware" standard could be kind of hard to define as well. It still seems like there are more elegant solutions that focus on the real root of the problem, rather than trying to "carve out" certain impacts that we don't like.
- It doesn’t require classifying patents or patent applications as “software” or “not software.”
- It provides developers and users with protection from both existing and potential future computational idea patents.
- Patent lawyers can’t defeat the intended effect by writing applications differently.
by Glyn Moody
Tue, Mar 6th 2012 8:27am
from the hidden-benefits dept
The Raspberry Pi is a $25 credit-card sized computer that has succeeded in making GNU/Linux not just newsworthy, but downright desirable. The initial batch of boards sold out in minutes, and eager customers crashed the server where it was being sold.
The original vision of the Raspberry Pi was to promote amateur programming and to re-invigorate the teaching of computing in the UK (and elsewhere) by providing a very low-cost and easily hackable system. Naturally, though, its open source code allows it to be applied in many different situations. Here, for example, is a plan to create a secure chat system for activists that can be used in countries where communications are routinely under surveillance, using a program called Cryptocat:
Because of their low-cost and small size they can then be shipped to activists and NGO's in areas where free-speech is difficult.
An interesting consequence of Moore's Law and the ready availability of free software is that powerful computers can now be produced for just tens of dollars, and in an extremely small package. The low cost means that organizations supporting activists can send in many such systems to countries with human rights problems, and replace them if they are discovered and confiscated or destroyed. The size makes it much easier to import them discreetly, as well as to conceal them in countries that try to keep computing under tight control.
"This is especially useful for activist organizations, human rights organizations, any group composed of a few dozen people who need to have an internal secure communication service," said Mr Kobeissi.
Small, portable Raspberry Pi computers set up to run Cryptocat, he believes, may be a quick way to build such a service.
And it's not just the Raspberry Pi that will be making this possible. Its high-profile success is likely to mean that in due course other systems will be produced that are cheaper and smaller. That will ensure they are even more popular with the educational market and hackers -- and even more problematic for oppressive regimes.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Dec 17th 2010 3:58am