Hackaday Links: September 11, 2016

You know about the Hackaday Superconference, right? It’s the greatest hardware con ever, and it’s happening on November 5+6. Details incoming shortly.

The Hackaday Retro Edition exists. It’s the Hackaday blog, HTML-1-izized for weird and old computers? Why did I do this? Because Google is the quickest page to load on a Powerbook 180. There’s a new Retro Success, this time coming from @LeSpocky and his Nokia 3109c phone from 2008.

This is your official notice. The Open Hardware Summit is less than a month away. It’s going down in Portland, OR. Why Portland? The Vaporwavescene, of course. Hackaday, Tindie, and the rest of the crew will be out in Portland next month getting the latest news on the state of Open Hardware. We won’t be sitting in church pews this year, but then again there is no lady made out of soap.

Speaking of OHS, [Dave] just solved all their problems. The ‘problem’ with Open Hardware, if you can call it that, is that people use it as a bullet point on a sales deck. That neat gear logo can be marketing wank, without any of the sources, schematics, or anything else that makes a project Open Hardware. Last year, OSHWA announced they would be creating a certification process, with a trademarked logo, so they can sue people who don’t post schematics and mechanical designs (slightly inaccurate, but that’s the jist of the program). [Dave] is suggesting keeping the cool gear logo, but adding letters the teeth of the gear to designate what makes something Open Hardware. Add an S for schematic, add a B for a BOM, sort of like the creative commons logo/license. Is it a good idea? If OSHWA keeps using the gear logo for the ‘official’ Open Hardware logo/designation, there’s no recourse for when people misuse it. I’m of several minds.

[Colin Furze] is famous for his zany builds. His latest Youtube is anything but. It’s a shed. Of course, it’s the entry for his underground bunker, but this is a quality shed with a concrete pad, a few bits to keep it off the ground, and insulation. The roof is slate (because why not?), but if your design decisions are based on the phrase, ‘you only live once,’ copper may be a better choice.

The ESP32 has been released. The ESP32 is the follow-on to the very popular ESP8266. The ’32 features WiFi and Bluetooth, dual core processors, and a few undisclosed things that will make it very interesting. You can buy ESP32 modules right now, but no one has them on their workbench quite yet. To get you started when they finally arrive, [Adam] created an ESP32 KiCad Library for the ESP32 chip, and the ESP32-WROOM and ESP3212 modules.

13 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: September 11, 2016

  1. When I read “…this is a quality shed with a concrete pad, a few bits to keep it off the ground, and insulation.” I wondered if that meant it could fly…

    This is crazy [Colin Furze] we are talking about!
    It is a very nice shed/bunker entrance BTW. :)

    The retro edition looks good; just looked at it. There are some small issues though with special characters. For example, the loading of http://hackaday.com/2012/03/13/the-spud-gun-to-end-all-spud-guns/
    In retro-mode has this:
    “In Norse mythology, Mjöllnir is the hammer of Thor, forged in a contest to create the most wondrous andÂ…”
    Looks like italics and bold tags work fine though. That ‘Â’ shows up around links often, curious why.

    1. I just looked up why  might happen; it happens whenever there are two spaces and the text formating isn’t meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=utf-8″ or something like that. I don’t completely understand what that means but it is too many spaces doing that probably.

  2. The retro site is still a mix of every version of HTML from 1.0 though to HTML 4.01 dtd strict or XHTML 1.0

    Do you have a FTP client open with an error message as it didn’t upload the new files!

    Try a validator. most of them won’t go back to HTML 1.0 but will do HTML 2.0 if you enter the character encoding which is probably utf8

    1. If you are doing plain English or nearly every European language that uses mostly English characters, there’s no need to use UTF8, Unicode etc. Except for one character used by Norwegian their special characters are all in single byte Extended ASCII. Even things like left and right double and single quotes don’t need Unicode.

      Think of how much bandwidth savings there could be across the web if nobody used the Unicode characters that have the exact same character in Extended ASCII. Much of this comes from editing software that simply defaults to creating HTML with UTF8 codes for punctuation when there’s no need to do so. Those HTML codes can use up to 8 ASCII characters to display *one* character.

      I have a small program for Windows and the source code for it. What it does is replace strings of text characters with other strings of text characters. It reads a list from a text file, very simple, the contents of every odd line gets replaced with the contents of the even line immediately below. Unfortunately it has a glitch that limits it to a number of line pairs that’s not enough to do a full UTF8 to E-ASCII equivalent swap in a single pass. But it is *extremely fast*, making thousands of different replacements in seconds, way faster than MS Word can do a find and replace on a large number of instances of just one swap pair. What happens if the maximum number of swap pairs is exceeded? Bad things, for which you want to have backups of the swap list and the file you’re feeding to the swapping program.

      It could be used to encipher and decipher text files (if the glitch is fixed) by using different swap lists. With a series of one-time-pad swap lists, running the same file through more than one list in the proper order, it could be useful for sending information securely. For example, take the whole E-ASCII character list, randomize it and put it all on the odd lines of a text file. Randomize again and put that list on the even lines. Then do that twice more. Feed the text document through using each list in turn and you’ve triple scrambled it. The recipient has the three swap lists, with the odd and even sets reversed and applies them in the reverse order to unscramble.

      If you want the program, the source and the swap lists I’ve used, including the too large one that would do the entire UTF8 to E-ASCII swap in a single pass, e-mail g _ alan _ e at yahoo dot com (Remove the spaces by the underscores and do the other obvious changes.) If you can fix the glitch I’d like to have a copy of the fixed program.

      1. Un-tabified format 8-bit (UTF8) is a variable length encoding so for most situations it is simply 8-bit just like ASCII. In fact all but one symbol element *is* ASCII.

        A lot of people confuse “transfer encoding” with “rendering encoding” but it sounds like you have a handle on it.

        UTF8 is a very good compromise between data transfer bandwidth and extended character sets.

  3. I’ve seen some decline in David Jones’ quality, but the idea to relabel open-source hardware is by far his worst.
    It’s certainly not OSHW if I can’t repair it given the information available. A project without a schematic and BOM is thus definitely not OSHW, however you put it. It’s also not OSHW if I can’t modify it, even just for the sake of learning how to cope with certain designs. Thus, you definitely need the SOURCE files. These aren’t Gerber files (they are fabrication files), but the ECAD projects. Something without readily-available ECAD files thus isn’t OSHW. So, you’ll need at least a Schematic, BOM and the ECAD project available to come anywhere near a semantically-sensible definition of OSHW.
    However, if you have all of this, the non-commercial clause is pretty much moot. If you have the schematic and BOM, you can easily just redesign the circuit.

    Instead of allowing people to use OSHW as a mere marketing ploy by watering down the definition, better make clear what OSHW entails and get people to either follow suit or decide not to release their designs as OSHW.

    1. The above, entitled, comment is from one end of the spectrum. The other end of the spectrum would discuss the difficulty in releasing source files while innovating, raising capital, reducing legal liability, etc.

      The all-or-nothing approach will simply result in nothing. Maybe ultra simplistic trinkets from kit suppliers, but nothing of worth for anyone who can light an LED.

      Let them know there’s a market buy simply purchasing from manufacturers who release documentation. The more commonplace it becomes, the more pressure is put on other manufacturers to do the same or more.

      There’s an implied myth which needs addressed here too. People who don’t understand the difference between Gerbers and CAD files are not swayed by the logo. The source files are not a surprise inside the box. You know exactly how you’ll be able to modify the product BEFORE you purchase it.

      I don’t think Dave’s idea helps (insert xkcd comic about creating a new standard here), but I don’t think it hurts either. Definitely not like those dumb hardware licenses which only do harm. Egotistical BS there.

  4. I like Dave Jones suggestions, but in the end any licensing is as good as the ability to enforce it or trademark ownership. That takes money. IMO any supporter and/or those who use the licensing legitimately may be unwilling to donate to enforcement costs. In the event I construct a bunker, I would provide for a simple passive repeater so I can uses my cell phone inside. Anyway as long as service remains available. Where I live neither copper or slate are good long term choices.

  5. I was super excited when I saw that the Open Hardware Summit was coming up, and was even within easy commute distance from my home, but then I saw the price tag. I realize that the organization has to make money, but charging nearly $90 for a ‘standard’ ticket, or even $30 for a ‘hardship’ ticket, is absurd, particularly considering its list of sponsors. It’s just another case of the Maker-ization of the hacker culture; slap a shiny veneer on it, take away half its substance and all its character, and charge a premium for the experience.

    It’s gentrification of the digital culture.

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