Hackaday Links: October 2, 2016

Hey Elon, three weeks ago I was in Burning Man in the Nevada desert and after I dug myself a nice K-hole I notice that Mars is a lot like the Nevada desert which got me thinking that if we can live here we can live on Mars but then I realized that Mars really isn’t a lot like the Nevada desert because there are toilets here but if we could build toilets on Mars it would be a lot like the Nevada desert? This week Elon Musk unveiled the Interplanetary Transport System at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara. Instead of filling the room with industry experts the highlights of the Q&A session consisted of a woman who wanted to give Elon a kiss onstage and some guy who was super, super high. Discussion of the technical feasibility of a big, heavy window on the Heart of Gold has not appeared anywhere. Zero thought has been given to the consequences of building a civilization consisting entirely of the wealthiest 1% of Earth’s population. I fully support the Interplanetary Transport System; I’m going because this planet sucks.

[FoamieNinja] over on /r/radiocontrol is experimenting with single bladed propellers. Single bladed propellers are the most efficient way of pushing air behind an engine but haven’t really seen widespread use because they’re really weird, and I don’t know if you can do a variable pitch prop like this. You can find these types of props rarely on big-sized aircraft such as vintage J-3 Cubs sporting a 40HP engine. I haven’t seen them on anything bigger.

Next weekend is the Open Hardware Summit in Portland, Oregon. Hackaday is going to be there, and there’s a BringAHack at OSH Park on Thursday. Last year at the summit, the Open Source Hardware Certification was announced. This year, OSHWA is ready to launch their certification program. The takeaway from last year is that Open Hardware Certification will be free, self-certifying, with penalties based on fines for non-compliance.

The ESP32 is here, but most of them are still in a shipping container somewhere in the Pacific. Here’s a breakout board for the Espressif ESP-WROOM-02.

The J-Core is a clean room, open source CPU and SOC. Currently, it’s only implemented in VHDL until someone has a ton of money to burn on an ASIC. Now, the J-Core is supported by Linux. That makes an ASIC just a bit more likely. Thanks [Stefano] for the tip.

MakerBot is not at the New York Maker Faire this year. This is the greatest proof of the imminent failure of MakerBot, but it does deserve some context. In 2009, MakerBot demoed their first printer, the Cupcake, at the New York Maker Faire in Queens, NY. This was, by any reasonable historical reckoning, the introduction of a simple, easy to use, consumer 3D printer to the masses. The current trend of cheap desktop printers began seven years ago this weekend. MakerBot was so successful that it can be argued that Make:, the magazine and the faire, has tried to take credit for the consumer 3D printer ecosystem, simply because they hosted the launch of the Cupcake. Over the years, everyone has tried to ride MakerBot’s coattails. Since then, a few things happened. Last month, MakerBot introduced a new line of (China-manufactured) 3D printers, and they don’t have a booth. The reasons for this could be that Maker Faire is horrifically expensive for any vendor, and MakerBot is going to be at CES next year anyway, but this is it. The MakerBot obituary was not premature. We won.

32 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: October 2, 2016

  1. “Zero thought has been given to the consequences of building a civilization consisting entirely of the wealthiest 1% of Earth’s population”

    Yes because nobody is building a civilization consisting entirely of the wealthiest 1% of any population. We’re sending scientists to Mars but I fully support the idea of sending the wealthiest 0.1% because their absence will improve our planet.

  2. “Zero thought has been given to the consequences of building a civilization consisting entirely of the wealthiest 1% of Earth’s population.”
    Not entirely! I’m sure some lucky people breeding stock will be chosen to live a life of luxury as slaves on/in Mars.

    1. Remember how they populated Australia and most of the Americas? If you can’t get a job on Earth in the future you’ll end up an indentured slave on Mars. But look on the bright side Mars could end up as a new 1st world nation (planet)! Or a s*ithole, whatever.

  3. “The J-Core is a clean room, open source CPU and SOC.”

    It’s an implementation of the SH2 instruction set architecture whose patents have presumably expired. Patent law is vicious and very uncertain. I recommend sticking with RISC-V is you want to stay clear of all legal issues.

    1. On the page it actually says that all the patents for sh2 have all expired and sh4 will finally expire this year. And it also mentions that sh2a still have a while to go, but there is nothing in sh2a that would add anything beneficial in running an open source OS. I think it is a great project, processor diversity can only be a good thing. Means the five eyes needs to spend more.

  4. Toilets on Mars!
    Sounds like scifi, but on the third planet more than one billion people don’t have a pot to… germs and worms oh my!
    That world’s oceans are turning into an unflushable toilet.

  5. >>The MakerBot obituary was not premature. We won.

    Yikes, Hackaday! Shadenfreude much?

    What exactly did you ‘win’? Is Hackaday’s prize for winning a giant pile of self-righteous animosity from its angry readers that get stirred up every time it posts some makerbot gossip? It’s like hackaday is the jilted ex-lover who loves to fume about its ex to a room full of loyal friends, but it’s getting pretty old. I mean, it’s been like four years since that night when hackaday caught Makerbot kissing closed-source in the janitor closet? Shouldn’t it be getting on with its life and seeing/writing about other people, or at least getting off the sofa and taking a shower?

    Hacking is fundamentally about creation and ingenuity. Crowing repeatedly from the sidelines over the downfall of a company is not hacking. It’s just what hacks do.

    1. I dislike MakerBot quite a bit, and I would have loved if it was phrased less as “we won” and more “this is, in our opinions, proof that going closed source is not the correct way to go”. To be fair though, there was a lot more than just kissing closed source in the closet (best description btw) that caused the downfall of the company. And while it may or may not be prudent to review what the company did well and what it didn’t, I don’t really care so much about them in and of themselves. I’m just looking forward to the time where people realize that they are trash machines, and that going a super super cheap route will not necessarily be a good thing for a 3d printer.

      Either way though, HaD isn’t some bland fact giving blog site. I fully support the ability to use opinions and such as long as it doesn’t detract from the article itself. In either case, long live open source.

    2. Your comments are off base. Makerbot actively betrayed the trust of the community. And not once, years ago, but once and forever after. (This is more subjective, but try to use one. You can feel the lack of respect for the user.)

      If you think that there should be no justice, that the community should instantly forget all betrayals… I disagree. By allowing bad actors to flourish, we encourage bad action. Attacking those who hold bad actors to account discourages justice.

      All of use here depend on the internet and open code and hardware in a very real way. The open commons is just that: our common wealth, our common property. When companies pull a Makerbot, they are stealing from us. I want us all to share in the wealth technology creates for humanity, and I don’t think we’ll get there by accident.

      To put it another way, freedom isn’t free.

  6. “Open Hardware Certification will be free, self-certifying, with penalties based on fines for non-compliance.”

    Who gets the money from fines? Who collects the fines? Couldn’t someone start a thing as OSH then later make some changes and decide to not have it open source? Is some group thinking they can trademark or copyright the phrase “Open Source Hardware”? If so, time to nip that hypocrisy in the bud.

    Why is there even a ‘need’ for such certification? Any company releasing all the specifications and code for a product can simply just do it without any need of any outfit certifying they’re doing it.

    Makes as much sense as that professional cosplay outfit that wanted to impose a bunch of rules and class levels and other utterly pointless baloney on the hobby – sort of like having competitive snowman building.

      1. Supposedly less turbulence because the blade doesn’t pass through its own disturbances, or something like that.
        I don’t like the look of ’em; just seems wrong.

      1. Good point…

        Now I want to make a jig for finding center of balance of maple keys and inserting a prop shaft, actually use them for props on tiny stuff…. got a feeling they’d tend to fly apart every time you clipped a stalky bit of grass though.

  7. Alex Hornstein’s comment is perfect. Brown Pinchoff surely has a Bre Pettis voodoo doll with bodily fluid stains.

    In regard to OSHW, I keep asking the same question….
    Is there any evidence of an OSHW company innovating and succeeding in a competitive space? I’m not talking about education companies with a gift shop like sparkfun. Not talking about OSHW companies which are only ‘open’ because they used rather than contributed the bulk of the work and must be OS or risk getting burned (Makerbot). I’m asking if any companies have innovated, on their own dime, and released all of their work, while still succeeding against competitors?

    If yes, how?

    This should be an article.

  8. Hello, Elon. My name is Alphonso. I think what you presented today is just incredible, but I want to change the topic. I have a startup which makes electric public transport buses…Oh sorry, the thing is I just have my prototype outside and it would be awesome if you could go out and see it. It’s a 30-ton electric bus.

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