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Archive by January, 2010

REBLOG: Open source hardware 2009 – The definitive guide to open source hardware projects in 2009

Image and text source: Make

Welcome to definitive guide to open source hardware projects in 2009. First up – What is open source hardware? These are projects in which the creators have decided to completely publish all the source, schematics, firmware, software, bill of materials, parts list, drawings and “board” files to recreate the hardware – they also allow any use, including commercial. Similar to open source software like Linux, but this hardware centric.

Each year we do a guide to all open source hardware and this year there are over 125 unique projects/kits in 19 categories, up from about 60 in 2008, more than doubling the projects out there! – it’s incredible! Many are familiar with Arduino (shipping over 100,000 units, estimated) but there are many other projects just as exciting and filled with amazing communities – we think we’ve captured nearly all of them in this list. Some of these projects and kits are available from MAKE others from the makers themselves or other hardware manufacturers – but since it’s open source hardware you can make any of these yourself, start a business, everything is available, that’s the point.

This year, I am asking for your help – the Open source hardware page on Wikipedia is missing more projects that it actually has total at the moment. If any readers out there want to help out, review all the projects we’ve listed and please add them to the Wikipedia page so it’s a more complete resource. Also, many projects on the Wikipedia page are not “Open source hardware” but that will likely be debated, at the least – all of the projects in this guide are considered open source hardware by those who actually does open source hardware it seems.

Read the entire article at Make

REBLOG: For half a century computer performance has roughly doubled every two years, but the laws of physics place insurmountable barriers on how long this growth can occur.

Originally published on December 15, 2009 on Seed Magazine

by Lee Billings

In April 1965, a young researcher named Gordon Moore wrote a short article for the now-defunct Electronics Magazine pointing out that each year, the number of transistors that could be economically crammed onto an integrated circuit roughly doubled. Moore predicted that this trend of cost-effective miniaturization would continue for quite some time.

Two years later Moore co-founded Intel Corporation with Robert Noyce. Today, Intel is the largest producer of semiconductor computer chips in the world, and Moore is a multi-billionaire. All this can be traced back to the semiconductor industry’s vigorous effort to realize Moore’s prediction, which is now known as “Moore’s Law.”

There are several variations of Moore’s Law—for instance, some formulations measure hard disk storage, while others concern power consumption or the size and density of components on a computer chip. Yet whatever their metric, nearly all versions still chart exponential growth, which translates into a doubling in computer performance every 18 to 24 months. This runaway profusion of powerful, cheap computation has transformed every sector of modern society—and has sparked utopian speculations about futures where our growing technological prowess creates intelligent machines, conquers death, and bestows near-omniscient awareness. Thus, efforts to understand the limitations of this accelerating phenomenon outline not only the boundaries of computational progress, but also the prospects for some of humanity’s timeless dreams.

Read the entire article at Seed Magazine

Butler on Sherman

Image source: YouTube

An interesting discussion on the work of Cindy Sherman takes place between Judith Butler and a gallery host. Butler discusses the representation and questioning of vulnerability of women in Sherman’s work, and also shares the formal pleasures she finds in the works of art.  The subtitles are in French, and the discussion is in German; most of the documentary is in English with French subtitles. The segment on Sherman begins around 3:10 and carries over to later segments.  I find this documentary excerpt worth noting because it offers a rare moment when a philosopher discusses works of art casually, yet with careful analysis.

I find some of Butler’s premises on performativity to run parallel with the development of Remix, and to be potentially useful to evaluate current concepts on cultural mixing.  I say this without claiming that her work could be directly linked to Remix as discourse, but rather that a paradigmatic reflection on her ideas can be helpful in understanding the cultural variables in which remix culture plays out. Not sure how long the documentary may stay on YouTube, but here are the links for future convenient access:

Judith Butler, Philosopher of Gender:

Part 1 of 6:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q50nQUGiI3s
2 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTz-_YeUIUg&NR=1
3 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALx1MEW2P3U&NR=1
4 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALx1MEW2P3U&NR=1
5 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHVugezilG8&NR=1
6 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv2aCF2Okz8&NR=1

Sampling Theory 101

Figure 1: A function f and its Fourier transform F(f). Both the function and its Fourier transform are complex-valued, but in graphs like this only the magnitudes of the functions are shown.

Image source; http://idav.ucdavis.edu/~okreylos/PhDStudies/
Winter2000/SamplingTheory.html

Note: An online page I discovered, which was last updated, apparently in Winter of 2000.  It provides a good introduction to the theoretical aspects of sampling.

———-

This document is a short overview of some aspects of sampling theory which are essential for understanding the problems of Volume Rendering, which can be viewed as nothing but resampling a data set obtained from sampling some unknown function.

Prerequisite for this document is a basic understanding of Fourier Analysis on an intuitive level. You have to know that a function f(x) in the spatial (or time) domain has a counterpart F(f) in the frequency domain. Any function satisfying some simple properties can be written as a weighed sum of harmonic functions (shifted and scaled sine curves), and (F(f))(s), called the Fourier transform or spectrum of f, gives the weight of the harmonic function of frequency s in f.

Read the entire text

Renditions: Ongoing Video Series by Eduardo Navas

Image source: Renditions

Images still from
Vicent van Gogh, 1833 – 1890
Self-portrait With a Straw Hat, 1887
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Footage taken on March 2009

I’m officially making available online an ongoing video project, which was started in March 2009:http://navasse.net/renditions/
More videos to be uploaded periodically so make sure to check my main website from time to time.

Excerpt from the project page:

RENDITIONS “The Museum Series” offers a perspective on how works of art are displayed in museums.

Each video project explores the relation of video footage and photo-stills. This formal juxtaposition is designed to offer an open-ended reading of the visitor’s relation to the work of art.

Current Projects