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RotoMAAK: Rotocasting Done Right | EE Times

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brokencopier (Photo credit: Johnnie Utah)

RotoMAAK: Rotocasting Done Right | EE Times.   After the printing press was invented, there was a long lag in between when Photocopying was invented. It’s time to do the same for 3D printing. Don’t print all originals, duplicate them instead with a Rotocaster like the RotoMAAK. Make sense doesn’t it? Especially considering the cost of materials. Why just today the Guiness Book of World records is attempting to measure a feat of 3D printing using 50 printers running parallel. Wouldn’t it be just as efficient to create one single model and cast the 50 copies in a shorter period of time? But consider this, Lulzbot a contract manufacturer has that many and more that CAN print the same object simultaneously:   109 Lulzbots all working printing the same exact item, printing all originals from the same 3D design file. Still this seems wasteful to me given the amount of material used in each one. Knowing there’s a potentially faster, cheaper alternative like photocopying when Xerox hit the big time in the early 1960s, now THAT to me is the killer app. 3D Printing or CNC milling operations are stupendous at making the one off, the original the bespoke item you need. But for multiples? Just seems like a unproductive time sync that other existing industrial processes could be used to help speed up and make less expensive. So if given the choice between casting versus printing multiple originals, just try costing out short runs of cast items. You might surprise yourself and get it faster, cheaper  and higher quality in the end.




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Written by Eric Likness

April 7, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Posted in technology

Make Way For More Flexible, Business-Focused Raspberry Pi

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Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi (Photo credit: CesarCardoso)

Wow this has gotten my brain to working overtime. How small can you go with System on Chip like fully integrated Raspberry Pi modules? Could you fit this not just on an SO-DIMM but also maybe an SDXC sized memory card? Or a Micro-SDXC card? Imagine that. And if you want to see an even better write-up of this announcement, go over to Make magazines online website here:

They’ve got Vimeo video and other great analysis looking at this system on an SO-DIMM board. Very interesting stuff.[vimeo

Compute Module – First Look from Raspberry Pi Foundation on Vimeo.

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Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Raspberry Pi is adding a new hardware module to its line-up specifically aimed at businesses and industrial users.

The forthcoming module — which is called the Compute Module and will be available some time after this June — will contain the Pi’s BCM2835 processor, 512Mbyte of RAM and a 4Gbyte eMMC Flash device all mounted on a 67.6x30mm board (pictured above) that fits into a standard DDR2 SODIMM connector.

The Compute Module is primarily aimed at those wanting to create their own PCB, says the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s engineering team. But they will also be releasing a Compute Module IO Board – this break-out board (pictured below) will provide power and the ability to program the Compute Module’s Flash memory. It will also have connectors, such as HDMI and USB, so you can easily access and start experimenting with the hardware.


The original $35/$25 Raspberry Pi microcomputer sold a truck load more units than the couple of thousand its not-for-profit Cambridge-U.K. creators imagined they would ship…

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Written by Eric Likness

April 7, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Posted in diy, technology

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Battery vendors push ultracapacitor wrappers to give Li-ions more bite • The Register

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Lithium ion battery by Varta (Museum Autovisio...

Lithium ion battery by Varta (Museum Autovision Altlußheim, Germany) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A pair of battery vendors are hoping that a new design which incorporates the use of an ultracapacitor material will help to improve and extend the life of lithium-ion battery packs.

via Battery vendors push ultracapacitor wrappers to give Li-ions more bite • The Register.

First a little background info on what is a capacitor:

In short it’s like a very powerful, high density battery for smoothing out the “load” of an electrical circuit. It helps prevent spikes and dips in the electricity as it flows through a device. But with recent work done on ultra-capacitors they can be more like a full-fledged battery that doesn’t ever lose it’s charge over time. When they are combined up with a real live battery you can do some pretty interesting things to both the capacitor and the battery to help them work together, allowing longer battery life, higher total amount of charge capacity. Many things can flow from combining ultracapacitors with a really high end Lithium ion battery.

Any technology, tweak or improvement that promises at minimum 10% improvement over current Lithium ion battery designs is worth a look. They’re claiming a full 15% in this story from The Reg. And due to the re-design it would seem it needs to meet regulatory/safety approval as well. Having seen the JAL Airlines suffer battery issues on the Boeing 787, I couldn’t agree more.

There will be some heavy lifting needing to be done between now and when a product like this hits the market. Testing and failure analysis will ultimately decide whether or not this ultra-capacitor/Lithium ion hybrid is safe enough to use for consumer electronics. I’m also hoping Apple and other manufacturer/design outfits like Apple are putting some eyes, ears and phone calls on this to learn more. Samsung too might be interested in this, but are seemingly more reliant for battery designs outside of their company. That’s where Apple has the upperhand long term, they will design every part if needed in order to keep ahead of the competition.

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Written by Eric Likness

April 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Jaunt wants to make virtual reality a platform for beautiful, immersive cinema

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Just a sample of what’s yet to come when Oculus Rift eventually hits the market. Jaunt is developing the hardware/software required to shoot cinematic 3D movies. It is in prototype now. And it is very early days still even with the Oculus Rift VR head set. But now is the time for companies like Jaunt to stake their claim, and start up before the VR land rush occurs.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

A children’s choir is circled around me, singing. Individual voices become clear and then fade away again as I turn from side to side, listening as the notes mix and blend together before disappearing into the vaulted ceiling above our heads.

The choir fades to black, reminding me of where I really am: a dark room in Palo Alto with a set of Oculus Rift goggles strapped to my head. What I just watched is akin to the most advanced home movie ever filmed. The children were not actually singing to me, but to a ball-like camera that films video and audio in 360 degrees.

Jaunt, a Palo Alto startup that revealed itself today with news of $6.8 million in venture funding, intends to use its unique camera to prove that virtual reality is not just for gaming. The company is developing an assortment of software and hardware that will allow Hollywood — and potentially anyone — to…

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Written by Eric Likness

April 3, 2014 at 11:31 am

Posted in technology

What’s Holding Back the All-flash Data Center?

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I’ll have to read up more on this when I get the chance, always good information from the Storage Swiss weblog.

Originally posted on Storage Swiss - Storage Switzerland:

Flash has certainly become more affordable over the past several years and we continue to see more and more storage products introduced that include flash in one form or another. But most flash implementations are hybrid in nature, requiring that the ‘right’ data be positioned in flash at the right time. This usually means caching or tiering algorithms to move that data around or simply pinning an application’s entire data set in flash while it’s being run.

There is another alternative to this complexity of worrying about which data is hot and which is cold and whether there’s enough flash capacity available at the right time; the All-Flash Array. These arrays greatly simplify this entire data management process since everything that’s stored on them is accelerated. They’re pretty much a ‘set and forget’ solution that eliminates performance problems, in most cases.

Is it really that simple?

While flash has come…

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Written by Eric Likness

April 2, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Posted in technology

Microsoft Shows Off Windows 8.1 Update 1

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I got the updates (as far as I know) off of that New Zealand file share about 2 weeks ago. Everything seems to be working fine where I’ve done the upgrade. It does make Win8.1 more palatable. I think now MS should just keep refining it ever quarter or so. One of these versions will be the one that people will migrate to.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

As expected, Microsoft showed off Windows 8.1 Update 1 today at its Build developer conference. The raft of tweaks and new features for Microsoft’s premier platform are built to help the operating system better interact with traditional inputs.

The update will begin to roll out via Windows Update on April 8th.

Microsoft made a large, serious bet with Windows 8 on touch, dragging Windows into the world of more diverse inputs. Along the way, however, the venerable keyboard and mouse fell by the wayside in terms of ascendancy.

Also as leaked and covered, Update 1 changes how Windows 8.1 handles booting: If your device isn’t a touch-focused unit, the operating system will boot to desktop. A minor, if welcome tweak.

Other user interface changes such as pinning Metro apps to the desktop taskbar and improvements to the process of closing apps are as expected. We’ll have more later on the…

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Written by Eric Likness

April 2, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Posted in technology

Cargo-culting [managers are awesome / managers are cool when they’re part of your team] (tecznotes|Mike Migurski)

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English: Code for America Logo

English: Code for America Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is incidentally what’s so fascinating about the government technology position I’m in at Code for America. I believe that we’re in the midst of a shift in power from abusive tech vendor relationships to something driven by a city’s own digital capabilities. The amazing thing about GOV.UK is that a government has decided it has the know-how to hire its own team of designers and developers, and exercised its authority. That it’s a cost-saving measure is beside the point. It’s the change I want to see in the world: for governments large and small to stop copy-pasting RFP line items and cargo-culting tech trends (including the OMFG Ur On Github trend) and start thinking for themselves about their relationship with digital communication.

via managers are awesome / managers are cool when they’re part of your team (tecznotes).

My apologies to the original article’s author Mike Migurski. He was only mentioning cargo-culting in passing while he developed the greater thesis of different styles of managers. But the term cargo-culting was just too good to pass up because it’s so descriptive and so critical as to question the fundamental beliefs and arguments people make for wanting some new, New thing.

Cargo-culting. Yeah baby. Now that’s what I’m talking about. I liken this to “fashion” and trends coming and going. For instance where I work digital signage is the must have technology that everyone is begging for. Giant displays with capacitive touch capability, like 70″ iPads strapped motionless, monolithically to a wall. That’s progress. And better yet when they are unattended not being used they are digital advertising, yay! We win! It’s a win-win-win situation.

Sadly the same is true in other areas that indirectly affect where I work. Trends in Instructional Technology follow cargo-culting trends like flipping the classroom. Again people latch onto something and they have to have it regardless of the results or the benefits. None of the outcomes really enter into the decision to acquire the “things” people want. Flipping a classroom is a non-trivial task in that first you have to restructure how you teach the course. That’s a pretty steep requirement alone, but the follow-on item is to then record all your lectures in advance of the class meetings where you will then work with students to find the gaps in their knowledge. Nobody does the first part, or rarely do it because what they really want is the seemingly less difficult task they can delegate. Order up someone to record all my lectures, THEN I’ll flip my classroom. It’s a recipe for wasted effort and potential disaster.

Don’t let yourself fall victim to cargo-culting in the workplace. Know the difference between that which is new and that which is useful. Everyone will benefit from this when you can at least cast a hairy eye-ball at the new, new thing and ask simply, Why? Don’t settle for an Enron-like “Ask Why”, no. Keep working at the fundamental assumptions and arguments, justifications and rationalizations for wanting the New, new thing. If it’s valid, worthy and beneficial it will stand up to the questioning. Otherwise it will dodge, skirt, shirk, bob and weave the questions and try to subvert the process of review (accelerated, fast-tracked).

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Written by Eric Likness

March 31, 2014 at 3:00 pm


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