The Zen of Making: 13 Rules for Creating an Open Source Community


I was using Spotlight on OS X to find my Zen Desktop Cleaner app when "The Zen of Making" showed up. I forgot all about it, but I'm glad I came across it again.

Adapted from a talk by Massimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino, presented at World Maker Faire 2011 in New York.

1. Don’t make something you don’t use yourself.

2. Know who you are making it for.

3. Know what you want out of it.

4. Make projects, not platforms.

5. Respect the intelligence of the beginner.

6. Experts are not the best advisors when you want to make tools for beginners.

7. If nobody complains you're doing something wrong.

8. Including people is hard (but necessary)

9. Good hardware, good software, good explanations, and generous users make a great project

10. If you're not prepared to have someone adapt, improve, clone, or trash your work, don't share it.

11. Open source software doesn't necessarily translate into a business model... open source hardware must.

12. Expect resistance... and conspiracy theories.

13. Don’t let the fact that you don't know what you're doing stop you.

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Man arrested for attempted murder in squirrel feeding incident


I lived in Gunbarrel, Colorado for about six years when I was a kid. True to its name, people like guns in Gunbarrel. I was once shot by fellow who objected to my trespassing on his property (my friends and I were exploring the caves). Fortunately he was far enough away that it only stung. We probably went back the next day.

Here's a story about a Gunbarrel gentleman who got into a fight with his neighbor over squirrel-feeding and shot him in the buttocks with his pistol. Jon Marc Barbour, 59, was arrested for second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault.

Neighbors told investigators that Barbour and his wife like to feed shelled peanuts to the local squirrels. But neighbors have objected to this, saying they're worried about local children with nut allergies and diseases the squirrels might be carrying.

Barbour said he and his wife put fliers on mailboxes in the area explaining why he fed the squirrels, but Browning took them down.

Barbour and Browning got into an argument over the fliers Thursday while Browning was walking his dog, with each man accusing the other of being "white trash," according to the affidavit.

Barbour told deputies that Browning then hit him in the head, and that he shot Browning while the two were on the ground struggling.

But Browning told investigators that he was walking away from Barbour, and was about 10 feet away, when he was shot.

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Wood and metal swing arm desk lamp


I love the look of this iron and wood swing arm lamp. It's regularly $35 on Amazon, but you can get it for $25 if you use code Z59QY7OB at check-out. They come in green and black models. Read the rest

"Free hug man" in Times Square punches woman for not paying him


A 22-year-old Canadian woman visiting Times Square mistook a man's "free hugs" sign to mean that she could get a free hug. When she didn't pay up, the gentleman punched her in the eye. Jermaine Himmelstein, 24, was charged with robbery and fraudulent accosting. He has been arrested 16 times in the last four years. From abc7NY:

The NYPD said the woman took a picture with Jermaine Himmelstein, 24, who was holding a sign that said "free hugs." Police said Himmelstein then demanded three times that the woman give him money -- and she refused each time. After the third denial, he punched her in the face. The woman sustained a black eye, swelling to the face and some cuts and bruising. She was taken to the hospital, where she was treated and released. She was flanked by police as she was escorted back to her hotel Thursday evening.

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Russian Embassy in London tweets game screengrab, thinks it's real

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The Russian Embassy in London retweeted a screengrab from Command And Conquer Generals: Zero Hour along with the comment, "Extremists near Aleppo received several truckloads of chemical ammo." People replied with funny tweets.

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Stunningly beautiful photos of old timey computers


Take a look at these beautiful images of computers at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park by photographer Docubyte and production studio Ink.

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Orangutan cools off with washcloth

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This man of the forest enjoys a cool washcloth, even when his young friend tries to take it from him. Read the rest

R. Crumb poses with Drew Friedman's autobiographical comic about R. Crumb


Drew Friedman says:

The world's greatest cartoonist Robert Crumb was in Portland, Oregon earlier this week, and paid a visit to the office of a private art collector and mutual friend who also owns the original artwork to my 8-page comic strip "R. Crumb & Me." The work was originally published in Monte Beauchamp's book Masterful Marks, published by Simon & Schuster in 2014.

The comic will also be included in The Best Comics of 2016, due out this Oct. Crumb happily posed for some photos with the original art, (I had been told awhile back that he greatly enjoyed the piece), after carefully studying each page. Crumb and I go way back, I had been a regular contributor to Crumb's magazine WEIRDO back in the early/mid-eighties.

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Crazy squirrel stalks selfie woman

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Hagaman Musson says: "So I was waiting for my son to come home from school and I see this woman trying to get a close up of the squirrel trying to get a selfie with it. Next thing I know he's chasing her down the street and she's rejecting the close up. Now she's in front of our house and the squirrel comes into view still chasing her. So now she's filming him screaming for him to get away. " Read the rest

The FBI planted bugs in Oakland courthouse without a warrant


The FBI isn't in the mood to discuss why it installed hidden microphones and cameras in and around Alameda County’s Rene C. Davidson Courthouse. It had been conducting secret surveillance for 10 months, even though they didn't have a court order.

From the East Bay Express:

At the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland, the FBI planted hidden microphones inside light fixtures on the courthouse’s exterior steps to capture the conversations of people attending the foreclosure auctions. Cameras and microphones were installed in parked Alameda County vehicles next to the courthouse. The FBI even hid a microphone in the AC Transit bus stop on Fallon Street, and dropped a bugged backpack next to a statue inside the courthouse, according to a letter sent by US Justice Department attorney Kate Patchen to Marr's attorneys on March 15. The surveillance was ongoing from March 2010 to January 2011. ...

[D]efense attorneys in the San Mateo case said they believe the federal agents committed felonies when they planted the bugs.

Facing this challenge, government prosecutors in San Mateo have moved to withdraw the recordings as evidence at trial, but the defense has called this move an attempt by the FBI to "cut its losses and sweep its criminal conduct under the rug."

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Look at this goverment spy truck disguised as a Google Streetview car

Image: Matt Blaze/Twitter

Security researcher Matt Blaze noticed this vehicle in Philadelphia. It had a large Google Streetview sticker on the window, but Matt noticed a Philadelphia Office of Fleet Management placard on the windshield. He took a photo of the vehicle and tweeted it, along with the comment, "WTF? Pennsylvania State Police license plate reader SUV camouflaged as Google Street View vehicle."

The PA State Police read Matt's tweet and replied via Twitter, "Matt, this is not a PSP vehicle. If this is LPR [license plate reader] technology, other agencies and companies might make use of it."

The placard showing the vehicle is owned by the City of Philadelphia. Image: Dustin Slaughter

So, who is driving around in a vehicle disguised as both a Google Streetview car and is equipped with a license plate reader? Motherboard asked the office of Fleet Management, and got some more information:

A placard on the dashboard indicates that the SUV is registered with the Philadelphia Office of Fleet Management, which maintains city government’s 6,316 vehicles, indicating that the vehicle is being used by a local agency.

Christopher Cocci, who serves as the city’s fleet manager, and whose signature is on the document, says that the vehicle does not belong to the Pennsylvania State Police, which is known to use automated license plate recognition (ALPR), or the Philadelphia Parking Authority, a local agency that also utilizes ALPR. So whose surveillance truck is it?

“All city vehicles such as police, fire, streets etc.…are registered to the city. Quasi [public] agencies like PPA, Housing Authority, PGW and School District are registered to their respective agencies,” fleet manager Christopher Cocci wrote in an email to Motherboard after reviewing photos of the vehicle.

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A bunch of people lift a house and move it to a new spot

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I think this took place in the Philippines. It's similar to the video of 80 Amish people who picked up a house and moved it: Read the rest

Saudi officials were "supporting" 9/11 hijackers, commission member says

Image: Brookings Essay

The Guardian reports that a Republican member of the 9/11 commission is "breaking dramatically" with leaders of the commission by claiming that there is Saudi government employees supported the 9/11 hijackers. John F Lehman, who served as Navy secretary under Reagan, is calling for the declassification of a secret congressional report about the Saudis' role in the 2001 terrorist attack.

“There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government,” Lehman said in an interview, suggesting that the commission may have made a mistake by not stating that explicitly in its final report. “Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.”

He was critical of a statement released late last month by the former chairman and vice-chairman of the commission, who urged the Obama administration to be cautious about releasing the full congressional report on the Saudis and 9/11 – “the 28 pages”, as they are widely known in Washington – because they contained “raw, unvetted” material that might smear innocent people.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens. Read the rest

Swedish court orders confiscation of Pirate Bay domains


The Swedish Court of Appeal is confiscating two domains of the popular torrent directory Pirate Bay. The prosecution did not go after The Pirate Bay directly. Instead, it targeted filed a complaint against Punkt SE (IIS), the organization that manages the .SE domain. From Torrent Freak:

The case was heard in April 2015 and a month later the Stockholm District Court ruled that The Pirate Bay should forfeit both and

But despite ordering the domain seizures the case against IIS was essentially rejected, with the District Court dismissing the prosecution’s case and awarding the registry close to $40,000 in costs. As a result the prosecution took the case to appeal.

This morning, however, the Svea Court of Appeal handed down its decision which upholds the decision of the Stockholm District Court.

“In common with the District Court ruling the Court of Appeal finds that there is a basis for confiscation since the domain names assisted crimes under the Copyright Act,” the Svea Court of Appeal said in a statement.

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360-degree video of massive tornado

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The best book of physics brain teasers


I bought Thinking Physics, by Lewis C. Epstein in 1984. It's one of my favorite books of brain teasers. They are designed to help you gain a qualitative, intuitive sense of physics. The author stresses that after you read each of the many charmingly illustrated problems in the book, you should put the book away and take your time running a simulation of the problem in your head. This is great advice. Read the rest

Mover Kit - a programmable wearable kit for kids


My friends Bethany and Daniel, founders of Technology Will Save Us, have developed the "world’s first active wearable that kids, young and old, can make and code themselves." It's called the Mover, and it looks like a lot of fun to build, program, and use! Read the rest

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