Kickstarting Evezor, an open robot that can carve, draw, engrave, pour, pick, place, cut, weld, print, grab, mill, assemble and create

We are introducing Evezor, a robot that can carve, draw, engrave, pour, pick, place, cut, weld, print, grab, mill, assemble and create your next project or business. Powered by Raspberry Pi, open source software and hardware, Evezor is the most hackable robotic arm there is. Evezor can share and automate the hand tools you already own and with open toolhead platform, anyone can make tools for this machine. Read the rest

Thunderbird finds a new home

Thunderbird is one of the last robust email clients, a must-have for people who don't want to use webmail or leave their mail on a server, waiting to be hacked and dumped -- but for years, it has been on deathwatch, as the Mozilla Foundation looked for another organization to take it over. Read the rest

Make: a two-button Binary Keyboard

Chris Johnstone's "Binary Keyboard" is an open source hardware, Arduino-based two-button input device that you can build for yourself, if you have the urge to key data directly to your computer in binary (don't worry, you can configure it to be little-endian or big-endian for ease of use). Read the rest

Libretaxi: a free, open, cash-only alternative to Uber, for the rest of the world

Libretaxi is an open source project that lets anyone become a rideshare driver in less than a minute; it has more than 20,000 users worldwide, and is maintained by Roman Pushkin, who started the project in December 2016 and is now planning to quit his job and work on it full time. Read the rest

The grueling emotional labor of an open source maintainer

Nolan Lawson is burning up the free/open source web with an essay called What it feels like to be an open-source maintainer, where he describes the contradictory and negative experiences of trying to please hundreds of people who are just trying to get his code to work, where the more emotional and technical work he does to make them happy, the more he ends up with. Read the rest

USG: an open source anti-BadUSB hardware firewall for your USB port

BadUSB is bad news: malware that targets the firmware in your USB port's embedded system, bypassing the OS, antivirus software and other countermeasures. Read the rest

Ten principles for user-protection in hostile states

The Tor Project's "Ten Principles for User Protection in Hostile States" is both thoughtful and thought-provoking -- it's a list that excites my interest as someone who cares about the use of technology in improving lives and organizing political movements (principle 1 is "Do not rely on the law to protect systems or users" -- a call to technologists -- while number 7 is aimed at companies, "Invest in cryptographic R&D to replace non-cryptographic systems" and principle 2 says "Prepare policy commentary for quick response to crisis," which suggests that the law, while not reliable, can't be ignored); and also as a science fiction writer (check out those tags! "Acausal trade," "Pluralistic singularity" and "Golden path"! Yowza!) Read the rest

NTP: the rebirth of ailing, failing core network infrastructure

Network Time Protocol is how the computers you depend on know what time it is (this is critical to network operations, cryptography, and many other critical functions); NTP software was, until recently, stored in a proprietary format on a computer that no one had the password for (and which had not been updated in a decade), and maintained almost entirely by one person. Read the rest

Crowdfunding powerful open hardware that is truly open and respectful of your rights

Crowd Supply (previously) is an extremely effective platform for funding open source hardware development, boasting twice the success-rate of Kickstarter and Indiegogo; it is also the birthplace of the proclamation of user rights, an outstanding document that lays out the rights of users to explore their hardware, use it independent of any subscription, use it with any other service or hardware, use it indefinitely without fear of remote kill-switching, to transfer it to others, to freely discuss it, to use it privately, and to be informed of security issues. Read the rest

The internet's core infrastructure is dangerously unsupported and could crumble (but we can save it!)

Nadia Eghbal's Roads and Bridges: The Unseen Labor Behind Our Digital Infrastructure is a long, detailed report on the structural impediments to maintaining key pieces of free/open software that underpin the internet -- it reveals the startling fragility of tools that protect the integrity, safety, privacy and finances of billions of people, which are often maintained by tiny numbers of people (sometimes just one person). Read the rest

An "ahem" detector that uses deep learning to auto-clean recordings of speech

Train the Deep Learning Ahem Detector with two sets of audio files, "a negative sample with clean voice/sound" (minimum 3 minutes) and "a positive one with 'ahem' sounds concatenated" (minimum 10s) and it will detect "ahems" in any voice sample thereafter. Read the rest

One week left! Apply for a Shuttleworth Fellowship

The Shuttleworth Fellowships hand millions directly to people starting out on a journey to radically transform the world to make it more open; this year, I'm Honourary Steward, meaning I'll help pick the grantees. Read the rest

Every Android device potentially vulnerable to "most serious" Linux escalation attack, ever

The Dirty Cow vulnerability dates back to code included in the Linux kernel in 2007, and it can be trivially weaponized into an easy-to-run exploit that allows user-space programs to execute as root, meaning that attackers can take over the entire device by getting their targets to run apps without administrator privileges. Read the rest

Audit reveals significant vulnerabilities in Truecrypt and its successors

Veracrypt was created to fill the vacuum left by the implosion of disk-encryption tool Truecrypt, which mysteriously vanished in 2014, along with a "suicide note" (possibly containing a hidden message) that many interpreted as a warning that an intelligence agency had inserted a backdoor into the code, or was attempting to force Truecrypt's anonymous creators to do so. Read the rest

Make: "Mad scientist test-tube rack"

John Park, the maker's maker, explains in detail how to make this glowing mad scientist test-tube rack that you can use as a Hallowe'en decoration and/or household mood light. Read the rest

A new certification program for Open Source Hardware

Michael Weinberg writes, "After over a year of community development, the Open Source Hardware Association has released its new certification program. Hardware with the certification logo is guaranteed to meet the community definition of open source hardware. As a bonus, any hardware registered before the end of October is eligible to receive the coveted 000001 unique ID registration number." Read the rest

Computer-mining poetry from the New York Times's obituary headlines

The standard format for a New York Times lead obit headline goes NAME, AGE, Dies; STATEMENT OF ACCOMPLISHMENT (e.g. "Suzanne Mitchell, 73, Dies; Made Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders a Global Brand. Read the rest

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