The good folks at the Mozilla Foundation have unveiled an amazing suite of Web-development tools. Wired's Webmonkey has a great summary:
The most popular request, and by far the coolest of the bunch, is the ability to do live edits in the text editor of your choice — effectively controlling Firefox with your editor. The video below shows an example of live editing via the popular Sublime Edit. This would essentially eliminate the need to jump from your editor to the browser, hit refresh, jump back to your editor, and so on. A dance that most of us are all too familiar with. Perhaps the best part, Rouget says this will work with the mobile version of Firefox as well.
Mozilla is also working on the opposite idea — authoring in the browser. That means putting an editor inside Firefox’s Dev Tools suite. Thus far this idea is less fleshed out, but the possibilities include putting in something like jsFiddle or perhaps a more traditional file-based editor.
Other new tools include some catch up features that bring Firefox’s Dev tools up to speed with what you’ll find in WebKit browsers. Examples include a new network panel prototype and the ability to doc the tools to the right side of the screen — great for wide monitors (this is already available in Nightly). There’s also a new “repaint” view that shows what gets repainted on the page, very useful if you’re trying to improve performance. Rouget has also been working on a new, dark theme for the Firefox dev tools.
Mozilla Shows Off Powerful New Developer Tools for Firefox
I've been using Runtime Revolution's Livecode for over a decade. It's sort of like Hypercard on steroids. It uses the same concepts - stacks with cards, interface elements that you drag around, resize, natural language code that makes sense when you read it and so on, but updates all of this to incorporate modern stuff like interwebs and mobile devices. Once you have written something you can easily pop out executables for Mac, Linux, PC, Ios or Android without a major porting effort. There's even a server version that works like php, but using language that doesn't make my head hurt.
Anyway, while I've been using this for years to automate all sorts of tasks, designing my own web-page generating apps and creating game prototypes, I have not been able to unreservedly recommend it to friends that would like to experiment with it because of the cost.
That could change though because the company behind Livecode has a Kickstarter up to create an open source version of Livecode with many improvements over the current closed version. From what I am seeing on the kickstarter the only difference between the future open source version and the future closed version is the licensing - if you pay for the closed version you won't have to share your code.
I am very excited about this - Livecode is probably the easiest to use development environment around and it makes introducing programming to kids and less-technical-but-creative friends a real joy. I am certain that having this out in the wild would make the world a better and weirder place, so I am supporting it. I think that anyone interested in increasing the number of people that can write their own applications should do so too.
I, too, loved Hypercard, and have been impressed by Runtime Revolution. A free/open version (they're promising GPLv3) would be a serious force for good on earth. I just kicked in a hundred. This would be great.
Open Source Edition of LiveCode
Tristan sez, "Open Source Ecology founder Marcin Jakubowski and the OSE team explain the philosophy behind their work and the open source movement as a whole.
We're always looking for remote collaborators to pick up and run with our designs. If you're interested in building or improving on our work, please visit the OSE wiki."
Open Source Philosophy.
Tristan from Open Source Ecology sez, "This comprehensive, user friendly video shows you how to assemble the Powercube; Open Source Ecology's modular power unit. This machine can be used to Power any of the 50 Global Village Construction set machines, including the Liberator CEB Press." (See today's earlier post on the CEB Press).
Full instructions are available on the CEB Wiki:
Power Cube VII
Tristan from Open Source Ecology sez, "This comprehensive, user friendly video shows you how to assembly the Liberator CEB Press; the worlds first open source, automated compressed earth brick making machine. Made from $4000 worth of parts, this machine sets a new standard in affordability, allowing users to build almost any type of brick structure out of dirt."
The OSE Wiki page has full instructions for building your own:
Brian Guthrie writes,
Aaron was a tireless supporter of the open internet and an old-school hacker. To honor his memory and his contributions to technical community, Aaron's family and friends wanted to provide a way to share their memories that:
* uses free and open source software wherever possible
* licenses its content under the Creative Commons
* is open to the technical community to hack on and contribute to
* leverages tools that Aaron used and contributed to, like Markdown and RSS
If you'd like to contribute, please fork the repo on Github and get hacking. You can also email your thoughts to email@example.com, and we'll shift them onto the website as quickly as possible.
rememberaaronsw/rememberaaronsw · GitHub
Not Pacman is Stabyourself's Pacman variant in which the whole field is subject to wild rotations that cause all the game sprites to tumble, making for an extremely challenging version of the old favorite. It's Win/Lin/Mac, and there's sourcecode, too.
Stabyourself.net - Not Pacman
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
Kristin sez, "Based in Loveland, Colorado, LulzBot designs, builds, and sells desktop 3D printers, parts, and plastics for entrepreneurs, inventors, engineers, and experimenters.
They've just launched their AO-101 3D printer a high-quality, cost-effective solution that embodies the philosophy of "Libre Hardware," allowing people to learn from, share, and improve the hardware and software they use."
AO-101 3D Printer
Two striking articles on the roboticization of the workforce: first is Kevin Kelly in Wired, with "Better Than Human", an optimistic and practical-minded look at the way that robots change the jobs landscape, with some advice on how to survive the automation of your gig:
Read the rest
Virtuoso hardware hacker Bunnie Huang is building an open hardware laptop. Want.
We started the design in June, and last week I got my first prototype motherboards, hot off the SMT line. It’s booting linux, and I’m currently grinding through the validation of all the sub-components. I thought I’d share the design progress with my readers.
Of course, a feature of a build-it-yourself laptop is that all the design documentation is open, so others of sufficient skill and resources can also build it. The hardware and its sub-components are picked so as to make this the most practically open hardware laptop I could create using state of the art technology. You can download, without NDA, the datasheets for all the components, and key peripheral options are available so it’s possible to build a complete firmware from source with no opaque blobs.
Building my Own Laptop
The UK Open University, where I'm a visiting senior lecturer, has just announced a new free/open learning platform called Futurelearn
: "Futurelearn will be the UK's first large-scale provider of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), a new kind of educational offering that charges no fees, offers no formal qualifications and has no barriers to entry. The first generation of MOOCs, which has attracted millions of students from around the world, laid the foundation for widespread change in higher education. The universities of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia, Exeter, King's College London, Lancaster, Leeds, Southampton, St Andrews and Warwick have all signed up to join The Open University in Futurelearn."
is a free Android
app from the Sunlight Foundation that helps you to learn more about your surroundings in seconds. Sitegeist takes public data about the people, housing, history, environment and things to do for any U.S. location and presents it in easy-to-view infographics. Just scroll and swipe your way through the categories to get a feel for the area. Everything from age distributions to political contributions and median home values to record temperatures. It makes complex localized data easy to understand so you can get back to enjoying the neighborhood. The app incorporates publicly available data from a number of sources including the U.S. Census Bureau, InfluenceExplorer.com, the Dark Sky weather API and even Yelp and Foursquare. Sunlight will continue to add and improve on the app as more rich data becomes public."
The good folks at Darwin Aerospace have figured out how to use drones to parachute burritos directly onto your property. They await pending FAA reforms before they can go into business, however. Here's how it works:
It works like this:
- You connect to the Burrito Bomber web-app and order a burrito. Your smartphone sends your current location to our server, which generates a waypoint file compatible with the drone's autopilot.
- We upload the waypoint file to the drone and load your burrito in to our custom made Burrito Delivery Tube.
- The drone flies to your location and releases the Burrito Delivery Tube. The burrito parachutes down to you, the drone flies itself home, and you enjoy your carne asada.
We built Burrito Bomber using a handful of open source projects and some new bits we created ourselves. All the code and 3D models we created for Burrito Bomber are on our GitHub page so you can build one too!
Burrito Bomber - Darwin Aerospace
sez, "Hacker Highschool, Security Awareness for Teens
is releasing version 2 of its popular Hacking Lessons to teach teens how to be more resourceful, creative, and in control of the things they own. All this while providing practical security and safety techniques. This open, free project is a relaunch of the lessons first published in 2004. Over 60 volunteers have been working months to provide a total of 23 lessons. The first of which has been released today, 'Lesson 1, Being a Hacker'."
Biella Coleman is a geek anthropologist, in both senses of the epithet: an anthropologist who studies geeks, and a geek who is an anthropologist. Though she's best known today for her excellent and insightful work on the mechanism and structure underpinning Anonymous and /b/, Coleman is also an expert on the organization, structure, philosophy and struggles of the free software/open source movements. I met Biella while she was doing fieldwork as an intern at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She's also had deep experience with the Debian project and many other hacker/FLOSS subcultures.
Coleman's has published her dissertation, edited and streamlined, under the title of Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking, which comes out today from Princeton University Press (Quinn Norton, also well known for her Wired reporting on Anonymous and Occupy, had a hand in the editing). Coding Freedom walks the fine line between popular accessibility and scholarly rigor, and does a very good job of expressing complex ideas without (too much) academic jargon.
Coding Freedom is insightful and fascinating, a superbly observed picture of the motives, divisions and history of the free software and software freedom world. As someone embedded in both those worlds, I found myself surprised by connections I'd never made on my own, but which seemed perfectly right and obvious in hindsight. Coleman's work pulls together a million IRC conversations and mailing list threads and wikiwars and gets to their foundations, the deep discussion evolving through the world of free/open source software.
Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking