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Librarybox beta goes 2.0: self-powered Wifi file-server that fits in your pocket


Jason writes with an update to the amazing, kickstarted Librarybox project: "The LibraryBox Project, as a part of its ongoing efforts to bring information to areas without communication infrastructures, announced the release of the v2.0 public beta today. Boing Boing was kind enough to post about the very successful Kickstarter from July and this is the next stage of the project arising from that funding.

"LibraryBox is an open source digital distribution device, designed to route around both censorship and poor infrastructure by creating a hyperlocal digital file distribution point for use by libraries, educators, or anyone who wants to share files quickly and easily. The v2.0 release makes building your own LibraryBox easier than ever, while increasing the customizability and flexibility of the interface."

LibraryBox v2.0: Portable Private Digital Distribution (Thanks, Jason!)

Mozilla's $25 Firefox smartphone: a free/open device for billions of new netizens


Mozilla's sub-$50 Firefox OS smartphones are aimed at countries like India and Indonesia, where devices costing hundreds of dollars are out of reach of hundreds of millions of people. The idea is to bring a smartphone running a free/open operating system that is optimized for Internet access to people who have no net connection at all today.

The phones are slow and only have a few apps, but they're infinitely more useful than a candybar-shaped "feature phone," and with their low pricetag, many people will be able to buy them outright, rather than being beholden to phone companies who subsidize handset purchases through long-term, abusive contracts; and they'll get online using devices that don't lock them into a single company's ecosystem for email, messaging, and apps.

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Silver Ring Splints: stylish custom jewelry/medical appliance for people with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome


Ask-a-Zebra has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which makes her joints and muscles prone to painful dislocation. In a great post, she documents her experience with Silver Ring Splints, custom-made jewelry that stabilizes her hand and helps her write and type -- while looking absolutely awesome.

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Two Ubuntu phones with top apps in 2014

Canonical, the company that publishers Ubuntu (a free/open operating system based on GNU/Linux) has announced that it will ship two Ubuntu OS phones this year, in partnership with two manufacturers, one in Europe and one in China. The OS runs HTML5 apps, and the company is seeking to have the top 50 apps for Android and Ios ported to its phones before they go live. A 2013 crowdfunding drive raised over $12M in pledged pre-orders, but the company fell short of its $32M goal and refunded everyone's money. However, the $12M was apparently a sufficient demonstration of interest for at least some manufacturers. Cory 12

Tell Congress to legalize unlocking your phone


Sherwin from Public Knowledge writes, "The Copyright Office and the Library of Congress think that copyright law and the DMCA make it illegal to unlock your phone and take it to a new carrier. This is plainly ridiculous: a year ago, 114,000 Americans wrote the White House to tell them that, and the White House agreed. So did the FCC. And, eventually, so did the phone companies, who say they'll work to unlock most consumers' phones for them. But the law has stayed the same. It's still illegal for you, even if you've paid off your entire contract, to take it upon yourself to unlock your own phone."

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Seventh grader's Lego-based Braille printer

Shubham Banerjee, a seventh grader in Santa Clara, California, invented a Lego Mindstorms-based Braille printer called the Braigo. He's declared his intention to release his printer -- which costs about $350, much less than traditional $2000+ Braille printers -- as open source hardware so that it can be improved by a wider developer community.

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3D printed, slinkoid skull-sculpture

Ryan sez, "This is the spiral skull that I created in Zbrush and got printed in strong, flexible nylon. It's being featuring at the 3D Printshow in NYC which wraps up Saturday." It's called "Mortal Coil" (clever!) and it's €66.59 and up on Shapeways. If this sort of thing excites and amuses you as much as it does me, don't miss the fan-folded paper slinkoid sculptures of Li Hongbo.

Kitchen hacks: a veggie spiralizer

I first got turned on to the Paderno plastic veggie spiralizer four years ago, during a raw vegan experimentation phase. One dish I enjoyed at restaurants and wanted to make at home: low-carb zucchini "noodles," which call for zucchini flesh to be cut into linguini-like strands, then "sweated" with salt to let go of excess water, then topped with raw marinara or pesto or whatever you dig. This plant pasta is great for your paleo pals, too.

I didn't own a food processor, and didn't feel like spending the money it would require to get a good one. But a frugal foodie friend suggested this particular spiralizer as a good place to start if I wasn't sure how serious I was about un-cooking. For 30-something bucks, it turned out to be a fine investment.

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Prism Nightlight

Unfortunately, Nicholas Baker's Prism Nightlight is just a one-off.

The goal of this project was to explore a personal light device and create an innovative product taking inspiration from a notable designer. I researched the subtle subconscious cues from Naoto Fukasawa’s design philosophy, along with his playful attitude to create my design. The Prism is a simple night-light inspired by the classic see-saw. The light is turned on by a single tilt of the product.

Goldfish drives a car

Studio Diip made a car for a goldfish. When the fish goes on an outing, it is transferred to a separate tank that is mounted on wheels. An overhead camera observes the fish's movements, and when it swims towards one of the tank's edges, the car drives in that direction. In this way, the fish can drive its tank-car all over the house and really have a good old explore.

Fish on Wheels (via JWZ)

Cuddly giant isopod toy!


There's nothing quite so cuddly as a giant isopod plush toy. It has been encutified to make it even more adorable than the real-life version, with big, round, loving eyes. As the product description notes, these are "passionately loved" by some in Japan and are regarded as "mysterious and cute" -- one in Toba Aquarium has (allegedly) eaten no food for over 4 years.

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Miniature midcentury media center (Just add iPad Mini)

DuMont is the latest design from Jeffrey Stephenson: "Watch I Love Lucy reruns or use as a Pandora box. For me it locks together two devices that are bluetooth tethered and travel around together anyway. Another one of my products for a parallel universe."

Jad "Radiolab" Abumrad's home studio

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Wired visited the home studio of Radiolab's Jad Abumrad. It's a minimal set-up, and I dig his appreciation for vintage synths like the Moog Sonic Six and Roland Juno-60. "Sound Scientist: Inside the Home Studio of Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad"

Sigma DP2 Quattro a stretch

Sigma's dp2 Quattro has a fixed 30mm 2.8f lens, designed specifically for the latest version of its Foveon sensor, claimed to offer a "a 30% increase in resolution." Price and release date are to be announced, but I think you'll need deep pockets. [via Uncrate]

The delightful Grain Audio walnut-cased Bluetooth speaker


Crybaby the semi feral cat poses next to the Grain speaker for size comparison purposes.

I have quite a few different bluetooth portable speakers. The Packable Wireless System from Grain Audio is my favorite. It's easy to operate, sounds wonderful (great bass), and has a long battery life (it recharges with a USB cable and charger, which are included). And with its walnut shell, it's also the best-looking portable powered-speaker I've seen. I can't think of a better way to listen to the streaming music on my WFMU Radio app.

Packable Wireless System from Grain Audio $249