The Enigma Machine wristwach: a wearable Arduino recreation


Alan Turing and the codebreakers of Bletchley Park invented modern crypto and computers in the course of breaking Enigma ciphers, the codes that Axis powers created with repurposed Enigma Machines -- sophisticated (for the day) encryption tools invented for the banking industry -- to keep the Allies from listening in on their communications. Read the rest

Apple removes Ifixit's repair manuals from App Store


Content-based App Store takedowns aren't just for drone killing anymore: Apple's also removed the Ifixit App, which offers you third-party manuals for fixing things you own, including your Apple products. Read the rest

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Homemade steampunk neck-brace


What do you do about the huge, ugly neck-brace your doctor wants you to wear after spinal fusion surgery? Read the rest

The new Glowforge laser cutter is amazing


Laser cutters are machines that cut and engrave flat material – such as plywood, acrylic, chocolate, leather, cardboard, seashells, glass, even sheets of dried seaweed. Today, Glowforge introduced a low-price laser cutter that blows away the competition at a much lower price.

Glowforge is a game changer in many ways, and I haven't been this excited by a technology in a long time. The things you can make with one (see images below) are orders of magnitude better looking than things you can make with a 3D printer of the same price, and the Glowforge is much easier to learn how to use than a 3D printer.

Dan Shapiro, the founder of Glowforge (he's the creator of the Robot Turtles game), gave me a Skype video demo of the machine in action earlier this week. He showed me how to make a votive candle holder out of two different materials. He placed one sheet of thin walnut and another sheet of frosted acrylic on the Glowforge's cutting bed (which has a 12-inch x 20-inch working area). He opened his iPad, which had a live image of the cutting bed displayed on it (the Glowforge has a camera and is conected to Wi-Fi). Dan then dragged the cutting patterns for the pieces of the candle holder onto the video image of the walnut and acrylic pieces. This neat software solution for aligning material was developed by Dean Putney, who was a contractor for many years at Boing Boing, and now works for Dan in Seattle. Read the rest

Ultra-thin USB powered light box


A light box is an excellent tool for illustrators. It allows you to place a sheet of paper with a sketch on it, then place another piece of paper on top of it, and trace the original drawing. A lot of artists do a pencil sketch on a sheet of paper, then use a nicer piece of paper to trace the sketch in ink.

Andreas Ekberg, a wonderful illustrator who makes beautiful stenciled skateboards (like this Jackhammer Jill deck) and other things, told me about this USB light board. I already have a light board, and I've used it for over 30 years. It's a clunky metal box with fluorescent tubes and I used it draw illustrations for the early issues of the bOING bOING zine.

If I didn't already have my lightbox, I would snap up this 5mm-thick USB powered light box ($45 on Amazon). It looks so much better than my old-school light box. The brightness level is adjustable, the LEDs will last much longer than the bulbs (mine currently has one burnt out bulb and I've been using it that way for years), and best of all, it is much more portable. If I get back into hand drawing in a big way, I'll get one. Read the rest

Adafruit founder Limor Fried describes her favorite tools


Kevin Kelly and I had a great time talking to Limor Fried, an MIT engineer and the founder of Adafruit, a one-stop shop for makers to buy electronics kits and components as well as learn and share ideas related to electronics prototyping. Limor told us about the giant pick-and-place and stencil printers she uses at Adafruit to make her kits at her New York City factory.

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(CC Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch) Read the rest

First issue of new feminist hacker zine


Audrey writes, "The Recompiler is a new feminist hacker magazine dedicated to learning about technology in a fun and inclusive way. The first issue of the magazine is now online, with articles about glitchy art, 80s tech, SSL bugs, and the flaws in DNS." Read the rest

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Watch Ahmed Mohamed's awesome press conference about being a rogue clockmaker in America


Zomg, the kid is charming. He reveals that he's switching high-schools, thanks his supporters, discussing his inventing and tinkering, and talks about his delight at being invited to the White House. Read the rest

Apple inventor Steve Wozniak was busted in high school for fake bomb

From Woz's Facebook:

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Notorious Islamophobic mayor of Irving, TX worried Ahmed Mohamed's arrest will negatively impact town police


Irving mayor Beth Van Duyne is a notorious racist and is also the sworn mayor of the townspeople of Irving, TX, where Ahmed Mohamed and his family live.

On hearing the news that her police chief had dropped criminal charges against Ahmed Mohamed, a boy who made a clock because he wanted to engage with the makers in his new high school, Mayor Van Duyne posted to Facebook, exonerating the police and asking townsfolk not to hold their grotesque abuse of authority and farcically bad judgment against them:

I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat. They have procedures to run when a possible threat or criminal act is discovered. They follow these procedures in the sole interest of protecting our children and school personnel. To the best of my knowledge, they followed protocol for investigating whether this was an attempt to bring a Hoax Bomb to a school campus. Following this investigation, Irving PD has stated no charges will be filed against the student. I hope this incident does not serve as a deterrent against our police and school personnel from maintaining the safety and security of our schools.

Later, she appended a little weak-kneed blurb about how it's nice that kids are creative to her initial victim-blaming, bad-cop-exonerating post.

Police Drop Case Against Kid Who Made Clock, While Mayor Worries About The Impact... On The Police [Mike Masnick/Techdirt]

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President Obama invites the boy who was arrested for making a clock to the White House


Here's an update to the story about a schoolchild arrested in Irving, TX for bringing his homemade clock to school: This morning, President Obama tweeted: "Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science." Read the rest

Arab-looking man of Syrian descent found in garage building what looks like a bomb


Omar Ghabra won Twitter with these photos, and this quip: “An Arab-looking man of Syrian descent in a garage w/his accomplice building what appears to be a bomb. Arrest them.” Read the rest

Making while brown: Texas schoolchild arrested for bringing homemade clock to school UPDATED


Ahmed Mohamed is a gifted, driven maker-kid who's in the ninth grade at MacArthur High in Irving, Texas. When he showed the homemade clock he soldered and pieced together to his engineering teacher, he was told to keep it in his bag. But when the alarm went off in English class, his teacher accused him of bringing a bomb to school.

He told the teacher, and then the principal, and then the police offers who'd been summoned, that it was a digital clock he'd made and brought to school to show as evidence of the kinds of things he was making. He'd loved robotics club in middle school and was hoping to connect to a similar peer group in his new high school.

He was arrested, handcuffed, and paraded through the school with an officer on each arm, wearing his NASA shirt.

When he was brought before the school police, the officer who arrested him looked at him and said, "Yup. That’s who I thought it was." Ahmed Mohamed and his family (and the Council on Islamic American Relations) believe that the officer was referring to the color of his skin and his name.

Police spokesman James McLellan admits that Mohamed always maintained that the device was a clock, not a bomb, "but there was no broader explanation." When the Dallas Morning News asked him what "broader explanation" he was looking for, McLellan said, “It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. Read the rest

Fury Road cosplay: wheelchair and amputated arm edition

When Fury Road came out, Laura Vaughn made an iconic post about how her left-arm transradial amputation gave her the potential to be the world's greatest Imperator Furiosa cosplayer -- and now she's done it, homebrew prosthetic and all. Read the rest

Crudman: new musical instrument based on a hacked Walkman


The Crudlabs Crudman is a new tape-based instrument consisting of a hacked cassette Walkman controlled by pressing notes on a keyboard. Demo below! It might remind you of a Mellotron, another tape-based keyboard popular in the 60s and 70s, but Crudlabs points out that the Crudman "is not designed to replace a Mellotron and it does not sound like a Mellotron."

"The Crudman can provide endless atonal sounscapes but has been designed specifically to be just accurate enough to function as a traditionally melodic musical instrument. You can record anything onto a tape, so if you're a fan of the sound and idiosyncrasies of tape, the possibilities are pretty much endless. If you want to play melodies like any other synthesizer, just put in a tape tuned to C, and you play all the way from C two octaves down, to C one octave up - 3 whole octaves. If you want to make new atonal sounds with the singular qualities of analog cassette tape, just put in a tape with literally any music or sounds on it, and see what happens."

Crudlabs is currently making each Crudman to order for $375.

The Crudman (via Chris Carter)

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