An "e-ink typewriter" that can only do one thing

Lucian's SPUDwriter (Single Purpose User Device) was designed to help him focus on creative writing after a long day of staring at a screen in his engineering job: it uses an e-ink screen and a keyboard, and only outputs via SD card or thermal printer.

As a person who does all of their engineering work on or adjacent to a computer, the idea of coming home and spending even MORE time on the computer for creative writing isn’t super appealing. So I made an e-paper typewriter – no browser, no games, just you and your word count. It has a character LCD at the bottom for the current line you’re typing, to make up for how slow E-paper updates, and when you’re finished you can save your file to an SD card or print it all out with the internal thermal receipt printer for redline editing. I call it the SPUDwrite (Single Purpose User Device), hopefully the first of a couple of SPUDs. It’s built on MBED and the STM32F401 Cortex M4.

The SPUDwrite (Single Purpose User Device) for creating writing made with E-paper, MBED, and STM32F401 Cortex M4 [Adafruit]

(Thanks, PT!)

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A gorgeous, haunting story of technologically mediated love

After years of outstanding work as a cyberlawyer and science fiction/policy wonk, Kevin Bankston ( Read the rest

Tracking down Dick Davy, a mysterious "lost" comedian who once championed civil rights and antiracism

Jason from the Comedy on Vinyl podcast writes, "I've spent the last eight years interviewing people from Rachel Bloom to Harry Shearer about their favorite vinyl comedy albums on my podcast, 'Comedy on Vinyl.' A few weeks ago, inspired by the brilliant podcast 'Mystery Show,' I decided to do something new, as I attempted to uncover the true identity and life story of long-lost comedian Dick Davy. A character comic, a white guy who won over The Apollo, and a civil rights activist who later settled into obscurity, Dick Davy's story temporarily took over my life and renewed my faith in comedy as a potential agent for change." (MP3) Read the rest

Make: a 3D printed replica of the shrine from Deities and Demigods, sized for D&D minis

Deities and Demigods is a storied resource book from the first edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: between being copyright trolled by false claims of infringement on the Lovecraft estate (and a more valid copyright claim over the use of Elric of Melnibon mythos), and the general uselessness of gods and demigods to the vast majority of D&D campaigns, and the book's usefulness to nutjobs who claimed that D&D was a trojan horse for occult indoctrination, Deities and Demigods is a title whose reputation redounds even today. Read the rest

Reflections on letterhead collecting, with accompanying (gorgeous) samples

Steven Heller calls himself a "letterhead" -- that is, someone who collects letterhead (compare with "Deadhead"); his brief reflections on his passion for Design Observer and interesting and well-observed, but they're not a patch on the actual samples of beautiful, bygone letterhead from his collection. Read the rest

Chasing down that list of potential Predpol customers reveals dozens of cities that have secretly experimented with "predictive policing"

Last October, I published a list of cities that appeared to have contracted with Predpol, a "predictive policing" company, based on research provided to me by an anonymous source who used clever methods to uncover the customer list. Read the rest

HOW TO: Randall "XKCD" Munroe's forthcoming book of "absurd scientific advice"

Randall "XKCD" Munroe's next book has been announced: How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, a sequel of sorts to his 2014 book What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, spun out of his wonderful XKCD spinout site. It's out on Sept 3, and the publisher's description makes it (as Kottke says) an instant pre-order: "For any task you might want to do, there's a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally bad that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It's full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole." Read the rest

Black Batman: an origin story for an alternate superhero

Jamelle Bouie (previously), has proposed an alternate Black Batman, with an accompanying background story that goes beyond race-switching Bruce Wayne and instead looks at the cultural and racial politics of America and finds exactly the right niche where a Black vigilante in a mask would fit. Read the rest

An audacious design for a sysadmin-centered subnotebook computer where function is everything

Sukhe's plan for an "adminbook" is an audacious, well-developed plan for a laptop tailored to the needs of network administrators: small, intended for use in dark, cramped places, convertible into an external drive or display for headless systems or those needing their ROMs flashed, multilingual, with many options for I/O and power. Read the rest

Women weren't excluded from early science fiction: they were erased

Science fiction scholar Lisa Yaszek's recent book The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin, is a secret history of women in science fiction, reframing the story of exclusion ("women weren't welcome in early sf writing circles") as one of erasure ("women made vital contributions to early science fiction, and these were systematically expunged from the record when the first wave of historical sf anthologies were published, as part of a backlash against first-wave feminism"). Read the rest

To do: attend a Youtube town hall and learn how to join the Right to Repair movement

With the Right to Repair movement surging around the world, now is the perfect moment to check out the Right to Repair Youtube town halls, which will help you get involved with your local policymakers to ensure that you can fix your stuff! (via Motherboard) Read the rest

Kickstarting a gorgeous slipcased edition of Crime & Punishment, illustrated by Dave McKean

The next tranche of Beehive Books' Illuminated Editions are being crowdfunded now: three gorgeous, slipcased, deluxe illustrated hardcovers, including a new edition of Crime & Punishment, illustrated by Dave McKean, well-known for his work on Sandman (he also did the original cover for my novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town); the books are $100 each, and are superb. The other two titles are The Blazing World, illustrated by Margaret Cavendish; and Peter Pan, illustrated by Brecht Evans. Read the rest

Announcing the audiobook for Unauthorized Bread: a DRM-free tale of DRM-locked appliances, refugees, and resistance

Unauthorized Bread is the first of four audiobooks that make up my forthcoming book Radicalized, read by the talented actor Lameece Issaq. The book, published by Macmillan Audio, is a Google Play exclusive, as part of a deal I made to celebrate the launch of a major DRM-free audiobook store that challenges Audible's monopoly on the store. But the Google Play folks have graciously permitted me to sell it with my other DRM-free audiobooks, so you can buy it direct if you prefer. Read the rest

Simone "Shitty Robots" Giertz has big, makerish plans for her brain tumor

John Cog writes, "Inventor extraordinaire Simone Giertz (YouTube's 'Queen of Shitty Robots') (previously) is already planning funny new experiments for that 'weird radiation mask' that 'looks like something from like a low-budget sci-fi' that she'll be wearing for her next six weeks of new radiation therapy for a non-cancerous (but scary) brain tumor (previously). 'And fortunately, I get to keep it!' she adds cheerfully. 'So I'm just trying to think of -- that's like the one thing. I'm like, 'Ooh, what projects could I do with this...?' Read the rest

A free book of science fiction from around the world about climate change, introduced by Kim Stanley Robinson

[Editor's note: I'm a volunteer advisor to Arizona State University's Center for Science and the Imagination, and Joey Eschrich is a colleague of mine there; I invited him to write up his latest project, an anthology of science fiction about climate change.] Read the rest

The gorgeous, grotesque animations of @Extraweg [NSFW-ish]

Extraweg (AKA Oliver Latta: Twitter, Youtube) is a superb and surreal animator whose computer rendered grotesques of human faces and forms writhing, merging, and doing the impossible are spellbindingly weird. Read the rest

Make: Slithy Toves, a kinetic Lego sculpture

aeh5040's kinetic Lego sculpture is a gorgeous and hypnotic piece; you can build one yourself from the plans provided. (via Beyond the Beyond) Read the rest

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