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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Freedom EV: free/open replacement firmware for your electric vehicle -- including a Tesla

Freedom EV is a free/open software stack intended to replace the software in your electric vehicle, it's been tested on a Tesla Model X and should work on a Model S, if you can get root. Read the rest

Crowdfunding a suitcase that becomes a closet

Every year or two, I embark on a round of crazy book-tour travel where I change cities every day for weeks on end (35 cities in 45 days on two continents in 2017!), and I'm on a perennial quest for a piece of luggage that is fuss-free: I want to stumble exhausted into my room, late at night, and in a few seconds access everything I need to go to sleep and then get out the next morning. Read the rest

Father of Parkland victim responds to Louis CK's jokes with a "standup set" of his own

Louis CK is in disgrace in so many ways, and while comedians have often found humor in shocking and sorrowful current events, the combination of CK's lack of credibility and the extraordinary tastelessness of his jokes about the activism of the survivors of the Parkland high school shooting are a bridge too far. 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

Blackmailers use false copyright claims to shut down victims' Youtube accounts, offer to lift them in exchange for Bitcoin

Youtube's ContentID system allows rightsholders to upload video and audio and block videos that contain their works (or put ads on those videos and take the revenue they generate), and to have the accounts of repeat copyright offenders permanently deleted, along with all their videos. 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

How Facebook tracks Android users, even those without Facebook accounts

Facebook provides a suite of turnkey app-building tools for Android that are widely used among the most popular Google Play apps, with billions of combined installs; naturally, these tools create incredibly data-hungry defaults in the apps that incorporate them, so that even before you do anything with an app, it has already snaffled up a titanic amount of data, tied it into your Google Ad ID (which is recycled by Facebook to join up data from different sources) and sent it to Facebook. Read the rest

Video and audio from my closing keynote at Friday's Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain

On Friday, hundreds of us gathered at the Internet Archive, at the invitation of Creative Commons, to celebrate the Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain, just weeks after the first works entered the American public domain in twenty years. Read the rest

Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe!

Neil Gaiman says Edgar Allan Poe should be read aloud, and he's right: he recorded this video of him reading "The Raven" in 2016 as part of Pat Rothfuss's Worldbuilders charity drive. It's Poe's birthday today, and I can think of no better way to celebrate it than to listen to it again. Read the rest

Tory voters: are you happy with your purchase?

British political satirist Jonathan Pie (previously) has a pointed question for Tory voters on the eve of the omnishambolic Brexit collapse: "Are you happy with your purchase? "Because this is what you get when you vote Tory." Read the rest

Merger: a science-fiction short about corporations as literal (as well as figurative) AIs

Keiichi Matsuda created 2016's Hyper-Reality, an amazing, dystopian video about the future of augmented reality; now Matsuda is back with Merger, that plays darkly into the idea that corporations are a form of Slow AI that view humans as inconvenient gut-flora, a truth shot through our collective fears. Read the rest

A laptop built into a mouse

Electronic Grenade's "'Computer' Mouse" project fits a fully functional computer into a fully functional, 3D printed mouse; the computer is a Raspberry Pi Zero W, with a teeeny leeetle flip out keyboard and a tiny little itsy bitsy flip-out screen. (via Motherboard) Read the rest

A cafe where the robot waiters are remote-piloted by paralyzed people

Dawn ver.β is a Tokyo cafe in Akasaka where all the table service is performed by 120 cm tall OriHime-D robots that are piloted by people who are paralyzed and work from home; it was inspired by a fictional cafe in the 2008 anime Time of Eve. Read the rest

More videos from our University of Chicago interdisciplinary seminar series: "Censorship and Information Control"

Between September and December, I collaborated with science fiction writer and Renaissance historian Ada Palmer and science historian Adrian Johns on a series of interdisciplinary seminars on "Censorship and Information Control" with a rotating crew of academics and practitioners from several fields. Read the rest

The Real Santa: grimly hilarious comedy short

Filmmakers turned a writing prompt from Reddit user WaFromWa into a stellar short film whose premise includes Santa as a deadly, covert super-assassin. Superb! (via JWZ) Read the rest

Understanding consent with a cup of tea

Blue Seat Studios' Tea Consent explains the idea of sexual consent through the act of offering someone a cup of tea: it's OK to offer someone a cup of tea, but if they don't want it, then don't try to give it to them. And if they change their mind after you make them a cup of tea? That's annoying, but still, don't try to make them drink it. And unconscious people? They don't need a cup of tea. (via Kottke) Read the rest

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