Three-part WIRED series on the net neutrality debate

Here’s already part 1 and part 2.

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Software & Open Hardware – reprogramming MakeyMakey on Linux

Often in Open Hardware projects you have a direct link with software. Depending on the project, the connected software is more or less multiplatform. The more “public friendly’ your open hardware project, apparently the harder it becomes to get support for Linux. Or your project is so specific, it runs only on particular systems, under specific conditions.

I have run into the barrier of obscure/non-existing Linux support a couple of times recently (Adafruit Flora for example – an Arduino based eTextile microcontroller).
Does being a Linux user imply a certain tech savviness? (is this a rhetorical question?)

Same goes for Makey Makey, an relatively easy to use microcontroller.

That’s where little treasures of shared knowledge pop up in blogs and fora.
If you want to re-programme a MakeyMakey: here’s a nice combination of a forum, a manual and a blogpost.

Perhaps, wandering about on the www via search engines, someone can find this post, to then find…

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APT – TAFTA – TTIP – YNP (formally known as ACTA)

Bilingual (English and French) webcomic on the new acronym formally known as Acta http://treatthetreaty.org/en?v=1

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Acta becomes TTIP

And protestors are getting blasted by water cannons..
Via BoingBoing

TTIP protest
Website on TTIP

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art Releases 400,000 Images Online for Non-Commercial Use

A small article and some fabulous images here


Julia Jackson by Julia Margaret Cameron

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Public Domain Review new website

* microblog*

Public Domain review has a new website full of treasures..

Founded in 2011, The Public Domain Review is an online journal and not-for-profit project dedicated to promoting and celebrating the public domain in all its richness and variety.
All works eventually fall out of copyright – from classics works of art to absentminded doodles – and in doing so they enter the public domain, a vast commons of material that everyone is free to enjoy, share and build upon without restriction. Our aim is to help our readers explore this rich terrain – like a small exhibition gallery at the entrance to an immense network of archives and storage rooms that lie beyond.

With a focus on the surprising, the strange, and the beautiful, we hope to provide an ever-growing cabinet of curiosities for the digital age, a kind of hyperlinked Wunderkammer – an archive of materials which truly celebrates the breadth and variety of our shared cultural commons and the minds that have made it.

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RGB Colour LCD Screen

How to make a narrative on an LCD screen:

-> the colours have to change
-> you have two times 16 characters
-> every time you print a text on the screen, it has to be reset to it’s initial position

Here’s a video of the first narrative I made for the “Big Fat Failed Beginnings” performance for the Belluard Bollwerk Festival.

My code for the Arduino & the screen worked, but it was not very elegant, so I asked for some help on the Belgian hackerspaces “universal knowledge list”. I added some functions.
Thanks everyone!

#include

// Create a software serial port!
SoftwareSerial lcd = SoftwareSerial(0,2);

// Create a function to easily determine colour
// To determine colour, use: setColour(&lcd, 1, 1, 255)
void setColour(SoftwareSerial* lcd, char r, char g, char b) {
lcd->write(0xFE);
lcd->write(0xD0);
lcd->write(r);
lcd->write(g);
lcd->write(b);
delay(10);
}

// Elegantly clear screen
// Use setClear
void setClear(){
lcd.write(0xFE);
lcd.write(0×58);
delay(10);
}

// go ‘home’
// Use setHome
void setHome(){
lcd.write(0xFE);
lcd.write(0×48);
delay(10);
}

void setup() {
lcd.begin(9600);

// set the size of the display if it isn’t 16×2 (you only have to do this once)
lcd.write(0xFE);
lcd.write(0xD1);
lcd.write(16); // 16 columns
lcd.write(2); // 2 rows
delay(10);
// we suggest putting delays after each command to make sure the data
// is sent and the LCD is updated.

// set the contrast, 200 is a good place to start, adjust as desired
lcd.write(0xFE);
lcd.write(0×50);
lcd.write(200);
delay(10);

// set the brightness – we’ll max it (255 is max brightness)
lcd.write(0xFE);
lcd.write(0×99);
lcd.write(255);
delay(10);

// turn off cursors
lcd.write(0xFE);
lcd.write(0x4B);
lcd.write(0xFE);
lcd.write(0×54);

// clear screen
setClear();

// go ‘home’
setHome();

}

void loop() {

// adjust colors and define RGB values
// Colour as neutral as possible
setColour(&lcd, 255, 220, 200);

lcd.println(“When does an”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(“incident “);
delay(3000);
setClear();
setHome();

lcd.println(“become”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(“a disaster?”);
delay(3000);
setClear();
setHome();

lcd.println(“It’s a question”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(” of scale.”);
delay(3000);
setClear();
setHome();

lcd.println(“**INCIDENT”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(” OCCURS**”);
delay(3000);
setClear();
setHome();

// adjust colors and define RGB values
// Colour Blue
setColour(&lcd, 1, 1, 255);
lcd.println(“The BLUE LIGHTS”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(” come in.”);//Text written in colour
delay(3000);
setClear();
setHome();

lcd.print(“Police-Ambulance”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(” Firebrigade”);//Text written in colour
delay(3000);
setClear();
setHome();

lcd.println(“They judge, act”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(” communicate”);
delay(3000);
setClear();
setHome();

lcd.println(“When they need”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(“extra force”);
delay(3000);
setClear();
setHome();

// adjust colors and define RGB values
// Colour orange

setColour(&lcd, 255, 20, 1);
lcd.println(“CODE ORANGE”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(” is activated”);
delay(3000);
setClear();
setHome();

lcd.print(“Civil Protection”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(” “);
delay(3000);
setClear();
setHome();

lcd.println(“and Technical”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(“Services”);
delay(3000);
setClear();
setHome();

lcd.println(“join the”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(“Blue Lights”);
delay(3500);
setClear();
setHome();

lcd.println(“In case of a “); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(“MAJOR DISTASTER”);
delay(3500);
setClear();
setHome();

// adjust colors and define RGB values
// Colour RED

setColour(&lcd, 255, 1, 1);
lcd.println(” CODE RED”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(” is triggered”);
delay(3500);
setClear();
setHome();

lcd.println(“If necessary”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(“the army comes”);
delay(3500);
setClear();
setHome();

lcd.println(“For every”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(“catastrophy,”);
delay(3500);
setClear();
setHome();

lcd.println(“plans have been”); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(“made..”);
delay(4000);
setClear();
setHome();

lcd.println(” “); //println gives new line for the next sentence
lcd.print(” “);
delay(3000);
setClear();
setHome();

}

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Just a machine working…

–> See here about the what and how..

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Raspberry Pi and touch

rasberry pi and makey makey

Not the greatest picture —> today I tried to combine the Rapsberry Pi with Makey Makey (basically a microcontroller that enables you to turn almost all conductive material into Keyboard input: left click, arrows or space).

It works out of the box with the Raspberry Pi default Linux distribution called Rasbian.

This opens up quite some possiblities: a tiny computer with a microcontroller –> with ethernet and a sound card —->

….
(fill in blanks with potential)

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A paper, vinyl and fabric cutter

A new machine has arrived in Variable: a paper, vinyl and fabric cutter. The budget was limited, so we had to look in depth for machines that were not too expensive and that worked with Linux. The ideal scenario was to find a second hand (semi-)professional machine. Alas, none were available for our budget. A pity, because the lower level machines tend to work with sticky mats, and other potentially proprietary bits and bobs. I was 85% percent sure that the Graphtec Silhouette Cameo SD worked on Linux. However I was not sure how hard or easy this would be.
These were the links and references I had before buying it.

The blogpost by Alexandre Prokoudhine gives a nice overview about the possibilities:

http://www.libregraphicsworld.org/blog/entry/vinyl-cutting-on-linux-the-real-deal

The sofware and drivers provided for the vinylcutters do not work with cups, they work differently. They all start with vectordrawings and SVG’s. So Inkscape is a potential starting point for what you want to be cut.
Inkcut = Fail
Some of the proposed software should work directly within Inkscape, such as Inkcut, which should be a kind of plugin. I installed Inkcut, because it looked the most promising interface-wise.
However, the software Inkcut is no longer being developed. After installing it, nothing appeared..

Next!

Robocut = Initial fail BUT!!
https://gitorious.org/robocut
https://launchpad.net/robocut

On Gitorious and Launchpad – Lanchpad directs you to Gitorious..

https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&depth=1&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://custom.ultramini.net/ritagliare-parti-modellismo-silhouette-cameo/&usg=ALkJrhhlIN0Ee83pSqu2U5Y_-VX6r9WwEw
This post seemed really promising. The Ultramini blog in Italian confirmed the compatability of the cutter with Ubuntu (I run Mint, which is also a Debian/Ubuntu based distribution of Linux). He uses Robocut, but he did some modifications. As he indicated, Robocut does not work out of the box. It did run, but the vinylcutter was invisible. I e-mailed Ultramini and very quickly he sent me his modified version of Robocut. I tried it after installing the next software: Graptecprint, as the mail came after I started out with this driver.
————–> Scroll to read more about Robocut..

Graphtecprint = Succes with initial confusion!
http://vidar.botfu.org/graphtecprint
https://github.com/jnweiger/graphtecprint

There is a blog and a github page for Graphtecprint. The confusing part comes in the instructions: on the Github page they indicate you should download the .tar – however, there is no tarball (.tar.gz) on this page. So I used a bit of personal experience to deduct what the instructions should be for the github page. Afterwards I saw it was available on the blog page. The code on Github is more complete. You also need to run it from the commandline and it uses.ps files you can make in Inkscape when you print to file. This is a bit clumsy.
Install, run.. Fail.. Darn!
Luckily the commandline tells me what is going wrong: it is looking for a particular file –> this seems to be a python script, which is also in the downloaded software folder. I had to copy both .py scripts to my usr/local/bin folder. This is not very elegant, but.. It worked!

screenshot

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now what to cut!!

Very quickly I made an Inkscape test, with the Cricks font (based on vinyl letters – nice loop!), a circle and a word in Inkscape calligraphy. I only had paper, no vinyl.

First mistake: where should the paper be:

Not all was cut on the paper itself.

Next mistake, the caligraphy letters create too many cutting lines, so they fail. Cricks comes out nicely, the P does lose it’s inner shape. and the circle was round.

still on the mat 1 still on the mat 2 still on the mat 3 result 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

result 1 good cut waste letters the setup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next step: fabric! I chose felt. Textile has it’s own knife, different from the paper and vinyl knives. Alas this was a big failure. The felt was too thick, or too flaky. On top of that, it ruins the sticky mat.. And it just did not work. Ouch!

Robocut revisited = No Success !! yet— perhaps with a little more help

I unzipped Ultramini!’s altered version of Robocut. In the zip you have a install.txt, which basically tells you how to install the program. Of course, I did not go to Gitorious, because my code came from Ultramini!

For the moment it does not want to compile. I will update this post when it does! Robocut is worth the effort, because they provide you with reg marks (reference marks) and you cut directly from SVG. There is also a sweet animation function. Hopefully more news soon!

It feels good to strikethrough :-)

In the meantime, he wrote a blogpost in English explaining what he did including the code in a zip file.

Grazie per la spiegazione!

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