“The Manga Guide to Electricity”, part of “The Manga Guide” series by No Starch Press, is a novel approach to the old problem of getting over the initial mental block when trying to learn electronics.
We decided to compare this book to another introductory text: “Getting Started in Electronics” by [Forrest M. Mims]. [Mims]‘ book is a handwritten masterpiece of electronic literature. The writing style is friendly and concise, the examples are simple, and the drawings are excellent. It also makes sure to keep the learning process as application based as possible. Unlike other books, it doesn’t bog the reader down with math and theory that is only useful to advanced students. Since its original printing in 1983, [Mims]‘ has become the de facto standard for beginner electronic literature.
“The Manga Guide” attempts to walk the beginner through the very basics of electronics using the interactions between [Rereko], a resident of planet Electopia; [Yonosuke], a transdimensional robot cell phone; and [Hikaru Yano Sensei], an electrical engineering researcher at a Japanese university. [Rereko] is apparently very bad at electricity, and is sent to learn the basics from Hikaru over the summer by her professor.
“The Manga Guide” is a lot of fun to read. The interactions between the characters are lighthearted, and the whole setting has a sort of quirkiness about it that makes you keep reading just for the joy of it. It covers most of the basics thoroughly and with excellent examples. The art is a very well drawn, playful style of manga.
The nation’s prisons are one big step closer Wednesday to being allowed to jam mobile phone signals to keep prisoners from using the phones to commit further crimes, despite strong opposition from digital rights groups that say there are better ways to fight the problem.
The bill — passed by a bi-partisan vote in the Senate Commerce committee — would create the first ever exception to the FCC’s ban on jamming devices.
The measure could be voted on by the full Senate as soon as early as this, before it takes its August break, according to Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the bill’s primary sponsor who is also running for Texas governor.
The following are scans of high quality polaroid photographs of the screen of the Xerox Star 8010 workstation on its launch in 1981. Some of these photographs show earlier icon development. See Norm Cox’s even earlier Star icon development pages to look at the evolution of Star’s icons up to this final product.
“We feel there is a social imperative and joy in publishing one’s own daily KWH (kilowatts per hour),” says the company on its blog. “By sharing these numbers on a service like Twitter, users can compete for the lowest numbers and also see how they’re doing compared to their friends and followers.”
But to go beyond that, DIYers have devised their own homebrew solution. And driving their interest are modules available for hobbyists from companies such as Adafruit and ioBridge.
We ship a lot of packages (usually very fast), we are shipping geeks, we can tell you about endicia, dazzle, UPS, FedEx, scales, labels, bar code scanners… We love it – this article about Netflix is crazy.
Six nights a week, a truck leaves for the post office and picks up cartons full of these return-address envelopes; pickup is at 3 a.m. (It’s also the reason that the time of day you mail your DVD back has no effect on when you receive your next one.) Back at the 28,500-square-foot warehouse, from which more than 60,000 discs are shipped daily in the Chicago area alone, cartons are placed at the feet of employees, who glance in two directions — down (to pick up an envelope) and up (to look at the disc), and that’s about it. This is the first, and least automated, stage of the process, performed mainly by women, including a seemingly disproportionate number of local grandparents; they have full medical benefits and a 40-hour workweek.
They inspect each returned disc. They rip open each envelope, toss it, pull the disc from its sleeve, check that the title matches the sleeve, inspect the disc for cracks or scratches, inspect the sleeve for stains or marks, clean the disc with a quick circular motion on a towel pulled tight across a square block of wood, insert the disc into its sleeve, and file the disc in one of two bins. The bin to the right is for acceptable discs, the bin to the left is for damaged discs or discs not in the proper sleeve.
To a casual observer, this all seems to happen in a single motion, a flurry of fingers. Employees are expected to perform this a minimum of 650 times an hour. Also, customers stuff things into the envelopes. Scribbled movie reviews, complaints, pictures of dogs and kids. That needs sorting too. After 65 minutes of inspection, a bell rings. Everyone stands up.
From there, action shifts to long machines that go ffft. This, right here, is how you get discs as fast as you do. Inspected discs are scanned into the inventory by a machine that reads 30,000 bar codes an hour — ffft, ffft, ffft. The moment this machine reads the bar code, you receive an e-mail letting you know that your disc arrived. Then discs are scanned a second time — if a title is requested, and around 95 percent of titles get rented at least once every 90 days, the machine separates it and sorts it out by ZIP code. (The entire inventory of the building is run through this daily, a process that alerts other warehouses of the location of every one of the 89 million discs owned by Netflix.) After that, separated discs are taken to a machine called a Stuffer — which goes ssssht-click, ssssht-click — and stuffed in an envelope, which is sealed and labeled by a laser that goes zzzt.
After 5 p.m., trucks are loaded with cartons of mailers and return to the post office — indeed, Netflix has become the fastest-growing source of first-class mail for the Postal Service, a department official says.
The other day we were talking about how Amazon, NetFlix or eBay could have just bought DHL, but maybe they’re waiting to buy the post office.
This is interesting – Twitter follow lists as OPML, let’s say for example you wanted to read what folks we follow via the @adafruit account with an RSS reader, or just use our list to follow other folks. Right now there isn’t any way to export your follower list on Twitter, but this is a step in the right direction – The folks we follow are mostly open source hardware related in some way so it’s a nice list of people who are specific to a topic, you can grab this OPML file and just add it to any RSS reader to play around with it. It’s like a playlist of people to follow, all we need is Twitter to allow imports next!
This year, the DefCon badge wasn’t the only electronic badge at the conference. Ninja Networks, which throws a popular party each year at the conference, produced an electronic badge of its own to gain access to its party.
Over 500 badges were made by hand. The badges featured ten segmented LED displays, four buttons and several microchips on the back. Once powered on, the LED’s blinked random, scrambled letters that froze to form the words “NINJA PARTY” after 100 seconds. The badge was also programmed with a game of Simon-Says. Owners could alter random segments of the badge’s memory through a keypad on the badge.
The badges were created by Amanda Wozniak, who designed the circuitry, and Brandon Creighton, who wrote the badge firmware.
For ten years, Glen Whitney, a mathematician, worked as an algorithm manager at the giant quantitative hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, on Long Island. He was the man—or one of many—in the so-called “black box.” During that time, Renaissance did extremely well, as did Whitney, and so when he left the firm, last year, he had the wherewithal to devote himself to his favorite shower-time epiphany—that what the world needs (if not most, then at least a lot) is a museum devoted to math. The equation goes something like this: for the variables Expertise (E), Computational Power (CP), Capital (C), Risk (R), Altruism (A), Obsession (O), Indifference (I)… The idea behind the museum, which doesn’t yet have a home, is that math is ubiquitous, supercool, underappreciated, poorly taught, and even more poorly learned. To drum up interest in his museum, Whitney has been leading free tours of Manhattan neighborhoods, lingering over the math-y bits.
Here’s a weather instrument – the Dodecahedral Barometer – that can actually determine how tall you are by reading the barometric pressure between your head and your feet. Mark Thoren notes that his gadget was inspired by the release of some new electronic products. The first is a Serta model 270 barometric pressure sensor that recently came on the market. The sensor is inexpensive and accurate to the point of being suitable for weather stations. The other items that make this gadget possible are some new HP displays that make the gadget’s readings visually appealing.