The Chumby

Today I wanted to give a little plug to Bunnie and the guys at Chumby. We just love what they are doing, and its good to see another hardware company hacking away, opening up their stuff, and figuring out how to build shit in China. We are tool freaks here (obviously) so I wanted to in particular push people towards Bunnie’s article on the tools people are using to design electronics these days.

He talks about some pretty cool stuff, and while the minimalist in me doesn’t think we will get there with our tools for a little while, the dreamer just loves the thought of making this functionality accessible, through a browser, to a wider audience. Anyway, thats really it for today. Check out the Chumby! Hell, just go buy one and hack on it a little bit – they’re pretty cheap.

inPulse Smartwatch



Time for another plug. This time I want to give a shout out to Eric and the boys over at Allerta. They have built one of the coolest watches ever, basically a Chumby for your wrist. The watch gets most of its smarts from hooking up to your blackberry or smartphone. It can show you tweets, txt messages, email, etc, etc. But event more cool is how an incredible hacker community has sprung up around the inPulse watch since they launched it.

They have a very click SDK and its remarkable to see all of the cool apps these guys are building for a watch. We have a kindred bond with the guys at Allerta (they went to UWaterloo too) so its great to see them being so successful. We can’t wait to see what they are going to hack out next. And with any luck they’re going to be using Upverter when they do!

Upverter is Sleepy!

We pushed a major set of features today. Hopefully it should feel a lot less broken for our Alpha users. We are a few days away from our next push, and maybe a week away from Beta after that. So there is lots going on! We are blitzing as fast as we can to our public launch – so hold tight! But right now, after a week of heavy duty pitching and schmoozing Upverter is sleepy. We promise to return in the near future with useful blog posts on interesting things. But right now we are going to bed. To sleep. A lot.

Open Source EVERYTHING!

Chart

In this case, why not build a tractor from scratch? These guys have taken on the very admirable goal of building an opensource version of the most common of hardware (like real hardware, welders and cnc mills, etc) for the benefit of all of us. Opensource thrives on the fact that sharing knowledge isn’t zero sum. We all benefit much more from sharing than any one person loses by not keeping it to themselves. Upverter will always go out of our way to support the community in any way we can, be it homebrew cellphones, or tractors – so just let us know if we can help. And really, seriously, from all of us here – props. Way to fight the good fight.

How GitHub Changed FOSS: What’s Missing in OSHW?

We are blitzing our go public release and are super cramped for time right – so today’s is a short post. Honza Pokorny wrote a great article on how GitHub changed FOSS, see here. And I liked it so much I wanted to draw some parallels to OSHW. Here are my 4 favourites and the ones that I think are very applicable to our community.

Unified place for all your projects

There isn’t one right now. We need this badly, but it also needs to support, or integrate with tools for actually doing hardware. It can’t be a dead space, where projects go to die.

Design discussions

I want to collaborate on designs, and I want that collaboration tracked. I want to look back and understand a bug fix, or why a resistor is 1K. Nothing makes this possible right now, and its a barrier to real collaborative electronic design.

Publish your hacks with ease

This is huge! I need a zero friction way to share my hackery, or else I just wont! The project sites that exist either need to focus on lowering this barrier, or someone else needs to fill the void. Again tool integration is huge here – but is possible. So many great hacks are wasting away in basements!

Discover new projects

Why is this so hard? The harkopen guys are helping, and instructables is good too, but I want a hackernews style occasional, cool project of the day, or week. Hack-a-day does a good job of this on the epic side, but I want stuff that I can obtainably build and make better.

Here at Upverter we are fighting to make these headaches go away. But its a hard fight, and the more people in the space working together the better we can all be. So I guess this is a bit of a cry out for us all to get better, and a bit of a push for stepping back and looking at the landscape. Lets build a github, or at least lets do the same things they did right for OSHW.