Open Source Everything


What's your "Earth Day Fix"

Dog brushing teethLast night, Sara noticed that I always run the water while brushing my teeth, which honestly is a total waste. There's no need for it to be running, it's just habit.

Instead of "going green" or making some other token effort today, I'm going to actually make a small fix in the way I do things. From now on, I won't waste that water every day when I brush my teeth. It's a small thing, but it's a lot of fresh clean water going down the drain just because I've always done it that way.

So, this is my challenge to you: what one small thing can you change today and going forward that will make a little bit of difference. When you've figured out what it is, twitter it, and tag it #EDF (earth day fix).

(Photo credit: mms0131, CC-BY-SA)


NYCResistor: The Knitting Machine

I shot this video of Bre's knitting machine as demoed by Kelly at NYC Resistor last night. They just don't make machines like this anymore! It's incredibly intricate and the pieces move and work together in amazing ways.

Crossposted from:

Yesterday, the awesome Kelly Farrell took some time to demo the knitting machine that Bre's got at the NYCResistor space. The machine looks incredibly confusing when you first open it up, but Kelly makes it look easy. She even fixes a problem on the fly in this video.

Want to see the knitting machine in action? Maybe if we ask really nicely Kelly will break it out again for a demo at our public "Microcontroller Study Group" meeting next Wednesday!

In this video: Kelly Farrell, Eric Skiff (behind the camera / CC-BY music), Raphael Abrams ("this machine is my grandma!"), George Shammas, and Bre's knitting machine.

Filed under: Uncategorized 1 Comment

The power of BricaBox demonstrated by an April Fools list

April Fools Joke Sites - BricaBox At about midnight last night, I realized that it was now April Fools and that the internet pranks were about to start rolling in. Right then, Gmail started boasting it's new "Custom Time" feature, a.viary rolled out their auto-aging tool "Dodo", and added a new "rickroll" advertisting format to go with pre-roll and post-roll.

I knew I wouldn't be the only one to want a way to collect the gags I'd found and that others would find ones I hadn't seen yet, so I asked Nate to whip up a quick BricaBox for us. A BricaBox is like a really advanced plug-and-play website. Within 5 minutes, Nate had the site ready, including the ability for anyone to add a listing, vote on them, and add their comments and more info. The best listings will rise to the top, Digg style. The only way he could have whipped up something this functional that fast is with BricaBox, and that's what makes it so powerful.

We've done other quickie BricaBoxes, like the ResistorSource, which lists great food and drink venues near NYCResistor (also handy for BarCampNYC and PodCampNYC which happen nearby as well). When you're working with locations you can just add the google maps module, and all the places will appear on the map automatically. It's pretty freaking cool.

As BricaBox grows, Nate and his team will be making more modules that let you do even more with BricaBoxes at lightning speed. I'm really looking forward to seeing where the next few months take them as they focus on UI and functionality and a few big projects give them the opportunity to develop new modules.

For now, take a look at the April Fools Joke Sites BricaBox and add any gags you've discovered!


New tune – and check out Noel's new project!

I just uploaded my 4th gameboy music track, "All of Us." It took a LOT of revisions to get me happy with this one, but I was able to bend it to my will and I'm really digging the second half. I'm going more in that "soundtrack-style" direction for my next song. I'm determined to finish my album, but I can't decide how many tracks that should be. 12 seems right, but I might stop before then if I feel finished.

In the meantime, Noel Hidalgo go in touch the other day to ask if my music was free to use under a Creative Commons license, which it most certainly is - the super-permissive "Attribution" license that simply asks for credit with no other restrictions.

Since that means anyone can use my tunes in anything they want, he grabbed a copy of "Underclocked" to use in his latest episode of - his new videoblog about becoming a taxi driver (also known as a "hack"). Here's the episode, where he finally cuts off the hair and beard he grew during his last project:


C.C. Chapman interviews me on SXSW for Newbies

While at SXSW, C.C. Chapman created a video series called SXSW for Newbies using mDialog.

Here's my interview with him, where he asked for advice for Newbies:

We also recorded a quick demo of Nanoloop, the Gameboy music creation cart I've been working with.

Watch the nanoloop demo


Classes at NYC Resistor start April 5th

I'm part of a collective called NYC Resistor - as it says on the top of our site "We learn, share, and make things". We've been meeting over the past few months to get up and running, and things are really starting to take shape now!

We've gotten an awesome space in Brooklyn, and as of April 5th, we're going to be starting classes. If you've ever wanted to get started with electronics, this is the time. We'll be beginning with 101 and 102 classes in soldering and electronics, and I'll be honest that I'll actually be taking a spot in some of these classes myself to get my basic skills ready for more advanced stuff in the months to come. Bre's also going to be running a class on "video basics for people who make things", and Justin's going to be teaching a class in freaking gameboy programming. How cool is that?

We've created NYC Resistor to help build the NYC hardware hacking community, so we're running these classes extremely cheaply - $25 per class hour. Because we're keeping them cheap, we really need to fill the classes to keep NYC Resistor running. Please, spread this around, tell you friends, and sign up to help us grow the NYC tech community.


Handheld Music #3 – Chibi Ninja

My third nanoloop tune is done!

I challenged myself to write an uptempo song in a major key, and I'm extremely happy with the result. When playing it back, I can't help but smile and see a side-scrolling platformer, perhaps with a happy super-deformed ninja or something similar, hence the name.

Download: Chibi Ninja


We've got BarCampNYC3 T-shirts!

BarCampNYCIII Tees!

We've got BarCampNYC3 T-shirts thanks to the extremely awesome Mr Joshua Keay of Insanely Great Tees!.

The BarCamp logo is traditionally just the flame next to name of your camp, and I LOVE how different, quirky, and inspired this new design is. Aside from the fact that it's delightfully python-esque, Josh's logo communicates giving and uses the BarCamp flame in a novel way, showing it igniting a brain. BarCamp is all about sharing ideas and getting inspired, so this logo cuts right to the essence of what BarCamp is for me, and does it with a wonderfully weird sensibility. I'm going to be wearing this shirt a lot!

If you haven't heard of BarCamp yet, it's an ad-hoc conference happening March 15th and 16th at Brooklyn Poly. In short, it's like Fight Club for geeks. If you come to the event, you have to present (or at least help, but that doesn't rhyme so well). Because we're all sharing expertise, you get some incredibly deep and geeky topics from an amazing diverse array of disciplines.

We capped the event at 200 people this year, and ran out of the main batch of tickets, but we've got 10 more opening up next Monday and Thursday at 9 AM. If you want a ticket, head to the registration page then and jump on them as they open up!

BarCampNYCIII Tees!


Handheld Music #2 – Underclocked

I've spent some more time with the Gameboy and Nanoloop that Bre lent me, and I think I'm starting to get the hang of this thing.

Here's the track:

My second effort on the gameboy takes the tempo down a few clicks and I dig into creating some of the fantastic vibrato-infused melody lines that I loved in the scores for games like Zelda, Metroid, and Megaman. This one also comes in two non-purist flavors, one with a delay added after the fact to give it a rich techno goodness, and an "under-underclocked" remix transposed down a few keys to make it a bit more suitable as background music.

Feedback is definitely appreciated - do you like the purisit, straight from the gameboy versions better, or do you prefer the slightly richer, worked sound of the remixes?

Next up, I'm challenging myself to write something uptempo in a major key. I love Bubblyfish's song "Ah!", it makes me feel like I'm playing a colorful, slightly hyper videogame!


Handheld Music #1 – A Night of Dizzy Spells

I've just uploaded my first real song made on a vintage Gameboy from 1989 using Nanoloop. Take a listen and let me know what you think!

All songs are released under a Creative Commons Attribution License, please feel free to use them in your projects, podcasts, videos, or whatever you like, just be sure to let me know so I can link back to you!

Filed under: 8bit, cc, gameboy, music, nanoloop 1 Comment