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.

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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:


Unbelievable artists you should know.

MissRogue pointed me to an artist I'd never heard of tonight, that I immediate purchased off amazon: Little Voiceby Sara Bareilles.

After thanking Tara for pointing me to a new great artist, I sent a recommendation for her to check out Edie Carey, which took me down the path of checking out when Edie is touring, listening to her music, and checking up on some of our other favorite indie artists like Rose Cousins and Meg Hutchinson. Right now, watching a youtube video of the three of them performing together is blowing my mind a bit.

What kills me is how good these artists are. They really deserve to be nationally known and given support have just as much potential for a hit record as anyone else, but that still won't happen, even with all the changes happening to the music industry.

Sara and I haven't gotten together a podcast in quite a while, so we don't have that outlet to help give musicians the exposure they deserve.

Instead, here's a short list of artists that you MUST check out.

ediecarey-2.pngEdie Carey (myspace)- Soulful, heartfelt lyrics, incredible melodies, and an inspired bluegrass infusion on her newest album that ties it all together

Rose Cousins (myspace) - A voice as naturally perfect as any I've heard, with incredible lyrics. We saw her open for Edie, and she's just got it. Looking forward to much more from her

Meg Hutchinson (myspace)- One of my first folk music favorites. Meg's got a completely unique sound, and lyrics that put you right in her in the middle of her.

Candid (myspace)- Ahh Candid. Inevitably, everyone who gets a chance to listen to the last 2 albums from this rock band from Syracuse wonder aloud why they're not this year's big hit. We've been wondering that ourselves for the last few years, actually, and all we know is that the fact that we get to see them perform in a tiny venue upstate for free is a crime. Not that we mind, but we wouldn't be surprised if they suddenly took off and we had to pay big $$ to see them in a stadium... For now you can download a few mp3s here

I'd love to hear about artists that you know that blow you away, but haven't gotten any love on a national scale. Drop some links in the comments!

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How twitter makes me more (yes, I said "more") productive.


Twitter had some scheduled downtime tonight which led to the inevitable confused and plaintive tweets as it limped back up, and some twitter soul-searching.

When this thing - this endless, up to the minute newsfeed, this lifeline to like-minded geeks - goes away, you definitely notice it's absence. Your behavior changes. In some ways it's like the power going out. When you can't turn on the TV and you have to light some candles and read a book, it can be an incredibly different and rewarding experience, and observations about twitter abounded tonight amid the downtime.

Pete Cashmore summed up his thoughts simply, saying "when twitter goes down, productivity goes up" and I was inclined to agree. It makes sense that since we're putting time into reading each other's tweets and writing our own, that when we can't spend time there, we get more done.

As I thought about my twitter-less evening I realized that although it seems logical that less twitter equals more work, the opposite was proving true for me.

Here's why: I tend to dive deep into whatever I'm looking at, but if there's time I have to wait, I have an extremely hard time sitting idle. Whether that's a software compile, audio export, or video render, there are many mini-waits during my day. Normally, I turn to twitter to fill those little gaps while staying mentally active. Tonight, without twitter to fall back on, I found myself lost in the web itself, reading about dense topics like predicting elections using futures markets, and completely losing track of what I was waiting for.

During a normal day if there's something holding me up I can leave whatever I'm waiting on right front-and-center on my screen, and flip through the last few hours of tweets while I'm waiting. It's a nice brain-break and I can plow through the new tweets quickly. Since I'm still alert and haven't mentally gone down another path, I can check back in with the app I'm waiting for and easily slip back into my flow.

My idle-time is definitely spent reading and writing tweets, and there's no question that I spend a good amount of time there, but (in large part thanks to twitterrific) the time I save by staying in close vicinity mentally and visually to the task at hand more than makes up for the time spent.

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Facebook CEO – Major overhaul of App platform coming

From everything I\'ve heard so far (mostly from scoble\'s Qik videos from Davos and this post, but also a few other rumbings), Facebook is working hard to make the App platform less spammy, and to enable developers to build deeper, more powerful apps which really extend Facebook\'s functionality.

If they really go the "google androiod" route with this, and allow developers to build apps which users can swap out (think superwall, but actually in place of the stock "wall" app) this could shape up to be a great year for FB.

It\'s also good to hear Robert echo some of the things that I felt when meeting Mark - he\'s an extremely humble, shy, interesting person, who\'s genuinely geeking out about this stuff at work every day. With someone that passionate about the future of the net and what they\'re building at FB, I\'m pretty confident that good things are yet to come.

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Scobleizer Weblog

Yesterday morning I woke up early. Was sitting in the hotel lobby at 7 a.m. trying to check email when someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was Mark Zuckerberg, founder/CEO of Facebook, which now has 68 million active users (people who’ve signed on in the past 30 days).

I asked him why he doesn’t like going on video and seems to have difficulty dealing with the press and bloggers. He said he was shy. Asked me not to video him “I freeze up,” he told me.

It was an amazing admission.

Some things he shared with me about Facebook?

1. They are within weeks of shipping translated versions of Facebook.
\n2. They are working on a major overhaul of the application platform. Both to make apps less spammy and also to deliver much more functionality
They are still thinking about data portability
Facebook will see major changes in its architecture that would allow outside developers to build new capabilities in major parts of its service,
Zuckerberg demonstrated to me that he is, indeed, the real deal
  blog it
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MonsterHoodies – Awesome anthropomorphic wearables

My friend Zach from NYCResistor came up with these and is now selling them online. The hoodie looks like it\'s about to swallow you!

I want one!!!

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Monster Hoodies

Neko Gato

\n Neko Gato: Menacing fangs set this monster apart from all of the others. Don\'t let this seemingly cute Neko cat fool you, it truly packs a vicious bite!\n
Handcrafted on American Apparel® Unisex California Fleece Thermal-Lined London Hoodies

\n \r\n
  blog it
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Video: Charmin NYC Restrooms

I knew that there was a free public restroom in Times Square over the holidays, but I had no idea what an experience it would be. Check out how instense this is!

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Video Blog: "Magic Tree" time lapse

We got these crazy "Magic Tree" growing crystal things for Christmas from Sara's family, and I set up my camera to do a quick time lapse

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Tori Amos in Pictures

We were at the Tori Amos concert tonight at MSG, and I took some shots I'm really happy with with my Canon S3 IS. 12x optical zoom is awesome.

The concert was great - probably the best I've seen from Tori so far, which is a testament to the fact that she's still growing and improving as a performer. She's added quite a bit of showmanship and spectacle this time around, and you can see it in these pictures. You can view the full set of Tori pictures at Flickr.

All of my pictures on Flickr are Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike licensed, you're free to use them however you see fit as long as you give me credit (Eric Skiff, and release any derivative works under a compatible CC license.

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