Hardcore Hardware Hacking Weekend

July 9th, 2007  |  Published in Uncategorized

If you’ve seen me talk at a conference recently (perhaps XTech or ApacheCon Europe) you’ll know that I’m very interested in what happens when the coders who made the web get to script the real world. Cheap and powerful hardware prototyping is now within the reach of anyone who can code a webapp or configure a Unix box.

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20:20 talk on hardware hacking for software people

May 19th, 2007  |  Published in Uncategorized

I just got back from XTech 2007 in Paris. It was an excellent conference this year and I’m really proud of having contributed in a small way by being on the programme committee. Every year the speaker lineup gets better and better.

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ApacheCon Europe 2007 keynote

May 7th, 2007  |  Published in hardware

Last Friday I had the great privilege of giving a keynote talk at the ApacheCon Europe conference in Amsterdam. My topic was the new possibilities for software hackers coming from cheap, scriptable hardware prototyping. I illustrated the path from the desktop via my work in Second Life, and showed how it translates into physical computing.

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Serendipity 2.0: going fulltime on Dopplr

April 27th, 2007  |  Published in misc

For the last couple of months I’ve been working on a new project in my spare time. Dopplr is a social network for frequent travellers, designed to increase the amount of serendipity in the world. It lets you share your travel plans with your trusted fellow travellers, and uses them to find the coincidences, near-misses and surprises. Maps, mobile, timelines, feeds, calendars: you can have the information pretty much any way you want it.

Dopplr’s still invite only, but there’s a good chance you know someone with an account by now. We’ll be issuing new invite tokens from time to time, so keep an eye out. There are some screenshots on Flickr, and alpha travellers Stowe Boyd and Roo Reynolds have written some illuminating reviews. I’ll be at XTech in Paris in May (don’t forget, online registration closes soon) so track me down and I’ll give you a demo.

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Conferences 2007, Part One

February 27th, 2007  |  Published in events

I’m on the road again. On Thursday March 1st I’m flying to San Francisco and I’ll be in the USA for the whole month.

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Back from Kiwifoo

February 12th, 2007  |  Published in events

I’ve just got back from another big trip. I’ve spent most of the last two weeks in New Zealand, thanks to Nat Torkington and the kind sponsorship of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. Not only did I get to attend NZ Foo Camp, but NZTE’s John Houlker arranged for me to meet with representives of Auckland and Wellington’s media, software and archiving interests.

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Connecting First and Second Life

January 11th, 2007  |  Published in hardware  |  2 Comments

I’ve been interested for some time in the possibilities offered by bringing external data into virtual environments like Second Life. This data might come from the web, but it could also come from the real world – from physical sensors and interfaces.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve enjoyed playing with the Arduino hardware prototyping board. This week’s open-sourcing of the Second Life client came at exactly the right time for a new experiment.

Here’s a video demonstration (people reading the feed, start your web browsers). On the left you’ll see an Arduino reading analogue values from a potentiometer and feeding the results in via the USB-serial interface to my Mac. On the right, you’ll see a modified version of Second Life that is feeding those values in via my avatar’s chat channel. An object in the Second Life world is reacting, with perhaps a half-second lag.

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XTech 2007 in Paris: get your proposal in this weekend

December 14th, 2006  |  Published in events

The call for proposals for XTech 2007 is closing this weekend. Last year’s conference was superb, and if you’ve got anything to say about making the web then you’ll definitely want to be part of next year’s lineup.

The theme for this year’s conference is “The Ubiquitous Web”. As the web reaches further into our lives, we will consider the increasing ubiquity of connectivity, what it means for real world objects to connect to the web, and the increasing blurring of the lines between virtual worlds and our own.

The technologies underpinning these developments include mobile devices, RFID, ultra-wideband, Second Life, location-aware services, Google Earth and more. The issues surrounding them include privacy, intellectual property, activism, politics, regulation and standards.

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Stemtags is back, thanks to Camping

December 10th, 2006  |  Published in Uncategorized

Nearly two years ago, I wrote a utility to check your del.icio.us tags for duplication using Porter stemming. Until today, the application had stopped working completely due to the fragility of the screenscraping code it was using. For fun, I’ve done a rewrite using Ruby and Hpricot, with all-new fragile screenscraping code based on the del.icio.us JSON feeds (thanks to Lenny Domnitser for pointer those out to me). I web-enabled it using Camping, a nice mini-framework for when webapps don’t need all the bells and whistles of Rails.

Here’s the result.

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Video of a lightning-talk on my Second Life work for Nature

December 9th, 2006  |  Published in Uncategorized

Last month I went along to the Google Open Source Jam in London. It was a very entertaining evening with a great crowd. At the last minute I decided to give a quick show-and-tell on the work in progress at Nature.

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