Every Friday I share the five coolest things I’ve found on the web in the last week.
1 – A sub-$100 Open-Source Linux laptop
I’ve been on the lookout for a great Linux laptop for decades. A few years back I resigned myself to believe that the only way I would be able to have an open-source laptop designed for Linux would be to design & build one myself.
That may still be true, but the Pinebook is definitely a step in the right direction.
I started following the Pinebook about a year ago and signed-up to be on the pre-order list with pretty low expectations (most of the devices like this that I sign up for never make it to market). Not only is the Pinebook now shipping, it appears to actually work as well. A writer at Hackaday got their hands on one and shared some details a week or so ago.
My number came up and I’ve placed an order for the 14″ version. I still have pretty low expectations, but based on what I’ve seen so far, it might be just the ticket to give me something to work with until I finally get around to building my own machine…
2 – 600W 3D Printed Brushless Motor
This is a very impressive project whose result is a very powerful and useful component. This is a good example of something that would be a lot more difficult to do with traditional tools, and proof that real, useful things can be made with consumer-grade 3D printing technology.
3 – Owntracks
I love being able to passively share my location with people I trust, but I hate sharing it with companies who want to turn me into a product (or worse). Owntracks provides location tracking capability without the baggage.
Owntracks provides open-source applications for iOS and Android which monitor device location and publish location data to a server where it can be consumed by various pieces of software. The beautiful thing is that you control the destination server, and the mobile apps provide a large amount of customization so you can get what you want (and nothing you don’t want) out of them.
Additionally the system uses standard protocols and transports so it’s very easy to interface into other systems. This opens the door to a wide array of applications that are not constrained by what other proprietary systems offer.
I’ve setup an experimental server and I’m just beginning to learn how to put it to use, but as the experiments continue I’ll be posting more detailed information about the project in the future.
(via Linux Voice Podcast )
4 – Print your own housekeeper
I’ve owned a Roomba before and I really loved it, but it was destroyed through an interaction with pet waste that I’d rather not discuss further.
Replacing it is too expensive to justify, but this project provides an alternative that is both less expensive and more fun than buying an off-the-shelf unit. As the design is open-source, it could even be improved to avoid the fate of my original Roomba..
5 – Parallel Python on Parallella
If you’re not familiar with the Parallella board, it’s like a Raspberry Pi with a supercomputer crammed into it. Thanks to the Epiphany chip, you can get a 18-core (16 Epiphany cores + 1 ARM) in a pocket-sized board for about $100.
The Parallella is an amazingly powerful device, but for a long time it was also amazingly hard to make the most of it; ePython changes that.
Through a series of blog posts on the Parallella website, you can learn how to take advantage of the power of the Epiphany processor gradually through series of examples using familiar Python structures.