Links of the Week 6/12
As soon as I called it an almost-regular series, I got busy with final presentations, thesis, graduation, and moving things, but Links of the Week is back! Except this time it’s for like 3 weeks of material. This might wind up a bit long.
The time period this post covers includes when GDPR was rolling out and everyone got 12 billion emails from services they didn’t even know had their email.
- Touch Surgery introspection: A Medium post about how GDPR has made a small-ish startup more aware of its users and assumptions they were making. It’s a bit self-congratulatory, but does a decent job of explaining why GDPR is a good thing.
- Blocking all of Europe: Another approach to compliance is just to completely block all European users. That’s an amusing response, considering the 2 years where solutions could have been implemented.
- Smart Appliances that probably shouldn’t be smart: In this episode: lights! Why do your lights need your email address? Who knows!
- Smart Appliances that probably shouldn’t be smart: The chilling sequel (ba-dum-tsh), fridges also seriously shouldn’t need your email.
- ROS: Robot Operating System, or ROS, is a tool I used very briefly for a UROP, but which I never really got comfortable with. It’s a really good framework for distributed computing and distributed sensors. I could imagine using it as a foundation for local IOT sensor networks.
- Laptop Batteries + MQTT: Though the article is mostly about interfacing with laptop batteries, the brief mention of MQTT is interesting - it’s a messaging protocol for IOT devices, designed to be very lightweight and tolerant of poor bandwidth.
- Rotational Rectifier: An interesting mechanism, and an interesting book reference.
- Aerospike Engines: A slightly different rocket engine design that’s somewhat more efficient at the expense of some complexity, but mostly lack of development.
- Compact PCB Spectrometer: This looks like a great detector to toss on the end of a cheap DIY GC/HPLC.
- Tracking airplanes for FlightAware: Hackaday publishes a lot of articles on SDR (Software Defined Radio), and radio seems like a cool thing to play around with - it was definitely the domain of the OG hackers, before there were PC’s and 3D printers.
- Crazy beautiful wooden staircase: This is the most beautiful bent wood construction I’ve ever seen. I don’t want to know how much it cost.
- Python as a Declarative Language: Basically, use Python to describe the function of a program at a very high level, but use C++ modules to actually perform the computation. This is basically how Tensorflow, PyTorch, and all of the other machine learning libraries work, and is probably the “Pythonic” way of doing things - Python is, after all, at its core a scripting language.
- Accelerator cards are making a return: Accelerator cards - GPU’s, AI cards like Google’s TPU’s, specialty cards like Intel’s Xeon Phi, and networking cards featuring Xilinx FPGA’s are becoming more and more popular for dedicated servers, and that’s pretty cool, since personal computers used to have all of those things for simpler tasks, like networking, audio, and graphics - graphics are the only ones really remaining, and even then, most people use integrated graphics. It’d be nice to see some dedicated image debayering and kernel convolution cards (not too dissimilar from GPU’s, I suppose) - Lightroom is still painfully slow.
- GlusterFS using Odroid HC2: GlusterFS is something I’ve looked into before - it’s not something I’m at a scale to need yet, but it is interesting. The same author did a followup using an Espressobin. Unfortunately, it’s not really high enough performance for me - my needs lie more on the performance curve than the $$$/TB curve (and I do pretty well there anyway by scrounging old hard drives).
- incron + inotifiy Linux-Fu: Most of Hackaday’s Linux-Fu is either stuff I already knew about or don’t find useful - this is the exception. These are tools I’d never heard of, but they look super useful. I might set something up with this to produce thumbnails, or re-encode videos, or just publish a directory listing.
- Understanding MTF: This is an incredibly good explanation of MTF and how it affects all of the different pieces of a photographic system. Probably the best resource I’ve seen for semi-technical use.
- TEC-cooled D850: This is easily the new king of astrophotography, but is also shockingly affordable, considering an unmodified D850 is already over $3k.
- DIY Raspi Security Camera: From Linus Tech Tips, which of course means that everything is overblown for the camera, but has some useful things all thrown in one place, which is always nice. I could see this additionally being useful for making timelapses.
- Kitchen Gadgets: It’s interesting how many of these things are actually just small computers, but referring to an online recipe is something I absolutely do more frequently than I need to, and setting timers is super useful. There are times when I’ll use both the microwave timer and oven timer for different things, and labelling them or setting them with voice commands would be pretty handy.
- Rebuilding a pasta machine: This is my favorite type of YouTube collaboration, between two of my favorite channels (See also Diresta making a pizza cutter and Alex French Guy making a pizza. I guess this particular side of the collaboration might belong more in the hardware category, but the food/cooking category was looking a bit sparse :P
- Easy Bake -> Mega Bake: Another video that might fall on the “hardware” side of food/cooking, Alton Brown turns an Easy Bake up to 11. He’s also got the opposite end of the spectrum, making ice cream instantly.
- Anime Has Changed: Lots of thoughts from gigguk. I’ve noticed a lot of his comments even over just the 4-5 years that I’ve been watching anime.
- Designing Programmes: This sounds almost exactly like Prof. Wallace’s research, and is very similar to a lot of lectures in 2.744. I find a lot of it to be…either intuitive or overstated.
- Voting Systems for high schools: This is a really interesting problem, and a lot of the results are pretty counterintuitive. Voting systems are really hard, and none are optimal for all scenarios. We spent a few weeks on voting systems in my high school mathematical modeling class. It’s also particularly relevant when considering, eg, the US presidential elections…
- The Edgerton Shot: It’s really interesting to me how widespread Edgerton’s photos are, since they’re just all around the hallways at MIT - it seems to me like a totally MIT thing, but in fact it was a much wider phenomenon. The milkdrop shot was literally on the cover of Time’s 100 most influential photos of all time.
- How Anime Fansubbers encode things: This is pretty interesting. I had no idea how advanced and methodical anime encodes were. I could probably stand to be this methodical in my video projects.
- Physics of Juggling: This is the definition of niche research, but went viral for a couple of days.
- History of Chernobyl: Every now and then I find visual histories of random events that are extremely well put-together and well-written, and thus just interesting to read, even if I didn’t originally have much interest in the subject. This falls into that category.
- I’m not a fan of hedgehogs: I was looking up something completely unrelated on stackoverflow and just saw this title.
- Brownstones vs. Greystones: I’ve been looking at a lot of apartments recently, and saw the term “greystone” for the first time. I’ve heard of “brownstones” but was never quite sure exactly what they referred to (and certainly didn’t know how they differed from greystones).
- Wintergatan Marble Machine: This one I got via litchin, a friend of mine with a literary blog. It’s a pretty awesome music/machine video. I’m curious how much of the magic happened in post production though, it seems like this object just had to be finnicky, given how many moving parts are present.
And finally, an interesting meta-piece on the joy of internet ghost towns: Another one via litchin. It’s a pretty interesting read, and matches some of my experiences and interests - I am, after all, starting a blog in 2018, while blogging was most popular in the mid 00’s. It’s nice to have my own space on the internet, my own little site to talk and rant and document.
As always, thanks for reading! :)