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Original author: 
Rob Beschizza

"John Hess traces the evolution of the screen shape from the silent film days through the widescreen explosion of the 50s, to the aspect ratio of modern digital cameras."    

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Original author: 
Xeni Jardin

A few nights ago, I had the great pleasure of seeing earthy psych-rock songwriter/musician/producer Jonathan Wilson perform live in Los Angeles. Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds turned me on to Wilson a few years back, and we went to the show together.

Here's a soundcloud link where you can check out his work.

"The sonic palette that Wilson and his band draws from includes Pink Floyd, CSNY, Radiohead, Bob Seeger, Dire Straits, The Allman Brothers, The Eagles, Shuggie Otis and so forth, and yes, the musicianship is at that exalted level, too," Metzger writes.

I feel like Wilson is one of those musicians you can't fully appreciate until you see them live. After that show, I'm a trufan.

"Although Jonathan Wilson is a critical darling and has seen his music warmly received in Europe, especially in Great Britain where MOJO, Uncut and the BBC all ranked his Gentle Spirit album in their year end 'Best of' short lists for 2011 just weeks after its release—he was even Uncut’s New Artist of the Year—he is STILL underrated in America to the point of being woefully under-appreciated," writes Metzger. "Seriously America! WTF?"

Metzger is one of the internet's great Rock Snobs, and his writeup of the phenomenal show is spot-on. Throughout most of the relaxed, at-home-among-friends set, Wilson and everyone else remained seated, save for the bass player who seemed so into it that sitting down probably would have caused him physical discomfort. One consistent element in Wilson’s remarkably varied live shows is the palpable level of psychic communication and improvisational interplay that goes on among the band members. These motherfuckers are simultaneously deeply concentrating as well as losing themselves in what they are communally creating. There’s an ecstatic music being made and it was obvious from the band and the string section’s facial expressions that they were all deeply feeling it.

The perspective from the audience? It was like having gold poured into your ears.

I expected a really great show. It was one.

Go read the rest of his review at Dangerous Minds. Metzger rounded up some great videos and a live radio session, too.

Jonathan Wilson on Amazon.com, here's his Facebook.

Poster art by Kii Arens.

    

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Original author: 
Cory Doctorow

By Crom, what sorcery is this? These women with their motley tights have backdoored my brain's habitual human-recognition heuristics and keep fooling my eye into seeing impossible acrobatic half-humans with phase-shifted torsos!

Black and White Tights Dance (with "Tanz" lyrics) (via IO9)     

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Original author: 
Cory Doctorow


Form and Landscape is a stupendous collection of photos documenting the electrification of Los Angeles, culled from ConEd's archives (Edison International underwrote the exhibition). The pictures are presented with fascinating articles in Spanish and English, and are curated by William Deverell and Greg Hise.

The documentary record tells a story of better living, improvement, and uplift all made possible through the power of electricity or “white gold,” the company’s term of art for its product. Boosters spoke fervently about the opportunity a regular supply of electricity created and the benefit it would provide a mass of people for whom ready access to white gold meant extended hours of productive labor, enhanced quality of their leisure hours, and greater safety while traveling in and about the company’s service area by foot, by mass transit, or by automobile. It is a story of private enterprise elevating individual and collective wellbeing and in doing so contributing toward the public good by taking the smoke out of manufacturing; by making the labor of workers, both wage-earners and domestic, more efficient; by increasing safety and deterring crime; by improving health.

About the Project — FORM and LANDSCAPE
(via The Guardian Art and Design)

(Image, above: "Commercial Lighting Doug White (No date)")

I've included some of my favorites below:


Commercial Lighting Doug White (No date)


A Family at Home Joseph Fadler 1966


Electrical workers fashion show Joseph Fadler 1970


Kern River No. 3 Powerhouse, Edison generators attest to the quest for power, Kern County G. Haven Bishop 1928


Carl's Whistle Stop Char Broiled Hamburgers Joseph Fadler 1967

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Original author: 
Xeni Jardin

About this nifty "Onion Pi" HOWTO just published at Adafruit, Phil Torrone says, "Limor and I cooked up this project for folks. We are donating a portion of any sales for the pack we sell that helps do this to the EFF and Tor."

Browse anonymously anywhere you go with the Onion Pi Tor proxy. This is fun weekend project that uses a Raspberry Pi, a USB WiFi adapter and Ethernet cable to create a small, low-power and portable privacy Pi. Using it is easy-as-pie. First, plug the Ethernet cable into any Internet provider in your home, work, hotel or conference/event. Next, power up the Pi with the micro USB cable to your laptop or to the wall adapter. The Pi will boot up and create a new secure wireless access point called Onion Pi. Connecting to that access point will automatically route any web browsing from your computer through the anonymizing Tor network.     

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Original author: 
Lyn Jeffery

Opennnn

Maker culture is being remade in China. Along with pioneers like Bunnie Huang and David Li, of Shanghai hackerspace Xinchejian, Eric Pan and his open hardware facilitator, Seeed Studio are accelerating the global maker movement by helping people source, design, produce, and commercialize their maker projects. And just as importantly, they are fueling a Chinese maker movement that is starting to take full advantage of both Shenzhen’s awesome manufacturing capacities and China’s shanzhai superpowers.

Seeed recently attended the Bay Area Maker Faire, where they received an Educators Choice Award and brought such delights as a BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) shield for building connections between Arduino and iOS devices, a critical enabling component for makers; their open source wearable solution called Xadow, enabling everybody to make add-ons for Google Glass, iWatch, etc.; the DSO quad, a pocket size 4 channel digital oscilloscope developed by a veteran engineer team in Guangzhou who did it for fun and open-sourced the design; and a recent hot collaborative product, the Crazyflie nano quadcopter kit. Along with Boing Boing’s Mark Frauenfelder, Eric will be keynoting the Tokyo Maker Conference on June 15th.

At the Institute for the Future where I'm a researcher, we’ve been tracking the co-evolution of makers in the U.S. and Europe, and their counterparts in China for the past couple of years. I caught up with Eric to talk about how, in just the past twelve months, the maker movement has reached a tipping point in Shenzhen — a place he calls “the Hollywood of hardware.”

NewImageLyn Jeffery: Congratulations on being named one of the 30-Innovators-Under-30 by Forbes China! For open hardware innovation, it’s just amazing.

Pan: [laughs] It’s so not me…the cover picture. It was my second time wearing that suit—the first time was on my wedding! But they don’t like me to wear a t-shirt, they wanted me to look more like a Forbes guy. That report was very helpful in triggering more interest in open hardware and the maker movement. The China Association of Inventors, a very traditional and official organization, even invited a bunch of us to Beijing to talk about the maker movement, and they had a very supportive attitude.

In April 2012 you organized the first maker event in China and there have been several more since then across China. How has the maker movement in China grown since last spring?

Pan: The really good boost is from Chris Anderson’s new book, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, which came out in a Chinese edition. A lot of people who had been following Chris Anderson since his Long Tail theory have read this book and have come to an understanding of the maker movement. Even my father read it and called me to say, “Hey, I know what you’re doing now.” The book made it easy for him to understand.

So now a lot more people are interested, from common people to engineers to big companies. Like Xiaomi (Chinese high-end smartphone maker), they are playing with open hardware. Tencent is working with us to have some hackathons; it’s like never before.

Another thing is that the internet startups are coming to very furious competition and the pressure is leading a lot of companies to look at the junction between software, hardware, and cloud computing. So it’s good timing for people to know about hardware and to try to become a maker.

What kind of changes have taken place at Seeed Studio over the last year?

Pan: So many things have happened. Last spring we had just moved to the new office and we had forty people and it was mostly me pulling people forward. The main difference is that now we have grown to 110 people and we are more organized and have a way to make everybody move forward together. We experienced steep growth and we’ve finished climbing, now, to a platform. We’ve organized our departments to make them more aligned. So this is the biggest improvement and difference.

Our revenues have doubled since last year. We’ve also added a 1000 square-meter space for a new Agile Manufacturing Center.

Which countries are your partners from?

Pan: All over the world. The U.S is one–third to one-quarter of our revenue and we have a lot more from Japan and Europe and China. The maker movement is spreading to all over the world.

So you’ve reached this platform, you’ve got management in place. Where do you want to take Seeed in the next year?

Pan: We’ll be improving efficiencies like cost, lead-time, and quality. And we’ll also increase our capabilities, not only just making PCB boards but making some finished consumer-level, commercial products. We’re also preparing a series of solutions about IoT for the body, the home and the city, that I was able to talk a bit in a recent conference in Tencent, slides shared here: http://www.slideshare.net/seeedstudio/homebrew-io-t0523

NewImage You founded the Shenzhen hacker space, Chaihuo. When I visited you in April 2012, the Shenzhen DIY Robotics club was at Chaihuo, but you were having trouble really gaining traction in Shenzhen. How are things now?

Pan: It’s going great! Membership is increasing every month with the growing popularity of the maker movement. Chaihuo since early this year has moved to a new spot in the OCT Loft, which is the design neighborhood of Shenzhen. It’s very artsy with a lot of designers, a very very interesting place and you can hang out for the whole Sunday afternoon. We finally convinced the owner that we belong to the neighborhood and they let us rent some space.

It’s a studio area and we have a storefront to sell the maker-made products, like 3d printers and Arduino kits. We have regular meet-ups and salons and there are three or four start-up makers working there. We have workshops on Sunday afternoon to teach new makers to experience soldering, programming. Next step is we are working with a major Chinese blog to have a hardware show-and-tell every month. If someone has a new hardware idea they can pitch it and also find investors and get media exposure.

I see Chaihuo as so different from any other hacker space because it’s in Shenzhen and the people here are more focused on not only making some fun projects but also in turning them into real products, to commercialize as a startup. We welcome makers from all over to visit us!

For additional reading on Chinese Makers, check out:

• Transfabric: a super-informed blog on all things hacker, open hardware, and China
• Bunniestudios: a blog by Bunnie Huang, the original China open hardware guru
Hoektronics: blog by Zach Hoeken Smith, Program Director for the HAXLR8R hardware incubator

    

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Original author: 
David Pescovitz

The Writers Guild of America has released its list of "101 Best Written TV Series." I'm thrilled that four of my favorite TV shows ever are in the top 5. Here's the top 10: 1. The Sopranos
2. Seinfeld
3. The Twilight Zone
4. All In The Family
5. M*A*S*H
6. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
7. Mad Men
8. Cheers
9. The Wire
10. The West Wing "101 Best Written TV Series" (WGA)    

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Original author: 
David Pescovitz

During World War II, the US Army deployed a "tactical deception unit" to Europe. The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, aka the "Ghost Army," consisted of artists, ad directors, actors, and other creative folks who used inflatable tanks, sound effects trucks, and good ol' fashioned bullshit to trick the German forces. It included the likes of fashion designer Bill Blass, fine artist Elsworth Kelly, and photographer Art Kane. A documentary about the Ghost Army, directed by Rick Beyer, aired last month on PBS. You can watch it for free right here! The Ghost Army story would make for a great black comedy too! The Ghost Army (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)    

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Original author: 
Cory Doctorow


Brian Krebs offers an in-depth look at a "cashout" service used by ransomware crooks to get money from their victims. Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts your personal files and demands that you pay a ransom for the key to decrypt them; the crooks who run the attacks demand that their victims buy prepaid MoneyPak cards and send the numbers for them by way of payment. But converting MoneyPaks to cash is tricky -- one laundry, which pipes the money through a horse/dog-track betting service -- charges a 60% premium.

* The ransomware victims who agree to purchase MoneyPak vouchers to regain control over their PCs.

* The guys operating the botnets that are pushing ransomware, locking up victim PCs, and extracting MoneyPak voucher codes from victims.

* The guy(s) running this cashout service.

* The “cashiers” or “cashers” on the back end who are taking the Moneypak codes submitted to the cashing service, linking those codes to fraudulently-obtained prepaid debit cards, and then withdrawing the funds via ATMs and wiring the proceeds back to the cashing service, minus their commission. The cashing service then credits a percentage of the MoneyPak voucher code values to the ransomware peddler’s account.

How much does the cashout service charge for all this work? More than half of the value of the MoneyPaks, it would seem. When a user logs in to the criminal service, he is greeted with the following message:

“Dear clients, due to decrease of infection rate on exploits we are forced to lift the price. The price is now 0.6. And also, I explained the rules for returns many times, we return only cheques which return on my side if you cash them out after then we lock the account! There are many clients who don’t return anything, and I will work only with these people now. I warn you.”

Cashout Service for Ransomware Scammers     

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Original author: 
Mark Frauenfelder

Watching the video about Luiz, the adorable boy who explained why he didn't want to eat octopus, gave me the same feeling as the beautiful ending of Black Orpheus, which is one of the best movie endings ever. It's not really a spoiler either, so enjoy it then watch the entire movie when you can.

    

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