I saw this in the control panel for one of my Google Apps for Your Domain accounts today.
The value-add for paid accounts on Google Apps has always been very poor. $50 per user for a few tweaks most people don’t need. This could change things, particularly for those who want to use Google+ as a replacement for Yammer.
The Nerdy Derby is a no-rules* miniature car building and racing competition inspired by the Cub Scouts’ Pinewood Derby. With a larger, more undulating track and no restrictions on the size of the cars or materials participants can use, the Nerdy Derby rewards creativity, cleverness and ingenuity.
The first-ever Nerdy Derby will take place at World Maker Faire New York on September 29th and 30th at the New York Hall of Science in Queens. Visitors can bring their own cars to race, choose from a selection of pre-built cars, or make their cars on site in our workshop.
That vector data with rainfall values is now up on Google Fusion Tables and is updated every 15 minutes so now it can be integrated with GIS and other location based services.
As he points out, with national coverage like this, you can watch for rainfall trends. Heck, you could even do predictions. He mentions that previous flood data may be available from the OPW and a “Benefitting Lands” layer from the OSi.
I pointed out to Brendan that this data may be perfect for Open Weather Map which has a radar layer for the US and Canada already. Hopefully there are no rights issues with the data (which I assume the Irish taxpayer has paid for). His follow-up comment seems to indicate that all is ok as long as it’s not for profit.
It’s projects like this that give me hope for Ireland. Where the State is unwilling, unable or simply lacking in knowledge to release #OpenData, we can step in. Motivated, knowledgeable people with a community spirit can make the data we have already paid for, do more for the country.
I’m working on a small project in this area at the moment and have just received all of the hardware. Once it’s ready, I’ll publish the PoC here. I hope it will be of benefit to a lot of people.
Last night, just before bedtime, I handed over littleBits to our three younger kids. They had never seen or used it before and I wanted to gauge their reaction to it.
Overall they loved it and it was the first thing Fionn looked for when he got up this morning. Sibéal also snuk off with it for a while on her own last night after the others had gone to bed.
The two favourite parts for all of them are the pressure sensor and the buzzer.
I love the concept and I think it’ll be a huge help in kids understanding analogue electronics and getting an interest in it. However I do have a couple of worries.
The first is the most obvious – the price is 3x to 4x too high. We just could not justify paying $89 (Starter Kit) for something that will probably not be used beyond tomorrow. Sibéal’s Android tablet was only slightly more expensive and will last her for a year or two. For a schoolroom, where it gets passed around, that price might be ok, but we honestly wouldn’t buy it unless it was in the $20 to $30 range. Given that they have raised a bunch of VC, I hope they use it to re-align the price. I just can’t see it getting mainstream adoption at the current level.
The second concern is more technical. There is only so much you can do with non-programmable analogue circuits (analogue engineers, please leave abuse in the comments ). At some point it’s going to need a digital controller and digital blocks. I don’t know if this is in the plan or even in the design already. As an ex-Philips guy, I love seeing the adoption of I2C (I-squared-C, not I-two-C) by the Maker community many years after I used it in nearly every project. It strikes me as ideal for littleBits due to the minimal pin count and low speed.
The third issue is easy to fix. The head of the screwdriver is too big for the pots. Kids found it really hard to get it working. An extra 5 cents needed there I think!
Sibéal is the main “Maker” in our house. She has that great combination of an interest in tech and an interest in art. Her plans for Halloween involve creating zombie costumes and using toggleable LEDs in ping-pong balls to scare people. I hope littleBits will encourage her two younger siblings to get equally interested.
One final note – at the start of the video I mention that littleBits is probably two simplistic for our older two boys but when Oisín (aged 10) saw littleBits last night, he insisted he had a go on his own today.
Amazon Glacier is an extremely low-cost storage service that provides secure and durable storage for data archiving and backup. In order to keep costs low, Amazon Glacier is optimized for data that is infrequently accessed and for which retrieval times of several hours are suitable. With Amazon Glacier, customers can reliably store large or small amounts of data for as little as $0.01 per gigabyte per month, a significant savings compared to on-premises solutions.
We use variety of backup and online storage approaches. Dropbox for commonly accessed data for individuals, S3 for backups/archival and S3+Cloudfront for CDN. There has been the option of reduced redundacy S3 for quite a while but we haven’t bothered as we want the extra comfort level.
But looking at our S3 usage, the bulk of it is never accessed, it is only there for long-term archival. Old code, old server images, old documents etc. Some of it hasn’t been touched in over 4 years. That’s perfect for Glacier, which, based on its description, seems to be tape storage?
Just to give a simple comparison on pricing (storage only, not transfer):
S3: $0.125 per GB / month
S3 reduced Redundancy: $0.093 per GB / month
Glacier: $0.01 per GB / month
The lovely lovely people in Sugru sent me a littleBits kit and a great book yesterday. I have been intrigued by littleBits since I saw discovered it via the Adafruit site a while back. Soon afterwards they raised bunch of money and I was pleased to see Ireland’s own PCH involved in the production.
If you are not familiar with littleBits, it’s a beautifully simple way of learning about electronics using parts which just snap together using magnets.
I’ve had a little play with it and it’s great fun. However I won’t give any detailed impressions until I let some of my younger kids at it. I want to see what they think. The opinions of a 44 y/o who did Electronic Engineering in college are less relevant!
We launched Google Listen through Google Labs in August 2009, to give people a way to discover and listen to podcasts. However, with Google Play, people now have access to a wider variety of podcast apps, so we’ve discontinued Listen.
I never thought Listen was very good but this cancellation is why more and more I avoid Google’s non-core products. They are turning into Yahoo like this. I’m tired of putting effort into products by these large corporations, that only stand a tiny chance of being maintained.
From now on I’m sticking with products by tiny companies whose very survival depends on that product. So that’s Doggcatcher or BeyondPod for podcasts.
It’s another step in moving away from generic one-size-fits-all mass-production and towards custom products that are optimal for you.