It’s time to go away, Sourceforge

That once king of app hosting, Sourceforge, has lost its crown and its way. Jack Wallen discusses why Sourceforge is now Scourgeforge.

There once was a site called Sourceforge
Where open source kiddies would go
They’d download free proggies
And upload their projects
For that, they had plenty to show

During the nineties and early 2000s, when we needed to find an application to install from source, Sourceforge was the place to go. It held a veritable smorgasbord of software—most of it open source and a lot of it really useful. You could download an app, install it, and not incur a single issue.

It was cool, and I always recommended it to people when they needed to find software.

My how the mighty have fallen… and fallen hard.

Now? Sourceforge should be called Scourgeforge, because that’s what they are—a scourge upon developers and end users. Instead of getting those wonderful apps that you once could trust, you get apps infused with opt-out installers that add toolbars and other pieces of malware onto your system. Those added installers… proprietary. So, even the open-source projects are now littered with closed-source bits and pieces.

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A Slice of Pi

Over the past 10 years we have seen a burgeoning interest in small microprocessor boards which can be programmed using a variety of software. They are being used by engineers for prototyping, by artists and by “do-it-yourselfers” for a wide variety of projects from music synthesizers to robotics. It is almost a “return to the future” similar to the early years of computing in the 1970’s.

Two of the most popular units have been the Arduino and the Raspberry Pi. Costs are in the $25-$50 range and much of the software is open source, making them easily accessible to students, experimenters and professionals alike. Microsoft has recently announced that there will be versions of Windows 10 available for both the Arduino and Raspberry Pi 2.

Maurice Green will describe the Arduino and Raspberry Pi systems and then demonstrate the installation and programming of a Raspberry Pi.

Tips and Tricks

In addition to the featured talk, this month’s meeting will include short talks by three of our members:

  • Android Smartphone Overview (Christie Bilikam)
  • Introduction to Google Docs (Stan Hutchings)
  • Using Irfanview for Your Images (John Sleeman)

The meeting will be held at the Palo Alto Elks Lodge, 4249 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. Meeting registration starts at 7PM in the Lodge room on the second floor. The featured talks begins at 7:30PM.

All members and guests are invited to attend a NO-host dinner prior to our general meeting. Dinner will be at 5:45 PM at The Bistro located on the ground floor of the Elks Lodge.

Get Windows 10: Microsoft’s biggest software upgrade in history begins

It’s official: Beginning July 29, Microsoft will offer free Windows 10 upgrades to hundreds of millions of PCs.

Here’s how the Get Windows 10 (GWX) program works:

What was already an open secret has now been confirmed. Microsoft will launch Windows 10 on July 29. (Previously, Microsoft had only committed to “this summer” as a launch date.) That date begins a one-year window during which free upgrades will be available to anyone running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

The first phase of the long, slow rollout begins today, with the appearance of a small icon in the taskbar on eligible systems. Here’s what it looks like on a PC running Windows 8.1:

get-windows-10-tray-icon.jpg

Clicking that link opens a six-screen advertisement, with a prominent “Reserve your free upgrade now” button. Clicking that button configures your PC to download and install the upgrade bits and adds the current device to the queue for Windows 10.

But what will actually happen when July 29 rolls around? That poses some interesting logistical questions for Microsoft.

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Maker Faire Bay Area 2015

Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.

Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned.

The launch of Maker Faire in the Bay Area in 2006 demonstrated the popularity of making and interest among legions of aspiring makers to participate in hands-on activities and learn new skills at the event. A record 215,000 people attended the two flagship Maker Faires in the Bay Area and New York in 2014, with 44% of attendees first timers at the Bay Area event, and 61% in New York. A family-friendly event, 50% attend the event with children. Also in 2014, 119 independently-produced Mini and 14 Featured Maker Faires occurred around the world, including Tokyo, Rome, Detroit, Oslo and Shenzhen.

In addition to 900+ maker exhibitors, this 10th annual Maker Faire Bay Area features 12 stages and 4 attraction areas with over 300 scheduled presentations and shows! Use the schedule tool below to plan your visit and catch as many amazing talks, performances & demos as humanly possible.

We’re thrilled to share our program for the 10th anniversary of Maker Faire Bay Area! We’re bringing together the movers and shakers who helped the Maker Movement take off as well as emerging leaders who are giving the movement its future direction. They will enlighten, inspire, and ignite the Maker in you.
There will be over 200 speakers sharing their knowledge and passions with you across 12 stages. You’ll get the information you need on such topics as electronics, science, DIY, education and making with kids, wearables and tech fashion, food making and homesteading, and technology and culture.

Israelis Develop the World’s Smallest Bible

As part of its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration, the Jerusalem-based Israel Museum will display the “Nano Bible,” the world’s smallest bible, an Israeli innovation created at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

The tiny bible will be displayed alongside the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Aleppo Codex, a manuscript of the Jewish bible from 10th century C.E. The Nano Bible is a gold-coated silicon chip smaller than a pinhead. It is 0.04 square millimeters, and 0.00002 millimeters (20 nanometers) deep. The 1.2 million letters of the bible were written using a focused ion beam generator that shot gallium ions onto a gold surface covering a base layer of silicon.

Prof. Uri Sivan and Dr. Ohad Zohar of the Technion’s Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute developed the idea, and the engineers of the Technion’s Sara and Moshe Zisapel Nanoelectronics Center were responsible for the manufacturing of the chip and the development of the software that allows the engraving of the letters.

The Israel Museum will also exhibit a documentary on the creation of the Nano Bible and will enable the reading of the biblical text under a microscope.

Previously a nano sized New Testament developed by an Israeli company had been nominated for the Guinness Book of Records as the World’s Smallest Bible.

Jerusalem nano Bible company said it developed a chip smaller than five by five millimeters, which contains the original Greek version of the New Testament (Textus Receptus, or “received text” in Latin).

The tiny square chip, with each side measuring 4.76 millimeters, can be embedded inside watches and pendants with “infinite possibilities” in the jewellery industry, the company said.

“Our aim is to be able to mass produce it and cater to really every pocket. Because this application, the smallest Bible in the world, Jerusalem Nano Bible, can be applied to infinite possibilities in the jewelry industry,” said David Almog, who is in charge on the company’s marketing and sales department.

“We have used 0.18 micron technology so the width of each of these letters is 0.18 micron to create the smallest printed Bible in the world. In every one of these squares, which is about 1,000 of these squares on an eight inch silicone wafer, there is a little bit more than one thousand Bibles. What that means is that we have produced the smallest recorded printed New Testament ever in the world. And that is extremely significant,” said Russell Ellwanger whose company TowerJazz Semiconductor, provided the technical know-how for the production and manufacturing of the Nano Bible.

The product was validated by an academic scholar who determined that the Greek text on the chip presented to him via a microscope was indeed that of the 27 books of the New Testament.

For a peek inside the chip to see the bible, watch this video