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Unleashed: Open Source Tech Goes to the Dogs...and other Animals

I was discussing open source technology with my cat this morning and he brought up a good point: "Why don't you do an article on open source tech for animals?" You know, Donald's right. Animal open source tech deserves a spotlight. Afterall, animals appear in many open source brands, and pets, like mine at least, lend lots of support while I'm trying out new software, building gadgets, or just writing about this stuff. I did a little research, and perhaps you won't be surprised to learn there is a gaggle (the name for a group of geese) of open source projects that help us keep, love, and improve the lives of animals. Let's take a gander (also another word for a goose), shall we?

Is Use of the Open Source GPL License Declining?

A little while ago I saw an interesting tweet from Stephen O'Grady at RedMonk on the state of open source licensing, including this graph. This graph shows how license usage has changed from 2010 to 2017. In reading it, it is clear that usage of the GPL 2.0 license, one of the purest copyleft licenses around, has more than halved in usage. According to the chart it would appear that the popularity of open source licensing has subsequently shifted to the MIT and Apache licenses. There has also been a small increase in GPL 3.0 usage. So, what does all this mean?

The Difference Between Open Source Development and Deployment

For many years, I was a Smalltalk programmer, and that experience gives me a different viewpoint from which to observe ideas in the programming world. For example, the idea that source code should be stored in text files took some getting used to. We as programmers often make a distinction between "development" and "deployment," specifically the idea that we develop software in one place using tools that are different from the place and tools that we use after we deploy the software. In the Smalltalk world, there is no such difference...

Your Smartphone or Your Life...or, the Dangers of Addictive Technology

Rep. Jason Chaffetz's recent remarks suggesting that some Americans should invest in their health instead of in a new iPhone reminded me of nothing so much of the old Jack Benny bit, where Benny is accosted by a robber who threatens "your money or your life."  When Benny doesn't immediately respond, the robber prompts him, and the supposedly miserly Benny snaps back, "I'm thinking it over." I suspect that, like Mr. Benny, many of us would have a tough choice between our smartphones (and our other devices) and our health.  It may be not so that we're miserly as it is that we're addicted.

3 Projects Successfully Using Mesh Network Technology

If you think about it, isn't the Internet just a giant mesh network? If we deviate slightly from the standard definition that requires that all nodes to assist in data distribution, the answer is a resounding yes. However, traditional network technologies and the vendor-provided hardware required to run them is often far too expensive to deploy without deep pockets. Open source software aims to solve these problems and enable network connectivity to marginalized groups all around the world...

Halamka's Next Steps for the National Healthcare IT agenda

At HIMSS, I listened carefully to payers, providers, patients, developers, and researchers. Below is a distillation of what I heard from thousands of stakeholders. It is not partisan and does not criticize the work of any person in industry, government or academia. It reflects the lessons learned from the past 20 years of healthcare IT implementation and policymaking. Knowing where we are now and where we want to be, here are 10 guiding principles.

Tips for Non-Native English Speakers Working on Open Source Projects

The primary language of most open source projects is English, but open source users and contributors span the globe. Non-native speakers face many communication and cultural challenges when participating in the ecosystem. In this article, we will share challenges, how to overcome them, and best practices for easing onboarding of non-native speakers, as non-native English speakers and contributors to OpenStack. We are based in Japan, Brazil, and China, and work daily with the huge OpenStack community that is spread around the world. The official language of OpenStack is English, which means we communicate daily as non-native speakers...

3D Design Contest for Medical Tools in Africa

The moment the open source RepRap 3D printer was created, its potential for helping the developing the world was evident. The distributed digital production of open source appropriate technology can make a real difference. Research in this area has been heating up with numerous applications from the Enabling the Future's prosthetic hands, to the Waterscope microscope, to more mundane things like organic farm tools. The ReFab Dar project hopes to accelerate this trend. It is a pilot program that explores how plastic waste can power entrepreneurship using 3D printers in Tanzania. They have built on the early work done by the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Laboratory's efforts with open source recyclebots to turn plastic waste into 3D printing filament and then into high-value products...

Halamka's Dispatch from HIMSS 2017

As I wrote last week, I expected 2017 HIMSS to be filled with Wearables, Big Data, Social Networking concepts from other industries, Telemedicine, and Artificial Intelligence. I was not disappointed. 42,000 of my closest friends each walked an average of 5 miles per day through the Orlando Convention Center. One journalist told me “It’s overwhelming. You do your best to look professional and wear comfy shoes!” After 50 meetings, and 12 meals in 3 days, here’s my impression of the experience...

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Health Care

I hate being a patient. I have to admit that, although I write about health care, I am typically what can be described as a care-avoider. My exposure to the health care system has mostly been through my professional life or through the experiences of friends and family. The last few days, though, I unexpectedly had an up-close-and-personal experience as a hospital inpatient. I want to share some thoughts from that experience. Now, granted, any perceptions I gained are those of one person, in one hospital, in one medium-sized mid-western city. Nonetheless, I offer what I consider the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the experience...