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7 Mistakes Your Open Source Project is Probably Making

It can be tough to start a new open source project. You have an awesome idea in your head, but it takes work to turn it into a productive, healthy, engaging community. Sadly (as seems to be the case in practically anything), the same mistakes are made over and over again by new projects. Here are some of the most common mistakes open source projects make and my recommendations for avoiding them... Of the thousands of open source projects that kick off, too many get stuck at the outset because of a bunch of discussions on a Slack channel, mailing list, issue, or elsewhere. The discussions bounce around the house, and the scope often grows more and more lavish to incorporate the many, sundry ideas and considerations...

8 open source drone projects

Over the past few years, interest in civilian, military, and commercial drones has grown rapidly, which has also driven the maker community's interest in open source drone projects. The list of unmanned aerial devices (UAVs) that fit the moniker of drone seems to be constantly expanding. These days, the term seems to encompass everything from what is essentially a cheap, multi-bladed toy helicopter, all the way up to custom-built soaring machines with incredibly adept artificial intelligence capabilities. Most people are looking for something in the middle. They'd like a flying vehicle that is large enough to support a decently long flight time, hold a camera or other data capture device, and perhaps be able to control some (or all) of its flight autonomously using pre-programmed coordinates or real-time data.

A First Look at Google's Science Journal App

Google recently announced the release of its Science Journal app, a tool intended to "inspire future makers and scientists." All you need to get started is an Android phone—it will make use of the sensors on your phone and offers a digital science notebook to record your findings. The app is free and slated to be released open source later this summer. Google has already released microcontroller firmware for Arduino-based sensors on GitHub. You can start experimenting and making notebook entries once you have downloaded the app, and the interface is friendly and approachable. There are a number of experiments I intend to do with my 7-year-old son, and the Arduino kits look like something he would love too...

A Free, Open Resource to Solve Our Third World Problems

Corruption, poverty, war, hunger, healthcare, education, safety. These are only a few of the problems faced by people in developing countries. Many of these problems are caused by exclusion, fear, intimidation, broken infrastructure, and lack of money, resources, access to information, and tools. These are hard problems to solve but, as Theodore Roosevelt said: "Nothing in this world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty." At the core of open source are communities. Communities of like-minded individuals, working together, openly and freely sharing ideas and solutions for the benefit of others...

A Look Inside Chicago's Open Gov Hack Nights

Megan DeGruttola | OpenSource Delivers | December 4, 2014

The government’s open data movement, sometimes referred to as Gov 2.0, has come a long way in the past few years. Most are familiar with the Obama administration’s open data initiative and the launch of Data.gov, but there are extremely active open data civic movements taking place in cities across the U.S...

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A Look Inside the 'Blinky Flashy' World of Wearables and Open Hardware

While looking at the this year's All Things Open event schedule, a talk on wearables and open hardware caught my eye: The world of the blinky flashy. Naturally, I dug deeper to learn what it was all about. Though Gina Likins and Jen Krieger of Red Hat would like to leave a few surprises for the lucky folks who attend their talk, they told me they can promise at least the following: ideas about how you can integrate simple circuitry into your outfits to "tron-ify" your wardrobe,
ways to add interactivity to art projects (or science projects! or exhibits!) that turn a spectator into a co-creator...

A New Android App for Teaching Kids How to Read

Have you been looking for software to help your child to read? Well, your quest may be over. Phoenicia is a new literacy application for Android developed by Michael Hall, an open source software developer, community manager, and technology evangelist currently working at Canonical, maker of Ubuntu. In this interview, he talks about the diagnosis of his oldest child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, his learning curve of Android development, and why user testing matters more than you think...

A New Way Forward for Power Utilities: The Open Smart Grid Platform

After energy balancing software PowerMatcher was released as open source at Alliander in 2014, I was able to convince more of my colleagues to invest in making more technologies open source. I started the conversation with a question about the Open Smart Grid Platform: "How open is open? Where can I find the code?" The development of the Open Smart Grid Platform started after research was done on how to give municipalities control over their public lighting switching schedule. This schedule is based on ecomomic sense, and is a list of rules for when to switch on and off the street lights. For example, streets lights switch off ten minutes after sunrise...

Adobe Open Sources Flash C++ Compiler

Staff Writer | The H | June 26, 2013

Adobe has open sourced its Flash C++ compiler, FlasCC. An open source version of the tool is now hosted as part of the CrossBridge project on GitHub; previously, FlasCC was part of Adobe's Creative Cloud product. [...] Read More »

Advanced Manufacturing Re-tools with Open Source (Bit by Bit)

Michael Tiemann | OpenSource.com | June 14, 2012

Open source software and open source best-practices have become truly ubiquitous in the business world. Software used to be the new frontier, but open source software can be found leading up to the frontier, at the frontier, and beyond. My experience at CGI America 2012 (a US-focused subgroup of the Clinton Global Initiative) confirmed this.

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After Building Apps For Harvey Victims, Houston's Techies Set Their Sights On Irma

Alex Konrad | Forbes | September 6, 2017

After more than two days on a boat rescuing upwards of 50 victims of Hurricane Harvey from flooded houses, Matthew Hager decided to try to help his hometown of Houston the best way he knew how: with tech. Though Hager and his friends looked like a ragtag volunteer rescue squad, he’s a web designer by trade. With other volunteers from his design shop Poetic Systems, he built what has become one of the central hubs for information on Harvey recovery, HarveyNeeds.org. Hager and his crew are hardly alone. As Harvey hit, Houston’s startup community went into overdrive, connecting over a volunteer Slack channel and gathering around impromptu hackathons to build at least 20 new apps and sites designed to provide support to residents, first responders and the city...

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Amazon hires openFDA trailblazer Kass-Hout for healthcare project: report

Nick Paul Taylor | FierceBiotech | March 19, 2018

Amazon has hired former FDA chief health informatics officer Taha Kass-Hout, M.D., CNBC reports. Kass-Hout led the groundbreaking openFDA initiative and rehabilitated the reputation of the FDA’s IT department during his three years at the agency. Details of what Kass-Hout will do at Amazon are scarce....during his time at the FDA, Kass-Hout lead the precisionFDA program that established a collaborative, open approach to genomic testing references. Across the initiatives, Kass-Hout deployed approaches that were established in tech circles but alien to the FDA prior to his arrival. Open-source projects that embraced the cloud, shared their code on GitHub and invited programmers to hackathons became commonplace.

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An Introduction to Libral, a Systems Management Library for Linux

Linux, in keeping with Unix traditions, doesn't have a comprehensive systems management API. Instead, management is done through a variety of special-purpose tools and APIs, all with their own conventions and idiosyncrasies. That makes scripting even simple systems-management tasks difficult and brittle. For example, changing the login shell of the "app" user is done by running usermod -s /sbin/nologin app. This works great until it is attempted on a system that does not have an app user. To fix the ensuing failure, the enterprising script writer might now resort to...

Analyze, Collaborate, and Share Research with Open Source Tools

The most powerful free and open source (FOSS) statistics program, though, is R. Originally a FOSS version of the statistics language S, R has shown explosive growth over the last few years, with some 7,000 add-on packages available to handle nearly any statistical requirement and an increasing number of books, courses, and blogs (e.g. R-bloggers) focusing on practical usage. Some websites concentrate specifically on how to use R for psychological research—an example is William Revelle's Personality Project, which also offers an R package called psych, a toolbox for personality, psychometrics, and experimental psychology...

API Provides Open Access To FDA Recall Data

Greg Slabodkin | Health Data Management | July 21, 2014

As part of the Food and Drug Administration’s recently launched openFDA initiative, the regulatory agency is for the first time offering an application programming interface providing web developers and researchers direct access to millions of reports on drug adverse events and medication errors that have been submitted to the FDA since 2004...

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