Monday, December 23, 2013

Turning Pardoned... Better Late Than Never

It's about time!

London (AFP) - Britain on Tuesday granted a posthumous pardon to Alan Turing, the World War II code-breaking hero who committed suicide after he was convicted of the then crime of homosexuality.
Turing is often hailed as a father of modern computing and he played a pivotal role in breaking Germany's "Enigma" code, an effort that some historians say brought an early end to World War II. 
He died in 1954 after eating an apple laced with cyanide, two years after he was sentenced to chemical castration for the "gross indecency" of homosexuality. A coroner ruled that Turing committed suicide, though this has since been questioned.

via Yahoo News:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Heathkit is Hosting an AMA on Reddit

Heathkit, the former legendary electronics kit company, is holding a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Saturday, December 21st.
Later this week there will be a special "Ask Me Anything" event on where a member of Heathkit's Board of Directors will be available for an hour to chat live and answer questions about our progress and plans.
On Friday 20-Dec-2013 at 8pm EST / 5pm PST (which is Saturday 21-Dec 0100 UTC), please join us at
When the event starts, a link to it will appear at the top of that page.
There was a survey earlier this year that hinted at a re-birth of the kit company. It will be interesting to see what the new owners of the brand have to say.

Monday, November 18, 2013

How to Change Internet Explorer ESC (Enhanced Security Configuration) in Server 2012

Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration (ESC) is an annoying but important feature. Browsing the Internet from a server is typically not a good idea. Best practice is to use a client machine instead of subjecting the server to the possible security risk that the Internet represents. The next best thing is to block all Internet traffic on the server and explicitly allow trusted sites through ESC.

Best practices and next best practices are great, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Turning off ESC is not recommended, but if you have to disable it, here's how.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Real Watch Guy Compares a Real Watch to the Samsung Galaxy Gear

I've had my reservations about smartwatches. It took wearing the Pebble smartwatch on a daily basis for a while before I was convinced. Even though I'm one of the converted, I know that these devices are going to be a hard sell to people who wear "real" watches.

A real watch guy has chimed in, and there's an excellent post over on Crown & Caliber where Hamilton Powell compares the Galaxy Gear to a watch that I can only describe as a work of art. The outcome isn't all that unexpected, but Hamilton has an interesting point of view and a beautiful Breguet watch to make the Galaxy Gear look ridiculous... which is always fun.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Google and NASA and Quantum Computing

Back in May Google announced the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab. It's a joint venture between Google and NASA to make a D-Wave Systems quantum computer available to researchers and, " how quantum computing might advance machine learning."

They recently released a short documentary on the project. It's doesn't dive into the subject too much, but it's an otherwise interesting little film.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Miracle of Unicode

This video is a brief, but excellent, explanation of Unicode and character encoding.
"...we have something the nearly works, and that is why [UTF-8] is the most beautiful hack that I can think of that is used around the world every second of every day."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How to Disable Website Pinning in Windows 8 Home Edition

Sometimes Microsoft adds things to the new version of Windows that are contrary to the habits users have developed. Website pinning was a new feature in Windows 7 and has been carried over to Windows 8. Luckily, Microsoft usually provides ways to get around things or disable new features.

Monday, September 9, 2013

How to Disable Aero Shake in Windows 8 Home Edition

Depending on how you work, Aero Shake is either a somewhat handy or somewhat annoying feature. It minimizes all the other open windows on the desktop when any given window is wiggled with the mouse. In How to Disable Aero Shake in Windows 8 we looked at using gpedit to disable Aero Shake in Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise. Windows 8 Home Edition, known by Microsoft as Windows 8, doesn't include gpedit, but fear not. You can still disable Aero Shake in Windows 8 with a simple registry hack.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ktuluino - How to Build Your Own Arduino Clone

Arduino clones are ubiquitous. A quick web search or a look at any electronics hobbyist website will turn up some kind of Arduino-like microcontroller board. Studies have shown that the absolute last thing the world needs is another Arduino clone that adds nothing or very little to existing designs. One might surmise that these are the exact reasons why someone should never design another Arduino clone, yet here is Ktuluino.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How to Install the Desktop Experience on Windows Server 2012

There are two options when installing Window Server 2012: Server Core Installation and Server with a GUI. If you’re running a Server with a GUI installation, you might find a few things missing compared to the typical Windows client. Things like Media Player, desktop themes, Snipping Tool (I use this a lot), and more are not installed by default with Windows Server 2012. You’ll need to install the Desktop Experience feature to use those things.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard

I've been posting a few tech related documentaries lately and I don't know how I missed posting TPB AFK when it came out. TPB AFK follows the founders of The Pirate Bay while they're on trial for copyright infringement.
"Got to know each other IRL? What is that?" - District Court Judge Tomas Norström
"In Real Life." - Lawyer 
"We don't like that expression. We say AFK - Away From Keyboard. We think that the internet is for real." - Peter Sunde (co-founder of The Pirate Bay)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

DEFCON: The Documentary

DEFCON: The Documentary follows twenty years of the premier hacker conference in the world. Check it out... It's excellent. Get the Torrent to download a copy of your own at DEFCON: The Documentary.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How to set a User's Password to Never Expire in Office 365

Many settings in Office 365 can only be access through PowerShell or through directory synchronization of your on-premises servers. Setting passwords to never expire is one of those settings. We could debate the merits of passwords that expire but let's not. Instead, let's just take a look at how to change this somewhat controversial attribute with PowerShell.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Maker Faire Detroit 2013 Photos

Another Detroit Maker Faire has come and gone. Even though the weather could have been better, it was a great event as usual. Here's a few pictures from Sunday morning.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Henry Ford [Heroes of Science and Technology]

"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently." - Henry Ford

One hundred and fifty years ago, on July 30th, 1863, Henry Ford was born on a farm in Greenfield, Michigan. A dubious hero to be sure, but Ford did much for the American worker and the American landscape. As Ford said and Richard Snow asserts in his biography of Henry Ford, "I invented the modern age." It might be that Ford did more to change the face of America than any other man of his age.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Cosmos Trailer Debuted at Comic-Con

I was... I am a big fan of the 1980, 13 part, original Cosmos series. I have very high hopes the 2014 version. Thanks in advance to Ann Druyan, Seth MacFarlane, and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Don't let me down, people.

Friday, July 19, 2013

How to Disable Website Pinning in Windows 8

One of the new features in Windows 7 was the ability to “Pin” websites to the desktop. Microsoft carried this feature over to Windows 8, but it’s still contrary to how some people work. Fortunately, website “pinning” it’s easy to disable. Let’s take a look.

Friday, July 12, 2013

How to Repair a Broken Raspberry Pi SD Card Slot

The SD card slot on the Raspberry Pi is easy to break. A four foot drop, SD card first, on a hardwood floor turned my brand new Raspberry Pi into a doorstop. I had ideas of duct tape, hot glue, and bubble gum before deciding that replacing the SD card slot shouldn't be too hard if I could find the part.

Friday, July 5, 2013

We Are Makers

Another excellent little documentary.
What if everyone is creative, and the tools to shape our world are within reach? 
This is a central question of the Maker Movement, a title Dale Dougherty famously assigned the cultural shift sparked by new tools and communities that emphasize learning through the process of creation.
There’s no question new technologies like 3D printing, micro-computers and online social networks create a perfect storm for the movement. But beneath these platforms lies the human element—the one theme that emerged again and again in our conversations about the future of making.
We Are Makers visits the workshops, garages and studios that are bringing making into the realms of education, public policy, commerce and communities everywhere.
The film was produced by a four-person team from Abilene Christian University in West Texas. Campus conversations about the potential impact of the movement on education inspired a film we hope will spark broader discussion of the power of learning through making and the many contexts that have nurtured its growth via Adafruit

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Goodbye Google Reader

It's official, Google Reader is dead. It didn't take Seal Team 6 to kill it just Google's apathy.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Windows 8.1 Preview

Microsoft released the public preview of Windows 8.1 at the BUILD 2013 developer conference today. Windows 8.1 brings an updated look and feel to good old Windows 8. The much discussed "Start" button and boot to desktop are here and many cosmetic and GUI functionality changes as well.

The bits can be had at, but be forewarned, updating now will require a re-install of everything when the real Windows 8.1 is released. If you don't care or have another machine to experiment on, download it and have a look (I think it's a nice improvement), otherwise you'll have to wait until later this year when the update is released for real.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

USB Breakout Board

A few months ago I anticipated the need to measure current and voltage on a few different USB chargers. I was going to cut up a USB cable, but I decided this might be a good opportunity to design a printed circuit board. Having never designed a PCB before, a simple USB breakout would be a good way to dip my toes into the PCB design waters. For some reason it's taken me months to get around to posting about it. Go figure.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pebble Smart Watch [Review]

With glorious beginnings as one of the highest grossing Kickstarter campaigns of all time, the Pebble smart watch has a lot of expectations to live up to. I've lived with the Pebble for over three months now. Long enough to build some habits, form some opinions, and give developers a chance to come up with some compelling apps.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Detroit is for Makers

Whole Foods is opening a new, 21,000 square foot, store in midtown Detroit today. This is a big deal for the city as Detroit sorely lacks grocery stores in the downtown/midtown area. Detroit is featured in the Dark Rye, Whole Foods online magazine, June issue and contains a great article and video on Detroit area makers... Remake Detroit.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Archive the documentary

This is a excellent short documentary about the Internet Archive.

Archive is a documentary focused on the future of long-term digital storage, the history of the Internet and attempts to preserve its contents on a massive scale. 
Part one features Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive and his colleagues Robert Miller, director of books, and Alexis Rossi, director of web collections. On a mission to create universal access to all knowledge, the Internet Archive’s staff have built the world's largest online library, offering 10 petabytes of archived websites, books, movies, music, and television broadcasts.
The video includes a tour of the Internet Archive’s headquarters in San Francisco, the book scanning center, and the book storage facilities in Richmond, California. 
Directed by Jonathan Minard
Cinematography by John Behrens, Alexander Porter, and Fearghal O'dea
Produced at the Internet Archive on October 22-26, during the Books in Browsers Conference and 10 Petabyte Celebration - Internet Archive

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to Change a Users Primary Email Address in Office 365

Microsoft's Office 365 is still pretty new and some things that seem like they should be easy and obvious are not. While Office 365 administrative interface for Exchange may seem limited, virtually everything that can be done in Exchange can be done in Office 365, it's just that some functions may require Windows PowerShell.

Monday, May 13, 2013

How to Disable Aero Shake in Windows 8

Aero Shake, a feature that debuted in Windows 7, allows the user to minimize the all the other open windows on the desktop by grabbing and shaking one of the windows. I've always found Aero Shake to be a little annoying, but I wasn't surprised to see that Microsoft carried this feature over to Windows 8. Let’s take a look at how to turn it off.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How to Connect to Office 365 with Windows PowerShell

Windows PowerShell is a powerful tool for managing users in Office 365. We've looked at setting up PowerShell to work with Office 365. Let's look at how to connect PowerShell to Office 365.

Monday, April 29, 2013

How to Install and Configure PowerShell for Office 365 in Windows 8

The Office 365 online administrative interface is somewhat limited in its abilities. The PowerShell command line interface is needed to accomplish some of the less frequently used tasks and some tasks that seem like that should be included in the online GUI. Windows 8 includes PowerShell, but some setup is required for it to work with Office 365.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Guglielmo Marconi [Heroes of Science and Technology]

Many of man’s technological marvels are not really invented, they’re discovered. Certain technologies are inevitable for humans to develop. If the heroes of science and technology didn't get it done when they did, it would have been just a matter of time before some other brilliant person came along and found the telephone, the light bulb, or the automobile for example. Things would probably not have turned out exactly the same if someone else discovered them first, but for the most part they would be indistinguishable from what we have today.

Both discovery and exploration are nothing but races to see who gets to the finish line first. Very little is truly “before its time.” It takes the right person, armed with enough of the appropriate technology, at the right time in history to make a find. Guglielmo Marconi didn't discover electromagnetic waves. He didn't even discover radio. He was the first to make it practical. Marconi lived an extraordinary life steeped in the history of his day.

Monday, April 22, 2013

How to Install .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows 8

Version 4.5 of the .NET Framework is included with Windows 8 and is probably already installed on your Windows 8 PC. Some applications require specific versions of the .NET Framework and will sometimes prompt users to download and install the required version. If the application doesn't offer to install the proper version of the.NET Framework, it can easily be enabled via the Windows Features interface.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Velleman MK121NTSC TV Tennis Game Kit [Review]

Video games enjoy a unique status. Few things are so beloved at one point in time and so ridiculously out of date within a few short years. Atari’s home version of Pong came out in 1975. Just 10 years later the Nintendo Entertainment System made it look like a joke. Comparing Pong to today’s video games like Call of Duty, Madden, or Skyrim would be a waste of time, but there is hope. Today you can build your own table tennis game in less than an hour with the Velleman TV Tennis Game Kit. Good luck trying to build your own Xbox.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Monoprice HDX(C)-301E 3-Port HDMI Switch [Review]

Monoprice is often associated with good quality but inexpensive audio/visual interconnect cables, switches, adapters and so on. I've had some experience with Monoprice products in the past and have been pleased with both the cost and the quality. I recently needed a HDMI switch and I picked up the Monoprice HDX(C)-301E. Let’s check it out.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Lise Meitner [Heroes of Science and Technology]

Who are your heroes? If you've ever been asked that question or asked yourself that question, you're likely to answer with examples of people to whom you can relate. People who are, or you might like to believe are, very much like yourself. Today is International Woman’s Day and it seems like a good time for me to ask myself, "What woman would I consider a hero?" A few names come instantly to mind, but it's certainly more difficult than choosing an example from my own gender. While a huge chunk of my brain is spent thinking about women, their names just don't jump into my head when I think about heroes.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tempduino - Arduino Based Temp and Humidity Display

The temperature in my office at work varies quite a bit depending on the time of day, season, and the whims of the other people I share the floor with. When I’m sitting at my desk shaking uncontrollably or sweating profusely it would be nice to know if it’s due to the temperature or just work related stress. A simple $5.00 thermometer would suffice, but where’s the fun in that? Making my own thermometer might cost ten times as much, but I might learn something in the process and it would be way cooler than any cheap store bought thing? I’d rather make something myself even if I have to pay a “maker’s premium.”

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Arduino Clone Kit Shootout

The Arduino is arguably one of the most copied bits of open source hardware ever. Some of those copies are straight rip offs, but there are plenty of clones out there that take the design and improve or change it in some way. I've rounded up six, open source and commercially available, Arduino compatible devices to find out how they stack up to each other and the Arduino Uno.

Friday, February 15, 2013

How to set up Windows To Go in Windows 8

Included as a feature in the Enterprise edition of Windows 8, Windows To Go is intended as a portable version of a corporate Windows 8 desktop that enterprises can distribute to their users. A little more simply put, Windows To Go is a bootable Windows 8 install on a USB drive. Depending on your needs, you may find other uses for it and it could be a handy tool to keep in your bag. Here's how to set it up.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Digispark is Here [Review]

After what seemed like a long wait, the Digispark has finally arrived… at least mine have. As a backer of the Digispark Kickstarter, my three little Arduino compatible development boards arrived a few weeks ago. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with these things yet, but let’s take a look and see what they’re all about.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The OSH Park Experience [Review]

In early December I designed my first circuit board, a simple USB breakout, and submitted it to OSH Park for fabrication. While this is my first board and I don’t have any other experience, I have a feeling it's going to be tough to beat the OSH Park experience.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Adafruit Standalone AVR ISP Programmer Shield Kit [Review]

I've become somewhat of an Arduino guy. The popularity of the Arduino platform over the last few years makes me think that I might not be only one that’s been taken with these little development boards. Somewhere along the way I decided that making my own Arduinos is not only a decent learning experience, but it’s cost effective and allows me to integrate Arduinos directly into my projects.

One of the things that makes an Arduino an Arduino is that it interfaces with the Arduino integrated development environment (IDE). This is accomplished by a small program loaded on the Arduino’s microcontroller called a bootloader. The microcontroller that the Arduino Uno uses, the Atmel ATMega328, is readily available through a number of electronics retailers, but they don’t come preloaded with the Arduino bootloader. Some retailers sell chips with bootloaders on them, but if you’re building your Arduinos with blank chips, you’ll need something like the Adafruit Standalone AVR ISP Programmer Shield to put the bootloader on the chip.