Mosaic Knitting Pattern Generator with Processing.js

Processing.js is pretty cool.I found a Mosaic Knitting Pattern Generator from Laura Kogler.

This is a script to generate patterns intended to be knit using the two-color knitting technique known as "mosaic", or "slip-stitch", knitting. If you make something using this pattern generator, I'd love to know about it! You can email me (me[at]laurakogler.net), or hit me up on ravelry!

Mosaic Knitting Pattern Generator

Links:

http://processingjs.org

http://laurakogler.net/processing/MosaicKnitting/

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How to make a Pattern Editor - GeoGebra as an Example

Check out the new GeoGebra Google app. It has the exact functionality which the pattern editor should have:

GeoGebra is dynamic mathematics software for education in secondary schools that joins geometry, algebra, and calculus. On the one hand, GeoGebra is a dynamic geometry system. You can do constructions with points, vectors, segments, lines, conic sections as well as functions and change them dynamically afterwards. On the other hand, equations and coordinates can be entered directly. Thus, GeoGebra has the ability to deal with variables for numbers, vectors and points, finds derivatives and integrals of functions, and offers commands like Root or Extremum. It is a free and open source software.

Links:

[via Susan Spencer]

 

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What about Open Source mobile apps

Open Source has been the basis of Android and runs the biggest sites on the net. So what about Open Source apps?

I was looking around for Open Source apps and I found a few sites, that collect them. There is already a short list with apps on Wikipedia. The web catalogue of Android Open Source has about 500 apps to download.

Android Open Source

F-droid, the Android FOSS Repository is an easily-installable catalogue of Free and Open Source software. They have about 750 apps that you can download after you install their catalogue. You can either download the catalogue as an apk from the website, or browse the site to download apps their. You need to have set the ‘allow install from unknown sources’ option on your Android device.

FOSS for Android

Generally areas like office and system apps are already well covered in the Open Source areas. Looking at the popularity of games and gambling there are still many app ideas that can be implemented. OnlinePoker.de for example already has a very nice iphone app and it will be interesting to see when someone comes up with an Open Source app for poker games that run on Android.

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Electronic Textile Institute: Designer Maker Community in Berlin

I read about the people from the Electronic Textile Institute in Berlin already a while ago. I was excited to have the chance to meet Victoria Pawlik in the space in Berlin Wedding on Saturday together with Andre Rebentisch from the Berlin Startup community.

Victoria Pawlik, Berlin Electronic Textile Institute
Victoria Pawlik at Electronic Textile Institute (etib.org)

The group working at the space is still small, but the projects they are doing are already very exciting. Victoria studied fashion design and uses the places as a creative space to develop ideas and produce cloth designs, which she sells at community markets and online shops like VLP-Designs at Dawanda and RedPinkGreen at Etsy.


Electronic Textile Institute Berlin with Mario Behling and Victoria Pawlik
Electronic Textile Institute Berlin

Other people at the space are coming from the IT and hackers community. Fabienne is known for her involvement into Open Source and Open Hardware. She likes to hack into knitting machines and creates incredible patterns, that are unique in every aspect. One of the designs at the shop is particularly interesting as none of the pattern parts repeat itself.

By Open-Sourcing older Brother knitting machines and connecting a PC to a machine Fabienne was able to enhance the functioning and extend the functionalities beyond the original one.

Brother CK-35, Knitting Machine with Open Source
Brother CK-35, Open Sourced Knitting Machine

Fabienne Serriere, Knitting Pattern, Electronic Textile Institute Berlin
Knitting Pattern of Fabienne Serriere, Electronic Textile Institute Berlin

Electronic Textile Institute Berlin wit Victoria Pawlik and Andre Rebentisch
Electronic Textile Institute Berlin with Victoria Pawlik and Andre Rebentisch

I hope I will meet Fabienne in the near future to learn more about it. In the meantime there some videos online here at "Year of Open Source" like this one with Fabienne:

Fabienne's Hacked Knitting Machine Creations! from Sam Muirhead on Vimeo.

Links:

Internet Startup Companies Will Find Haven in Berlin

Germany’s mobile internet advertising is on the rise. Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW) said in its MAC Mobile-Report 2013/01 that Germany’s mobile ad spending reached €62 million in 2012. This figure is expected to rise by 70% or €105 million before 2014. This is one big reason why many local companies are switching to go online. Mobile internet in Germany is now on its all-time high, and a lot of businesses already jumped ship by pushing some of their advertisements to the mobile market. If you’re an owner of a startup company, you might have heard lots of advice about online business. However, you may not have yet heard this advice from others: if you want to start a business in Germany, the best place for you to start is Berlin.

Berlin

Aside from thousands of local German firms starting their online businesses in Berlin, companies from London, Venice, Paris, and other European cities think that Berlin is the next biggest hub for online ventures, thus starting a movement called the “Berlin Startup Scene”. Among the ventures that found paradise in Berlin are Motain, Rocket Internet GmbH, photo sharing app EyeEM, and mobile messenger app Zoobe. These companies started with a very small number of employees but have since expanded after trying their luck in Berlin. The Berlin Startup Scene goes like this: starting companies open their business with a capital ranging from €75,000 to €377,000 and with a very good business concept, the particular business will be given the chance to grow through financial aids from bigger German companies who can see the potential of their ventures.

News of Berlin as a great techno hub has spread all over the globe. Even some companies in the United States—which is perceived by many economies as one of the centres for mobile growth—are predicted to try their luck in Germany. Bally Technologies and iSoftbet, two of the biggest gaming technology providers in the US, teamed up to conquer Germany and other European nations. Under the agreement, the two software companies will form a united front to bring online slot machines and other betting games in the Eurozone. Their gaming applications won’t have a hard time penetrating the European market as people there are also fond of mobile games like poker, bingo, casino, and lottery. Poker websites like partypoker were introduced to the country in the middle of the last decade but they are already among the most played. This is mainly because of the German government’s efforts to help local or foreign websites in fulfilling their goals.

If you are looking for a place to start your online project, you should take a chance in Berlin. Who knows, you might just find your luck there?

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Wikis in Open Source Projects

Wikis are great to collect information and they work well, the more active users they actually have. With the growth of Wikipedia the number of people who understand how collaboration works in a Wiki increased dramatically (even though in fact many users of the Wikipedia still do not seem to know, that they can actually edit pages).

For smaller numbers of contributing users I found, that it is sometimes difficult to keep information up to date or delete spam, that appears even though Antispam modules and Captcha tools are set up.

For example in the English LXDE wiki, we have quite some hits on the wiki, but if we look closer, many pages have outdated information about releases and roadmaps. As the wiki is available in many languages, it gets even worse in other languages with less community members engaging. A reason why the LXDE wiki might not be so active is probably because the project is more a project of developers collaborating with other developers. Developers are already busy coding. My observation is, that they simply do not have time to keep Wikis up to date.

Another example is the lubuntu wiki. Over time different people contribute to the wiki. The wiki was originally modeled after wiki pages of other Ubuntu derivatives like Xubuntu.  We had the advantage to use a basic structure, that might have taken others years to achieve. A very important point was also that there is an established model to deal with different opinions in a wiki. The lubuntu wiki is set up within the Ubuntu wiki. When we started there were already a lot of people who we could cooperate with and there was a functioning administration and hosting model, that we did not have to take care of. The wiki developed into a good resource and brought in people who also took on the special help pages for lubuntu.

Freifunk Wiki

Finally the freifunk wiki of the free wireless community. The wiki is in German, but during recent years also other languages were included as people from across the world started to participate in freifunk. There have been steady contributions to the content from different kinds of people. While some local communities themselves have often more content, the wiki remains to be an important resource and basis especially for new communities. The wiki is managed and maintained completely by the community. As we have many capable developers and IT experts in this project, it should be easy to maintain the wiki system and perform upgrades. The fact is though, that the activity level of people, including my own engagement, ranges vastly. This makes it very difficult to administer a wiki. And for newbies it is difficult to support a group as well. The most difficult part is to get into the group of admins. You need to get access and often root access to infrastructure. It is difficult to establish a level of trust with newcomers. Longterm members start families, might not show up at offline meetings and might not always be available. In a community there is usually also a previous experience with newcomers that disappear after some time or people who could be perceived as trolls. So, the result is often an attitude of a wait and see approach. In return newcomers, who want to push ahead with new cool stuff, get frustrated with this attitude. I have not seen a perfect approach to resolve this issue, but I find that real world meet ups that bring contributors together can help to solve this. In Germany many local communities have local meet ups. There are also bigger community events like the Wireless Community Weekend and even International get togethers like the Battle of the Mesh.

So, whatever you do, try to meet some people face to face and you will see how it also becomes more fun to work in the project.

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What works well for community projects – wikis, blogs, forums, cms, IRC

I guess in any project – open software, hardware, content –  there are established working models and processes, that develop over time and help everyone involved to get things done.  Those processes need to be explained and communicated to newbies taking time and adding overhead to volunteer projects. Tasks not everyone is interested in as experience also shows that not all newbies stick with projects. So, what to do? 

A way to reduce overhead explaining newbies how to involve is to stick to established channels, standard collaboration tools and work processes. Forums, wikis, content management systems, IRC channels, mailing lists are all great tools, but when does a wiki make sense for a project? When do forums, IRC and mailing lists all make sense?

Generally saying my experience is that projects that are more focused on technology and with lots of developers tend to do good with mailing lists, IRC and sometimes forums. Wikis and website documentation works much better, if you have people who can actually invest time in creating and updating content. Documentation is a weak point of many software projects as it is not always fun and takes time. For most developers it is much cooler to develop a new feature, than to write a document about it, but if you have people who would like to support other areas, but cannot code, then go for it. Maybe even start a documentation team.

Project blogs work well if the project team is not too big, as people seem to be somehow feel attached to a project to blog. It works well for projects with real “core people” and are small or midsized. On the other hand if the project is very big, the question arises who has the right to write on the blog? Or, who will actually write something, if the community is diverse and dispersed?

Of course there could be projects where things are different, but the above is how it works in my experience.

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Cool Site for Volunteering workaway.info

More and more people like the idea of collaborating in new ways, sharing their time and resources and work differently from the established way of doing things. Yesterday, I discovered workaway.info with the help of a guest in our hotel. It is a website that offers volunteers and organizations, NGOs, companies, families and everyone who would like to get a helping hand in exchange for place to sleep to get in touch. Some pretty tempting places and volunteer jobs, that are on offer here. I am thinking to do some volunteering myself again, but for now I have to take care of the company.

Workaway.info 2012

Athens Dinner at Battle of the Mesh

A few weeks ago I had the chance to participate in Battle of the Mesh, the competition event for the best performing routing protocols, in Athens. After not having seen my friends from Ninux.org in Italy for a long time, we finally got together in the evening and enjoyed Greek food, salad with Feta cheese and of course great conversations. We made a lot of new plans for wifi apps and map servers. Thank you Saverio for the idea of making this video!

Ninux dinner at Battlemesh V5 from Saverio Proto on Vimeo.

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Interview about lubuntu with Full Circle Podcast

The full circle magazine did an interview with me to learn more about the lubuntu project. Listen to the first part here.

Full Circle Podcast #8: More Opinion Than You Can Handle 

In this episode, Dave and Ed argue about evolution… of  Ubuntu One and Lubuntu.

Opinion: Why we need Lubuntu

Interview: Part I of the Lubuntu Project

Thanks to Dave and Ed for making people aware about lubuntu!

Creative Commons license of the podcast: (cc) BY-SA 3.0 Unported

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