Kickstarter project: MAKERphone lets you build your own phone for just $89 from a kit admin Fri, 2018-10-12 - 19:16

Kickstarter project: MAKERphone lets you build your own phone for just $89 from a kit

n March 2017, 18-year old developer Albert Gajšak launched the MAKERbuino, an educational Kickstarter project that let anyone build an 8-bit, Arduino-based gaming console.

The project was a big success, overshooting its funding goal by 10 times. And now, Gajšak has used everything he learned from that experience to launch a more ambitious project: the MAKERphone.

The MAKERphone is again, an Arduino-based, DIY mobile phone which comes disassembled, as a kit. By building the phone yourself, you'll learn a bit about programming in environments such as Python and Scratch as well as basics of electronics.

Once assembled and functional, the MAKERphone won't be a match for your brand-new iPhone XS, but it will be a fully functional mobile phone that will also let you run apps or play games. List of parts includes a circuit board, a GSM module, a dual-core processor, a 128x160 pixel color LCD, antenna and a sound module (complete with a headphone jack, which is something the iPhone XS doesn't have).

It may not look like much but the fact it comes in parts and some coding is done means this can be a tweakers dream come true. It also means other companies can develop additional add-ons, covers, etc for it (and maybe even a nice big battery!).


#MAKERphone #arduino #mobilephone

MAKERphone lets you build your own phone for just $89
You'll also learn a thing or two in the process.
WeThinkCode_ is a Non-Profit organisation whose vision is to unlock youth potential by closing the digital... admin Fri, 2018-10-12 - 18:45

WeThinkCode_ is a Non-Profit organisation whose vision is to unlock youth potential by closing the digital skills gap in Africa - Learn how to code, for free!

There are only two requirements for entry: that applicants are between the ages of 17 and 35 and that applicants complete and pass their online application (found at Successful applicants will be invited to participate in a Selection Bootcamp and ultimately the full-time course. No prior education or coding experience is required. If you are not South African, you are responsible for obtaining the required study visa at your own cost.

WeThinkCode_ democratises education by making it open and accessible to all talented young people. At WeThinkCode_ there are no teachers, no classes, and students learn through a peer-to-peer problem-solving environment. Tuition-free, their two-year course is sponsored by companies looking to support the development of local tech talent in the digital economy.


#wethinkcode #programming #coding

Early thoughts on Google+ users moving to Pluspora and MeWe social networks (they're not going to Facebook...

Posted on: Wed, 2018-10-10 - 22:58 By: admin

Early thoughts on Google+ users moving to Pluspora and MeWe social networks (they're not going to Facebook I hear)

I see a lot of users already gravitating towards these two networks. Both are built on excellent principles based on preserving privacy, no selling users data, being free to use, no adverts, no spyware, etc. To be honest, I can't dive into either fully yet, mostly because I need to replicate my posts across a few networks and my RSS feed and believe it or not, this is one thing that neither of these two do! But let me just highlight a few observations that clarify where they are different too:

1. The prettier of the two with a better mobile app.
2. Has more of a Facebook feel but without all the clutter, privacy issues, etc of Facebook.
3. Strong statements around privacy and has Sir Tim Berners-Lee on their advisory board.
4. Centrally run so all contacts, posts etc on one server. Does mean if that closes down it all dies.
5. 8GB of free cloud storage for posted photos, files, videos, etc.
6. Has chats, voting polls, events, hashtags, group discussions (with quite a few for ex-Google+ users). A Group would be like a Google+ Community.
7. There are a lot of diverse group most with 100's of users but I see quite a few with over 1,000 users.
8. Regarding Google+ Collections I see their Groups can be created as Public access but can also choose to allow followers to post, limited post with approval, or comment/chat only. This is very interesting as it is very much like Collections. If I could push my posts out from here this could be my new home! For example here is a link to my Green Tech Group at
9. Looks most similar to Google+.
10. Don't see any way of pushing your posts out elsewhere from here, or any way to import posts from RSS, Twitter or another service = walled garden.
11. Has photo albums.

1. Has its own web app but no push notifications. Dandelion is a 3rd party app that is pretty usable.
2. Slightly older interface than MeWe but a solid service that has been running for years.
3. Also strong on privacy but it consists of many decentralised hubs/pods, each of which can operate on its own having its own set of rules, but where users can follow users on other pods or even on services like Friendica, Hubzilla, etc. It's a federated approach where you live on one pod but follow anyone anywhere else. There is no mother ship that can die and kill off the service.
4. It is, therefore, a bit more difficult to find people on other pods.
5. It can export account data but I still don't see a way of importing it elsewhere (unlike Friendica that will let you literally move to another pod).
6. Diaspora is the name of the federated service with Pluspora being created as a pod for ex-Plussers I gather.
7. Diaspora/Pluspora has photos but not in albums.
8. No events, but it has hashtags and voting polls.
9. It does have an Atom RSS feed that people can use to follow your posts from outside Diaspora eg. mine at
10. For each post (if you have linked your Twitter and/or Tumblr profiles) you can click to also share the pot out to those social networks.
11. It has Aspects that you can create and for each post you can select what aspects it will be visible in (one, many or all where Google+ only had one). But either no-one is using Aspects or I'm not seeing how to just see someone else's aspects in my feed.

Whilst Diaspora/Pluspora at least follows a federated model its interface and features are behind MeWe, but honestly both need to open up more on allowing external follows, and being able to follow some other external networks too. Diaspora/Pluspora does at least have an RSS feed so you can post there and use RSS to replicate elsewhere. For many though MeWe may be the slightly better choice right now depending on what you want to use and connect with.

Details on MeWe at

Details on Diaspora at and Pluspora can be found at

Disclaimer: I've based the Pluspora above on Diaspora which I belong to, please let me know if Pluspora itself does carry any additional functionality of its own that I missed.

MeWe: The best chat & group app with privacy you trust.
Brilliant features with no BS. No Ads. No Spyware. MeWe is the Next-Gen Social Network.

Hidden Camera Exposes Apple's Genius Bars Ripping Off Customers - Get a 2nd opinion if faced with an...

Posted on: Tue, 2018-10-09 - 22:40 By: admin

Hidden Camera Exposes Apple's Genius Bars Ripping Off Customers - Get a 2nd opinion if faced with an expensive repair

I use a Macbook myself (but an Android phone) so I do like some Apple products but don't always agree with how they do things. The video below is a good example of why you don't just want to follow what you hear blindly - get a 2nd opinion and you may be surprised. Sometimes it's a just a bent connector.


Hidden Camera Exposes Apple's Genius Bars Ripping Off Customers

Google+ users are different from other social networks - in last 30 days 99.3% of my 13,770 new followers...

Posted on: Tue, 2018-10-09 - 21:43 By: admin

Google+ users are different from other social networks - in last 30 days 99.3% of my 13,770 new followers chose to follow my focussed Collections vs just my main Profile

In last 30 days I made 1,055 comments and received 5,609 +1s, 1,076 comments, 479,001 views and 13,677 new Collection followers.

Google+ was (is) what you make of it. I just found these stats now when I went to update my profile with where I'll be in future. It has kept me so busy I could hardly keep up. If I missed one day it was a backlog the following day. The beauty is those are the 1,076 on-topic comments and I'm really glad to see that 99.3% of those new followers had followed my focussed topic Collections and not just my main profile. That shows that 99.3% of followers were choosing focussed topics vs just all posts. It also demonstrated why Google+ users are different from other networks! It demonstrates clearly people want focus vs noise and streams of non-relevant posts.

My challenge is to find a new primary posting network where I can replicate this focussed view for people. I can't choose Twitter otherwise there will just be one long stream of mixed posts... I'd love to find a network where each "Collection" could even have its own RSS feed or replication. Believe it or not with Friends+Me I could do this with Google+ and just replicate my Technology posts out to one Twitter feed or wherever I wanted to send them.

But I love challenges and I love new stuff so I'm going to enjoy the search.


Apple to Congress: Chinese spy-chip story is “simply wrong” - I suspected this

Posted on: Tue, 2018-10-09 - 21:00 By: admin

Apple to Congress: Chinese spy-chip story is “simply wrong” - I suspected this

I suspected this was the case last week as there seems to allegations about Chinese equipment... whilst we forget that Cisco had 5 backdoors discovered each month over 5 months during 2018. Why is no-one warning us not to use Cisco hardware? All sorts of scares are being put out there but here stands a fairly advanced tech company saying "absolutely nothing found" and also no evidence shown.

I'm almost suspecting some hidden agenda which is not so hidden....

I see dark days ahead for the Internet as corporate and political agendas (from any and all sides) wage war for the control of people's minds and fears. Before the Internet really attracted the masses we did not see the politics or the corporates and so people shared information, were open with each other, wanted to help, etc. Masses of people came online and the trolls appeared, and where the people appeared, so appeared the corporates and the politicians....

Out of it, something has to give and emerge from the chaos but right now the battle is on the go for positive vs negatives effects. I can see why I'm attracted towards amateur radio now - you get trained, you get licensed, you abide by the rules, no "politics, religion or sex" gets discussed. It will be like going back to the 1980's and BBSs with regards to "social media". The days before there was Facebook and all that followed.

Sorry I'm drifting a bit off topic here. If you want to discuss this post please refrain from party politics and so-called democracy vs so-called communism. All I'm saying is there are two sides to every story and the sides are rarely the same. We are too quick to believe what we want to believe. Let's see how long we can keep the comments open on this post. I dare you to prove me wrong and we stay objectively on track with the discussion! Time starts now at 19:00 GMT...


Apple to Congress: Chinese spy-chip story is “simply wrong”
"Our internal investigations directly contradict every consequential assertion."

How to convert your Public G+ posts into Wordpress blog posts

Posted on: Tue, 2018-10-09 - 20:28 By: admin

How to convert your Public G+ posts into Wordpress blog posts

Unfortunately, this may not work for posts to Collections I hear, but it may help many who want to move their posts across to a blog that they can maintain themselves. Even though this is Wordpress, I have previously imported all my Wordpress posts into my newer Drupal site so don't write it off if you don't use Wordpress. There are many ways to convert Wordpress posts across to other services.

I've made it a principle since 17 Jan 2011 when I started my Wordpress blog to always push copies of all my posts back to my Wordpress site. When I changed from Worpress to Drupal I imported all those posts into Drupal so my last 15,000 posts or so are all under my control and still searchable.

So if you don't have your own blog yet here is a good reason to start one, even if it just acts as a backup. One day if you get Alzheimer's you'll thank yourself!


Google+ Importer
Automatically create new WordPress posts from your activity on Google+ using Google+ Importer

Kia's first electric crossover: The new e-Niro SUV is a sleek SUV with a range of 485km

Posted on: Tue, 2018-10-09 - 20:04 By: admin

Kia's first electric crossover: The new e-Niro SUV is a sleek SUV with a range of 485km

The all-new Kia e-Niro is the first fully electric crossover utility vehicle produced by the Korean brand. This is exciting as it is these brands that will actually take EVs more mainstream. Although this specific model is not yet aimed at the lower half of the market.

Annual sales of electric vehicles across Europe are expected to reach 200 000 this year, rising to nearly one million units by the end of 2022, while the crossover market is also forecast to continue expanding in the coming years.

In Europe, the Niro will be equipped with a high-capacity 64 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. On the WLTP combined cycle, it provides a driving range of more than 485 kilometres on a single charge, producing zero on-road CO2 emissions.

On the WLTP urban cycle, the e-Niro is capable of driving up to 615km. Buyers will also be to specify their e-Niro with a 39.2kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, with a range of up to 312km from a single charge on the WLTP combined cycle. Plugged into a 100kW fast charger, it takes only 42 minutes to recharge the e-Niro’s battery from 20% to 80%.

Models equipped with the long-distance 64kWh battery pack are paired with a 150kW motor, producing 395Nm torque, enabling the e-Niro to accelerate from 0-to-100km/h in just 7.8 seconds.

The standard 39.2kWh battery pack is matched to a 100kW motor, also producing 395Nm torque, and accelerating to 100 km/h from a standstill in 9.8 seconds. Like the Niro Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid variants, the new electric model is front-wheel drive.


#eniro #EV #kia

Kia's first electric crossover: The new e-Niro SUV is a sleek SUV with a range of 485km
The e-Niro is the first fully electric crossover SUV by KIA. The Korean automaker says its new EV has a range of 485km.

So I'm only 6,000 followers short of 500,000 followers on G+ but it does not look like I'll cross that...

Posted on: Mon, 2018-10-08 - 21:43 By: admin

So I'm only 6,000 followers short of 500,000 followers on G+ but it does not look like I'll cross that magic 500k milestone

Thank you to all of you that have been following me over the years on G+. I've only posted for fun to share what I read and learn every day. Tech news is my hobby and my pleasure and I don't give it up if the going gets tough.

The 100 plus daily comments (and a lot of spam too) have kept me very busy every evening. 99% of that was really good debate but yes there were also some serious challenges with a few people over the last year or so whom I had to block (so clearly that is none of you reading this). I realise though that the majority are silent followers who just want to read the summary posts.

It's a real pity that G+ is closing as they did some unique things like focussed Collections and letting bloggers control the comments. There is actually no easy logical alternative to G+.

I'll continue posting for another week or three here as I've always done my primary posting on G+ and then replicated out to my blog, Friendica, Twitter, etc. I'm going to give some thought to how I can best post in the future. I like the concept of focused feeds like Collections but am not sure how I can replicate that anywhere else yet.

The only good thing is blogging will cost me less as I've had to pay a bit to replicate from G+ as there is so little API support from G+'s side. You'll certainly always find me on my blog at as I created that blog a few years ago just in case one day G+ shut down so that my searchable posts stay available. I self-host that site so even if my hosting provider shuts down I can move it elsewhere and the URL stays the same. But I realise most people actually want one social media site to login into and see what they want to see in their feed. I'm going to be focussing on where the next big social media service will rise from (I'm still hoping for an interconnected but separated instances/pods network) and Facebook is not it. If however, you are only a Facebook user I do replicate to an impersonal Page there at which can be followed. You won't see my name on Facebook but I do maintain that Page and respond to comments there like I respond at Twitter, Mastodon, Friendica, Hubzilla, Diaspora, and I'm not sure where else.

I do hope to see many of you on the "other sides"....

Google is shutting down its free consumer version of Google+ social networking platform according to...

Posted on: Mon, 2018-10-08 - 21:02 By: admin

Google is shutting down its free consumer version of Google+ social networking platform according to Ben Smith, Google Fellow and Vice President of Engineering

Well if so (the Google+ team has been quiet about it today), after Google Reader was shut down, it would be quite clear that Google is not committed to making something work through thick and thin. Luckily I've already replicated most of my posts elsewhere but imagine if I had not? I'd have lost all the content that I had worked years on. Yes, I'm sure we can download it but how do you use it elsewhere? What Google does not seem to get is that its users spend a lot of time they invest in their services and content creation... You lose the goodwill of your users who made you what you are.

It makes me realise I should probably also start insuring myself against Gmail being shut down one day. If you want to be sure you keep your content the best way is to probably run it yourself and not rely on any "free" online service. And nmo there is no ways I would recommend my employer using a paid G+ service - I'd push for a self-hosted onsite collaboration platform that we can keep going if no other companies exiost on Earth...

We do know nothing is permanent in the world of corporate sponsored services - it lasts as long as they see profit and don't get bought out by someone else.

If G+ goes off the air you can still follow me at:
- Mastodon at
- Find my searchable posts on my blog at
- Friendica at
- Or just follow my RSS feed at

Rest assured I'll still be around ad-free through thick and thin. You may just not find me on Gmail though in future and I won't be going back to Facebook that is for sure ;-)



Project Strobe: Protecting your data, improving our third-party APIs, and sunsetting consumer Google+
Findings and actions from Project Strobe—a root-and-branch review of third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data and of our philosophy around apps’ data access.
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