Back to Blog home

Hack’n’play: 23 January 2015

Here’s the second hack’n’play post for you to enjoy! Read the first hack’n’play post to learn what this is about.

The links in these posts do not in any way reflect the opinion or endorsement of Jolla, indicate any kind of future or directions of Jolla products, except to summarise more or less interesting happenings in the industry, tools or websites.

People don’t buy products; they buy better versions of themselves.

“There is the famous story about Steve Jobs when he invented the iPod and everyone in the news and the rest of the tech industry scratched their head a little. MP3 players had been around for quite a while, what was so different about the iPod?”

Photos: A World Transfixed by Screens

“The continued massive growth of connected mobile devices is shaping not only how we communicate with each other, but how we look, behave, and experience the world around us. Smartphones and other handheld devices have become indispensable tools, appendages held at arm’s length to record a scene or to snap a selfie. Recent news photos show refugees fleeing war-torn regions holding up their phones as prized possessions to be saved, and relatives of victims lost to a disaster holding up their smartphones to show images of their loved ones to the press. Celebrity selfies, people alone in a crowd with their phones, events obscured by the very devices used to record that event, the brightly lit faces of those bent over their small screens, these are some of the scenes depicted below.”

BlackBerry CEO Wants Legislators To Make Developing BlackBerry Apps Mandatory

“He also took a swing at Netflix: “Netflix, which has forcefully advocated for carrier neutrality, has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them.”

By focusing on apps for just iOS and Android, Chen says developers are creating a “two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem, in which iPhone and Android users are able to access far more content and applications than customers using devices running other operating systems. These are precisely the sort of discriminatory practices that neutrality advocates have criticized at the carrier level.”

Going beyond “Make Something People Want”

“Let’s enrich this framework. Paul Graham claims the fundamental challenge in a technology startup is to Make Something People Want. This is a thoughtful, simple, intention-revealing and specific action statement. It tells founders to do something. It is also incomplete (likely for brevity), because it lacks uncertainty and tension that comes from constraints. The challenge for the typical startup is to make something people want with very little time and money.”

Scott Jenson: The Internet of Things needs a few SMACS

“The issue is that it’s a false bet. These IoT standards are only focused on creating the ‘message bus’ that will exchange data and control between devices. This is of course extremely important and a single shared standard would indeed drive interoperability, privacy protections and security. My point is simply that it’s just the beginning.”

The Power of Ten – Rules for Developing Safety Critical Code

“A verifiable set of well-chosen coding rules could, however, make critical software components more thoroughly analyzable, for properties that go beyond compliance with the set of rules itself. To be effective, though, the set of rules has to be small, and must be clear enough that it can easily be understood and remembered. The rules will have to be specific enough that they can be checked mechanically”

Why Ivy Ross Got Picked to Make Google Glass Succeed

“When our Editor in Chief Jason Pontin asked Teller why Ross was the right person to take Glass through its next stage of development, he pointed to her background in the eyewear, fashion, and retail businesses, as well as in jewelry and industrial design. “She is trained to be sensitive to getting technology out of the way, using technology, rather than thinking technology is a natural benefit in and of itself,” said Teller.”


“C-Reduce is a tool that takes a large C or C++ program that has a property of interest (such as triggering a compiler bug) and automatically produces a much smaller C/C++ program that has the same property. It is intended for use by people who discover and report bugs in compilers and other tools that process C/C++ code. C-Reduce is relased under a BSD-like license.”

Exclusive: The hottest smartwatch of CES isn’t running Android Wear — it’s Open webOS

“We tracked down the Audi/LG watch — still officially nameless, by the way — in Las Vegas today, and we can exclusively reveal that it’s not running Android Wear as originally believed. In fact, it’s packing completely different software based on LG’s Open webOS.”

TED: The world needs all kinds of minds

“Temple Grandin, diagnosed with autism as a child, talks about how her mind works — sharing her ability to “think in pictures,” which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids.”

A detailed examination of the Selfie Brush (iPhone 6 edition)

“It was only natural, therefore, that someone would fuse the worlds of self-portraiture and personal grooming to form the Selfie Brush.”

Hack: Retina Projector

“This may be the first? retina projector built, at least in the USA. It started when I heard the 15 inch Macbook Pro LCD had an astonishing resolution of 2880×1800 pixels! I researched the tear down of a retina Macbook and found out it was deportable (no cable running behind lcd)! Some guy in Slovakia had built a retina interface. Go figure! Let just say I got a little too excited and bought the LCD from China for $200! “

I tried on 56 wearables today. Here’s a photo of every single one of them

“The total count (so far) totals to 56 wearables across every category you can think of, from clip-on trackers to full-fledged Android and Linux-powered wrist computers. Heck, I even wore a smart sweatband.”

Forget Wearable Tech. People Really Want Better Batteries.

“Even in this high-tech wonderland, he says, there were “an awful lot of people running around trying to find power strips so they could plug in their smartphones that had run out of battery juice.””

Social Engineering: The dangers of positive thinking

“CSO Online recently spoke to a person working in the security field with a rather unique job. He’s paid to break into places, such as banks and research facilities (both private and government), in order to test their resistance to social engineering and physical attacks. Rarely is he caught, but even when he is it doesn’t matter, and the reason for his success is the same in each case – human nature.”

Cheap Camera Challenge: Lara Jade Shoots Fashion with a 0.3MP Camera Toy for Kids

“DigitalRev TV is back with another episode of the Cheap Camera Challenge. This time, renowned fashioned photographer Lara Jade is tasked with shooting haute couture fashion photographs on the streets of Hong Kong using a 0.3-megapixel Anpanman camera packed with “awful features”.”

Decentralize All The Things!

“They gave us a fully decentralized Internet and we used it to build web services–Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, iCloud–so massively centralized they verge on being quasi-medieval fiefdoms. Now we’re building the Internet of Someone Else’s Things, wherein every room of every home will contain devices controlled by servers the homeowners don’t know, control, or understand. What is wrong with us?”

Two standards groups backing wireless charging plan to merge

“The groups are the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), backed by over 140 companies including Intel and Samsung Electronics, and the Power Matters Alliance, a 70-member group that has AT&T and Starbucks on its board.”

Tizen in the Big Picture

“In 2015, Samsung Electronics will be introducing a flood of devices running the Tizen (pronounced “tie-zen”) operating system. Tizen has already featured in our wearables and cameras, and will feature prominently in most of our smart appliances and all of our Smart TVs throughout 2015. And, today, we introduced our first Tizen smartphone, the Samsung Z1. But, these devices are just the tip of the iceberg.”

Android Lollipop is out, but almost no one is using it

“The latest Google Play Store operating systems results are in and after six weeks out Lollipop hasn’t even reached 0.1 percent of users yet.”

Show Me Telepresence

“Introducing side-by-side telepresence” – video is worth a watch

Engineer Anti-Patterns

“I thought I’d take a cue from Bryan’s presentation on corporate open source anti-patterns (video) and instead  look at some engineering cultural anti-patterns that I’ve encountered in the past. What follows is a random collection of cultural engineering pathologies that I’ve observed in the past and have worked to eschew at Delphix.”

In a World of Phones, Gadgets Must Adapt

“But the travails of CES are a symptom of a larger transformation in tech. The era dominated by consumer electronics — what most of us call gadgets — is in turmoil. One reason is that many devices have been superseded by a single, all-powerful tool: the smartphone. Today, just about everything that once required a small, dedicated electronic device — from cameras to portable game consoles to GPS navigators to music players to too many others to name — works better as an app on a phone.”

Tiffany Shlain wants us all to unplug our gadgets every now and again

“Tiffany Shlain, the Emmy-nominated filmmaker and host of AOL’s The Future Starts Here is steeped in technology. That’s why it may surprise you to learn that she insists that her family, for one day each week, ditches their smartphones and tablets to indulge in a simpler life. These “technology shabbats” are one of the ways that she’s learned to unplug, relax and reconnect with her humanity. In her mind, technology’s enormous power for good is great, but it’s also dangerous — shortening our attention spans and sending our amygdalae into overdrive.”

The problem with expertise

“It is believed that one important step in the success of a business is how efficiently resources are transformed into products. In knowledge intensive business, the main resource is identified as human learning or expertise. However, treating knowledge as a resource will lead to practices that actually inhibit value creation. Networked business environments call for a new definition of expertise as something that develops and occurs in interaction, not as a personal quality to identify and exploit. “

A Teenager’s View on Social Media

“I read technology articles quite often and see plenty of authors attempt to dissect or describe the teenage audience, especially in regards to social media. However, I have yet to see a teenager contribute their voice to this discussion. This is where I would like to provide my own humble opinion.”

How the Camera Doomed Google Glass

“But Google Glass wasn’t just a way to keep a screen in front of your face all the time; it was also a way to record everything going in front of you. And it turns out very few people are willing to be viewed as walking, talking invasions of privacy.”

Crazy Helmets Let You See like an Animal #WearableWednesday

“These inventive helmets spotted on DesignTaxi really stoked my curiosity. They remind me a lot of those little viewfinders that allow you to look at the world through the eyes of a dragonfly. This particular helmet allows you the view from a Hammerhead Shark. That’s what I call a wide shot!”

Google Glass sales halted but firm says kit is not dead

“The company insists it is still committed to launching the smart glasses as a consumer product, but will stop producing Glass in its present form. Instead it will focus on “future versions of Glass” with work carried out by a different division to before”

Microchip Technology 3DTouchPad

“Microchip Technology 3DTouchPad is the first USB PC peripheral device that integrates 3D air gesture technology and 2D multi-touch input technology on a single, plug-and-play device. The 3DTouchPad features 3D gesture recognition utilizing GestIC® technology to offer a detection range of up to 10 cm, along with Microchip’s highly responsive projected-capacitive 2D multi-touch solution supporting up to 10 touch points and multi-finger surface gestures”. Maybe something to try to plug into the Jolla tablet?

OSVR Hacker Dev Kit

“The OSVR Dev kit gives you everything you need to develop for OSVR and experience VR-Gaming. Consisting of a headtracker, a display, double-lens optics, the mechanics to hold it all together including straps and the cables to connect it all, OSVR was designed to make a great VR experience affordable. In line with the OSVR vision, the entire hardware design is open source, so if you’re a techie and want to build your own, just download the 3D-Files and create your own set of VR-Glasses”

Jolla Sailfish + Bluetooth Low Energy + Adonit Jot Script

“A simple sketching program that detects the Adonit Jot Script BLE stylus using Gato.”. Source code at

Man Saves Wife’s Sight by 3D Printing Her Tumor

“The summer of 2013 found Michael Balzer in good health. A few years earlier, he’d struggled with a long illness that had cost him his job. As he recovered, he built an independent career creating 3D graphics and helping his wife, a psychotherapist named Pamela Shavaun Scott, develop treatments for video game addiction. Balzer’s passion is technology, not medicine, but themes of malady and recovery have often surfaced during his digital pursuits. But Balzer didn’t feel the full impact of that connection until that summer, shortly after he launched his own business in 3D design, scanning, and printing. In August 2013, just as the new venture was getting off the ground, Scott started getting headaches.”

Benedict Evans: Mobile platforms and technical debt

“One of the fundamental problems that killed Nokia, Palm and RIM was that in 2000 or so they designed their platforms around presumptions and tradeoffs that were correct for the time but which made it very difficult to compete with iOS and Android 5-10 years later. They presumed slow CPUs, little memory, and slow networks, as well as only resistive touch screens or no touch at all, and they traded off performance and a richer experience for battery life. These were the correct tradeoffs and assumptions in 2000, but not in 2007. That meant that they had to change platforms, and changing your platform is almost always a near-death experience, as both Apple and Microsoft could testify.”

Intel Compute Stick – Quad-core Atom PC for $89. 

“This Atom Z3745-based HDMI dongle is ready to plug into your TV or monitor. It will be pre-installed with Windows 8.1 or Linux and has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of on-board storage, a standard USB port and a micro SD card slot for extra storage. A Micro-USB port is also on board for power supply. Basically it’s a Baytrail-T tablet without the screen, battery and speakers.”

Intel® Curie™ Module Unveiled at CES

“Intel today disclosed plans for the Intel® Curie™ module, a tiny hardware product based on the company’s first purpose-built SoC for wearable devices: the Intel® Quark™ SE SoC. The Intel Curie module is a complete low–power solution for the wearable space with compute, motion sensor, Bluetooth Low Energy and battery charging capabilities. The module runs on open source RTOS”

Firefox OS gives Panasonic TVs the makeover they desperately needed

“Panasonic’s TV software has always been pretty bad. For a long time, the company made the best TVs you could buy, but dealing with the clunky user interface always detracted from the experience of actually watching them. More and more, TV manufacturers are finally realizing that making good software for the living room is hard — and they’re turning elsewhere for help. For LG, it’s webOS. Just this year at CES 2015, Sony has embraced Android TV, an incredibly smart move. And Samsung’s betting Tizen is the best path forward. Now, Panasonic is finally breathing new life into its TV UI with the help of Firefox OS.”

Up close with the HoloLens, Microsoft’s most intriguing product in years

“We just finished a heavily scripted, carefully managed, and completely amazing demonstration of Microsoft’s HoloLens technology. Four demos, actually, each designed to show off a different use case for a headset that projects holograms into real space. We played Minecraft on a coffee table. We had somebody chart out how to fix a light switch right on top of the very thing we were fixing.”

Video: Wirelessly Powered E-ink Display Tag using NFC

“The NFC-WISP*, a software defined NFC tag platform, was used to develop this E-ink display tag, which can interface with an NFC-enabled smartphone. Both power and data are delivered to the tag through the inductive link between the tag and the phone. As a demonstration of the capabilities of the display tag, this video introduces a “companion display” for a mobile phone.”

Muscle-sensing Myo gesture armband will be on Amazon this quarter

“About a year after getting our first taste of the Myo, Thalmic Labs has announced that it’s reaching out to the masses by way of Amazon this quarter. As with its pre-order on the company’s website, this muscle-sensing gesture control armband will be available for $199. But even before that, Thalmic Labs has already sold 50,000 pre-orders (with about half of them shipped to buyers so far), which is a nice nod of approval to some of the use case examples showed off by Thalmic Labs and its several partners.”

Samsung Unveils the Samsung Z1, the First Tizen Powered Smartphone for Indian Consumers

“The user interface on the Samsung Z1 is simple and easy to use, offering faster and smoother device performance when combined with the lighter Tizen platform. Powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 768 MB RAM and 4GB internal memory expandable up to 64GB with a microSD card, the device features dual SIM support and delivers a seamless and user-friendly smartphone experience. The new smartphone is equipped with a long-lasting 1500mAh battery enabling 7 hours of non-stop videos and 8 hours of talk time. The battery life has been further enhanced with the unique ‘Ultra Power Saving Mode’ which lets the phone remain operational in important situations, even at minimal battery levels.”

Consumer technology company WayTools has introduced a Bluetooth keyboard for smartphones and tablets it calls TextBlade.

“Sporting a mere 8 mechanical keys, the device uses multi-touch technology to give those 8 keys the functionality of over 70 keys found on a traditional keyboard. The device snaps together using magnetic attraction when set up for use, and again when folded up for storage.”

Project Ara: hands-on with Google’s latest modular smartphone prototype

“Right now, there’s a war to make the thinnest smartphone in the world. Google is a part of that with Android and with its Nexus devices. But it’s also attacking the very idea of smartphones as we know them with Project Ara: a project to build a phone that doesn’t cram everything into the smallest package, but one that lets you pick out and swap every important component. It’s a lot like the way many desktop computers still work — but for your pocket.”

Carsten Munk

Carsten Munk

Chief Research Engineer at Jolla. Works with all sorts of strange things to bring you future SailfishOS devices and innovation for them. Passionate about open source and transparency in development.


  1. Avatar

    My word. Looks like you intend to bury us under a sh%tload of links and information. I’m not complaining, I’m just wondering how you find time to even do half the workload you’re all delivering…

    Carol Chen wrote in a reply that “they [our sailors ] have clones or time turners, for they seem to accomplish so much in a day”. I thought she was joking. It appears I was wrong.


  2. Avatar

    I forgot: so nice post picture. My favourite so far.

    Could you please consider releasing this blog pictures in UHD/WHD quality resolutions, to be used as wallpapers & various backgrounds, non commercially?

    Thank you.

  3. Avatar

    I liked about retina projector and 3d modelling of tumor. Never thought that i will read from here. This posts changed my opinion about hack’n’play.

  4. Avatar

    I’m calling the Big 5 US internet companies ‘The Stacks’ from now on.

Submit a Comment

We use cookies to improve your user experience and to help us to develop our services. By continuing to browse the site, you approve of our use of cookies.