January 17, 2014 – Toys, Hardware and Kids

A fun week with this weeks edition looking at toys, hardware and kids.

{Toys, Toys, Toys}

As the father of two young girls, I like the message GoldieBlox toys and their amazing Rube Goldberg video is saying that girls are engineers too. However, not everyone liked the Goldiebox Princess-ification approach, Sandra Shpilberg tells her view what GoldieBlox is telling girls and I like that she posted a follow-up with a list of alternate toy suggestions. In this case, I think both can be right and any encouragement of girls to be anything they want is good.

I saw a demo of LittleBits by their founder and really impressed by these magnetic + electronic toy kits. They require a bit of crafting and imagination which is great, check out their projects section for cool examples.

Another impressive new toy is Sifteo which are programmable interactive game cubes. I have high hopes for these, I think they just need to hit on the right game/marketing to sky rocket.

Fun fact, LittleBits and Sifteo founders are both alums of the MIT Media Labs.

Peter Gray comments that children don’t need more school, but need more play in his editorial in The Independent, because students spend nearly all of their time studying, they have little opportunity to be creative or discover their own passions

{Little Hardware}

I’m encouraged for our future, seeing so many Raspberry Pi kids projects. I have a Pi and it just sorta sits there, requires more time and imagination than I have but somethings kids are overflowing with.

4-year-old Lincoln builds a snailcam using a Raspberry Pi. Philip, age 7, demos his game and Pi review and 11-year old Nicholas has a chronicle of his learning to program. Note to self, stay current or I’ll be unemployed soon.

Teacher Carrie Ann Philbin shows that girls can be geeks too, with her Geek Gurl Diaries showing numerous cool kids projects and fun videos.

No longer a child, but artist Sean Clark shows how he built a Raspberry Pi controlling an etch-a-sketch. Now he needs to build the robot to shake it between drawings.

If you missed it, at CES Intel revealed the Edison a x86 board the size of an SD-card with built-in wifi and bluetooth, available in Q2. Raspberry pi has the maker market and low price, but this competitor is more likely to make it into wearables that don’t look like this.

Bits & Bytes

Mitchell Hashimoto goes deep comparing filesystem performance in Virtual Machines – good analysis and recommendation.

Bunnie Huang builds her own computer, but not your typical desktop tower but an open source laptop.

An update for Kali Linux a debian-distro focused on security and a large collection of tools for penetration testing and forensic analysis.

I want this newsletter to highlight unique and interesting technology and projects, so I want to hear from you what work and writing you want to share.

You can reach me at marcus@mkaz.com and if you haven’t subscribed, please subscribe to receive each new edition when its published.