Why Are Spam Emails So Bad – And Badly Written?

So I got an email from Microsof awhile back (or was it Mycrosoft?) and I wondered, like most of the non-spamming population, why don’t they put more effort into their emails? After all, only an idiot would not know the spelling of Microsoft, right? Exactly. Although some may feel that errors humanize the writer, so we don’t believe it’s a machine, or that these are actually clever psychological traps, the best answer I’ve seen is from Steven Levitt and Stephen … Continue reading

How To Connect A Linear Actuator To The Arduino

In the Arduino world, it’s pretty cut and dried when you want to move something with a bit of heft to it. You can precisely turn it with a stepper motor, or winch it up with a motor, or possibly move a lever or linkage arm with a servo. But all of these have a problem – precise control over a linear (not circular) motion. Enter the linear actuator. The ones I’m describing here are from Firgelli, which are plug-in … Continue reading

License Or No License – There Is No “Implied”

A rather hackneyed attempt at channeling Star Wars’ Yoda Puppet I admit (“do or do not, there is no try”), but it ties into an interesting point I found out this week – there is NO middle ground for licensing online. Let me explain: I use software source code obtained online, both for my consulting work and my own use, and I always check the license. Obviously, while Open Source is fine and dandy, some variations (GPL and some Creative … Continue reading

New Article On The Braille Display

After an enjoyable interview with Deputy Editor Joshua Howgego of SciDevNet, he wrote a very nice piece about the Braille machine, as well as the general need for devices like this. It’s great people are focusing on the needs of India in particular, since the combination of large blind population (about 15 million, the largest group anywhere in the world) and low income means a huge population not able to attain a decent lifestyle because of disabilities. Let’s hope there … Continue reading

Low Power Lighting For Africa – Now

I was testing on my Arduino Nano and trying to avoid looking directly at its LED – a very bright white one – while it flashed, and I wondered, why aren’t LEDs more common in Africa? I’v talked about this before, and mentioned a solution, a gravity-powered light. And I understand the cost issue; for example, prices from $20-$40 for solar or gravity-fed solutions are proposed. But they aren’t the only solution. After all, if a lousy kerosene light is … Continue reading