About that new motion chip

Hence the question of what is the M7′s job to be done. As part of an iPhone, it does not seem to have one. […] Perhaps this is why Apple chose to describe the iPhone 5S as “forward-thinking”. The M7 and the Touch ID are like research projects whose actual value will be realized at some future time, in probably different contexts.

M is for Mystery – Horace Dediu

An interesting thought from the ever inquiring Horace Dediu.

Coder for Raspberry Pi

Coder is a free, open source project that turns a Raspberry Pi into a simple platform that educators and parents can use to teach the basics of building for the web. New coders can craft small projects in HTML, CSS, and Javascript, right from the web browser.

Coder for Raspberry Pi

Looking forward to trying this out, previous versions of Chromium have been doggedly slow on the Pi.

Edit: Bummer, looks like it’s just running a Node.js webserver, not Chrome itself.

Audio on the Raspberry Pi with Node.js

I recently wanted to play some audio through the Raspberry Pi programatically, but primarily being a web developer I wasn’t really sure how to approach the task. I can manipulate the DOM all day without breaking a sweat, but without the Web Audio API or <audio> element I was a bit stumped. Previously I’ve played around with Node.js on the Pi, but I didn’t think it would have any packages for audio and thought I’d have to use Python or Scratch which are well supported on the Pi.

Turns out you can use Node and it’s pretty simple too. I based my implementation on this Gist:

https://gist.github.com/TooTallNate/3947591

If you’re not familiar with Node, I’ll explain a little about what this does. The first few lines are importing all the modules we’ll need: fs the filesystem module baked into Node, which will read in the MP3. Next lame which will decode the MP3 into raw PCM data. Finally speaker that simply outputs PCM audio data you feed it.

In this example the file is passed to Node as an argument when the script is run from the command line, like so:

$ node mp3player.js sounds/file.mp3

The MP3 is piped through lame and then as it is decoded output to speaker. This worked right out of the box on my Mac, but a bit of fiddling was required to get it working on the Pi.

First lame needed to compile a bunch of native extensions for the MP3 decoding, this wasn’t really a problem as it compiled cleanly the first time, it just took a while.

Second, the program ran without error, but I couldn’t hear anything. Turns out the Pi can output audio over HDMI or the 3.5mm stereo jack, but in my case it was sending the audio over HDMI, even though the monitor connected didn’t have speakers. Fortunately you can override the output and the following command will switch it to the stereo jack:

$ amixer cset numid=3 1

After that it worked a treat, playing crisp and clear sound.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but I’ve just noticed that the Gist and modules are all by Nathan Rajlich, nice work!

Pinterest’s business

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann says that the startup isn’t making any money currently. However, he said the company is looking for ways to give marketers tools to help them understand what’s happening on the platform — and maybe, just maybe, make some money from them.

Pinterest has a ton of employees — about 130, Silbermann said — and the company has a valuation of $2.5 billion. Yet, when asked if the company makes any money, he acknowledged that it doesn’t.

Ben Silbermann On How Pinterest Will Translate User Aspiration Into Making Money – TechCrunch

48.7m users, $2.5b valuation, 130 employees and no business model. Silicon Valley is mad.

The new Flickr

Biggr. A free terabyte of space

At Flickr, we believe you should share all your images in full resolution, so life’s moments can be relived in their original quality. No limited pixels, no cramped formats, no memories that fall flat. We’re giving your photos room to breathe, and you the space to upload a dizzying number of photos and videos, for free. Just how big is a terabyte? Well, you could take a photo every hour for forty years without filling one.

And yep, you heard us. It’s free.

A better, brighter Flickr – Flickr Blog

This is a pretty aggressive move away from the paid ‘Pro’ accounts and into Dropbox / Google Drive territory, so it’ll be interesting to see how they respond. Out of curiosity I looked up how much a TB of storage would cost on AWS S3 and it came out at $97/mo just for storage.

I’ve been on Flickr since 2005 but left my account dormant for years. This seems like a good time to come back.

DWP Browser Support

The service does not work properly with Macs or other Unix-based systems even though you may be able to input information.

You are likely to have problems if you use Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9 and 10, Windows Vista or a smartphone. Clearing temporary internet files may help but you may wish to claim in another way.

There is also a high risk that if you use browsers not listed below, including Chrome, Safari or Firefox, the service will not display all the questions you need to answer. This is likely to prevent you from successfully completing or submitting the form. You may wish to claim in another way.

What do I need? – Department of Work & Pensions

Appalling.