High Altitude Balloon Project

High Altitude Balloon Project

The Outside Open team launched a high altitude balloon this past weekend and we were able to get our best photograph from near space yet!  The photo, taken at approx 89,000 ft (airplanes fly at just 30,000 ft) is so high that it is above the blue and can peer into the darkness of space. We tracked the flight using a Tracksoar APRS tracker designed and produced by our very own Mike Bales.  The Tracksoar is the smallest APRS tracker available, measuring just a couple of inches in length. It is powered by an ATMEL ATMEGA 328P running the Arduino bootloader and, best of all, the project is completely open source from circuit design diagrams to the...
Install this on your Mac: Homebrew

Install this on your Mac: Homebrew

There are two fantastic tools to install on you new Mac: After you install iTerm2,  it’s time to install Homebrew! Homebrew is a package manager  – think apt-get for OS X.  It is trivial to install and instantly gives you access to thousands of open source tools and utilities. According to the creators of Homebrew, “Homebrew installs the stuff you need that Apple didn’t.” Visit http://brew.sh right now to get started! Homebrew installs the stuff you need that Apple didn’t.   Top 10 (or more) useful Homebrew tools to get you started. (Paste this list into your terminal once you get Homebrew installed.) brew install git brew install git-open brew install wget brew install nmap brew install ncftp brew install lynx brew install iftop brew install suricata brew install ccze brew install ansible brew install mtr brew install ssh-copy-id brew install autossh brew install asciiquarium   Screenshot showing Homebrew installing mtr on Mac OS X. (mtr is a fun and useful ICMP tool which combines ping and traceroute into a realtime display of packet loss across all the path entries returned by traceroute.)...
Install this on your Mac: iTerm2

Install this on your Mac: iTerm2

There are some fantastic tools that your Mac needs to greatly boost it’s usability and power. Two big hitting “after market”  applications are iTerm2 and Homebrew – we’ll cover iTerm2 in this post and you can read about Homebrew for Mac here…  If you spend any time using a terminal, iTerm2 will become your hands-down favorite across all platforms! Our favorite feature is the ability to split your one window into multiple terminal session panes! Screenshot of iTerm2 in the classic Fibonacci spiral configuration. iTerm2 is a powerful alternative for the Terminal application that comes with Mac OS X.  iTerm2 has some great features like auto updates, unlimited history, mouse-less copy, instant replay and tabs but far and above the best feature is the ability to split your one window into multiple panes! Split panes allows you to divide your single iTerm2 terminal window both vertically and horizontally into as many sessions as you need. Running iTerm2 in full screen mode is pure joy! Download the latest version of iTerm here… iTerm2 will become your hands-down favorite terminal across all platforms… Setup After you download and install iTerm, there are a couple of minor configuration changes that you’ll need to make to boost the amazingness. Uncheck Show per-pane title bar with split panes. Dimming amount: Move slider most of the way to the left. How to split the window into multiple bash sessions: To split your terminal vertically: Command + shift + D To split your terminal horizontally: Command + D This allows you to cram all your active sessions onto the same screen, making good use of that giant glossy real estate!   Video of...
New team members

New team members

Over the past 5 months we’ve added two awesome and talented nerds to the Outside Open team.  We’d like to introduce you to Matt Key and Dustin Todd – head over to outsideopen.com/about to read their bios and learn a bit more about...
Electron Microscope Setup!

Electron Microscope Setup!

After countless hours of reading manuals, schematics and myst documentation,  Mike Bales and the Santa Barbara Hackerspace crew were able to successfully assemble and power up the behemoth Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) that was donated to the Space by Santa Barbara Infrared. This puts the SB Hackerspace into a small exclusive group of maker spaces which have electron microscopes for use by members and the public. The SEM has all the trappings of 1990’s complexity with multiple vacuum chambers, pumps, crystals, archaic x86 computers, CRTs and floppy drive image export.  It takes an impressive 3 hours for the SEM to fully boot up, reach high vacuum and be ready for use!  The SB Hackerspace has plans to convert the output to live HDMI feed for video and push-button image capture. This model, the Jeol JSM 6400 F Scanning Electron Microscope, also offers a nifty engraving feature.  Mike is offering to custom engrave your favorite poem onto the head of a tiny pentalobe TS1 screw in exchange for a donation to the SB Hackerspace.  You’ll need an Electron Microscope of your own to read the engraving 🙂 Because the SEM uses electromagnets and electrons rather than lenses and light, there is a much greater degree of magnification available. This electron microscope can produce very clear, sharp images all the way up to an astounding 300,000x magnification! Phoebe and I dropped by the Hackerspace to take the electron microscope for a...
Apple will speed up your home or work network for $20

Apple will speed up your home or work network for $20

Even if your company (or home) doesn’t officially support Apple devices, it’s likely that there are dozens of BYOD Apple devices (BYOAD?) on the network.  When a new OS update or patch is released, all those devices clamor for bandwidth which can have a big impact on your Internet connection. Apple has released a fantastic tool that seamlessly supports all Apple devices on a network, even if they are totally unmanaged BYOD iPhones, MacBooks or iMacs:  Enter the OS X Server app available for $19.99 from the App Store! This is also a great tool in areas where bandwidth is metered or limited – updates or apps are downloaded and cached the first time they are requested and then all future devices that attempt to install that same update or app from the App Store will receive a copy from your local caching server. See the video below demonstrating the massive speed increase downloading a 6GB Mac OS X upgrade from a caching server in under 1 minute! How to set up caching in the OS X Server app Install the OS X Server app on a Mac that is likely to be powered on 24×7. Open the app and select local computer. Scroll down to the Services menu and click on enable Caching. Toggle the service to ON. Set Cache Size to a number that makes sense given available disk space.  80GB – 100GB is recommended. Permissions (this is really powerful) For most simple networks the default of “only local subnets” and “matching this server’s network” are perfect. If you use VLANs with a single outbound NAT IP, select “all networks” and “matching this server’s network”....