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Crowdfunded Open-Source Vibrating Dildo Seems Like Ambitious Project

And not just for the user. *rimshot*

How does one crowd-source a dildo, I wondered, until I realized that the makers of The Mod are actually crowdfunding their toy, and open-sourcing the design. And the design is pretty fancy.

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Open Worm Wants You to Help Build an Electronic Model of a Living Creature

There are plenty of things about the world of biology that remain a mystery to us, but if you're looking for a creature that researchers understand very well, you could do worse than Caenorhabditis elegans. A microscopic worm that is one of the simplest lifeforms on the planet, C. elegans is also one of the most thoroughly studied. While researchers have a ton of data, a team of scientists is spearheading a project they hope can offer an unprecedented look into the inner workings of this little worm -- they want to build a full, working, digital model of the creature they can run research simulations on, and they want your help to do it. 

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New Font For Smartphones, Browsers May Offer Help for Dyslexics

A new font -- now available for free use on smartphones and in web browsers -- may make it easier for people who suffer from dyslexia to communicate digitally. Some recent studies have shown that bottom-heavy fonts -- those in which the letters appear a little thinker at the bottom than they do at the top -- can provide relief for some dyslexic patients by making them less likely to invert letters and words while reading. OpenDyslexic is available on Android phones for download, as well as through the iOS app openWeb, which converts websites in Safari into the easier to read OpenDyslexic.

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HP Beta Puts Open Source WebOS in the Palm of Your Hand

HP may have gotten out of the tablet game, the smartphone game and, well, pretty much every branch of the consumer electronic market a while ago, but that doesn't mean their legacy won't live on. Members of the team that created WebOS, the operating system used by HP and latter-day Palm devices, are thrusting their product into the public trust, making the code open source. Yesterday, HP launched the beta for "Open WebOS," the first major milestone on the way to releasing it to the public in January.

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The Little Open-Source Console that Might: The Ouya

Independent developers are taking the video game industry by storm, but a majority of games can't quite make the hurdle onto home consoles. All of that is about to change with the Ouya, an affordable, open-source game console that is aiming to reclaim consoles for the little guys. The Kickstarter for Ouya lasts until August 9 and seems to have a great deal of support already. Will the Ouya change gaming as we know it? Read on, friend!

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Presenting PyLadies Python Programmers

A Series of Fallopian Tubes

The L.A. Weekly blog recently did a profile on the PyLadies. "Who are the PyLadies," you ask? A group of talented, interesting women we're surprised we hadn't heard of before and are happy to tell you about now. 

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Ada Initiative To Help Women In Open Technology And Culture

Sock It To 'Em Ada

I'd like to think Ada Lovelace would be proud of these two women. Valerie Aurora and Mary Gardiner are the founders of the Ada Initiative, a non-profit organization created to support the participation and work of women in open technology. It was probably a long-time coming, unfortunately it was an instance of unsolicited groping that finally got the ball rolling.

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Tired of the Same Old News? This Device Mutes Unwanted TV Content

Critics have said that our society lives in a media echo chamber. That, more and more, people are tuning out what they don't want to hear and listening only to things they like or agree with. The Enough Already, from Make's Matt Richardson, challenges this notion since, how can there be echoes in blissful silence? Using open-source code and hardware, Ricahrdson crafted a device that automatically mutes the television whenever it detects pre-defined phrases Once plugged into your cable box, the Enough Already sifts through the embedded closed-captioning data. Once it hits on names, or phrases, that you don't care to hear, it mutes the television for 30 seconds. While muted, it continues to monitor the stream of words and will reset the 30 second counter each time it detects an offending phrase, ensuring that your delicate ears remain unmolested. If you're curious, the code is available online. As cool as this is, I have an alternative solution: Blow up your TV. Video of the Enough Already in action, and an enlightening explanation on how it works, after the break.

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Open-Sourcers Place $2000 Bounty on Open Driver for Kinect

While Microsoft's Kinect motion controller was met with somewhat mixed reviews when it made its debut yesterday, even its detractors acknowledged that it's an innovative piece of hardware. Now, the open source community wants to harness that potential for uses beyond XBox 360 games -- and Microsoft is none too happy about that. New-York based DIY electronics company Adafruit Industries has placed a $2,000 bounty on an open-source driver for the Kinect. Initially, they had placed it at $1,000, but after finding out that Microsoft disapproved of the contest -- A Microsoft spokesperson told CNET that "Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products ... With Kinect, Microsoft built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering. Microsoft will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant" -- Adafruit bumped the bounty up by $1,000.

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xkcd’s Tiniest Open-Source Violin IRL

If you're an avid xkcd reader, you may recall that a few weeks back, there was a comic about a techy early adopter who had been laughed off over his web infrastructure concerns in 2003 responding to his erstwhile mocker's Facebook privacy concerns by playing for him "the world's tiniest open-source violin." Well, Erik de Bruijn has taken the concept literally, with an open-source design for a tiny, tiny (20 mm) violin, to be executed or tinkered with with at a 3D printer near you.

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There Goes Your Work Day: Civilization Now Available in Browsers, on iPhone

Today was going to be MMO-focused, what with the launch of Star Trek Online and the debut of our associated Power Grid, but an unexpected deluge of Civilization-related news has turned this into Civ Day (or...We Love the King Day?)

Anyway: FreeCiv, the open-source member the Civilization family, is now available for free, in your browser. Forget Battlefield: Heroes and browser Quake -- this is how the twenty-something creative underclass should be wasting its daylight hours.

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