Vim Clutch

11:28pm | 05/21/2021
Daniel Tompkins

Hacking together a Vim Clutch from the foot-pedal control of a dictation machine. Learn how to make a Raspberry Pi 0 be recognized across operating systems as a plug-and-play Human-Interface Device (HID), or keyboard. See me struggle with Python and solder some really tiny leads.

DIY electronics code

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Car Hacking

12:22am | 04/19/2021
Daniel Tompkins

Far too many of us have been in the same gut-wrenching situation. You're late. The doors slam as you rush into your car. Then you turn the key, and ... nothing. If you're less unlucky, you might still hear a click— or see the flash of a dash icon...

DIY culture electronics

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Microfactory | 02

11:30pm | 10/14/2020
Daniel Tompkins

During my undergrad in architecture, one of the things that most excited me was the opportunity to work in a fabrication shop. At the time, my school had a modest metal shop and a slightly more expansive wood shop. They also provided students with two 3-axis CNTMotion CNC mills— each with a 5x10' bed. I've used these machines professionally as well, and (while they cost as much as a new Porsche) they're really well-built tools. Towards the end of my time there, there were also a few 6-axis robots hanging around in the shop annex:

DIY fabrication electronics

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WSL2

11:30pm | 11/21/2020 update
Daniel Tompkins

In 2001, Microsoft's former CEO— Steve Ballmer— was quoted by the online tech news publication, The Register, saying: Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. Fast-forward 15 years into the future— at Microsoft's developer conference, Build 2016— and Gates' tech behemoth reveals a sudden volte-face. The current CEO, Satya Nadella, announces Windows Subsystem for Linux. With WSL, Microsoft is taking some of the most popular Linux distributions and making them available within Windows through the Microsoft Store.

Linux code

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The Hug of Death

02:30pm | 08/27/2020
Daniel Tompkins

This blog recently received some high traffic on the "Signs of Life" post after I shared the project on Hacker News. After everything was said and done, my analytics reported something like 8000+ unique visitors over a couple of days. Urban Dictionary defines the hug of death as: "An accidental DDoS-like effect caused when a website suddenly gains popularity (usually via reddit), causing a huge amount of traffic.".

sysadmin Linux code

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Regolith Linux

01:00pm | 02/04/2021 update
Daniel Tompkins

When did you first use a computer? I remember sitting at the corner desk in my childhood bedroom playing Descent II. It was probably the first video game I had ever played. The keyboard controlled the yaw, roll, and pitch of a spacecraft as you navigated through a labyrinth of sci-fi tunnels and airlocks. You had to fend off flying robots with lasers and missiles.

Windows Linux

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Knowledge Base

08:45pm | 07/02/2020
Daniel Tompkins

A "Knowledge Base" is something that I've been seeing more and more on developer's sites and blogs. It's often as simple as a collection of frequently referenced resources in code. I decided to start my own personal wiki to hoard my digital resources and recollections.

culture code

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Microfactory | 01

04:40pm | 06/16/2020
Daniel Tompkins

In high school, there was no shop class. Sometimes I'd work on a project in the garage with my dad. Most of his tools are older, corded, and often uncooperative. I remember using saw-horses that wobbled— and a slightly rusted Skilsaw— to cut down ply for a Boy Scouts derby car. It had a hand-brake and a rope for steering. My dad seemed to stub his fingers and rake all the splinters into his hands anytime we worked with wood or tools. There was always a lot of cursing and frustration; and sometimes I hated being out there with him. Now, more or less, I look on those memories fondly...

DIY fabrication

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warTOR

02:16pm | 05/06/2020
Daniel Tompkins

Oddly, I don't remember when or how I got my hands on the Toshiba FlashAir card. These WiFi-enabled SD cards are made to transfer photos from a digital camera to a computer. Imaginging that someone would use a 4MBps wireless connection to transfer photos when the hardware transfer is closer to 70MBps seems ridiculous. However, it could come in handy if you're in a situation where you don't have access to an SD card reader, or want to easily preview photos on a phone or tablet.

media art DIY electronics

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Democratic Debates

10:49pm | 03/13/2020 update
Daniel Tompkins

Episode 1, The Thunderdome... Was hoping for live comments along with the NBC live stream— disabled on YouTube👎. Take part in the discussion below, or find the subscribe button to get an email invitation for l00sed.slack.com

elections politics

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Freego: WiFi Freedom Trail Tour

09:30pm | 01/12/2020
Daniel Tompkins

The Boston Freedom Trail is a major tourist attraction for exploring many of the important monuments and sites of our nation's early history. My collaborators (Alicia Valencia, Hüma Şahin, Mallory Nezam) and I were tasked to address this historical pilgrimage— to observe and reflect on these sites in their past and present contexts. First, we purchased tickets and set off on the Trail. One of our immediate observations was a feeling of insincerity— the tour felt hokey. It also led us to question the role and meaning of Freedom in the context of the Trail, as well as in America. Tour guides, often in costume— posing as "ghosts" of 18th-century political figures, lead you through the Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, the house of Paul Revere, the Old North Church... all the way to Bunker Hill (where the trail ends).

electronics media art

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Rosie, the Roomba Remix

12:46am | 12/20/2019
Daniel Tompkins

You've probabaly seen the incredible kinetic artwork of Theo Jansen. In 2007, a TED video was released featuring the Dutch artist's Strandbeest— a skeletal-looking, beach crawler. Jansen's unique mechanical design allows the "beest" to walk across the sand, propelled by the wind.

DIY electronics

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Inhabiting an Other

02:00am | 11/20/2019
Daniel Tompkins

Empathy... involves a lot of respect towards others... a tolerance to otherness without the projection of our feelings onto others, without stealing their voice and narrative. There is total acceptance of the difference in the other's [object's] feelings. Empathy is the way to understand another human being's spirit and mind, not only his feelings. In a confrontation with the other, and in respect for his experience, we can compare our lives and relfect on our morality and values. Empathy with another person helps us to know ourselves. Knowledge of another human being is therefore a way of self-reflection.

architecture design

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Hot Tub Phone Repair

08:45am | 10/15/2019
Daniel Tompkins

You shouldn't be allowed to have nice things when you forget your phone in your swimsuit pocket— not once, but twice! The first time was a Motorola Razr. I was swimming at my grandma's condo and came out of the pool with a dripping flip phone.

electronics DIY code

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Abstractions II

09:00am | 10/08/2019 update
Daniel Tompkins

The schedule tool on abstractions.io was a little hard to use. The map also did not contain a legend, so I used this schedule picker (quickly thrown together by Think Co.) and made this improved map. This was also thrown together, but felt a little easier to read.

code design

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Bernie's Bills

10:45pm | 07/23/2019
Daniel Tompkins

Politics are in season. Theresa May has announced her resignation, and now Boris Johnson is building a "cabinet for modern Britain" as the next appointed Prime Minister. He's optimistic about building a new Brexit deal, and to "take advantage of all the opportunities that it can bring."

politics

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What the Blog?

09:57pm | 07/02/2019
Daniel Tompkins

Blogs?? That's right. You haven't time-traveled. We're 19 years past the turn of the millenium. People are giving up their writing to Medium, leaving Facebook (not MySpace), and YTMND is disappearing. It's not all bad...

blogging

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Killing a Startup

04:13pm | 06/09/2019
Daniel Tompkins

Together with Sam Piecz, I co-founded a web application for visualizing personal financial data and test-building portfolios. Since 2016, I worked as a designer and— eventually— as the go-to Javascript (JS) coder, for CorrelatePro. Sam, who'd grown up on the Raspberry Pi, knew Linux and the command-line interface (CLI) like the back of his hand. He showed me how to navigate the terminal; how to use Vim, Tmux and Github; and got me setup with basic devops: in our case, a virtual environment and Docker. Any meaningful work I do on a computer today is because of Sam. Sam and I met in the Boy Scouts— eventually we both went on to earn the rank of Eagle. When we were younger, Sam and I went to punk, metal, and electronic shows. We started skating together, went to some weird suburban parties, and got into some light-weight trouble. Sam started (and has since sold) an electronic cigarette "e-liquid" company— Heating Up Vapor. I designed the labels for his bottles, and had started working on some custom packaging. As we got older, however, almost every time we went to "hang out", we were really just sitting on opposite sides of the room coding on our laptops.

code business

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Reading List

04:56pm | 06/01/2019 update
Daniel Tompkins

If you're interested in a decentralized Internet, if you wonder how technology infiltrates politics (for better or worse), or if you're simply itching for a good read— take a look at one of the titles below. You'll find a mix of the pleasurable and the scholarly; but undoubtably something interesting. For my own sake I split the list up into "Reading, To Read, and Read". If you see anything on the list that you recognize, let me know what you thought! If you have a recommendation, drop a line in the comments! Also take a look at my recent Bookmarks Dump for additional reading, tutorials, entertainment, and other content.

DIY politics Internet culture

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Bookmarks Dump

11:41am | 05/24/2020 update
Daniel Tompkins

Exactly what the title says! I'll try to keep this page going with an updated dump of my bookmarks. You can export yours too— the tutorial's screenshots are outdated, but it still gets you to the right place. I used a couple simple Javascript functions to pull in the downloaded JSON file from Firefox, parse through it, and then styled the list with some basic CSS. Pretty cool! Browse through my troves of collected resources on the decentralized Web; links to new media art and artists; tons of exciting DIY projects; academic writing on technopolitics, privacy and surveillance— along with all sorts of other fun goodies. Go buck-wild. ♥

DIY electronics media art business

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Signs of Life

02:43pm | 01/18/2019
Daniel Tompkins

FM radio headphones were given out at the door. Each set was tuned beforehand to receive a broadcast from my programmed station. Visitors were then invited to walk around the room, contemplating the artifacts of the exhibit. A V-dipole at one end of the room captures the broadcast and displays a real-time spectrogram of the radio waves on a small display. Across the room, a satellite dish points back, creating an alignment across the projected GOES-16 "full-disk" im-age animation of the Earth. Along the back wall, a few dozen images show demodulated signals from the NOAA 15/18/19 satellites as they passed over Cambridge, Massachusetts in the months of October and November 2018.

media art DIY electronics

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Public Internet

03:20pm | 05/02/2018
Daniel Tompkins

Nearly a decade ago, Facebook pioneered the concept of social media. However, it wasn’t until recently— as the platform boasts 2.1 billion users— that the full consequences of such an ubiquitous network have burst into the public eye. Now, Zuckerberg’s famed motto, “move fast and break things,” may have in fact contributed to a broken democracy. In his recent testimony before Congress, it also became evident that our elected representatives' lack of digital literacy only serves to exacerbate the situation.

Internet politics

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Public Domain

06:43pm | 04/27/2018
Daniel Tompkins

In the previous post, I took a quick look at Cass Sunstein's #republic— particularly, at the mechanisms of online polarization. I'm also empathetic to Sunstein's hopes for a dedicated online Commons. Here, I wanted to write some observations on the quality of designed spaces for shared experience— looking especially at the application of public art. Sunstein calls for a public domain, designated to popular deliberation— a kind of incubator of social progress. I wonder how we might compare a sidewalk and a park in this capacity— or better yet, an old public house to a digital forum? In what way does art function in this space to provoke or curate shared experience? To approach these questions, I'd like to tell a story about an artist, David Powers.

culture media art

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A Republic, If You Can Keep It

08:56pm | 04/25/2018
Daniel Tompkins

Nicco's class Media and Journalism in the Digital Age is centered on what we're forced to loosely refer to as "news", or perhaps "news media". We talked about print news, which I feel (with the admitted naivety of a Millennial) conjures the most powerful image of News— or the ideals of a journalistic practice. No doubt The Post (the recent film) has sought to reinforce that feeling. It had Spielberg's classic cinematic affect, but a healthy optimism for ethics in journalism— especially in parallel with the "fake news" crysis. In class, we did touch upon the physical speed at which printed news (despite those incredible machines!) lags behind digital; but, I'm curious about printed books as well...

Internet

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The New News

07:40pm | 04/11/2018
Daniel Tompkins

Last year I wrote a first draft of a paper, The Internet of Anxiety, which essentially documented the growing pains of the universe of information and communication technologies (ICTs) from radio to the Internet. The present media ecosystem seems to be the result of a "coming of age" of the past 30 years of technological innovation. Though it can hardly be said to be a moment of rest, there is a sense that we are experiencing fewer paradigm-shifting changes in technology.

politics Internet

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Mr. Baquet, Tear Down this Wall

06:42pm | 03/28/2018
Daniel Tompkins

In 2014, The New York Times released an internal innovation report (since leaked to the public) on how a shifting— increasingly mobile and social— media ecology is demanding the need for an agile business model to support their already exemplary foundations in journalism. The restructuring of their organization prompts a debate on how the typically walled-off newsroom is expected to interact with the commercial side of business— advertising, promotional outreach, R&D, and audience acquisition— all the while maintaining the valued integrity of its writing.

politics

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Shoe-Leather Politics

11:04pm | 03/11/2018
Daniel Tompkins

In The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns, the closed curtains typically shrouding the inner-workings of campaigns are drawn open, providing an insider's view on voter acquisition and the organizational topographies that feed these intense mobilization efforts. With some exceptional first-person accounts from leading figures in political science and campaign management, Sasha Issenberg details an intimate narrative of how these election machines have evolved. What is particularly interesting is how political veterans are adapting old "shoe-leather politics" to incorporate modern and interdisciplinary strategies in data analytics, voter microtargeting, and predictive algorithmic modeling.

elections politics

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Whole Citizens

11:28am | 02/18/2018
Daniel Tompkins

In the previous article, I took a look at David Karpf's Analytic Activism— examining how political campaigns have reacted to a hybrid media environment. In that article, I also imagined a public citizen, a parrhesiastes, to participate in the establishment of a digital public domain for vibrant political speech and discussion beyond social media's "echo chambers"— disparate information bubblees filtered of ideologically oppositional content. Karpf's collective analysis of how media and analytics function within the modern political arena is incredibly insightful and engaging — but how did we get here? Additionally, how can past political campaigns function as models for the strategic implementation of emerging technologies in future races and activist movements?

politics Internet

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Public Citizens

10:44pm | 01/31/2018
Daniel Tompkins

At times, public domain renders itself as a physical environment— perhaps a park, or plaza. Conceptually, though, it has no explicit point of reference. The public domain is built on events— the intimate exchange of strangers. The French philosopher, Michel Foucault, implies in his text— Fearless Speech— that the public domain is the engagement of space and dialogue.

elections architecture politics

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