Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bees, Hives, and Hobbies

I was watching Vanishing of the Bees, the other day.  (Netflix streams it.)  It was really interesting .. as much for the issues facing modern pollination in the face of Colony Collapse Disorder as for the view into the strange community of bee keepers.  This is my kind of strangeness, so it got me to wondering what it takes for a hobbyist to get started.

There are bunches of apiary sites out there -- most, poorly maintained -- so it's hard to find a starter kit.  I ended up with tabs open on the Pollinator Partnership, Knox Cellars, and Mann Lake LTD.  Not exactly an exhaustive list, but hopefully it's a nice starting point if you've seen the movie and wanna try your hand at it.  With a reasonable dose of research, would it be possible to create an open hardware project that uses rapid prototyping equipment to build hives on demand?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nook Color as Android Sandbox

(Update: I have a page of notes from my weekend of hacking around.)

My friend Andrew has lately been showing up to pub night with his full size Android tablet, and showing off the apps he's been writing.  Naturally, this means I have to get my own, so I can suss out the development process a little more thoroughly.  I just can't stand not knowing things.

All I want is a small (seven or eight inches diagonal) device, that's got a color display and is capable of multi-touch.  From my research, the Samsung Galaxy Tab was a really top-shelf choice.  But I also know that a Nook Color can be convinced to run a full Android install.

I popped down to my local retailer and played.  Man those Samsung devices are pretty .. but at half the price, the Nook Color was just too compelling a device for my "hack around for fun" purposes.  I decided to be fiscally responsible.  Don't ask me why.

Up next: I'll load a "real" install of Android on it, replacing the stock "just an Android-based e-reader" version that it ships with.