Why It's Often Easier To Innovate In China Than In The United States

About a year and a half ago, I discovered this $12 “Gongkai” cell phone (pictured above) in the markets of Shenzhen, China. My most striking impression was that Chinese entrepreneurs had relatively unfettered access to cutting-edge technology, enabling start-ups to innovate while bootstrapping. Meanwhile, Western… »6/12/15 1:55pm6/12/15 1:55pm

The Project to Let Anyone Download and Print Their Own House

If you could go online, select a home, print the plans for free, and build it yourself for less than $80,000 in a few days, would you? That's the dream behind WikiHouse, an open source home design project that just finished construction of its fourth prototype, a two-storey home that snaps together in just a few days. »9/24/14 12:55pm9/24/14 12:55pm

Watch How Open-Source OpenStreetMap Mapped the Globe In Just 7 Years

A decade ago, OpenStreetMap launched as a free, open-source alternative to the other mapping tools you may encounter on the internet. Turns out that the collaborative experiment worked exceptionally well, and thanks to a new site, you can see for yourself how the Wikipedia of mapping has covered the whole planet. »8/11/14 3:30pm8/11/14 3:30pm

So Long, Open Web: Mozilla Accepts Closed Source DRM and We All Lose

It's official: the last holdout for the open web has fallen. Flanked on all sides by Google, Microsoft, Opera, and (it appears) Safari's support and promotion of the EME DRM-in-HTML standard, Mozilla is giving in to pressure from Hollywood, Netflix, et al, and will be implementing its own third-party version of DRM.… »5/15/14 5:15am5/15/14 5:15am

NASA's About To Release a Mother Lode of Free Software

If you've been thinking about getting started on the rocket project that's been on your mind for ages, now is a good time to get serious. Next week, NASA will release a massive software catalog with over 1,000 projects. It's not the first time the space agency's released code, but it is the first time they've made it… »4/04/14 6:40pm4/04/14 6:40pm

DARPA's Using Smartphone Guts to Build Cheaper, Smarter Drones Faster

Just a few weeks after President Obama announced plans to scale back the country's drone program, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA) announced plans to roll out a program for the rapid development and manufacture of sensors to help power unmanned aerial, land and underwater vehicles. The… »5/29/13 5:45pm5/29/13 5:45pm