A tinyLiDAR Sensor for Your Arduino | Alasdair Allan

Alasdair Allan; A tinyLiDAR Sensor for Your Arduino; In His Blog, entitled hackster.io, hosted on Medium; 2017-08-11.


tinyLIDAR: The Maker Friendly Laser Sensor Arduino X; on IndieGoGo; WHEN? About NOW; Indiegogo campaign; Separately noted.


  • ultrasonic sensors
  • LIDAR → Light Detection and Ranging
  • Controlled from Arduino by I2C


Distance measurements from 30 mm → 2000 mm.


1x board → $15
3x boards →$39 + $5 SHT






A simple breakout board for VL53L0X can be picked up for $6.63 a piece, with shipping adding another $2.09 if you’re just after a single board.
A breakout board for the VL53L0X, for $14.95.





A bold economic theory on why panhandlers should act more like registered charities | MarketWatch

A bold economic theory on why panhandlers should act more like registered charities; Leslie Albrecht; In MarketWatch; 2017-07-24.
Teaser: Giving money to others boosts our happiness, but only when we know we’re making an impact

tl;dr → a license to panhandle validated with a bluetooth beacon+iOS appware, in market now.

Separately noted.

Users of the main smartphone operating systems (iOS, Android) differ only little in personality | Götz, Stieger, Reips

Friedrich M. Götz,, Stefan Stieger, Ulf-Dietrich Reips; Users of the main smartphone operating systems (iOS, Android) differ only little in personality; In Public Library of Science | One (PLOS | One); 2017-05-03; DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0176921


The increasingly widespread use of mobile phone applications (apps) as research tools and cost-effective means of vast data collection raises new methodological challenges. In recent years, it has become a common practice for scientists to design apps that run only on a single operating system, thereby excluding large numbers of users who use a different operating system. However, empirical evidence investigating any selection biases that might result thereof is scarce. Henceforth, we conducted two studies drawing from a large multi-national (Study 1; N = 1,081) and a German-speaking sample (Study 2; N = 2,438). As such Study 1 compared iOS and Android users across an array of key personality traits (i.e., well-being, self-esteem, willingness to take risks, optimism, pessimism, Dark Triad, and the Big Five). Focusing on Big Five personality traits in a broader scope, in addition to smartphone users, Study 2 also examined users of the main computer operating systems (i.e., Mac OS, Windows). In both studies, very few significant differences were found, all of which were of small or even tiny effect size mostly disappearing after sociodemographics had been controlled for. Taken together, minor differences in personality seem to exist, but they are of small to negligible effect size (ranging from OR = 0.919 to 1.344 (Study 1), ηp2 = .005 to .036 (Study 2), respectively) and may reflect differences in sociodemographic composition, rather than operating system of smartphone users.


There are 80 references.

In Silicon Valley Now, It’s Almost Always Winner Takes All | New Yorker

In Silicon Valley Now, It’s Almost Always Winner Takes All; ; In The New Yorker; 2015-12-30.

tl;dr → Gee Wiz!  A paean to the Network Effect (Bob Metcalf’s Law)


  • Sidecar has been shut down.
  • <quote>Google and Uber aren’t very different. Broadband was Google’s sun god; the smartphone is Uber’s. </quote>, per Om Malik, before.
    Ahem … and that’s totally true … as far as it goes.
  • winner take all market
  • Bob Metcalf’s Law


  • Amazon
  • Android
  • Android Pay
  • Apple
  • Apple Pay
  • Coke
  • Direct Hit
  • Dogpile
  • Ethernet
  • Excite
  • Facebook
  • Fast company
  • Flywheel
  • Google+
  • Honda
  • Infoseek
  • iOS
  • Leap Transit
  • Lycos
  • Lyft
  • Metcalfe’s Law
  • Microsoft
  • Northern Light
  • PayPal
  • Powerset
  • RidePal
  • Samsung Pay
  • Sidecar
  • Simpli
  • Skype
  • Square
  • Toyota
  • Uber
  • Walmart Pay
  • Yahoo


  • Richard Branson
  • Sergey Brin
  • Jack Dorsey
  • Larry Page
  • Sunil Paul
  • Kevin Systrom


The App-ocalypse: Can Web standards make mobile apps obsolete? | Ars Technica

The App-ocalypse: Can Web standards make mobile apps obsolete?; Larry Seltzer ; In Ars Technica; 2015-12-28.
Teaser: Many big tech companies—absent Apple—are throwing weight behind a browser-based world.

tl;dr → Betteridge’s Law; i.e. No.


  • Lots of (emerging) standards
  • None of which “really work,” (yet)
    Especially not on Apple-culture.

Separately noted.

Who Knows What About Me? A Survey of Behind the Scenes Personal Data Sharing to Third Parties by Mobile Apps | Zang, Dummit, Graves, Lisker, Sweeney

Jinyan Zang, Krysta Dummit, James Graves, Paul Lisker, Latanya Sweeney; Who Knows What About Me? A Survey of Behind the Scenes Personal Data Sharing to Third Parties by Mobile Apps; In Technology Science; 2015-10-30.

tl;dr → QA was performed; observations were noted: data was sent, data was received; not shown: (absence of) consent, harm.


What types of user data are mobile apps sending to third parties? We chose 110 of the most popular free mobile apps as of June-July 2014 from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, across 9 categories likely to handle potentially sensitive data about users including job information, medical data, and location. For each app, we used a man-in-the-middle proxy to record HTTP and HTTPS traffic that occurred while using the app and looked for transmissions that include personally identifiable information (PII), behavior data such as search terms, and location data, including geo-coordinates. An app that collects these data types may not need to notify the user in current permissions systems.


  • Recipients
    • yahooapis.com
    • flurry.com


Ninety five (95) citations!!


Testing, Testing, 1,2,3: Beacon Technology Arrives in 50 Target Stores | Target

Testing, Testing, 1,2,3: Beacon Technology Arrives in 50 Target Stores; press release; Target; 2015-08-05.


  • Jason Goldberger, president. Target.com and Mobile.
  • Availabilities
  • Deployment
    • 50 test stores
    • remaining stores → later
  • Locations
    • Chicago
    • Denver
    • Minneapolis
    • New York City
    • Pittsburgh
    • Portland
    • San Francisco
    • Seattle
  • Experience
    • In-situ interruption formula
      • push notifications
      • popups on target’s web site
    • Limit two per shopping trip, as defined
    • Contains content and offers.
  • Concept, futures
    • in-store location
      <quote>to dynamically re-sort your shopping list as you move through the store, like how smartphone maps re-route when you veer off course.</quote>
    • <quote>We’re also planning to launch a service in the Target app where you can request the help of a store team member right from your phone. Think of it this way: Beacons + Target app = Red-and-Khaki to the Rescue</quote>


In archaeological order…

Gyrophone: Recognizing Speech From Gyroscope Signals | Michalevsky, Nakibly, Boneh

Yan Michalevsky, Gabi Nakibly, Dan Boneh; Gyrophone: Recognizing Speech From Gyroscope Signals; In Proceedings of the 23rd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 14); 2014-08-20; landing, landing


We show that the MEMS gyroscopes found on modern smart phones are sufficiently sensitive to measure acoustic signals in the vicinity of the phone. The resulting signals contain only very low-frequency information (< 200 Hz). Nevertheless we show, using signal processing and machine learning, that this information is sufficient to identify speaker information and even parse speech. Since iOS and Android require no special permissions to access the gyro, our results show that apps and active web content that cannot access the microphone can nevertheless eavesdrop on speech in the vicinity of the phone.

Facebook turns user tracking ‘bug’ into data mining ‘feature’ for advertisers | ZDNet

Facebook turns user tracking ‘bug’ into data mining ‘feature’ for advertisers; In ZDNet; 2014-06-17.
Summary: Facebook announced changes to its privacy and advertising policies on its company blog, extending Facebook’s ability to track users outside of Facebook. This counters 2011′s position that [we] “do not track users across the web.”

Platform Choice by Mobile Apps Developers | Bresnahan, Orsini, Yin

Timothy Bresnahan, Joe Orsini, Pai-LingYin; Platform Choice by Mobile Apps Developers; working paper; some NBER conferencee 2014-02-13; 31 pages.


For the past two years, Appleís iOS and Google’s Android operating systems have split the market share of smartphone devices and the mobile applications (apps) for those devices. We model and estimate the platform choice by mobile app developers, including the decision to multihome. Our model flexibly models the potential gap between the decision to multihome and the realized demand from that decision. We find far less difference in preferences across platforms than across types of developers and apps. We identify strong incentives for developers of the most popular apps to multihome, making tipping unlikely.