DIY: Screen Printing Laboratory B T-shirts

Members Julia & Kevin have spent the last two nights furiously handing silk screening new Laboratory B t-shirts!  Everything in this proccess is pretty much done by hand. From the printing of the screen, to printing up the shirts, to letting them air dry, ironing and then fixing any mistakes. The shirts aren’t perfect in everyway but that’s what DIY often looks like. You can pick one up at the Lab or at Champlain Mini Maker Fairethis weekend!

The Laboratory B will be running our awesome learn to solder station at Champlain Mini Maker Faire . We’ve got a bunch of kits to learn to solder with, and we might even be having some Arduino fun! We look forward to seeing you there!

Explain Shell

explainshellWhen you first start using Unix based systems you quickly learn about the wonderful world the Unix command shell. One of the first commands you also learn about with “ls”, “cd” and “cat” is “man”. Man is short for manual and almost all unix commands come with a man page. Manual pages are usually quite informative about what the command does and all the options, but sometimes it’s really hard to sort out. This can lead to trouble and frustration (boo!)
If you’re anything like me you might occasionally have a problem with your computer and someone will tell you to run some command with a bunch of flags.. say “iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -s ip-to-block -j DROP ” or “rm -rf /” now you could run this run this or you could pass it to explain shell to help you sort out exactly what a command does. This is also really useful for commands where input is piped from one command to another.

Also check out this article about copy and pasting from the web.

FairPhone! Or VermontPhone?


Let’s face is Vermont is pretty hippy state, that cares deeply about fair trade, organic, environmentally friendly things. So let’s take it beyond our housewares & food. Check this out the FairPhone. It’s basically a unlocked GSM based smartphone. Price is roughly $450, it’s unlocked too. It’s runs Android 4.2 out of the box.



Network Type GSM850/900/1800/1900MHZ
WCDMA 900/2100MHz
OS Android 4.2
Chipset MTK6589 (quad-core) 1.2 Ghz
System Memory 16GB + 1GB (RAM)
Dimensions (mm) 126*63.5*10 mm
Primary Screen 4.3 qHD (960×540 pixels)
Glass Dragontrail Glass
Primary Camera 8MP AF (stabilization + image sensor)
Secondary Camera 1.3 megapixels
Battery 2000mAh (Replaceable battery)
Weight 170 g
SAR Rating (indication)  0.318 W/Kg
NFC Chip Nope, sorry!
Headphones/Charger Not included by default (good for environment!)

More specs here!

Laboratory B Goes to Art Hop

The Laboratory B Crew and friends went out to Art Hop to show people how to make throwies and have a good time. We got together at the Lab around 5:30 assembled some throwies and made some awesome silly cyberpunk costumes (sorta). Then it was down to SEABA’s Art Hop. Art Hop is party open gallery show, part street fair and part Burning Man down on Pine Street.

It was great to see the Vermont Makers crew, and the Generator folks out too on Pine Street.

Soldering Workshop:Fix a phone edition!

Potential new member Charles stopped by the Laboratory to use the soldering station. Seems he tried an external antenna on his Samsung phone and the connector broke on him. This external antenna connector bypasses the internal antenna, so when it broke the phone could no longer use the 4G LTE antenna! Thus Charles was stuck with only 1x service (teh suck!). Charles used the Labs microelectronics station to desolder the broken connector. He then bridged the circuit with a bit of wire. Service went from 1x to 4G with 3 bars with this simple fix.

2013-09-05 18.36.30
After the MCA connector was removed.
Click to expand.
2013-09-05 19.21.12
After the connector was bridged with a bit of wire.
Click to expand.


Join #laboratoryb on freenode, and make crank calls with our bot ‘whistler’

d00dz* do you rock out on IRC? If you don’t… You’re missing out on one of the pure joys of geekdom, one of the original forms of the hacker dungeon in cyberspace. And you don’t have to be a rocket scientist / brain surgeon / Ada programmer  / BIOS reverse engineer — you just have to download an IRC client**, or use one on the web (which is even easier) and for server use, and then join #laboratoryb (you do know that the hashtag originated from IRC channels, right!?)

Then! You can make all the obnoxious prank calls you want with our friendly*** bot Whistler! He’s our IRC robot who’s hooked up to our Asterisk box at the lab, and he’s got functionality which does a text-to-speech and originates a call to a phone number of your choosing to harangue your friends, foes, or send an “I love you” to your mom from a robot (moms love that, kinda?)

But, the best part is… He’s open source! You can check out all his node.js code on Google Code. So if you want to, you can set up your own instance, or get your hands dirty and improve your skill with node.js by adding feature and improving him.

* And dud3773s, of course.
** May I suggest irssi if you’re a linux geek who likes the CLI, or Quassel if you’re a GUI person (no shame, of course)
*** He might mom joke you now and again, and we hope he hasn’t become sentient.


You know you’ve made it when OED recongonizes you!

Aww yeah! Check this! One of the Auguest 2013 words added to OED

New words: August 2013
Syllabification: (hack·er·space)
Pronunciation: /ˈhakərˌspās/
  • a place in which people with an interest in computing or technology can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge:we’ve seen some folks at our local hackerspace try to patch into the remote control itself