Interesting technology, systems, and conceptsEdit

Technological libertyEdit
Resilience, decentralisation, reliability, securityEdit
Efficient, renewable, sustainable transportationEdit

Dream devicesEdit

Any dream device would use entirely libre technology, including all hardware components. This goes far beyond RYF which only addresses software; it would be the ultimate in technological liberty. Furthermore:

  • there must not be any planned obsolescence – devices should be expected to last at least 10 years of frequent use and be repairable/serviceable;
  • storage must always be removable;
  • batteries must always be removable and separately chargeable (preferably hot-swappable);
  • there must always be at least one physical port for a wired data or power connection;
    • the charger/dock port is the same connector and is symmetric power and data (bidirectional), akin to PoE;
    • port extension over the symmetric data connection to port-extending power supply;
  • the device must be capable of natively running code written in a purely-functional language (e.g. Haskell);
  • the operating system's packages must be manageable by a purely-functional package manager (e.g. Nix);
  • general-purpose devices (i.e. not dedicated/embedded) must be compatible with a fully libre GNU+Linux operating system (e.g. NixOS with allowUnfree = false;);
  • portable devices must be fanless/passively cooled (constraint on power consumption) and stationary devices should at least be operable without a fan (What about heat pipes to chassis / heat spreader?);
  • handheld devices should be at least 2 metre drop-resistant and at least 3 metre water-resistant;
  • screens should be efficient and harness ambient light energy (dark themes use less power) rather than be hindered by it (i.e. sunlight-readable);
  • handheld screens should have at least 10-pointer multitouch and inductive stylus support with an inductive stylus slot;
  • radio interfaces should be SDR and support receive-only services such as AM and FM broadcasting;
    • E-Loran and, in general, ‘terrestrial positioning system’ – like GPS but broadcast by stationary, nonsatellite transmitters such as the cellular network, media broadcasting transmitters, Wi-Fi access points, etc. (stations broadcast their precise location and time; devices use multilateration to determine their precise location and time, and if devices use an antenna array then orientation too (i.e. position and time); subdecimetre precision);
    • Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth LE, etc.;
    • mesh networking;
    • radio transmission should have a physical power switch (for radio silence, a.k.a. ‘flight mode’);
  • cameras should be stereoscopic and support at least 120f/s video capture at 1920×1080;
  • camera and microphone should have a physical power switch;
  • hardware compression should support lossless formats such as Dirac and FLAC;
  • chassis should have an anchor point, particularly for handheld devices;
  • display resolution should not exceed 75px/° at typical viewing distance (anything greater is unnecessary and wasteful);
  • displays should be stereoscopic or volumetric;
  • video out and video in over a symmetric data connection (e.g. via Ethernet);
  • infrared and Li-Fi transceiver;
  • screens should have infrared beacons built-into the bezel for use with a Wiimote.
Dream smartphoneEdit

My dream smartphone would have the following features:

Dream hybrid laptop–tabletEdit

I currently have 2 ThinkPad X60 Tablets, which is about as close as I've found so far to what I want. However, I've since seen devices that achieve the same hybrid laptop–tablet roll by having the screen detach entirely as a standalone tablet. This is more flexible and allows the tablet mode to be much less bulky. I prefer to think of this as actually having a screenless laptop with a tablet which can be used as the laptop screen, i.e. that both parts are autonomous with their own CPU and operating system, with software integration. For best flexibility, the tablet should be able to dock in both landscape and portrait, the portrait mode being especially useful for reading documents and such.

Dockable tabletEdit
  • (common features);
  • about 396mm×240mm×10mm (with 20mm bezel around screen);
  • screen about 356mm×200mm, 408mm diagonal (~16.1 inch);
  • dockable in landscape and portrait;
  • can connect to power supply directly, via the unused dock port;
  • at least 2GiB of RAM, and an SSD of at least 128GiB;
  • stereophonic speakers;
  • ports: 2× symmetric power and data / PoE (landscape dock, portrait dock), 2×USB (on other 2 edges), MicroUSB (charge and OTG), SD card slot, infrared/Li-Fi transceiver, 3.5mm audio out jack;
  • density < densitywater (998.2071kg/m³ at 20°C);
  • mass ≤ 800g ((200mm×16/9 + 40mm)×240mm×10mm×998.2071kg/m³ = ~947.6g).

The capacitative sensing should have accurate position and pressure sensitivity with at least 10 multitouch pointers for best enjoyment with Hexiano.

Screenless laptop dockEdit
  • (common features);
  • about 396mm×240mm×15mm;
  • a pointing stick on a backlit keyboard with a standard layout, and no touchpad;
  • swappable batteries at front side (for centre of mass stability; less dense components nearer hinge);
  • at least 2GiB of RAM, and at least 256GiB of storage;
  • FPGA;
  • software-defined radio supporting AM/FM and DVB-T;
  • stereophonic speakers;
  • ports: 3× symmetric power and data / PoE (left, right, dock), 2×USB (left, right), MicroUSB (charge and OTG), SD card slot, infrared/Li-Fi transceiver, 3.5mm audio in and out jacks;
  • density < densitywater (998.2071kg/m³ at 20°C);
  • mass ≤ 1.2kg ((200mm×16/9 + 40mm)×240mm×15mm×998.2071kg/m³ = ~1421g).
Dream desktop / router / home server / DVREdit
Port-extending power adaptorEdit

These days devices seem to be ditching the ports, but until devices are efficient enough to run and charge off a photovoltaic backing, they will still have a power port. Having one cable plugged in isn't a problem, so why not additionally use this same cable for a network connection and a port replicator?
     For example, the power adaptor could have an Ethernet port, HomePlug connectivity, 4 USB ports, 1 FireWire port, VGA, DVI, HDMI, and digital audio. Wouldn't that be just excellent!

Favourite GNU+Linux distributions / libre operating systemsEdit

Recommended useful softwareEdit