BitSource Web Development #ExportingCode


Last week I was fortunate enough to go to Fast Company’s Meeting of the Most Creative Minds conference in Los Angeles. The conference featured several amazingly innovative companies that I will also write about later but my favorite aspect was the other attendees. Most of these companies were based in LA but a few flew from all over the nation (and some even other parts of the world!) and there is one that I cannot get out of my head. BitSource is a company who is breathing life back into a sleepy town in eastern Kentucky. The economy there had heavily relied on the coal industry and had suffered tremendously in the loss. Two former coal miners founded BitSource with a mission to bring back jobs to Appalachia country.


The company offers an array of web development services from programming languages to media and VR design to application development (and much more). The founders knew coal miners to be logic-based thinkers willing to work hard and learn. Afterall, when you’re down in a mine and something breaks, there’s no one to guide them in diagnosing and fixing the problems. Coal mining is a highly technical field that relies more on engineering smarts than on physical labor so they knew the laid-off workforce would be primed to learn code and utilize their technical skills. “Appalachia has been exporting coal for a long time.” says Justin Hall, the company’s president who I met at the conference. “Now we want to export code. We’ve got blue-collar coders.”


Some of their work includes web design for Big Sandy Resources, Inc. a river dredging company. They worked on-site to capture footage and information about the services and materials that they provide. BitSource created the website and features then trained the BSR team so that they could update and manage the site internally and make change on demand when they add a new service, product, or project. Check it out here! BitSource worked with Hashtag Appalachia and Unity to create an augmented reality application that uses artwork on a garage door as a trigger. The trigger can call any animation or content that they specify when you hold up your phone and engage the trigger by pointing it at the artwork. See a video of the project here: Another great project BitSource completed is for their city, Pikeville, Kentucky. They created infographics, animations, an interactive map and software solutions for the city’s Office of Economic Development. The projects range even further but you’ll have to check them out to learn what other awesome things their up to.


Justin Hall was voted one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business this year and the company is quickly becoming a leader in sustainable redevelopment of our country’s workforce. BitSource provides pragmatic problem-solving, modern project management, and diligent quality assurance and is passionate about their customers. For this and many reasons I wanted to highlight this company.

Coal Miner looking through hole into office of code writers

Check out this video from VOCATIV Meet the Company Teaching Coal Miners to Code

May 25, 2017 |

What’s All the Biz Buzz about the Dolls with No Makeup?


Brat-zdollzThere is no shortage of articles, books and videos about ‘How to Go Viral,” but what do you do when your little hobby turns into a an instant viral sensation? Sonia, from Tasmania, loved dolls as a kid and now, as an adult, discovered the pleasure of recycling old, discarded dolls and giving them a natural makeover. In that fertile soil of playful creativity and simple frugality, a seedling of a company grew. Tree Change Dolls had only 12 dolls, but a few clever photos and a healthy dose of shares resulted in a viral forest.

Sonia started out by de-glamourizing some used Bratz dolls (removed their makeup) and turned to her knitting genius mother to create some the simple custom fashions. This little kitchen table hobby soon turned into an internet maelstrom of cheers for this lone mum from down-under who accomplished what the big dollmakers like MGA Entertainment (makers of the hyper-sexualized Bratz dolls) seem to have missed. Girls love dolls that actually look like real people. Watch this well-done video that may just set the doll kingdom on its tiny plastic head. Best of luck to Sonia and her new company, Tree Change Dolls as she grows a business that makes a difference.

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March 1, 2015 |

New Coating Inspired By The Pitcher Plant Turns Glass Into ‘Super-Glass’

Originally published on: CleanTechnica
An incredibly slippery, self-cleaning “super-glass” can be created from ordinary glass with the application of a simple, transparent coating that was recently invented by researchers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The super-glass is so slippery that it even repels oil, and super-sticky materials such as honey — as well as resisting ice formation and the growth of bacterial biofilms. The researchers think that their new super-glass could be used to create “improved” solar panels, super-durable eyeglass lenses, self-cleaning windows, and new medical diagnostic devices.

The new coating was inspired by the ultra-slippery surface of the carnivorous pitcher plant, which feeds on insects by funneling them with their extremely slippery leaves into a “pitcher” filled with digestive fluids. The insects which venture onto the plants can’t grip the super-slippery surface and as a result fall into the digestive liquid and drown.

The new coating was built on previous work done by the researchers — their creation of the award-winning technology known as Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPS), the slipperiest synthetic surface currently known. This new coating flows in that tradition, being just as slippery but considerably more durable, as well as being completely transparent.

Image Credit: Pitcher Plant via Flickr CC
Image Credit: Pitcher Plant via Flickr CC

While SLIPS was certainly an important development in the field, this new coating is much closer to what the researchers had in mind when the first began their work on ultra-slippery surfaces. In particular, the original SLIPS needed to be fastened to an existing surface, a labor intensive process. A simple coating process would be much more practical.

“SLIPS repels both oily and aqueous liquids but it’s expensive to make and not transparent,” stated lead author Nicolas Vogel, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in applied physics at Harvard SEAS. “It would be easier to take the existing surface and treat it in a certain way to make it slippery.”

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard continues:

The researchers sought to develop a coating that accomplishes this and works as SLIPS does. SLIPS’s thin layer of liquid lubricant allows liquids to flow easily over the surface, much as a thin layer of water in an ice rink helps an ice skater glide.

To create a SLIPS-like coating, the researchers corral a collection of tiny spherical particles of polystyrene, the main ingredient of Styrofoam, on a flat glass surface, like a collection of Ping-Pong balls. They pour liquid glass on them until the balls are more than half buried in glass. After the glass solidifies, they burn away the beads, leaving a network of craters that resembles a honeycomb. They then coat that honeycomb with the same liquid lubricant used in SLIPS to create a tough but slippery coating.

By adjusting the width of the honeycomb cells to make them much smaller in diameter than the wavelength of visible light, the researchers kept the coating from reflecting light. This made a glass slide with the coating completely transparent.

These coated glass slides repelled a variety of liquids, just as SLIPS does, including water, octane, wine, olive oil, and ketchup. And, like SLIPS, the coating reduced the adhesion of ice to a glass slide by 99%. Keeping materials frost-free is important because adhered ice can take down power lines, decrease the energy efficiency of cooling systems, delay airplanes, and lead buildings to collapse.

Importantly, the honeycomb structure of the SLIPS coating on the glass slides confers unmatched mechanical robustness. It withstood damage and remained slippery after various treatments that can scratch and compromise ordinary glass surfaces and other popular liquid-repellent materials, including touching, peeling off a piece of tape, and wiping with a tissue.

"The tiny, tightly packed cells of the honeycomb-like structure, shown here in this electron micrograph, make the SLIPS coating highly durable." Image Credit: Nicolas Vogel, Wyss Institute

“We set ourselves a challenging goal: to design a versatile coating that’s as good as SLIPS but much easier to apply, transparent, and much tougher — and that is what we managed,” stated Aizenberg.

The researchers are now working to improve their method so as to allow “better coat curved pieces of glass as well as clear plastics such as Plexiglas, and to adapt the method for the rigors of manufacturing.”

“Joanna’s new SLIPS coating reveals the power of following Nature’s lead in developing new technologies,” stated Don Ingber, MD, PhD, the Wyss Institute’s Founding Director. “We are excited about the range of applications that could use this innovative coating.” Ingber is also the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, and Professor of Bioengineering at Harvard SEAS.

The new research was just published in the journal Nature Communications.

New Coating Inspired By The Pitcher Plant Turns Glass Into ‘Super-Glass’ was originally published on: CleanTechnica


August 7, 2013 |

Clemson’s Deep Orange 3 A Striking Hybrid Design


by Nino Marchetti by earthtechling

Clemson University in South Carolina is known for its International Center for Automotive Research, and in particular the Deep Orange sustainable mobility program. We profiled one of the program’s first concept vehicles designed by students back in 2010, and now those involved in it have just unveiled their third next generation ride known as Deep Orange 3.

The Deep Orange 3 vehicle, according to Clemson, is a Mazda concept vehicle designed in collaboration with the automotive company. It sports what’s described as a unique hybrid powertrain that automatically chooses front-, rear- or all-wheel drive and consists of a downsized turbocharge 4-cylinder internal combustion engine mated to an electric motor with peak output of 80 kW that all total offers a combined horsepower of 208 hp. The motor is powered by a 2.4 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack.

image via Clemson Universityimage via Clemson University

Offering drivers a five-speed manual transmission, this hybrid seats six in a unique 3+3 seating configuration. It is capable of a 7.5 second acceleration in the 0 to 60 MPH range. Top speed is set to 125 MPH, and its cruising range is around 350 miles. Those behind this car estimate its EPA fuel consumption ratings to be at 42/49 MPH for city/highway driving.

Deep Orange 3 is envisioned as a 2015 concept idea focused upon Generation Y, who is seen as “willing to invest in sustainable powertrain technologies.” It comes with body panels designed by student Frederick Naaman at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

“These students have provided fresh and inventive ideas from sketch pad to sheet metal, and the final product truly speaks to that open dialogue and collaboration between the Art Center College of Design and Clemson University,” said Derek Jenkins, design director for Mazda North American Operations, in a statement.

Students in Clemson’s graduate automotive engineering program are required to create and manufacture a new vehicle prototype, noted the university. The vehicle’s concept and design are developed in partnership with students from the transportation design department at the Art Center, ”focusing holistically on the vehicle and the end-user.”

It gives the students involved in it experience in vehicle design, development, prototyping and production planning as well as giving them “an opportunity to work directly with automotive industry partners to innovate and develop ideas.”


August 6, 2013 |

Sustainability Needs to be Integrated in the Communities


Dr Anna Gritching is seen with her students on a field trip in Qatar. As part of her teaching and research at Qatar University, she is looking at Food Security as a new paradigm for Urban Planning and Design. This involves examining how to integrate the production of food into the architectural, urban, and landscape design and also to design more productive landscapes.

Just as change doesn’t necessarily imply a change for the better, movement does not always denote a forward escalation in a progressive direction. Similarly, while urban development is a positive step forward, there are aspects which can add impetus to the thrust and value to the larger picture and make the pace of progress even more progressive.

Glance anywhere in Doha and there is one uniform feature that remains constant throughout the landscape — construction is everywhere, in one form another, as far as eye can see! Urban development and progress are more than just mere terms in Qatar’s environment yet sustainability is striving hard to become more than just a cliched term.

That Qatar is developing by leaps and bounds, there is no doubt! What remains to be seen is whether the movement is going forward in the targeted direction with desired results achievable at the expected time. What also remains to be seen is whether urban development and sustainability can have a lasting marriage in the Qatari landscape and a genuine commitment to each other will be far more important than mere intention.

One amongst the many germs of progressive ideas floating is the study of Urban Development and Sustainability at Qatar University’s Department of Architecture and Urban Planning.

While a few years ago the concept of working towards recycling plastic, glass and aluminum was gaining momentum in the international arena, followed by the trend towards ‘going green’ and ‘Green building’, the world has progressed way beyond to now ‘thinking in systems’ to address the current needs and tackle the pace at which the planet is needing corrective measures.

Just ‘going green’ is no longer cool, the new buzz word is Blue! “Blue Design” creates places that go beyond Carbon Neutrality and add back to our world, in a new symbiosis between buildings and landscapes.

Symbiosis is the interaction and mutually beneficial relationship between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.

Read more of this article from the Gulf Times in Qatar

June 8, 2013 |
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