Selfstarter an alternative to Kickstarter

Rejected by Kickstarter? 'Roll your own' with Selfstarter instead
by Katherine Noyes via PC World

There's been no shortage of controversy surrounding Kickstarter this year as the crowdfunding platform has gained popularity, prompting the institution of new rules and belt-tightening measures in recent months.

Now, however, there's a brand-new alternative: Meet Selfstarter, an open source platform that lets anyone “roll their own” crowdfunding effort by simply forking its code.

“Hardware startups are less welcome on Kickstarter than they were six months ago,” explains the Selfstarter project. “We needed to roll our own Kickstarter, so we did. Other hardware startups probably will too, so we made it easier for them by open sourcing our way of doing it.”

$1 million and counting

As pointed out in a Friday story on The H, Selfstarter was actually launched by the creators of Lockitron, a keyless entry system that's operated via mobile app. Lockitron itself was rejected by Kickstarter recently, inspiring its creators to make their own crowdfunding site and hope for the best.

Though Lockitron's funding goal was just $150,000, it surpassed $1 million in preorders within just a few days. As of today, it is approaching $2 million in funding.

Now, the technology that made Lockitron's success possible is available to anyone with a product idea of their own.

Set up for Amazon Payments

Selfstarter's code is available for anyone's use on GitHub along with instructions for getting started. By downloading the code, users get a rudimentary site to which they can add their own authentication, administration, and product management code.

Based on Ruby on Rails, the software delivers a site just like what Lockitron used, and it comes set up to collect reservations using Amazon Payments--users need only create an Amazon Seller Central account. They can, however, choose a different provider instead. Selfstarter recommends Stripe or WePay as good alternatives.

Perhaps best of all, Selfstarter is free to use and can be customized to your heart's content.

Have a great product idea? Rather than jump immediately to Kickstarter--or even Crowdtilt, another alternative that launched earlier this year--it might be worth taking a moment to check Selfstarter out.

Octopart Video Tutorial

via Octopart
Octopart tutorial video: an introduction of the site's basic features. 

A soldiers new atomic clock


Military​.com is running an an item that reports that the U.S. Army has begun the final phase for manufacturing a microchip-sized prototype that will support efforts to provide highly accurate location and battlefield situational awareness for the dismounted soldier, even in the temporary absence of GPS capability.

The goal is to provide complete atomic clock capabilities for weapons, weapon systems and the dismounted Soldier, and to do this with low power and drastically reduced cost, noted John Del Colliano, chief for the Positioning, Navigation and Timing branch of CERDEC’s Command, Power & Integration directorate.

“An atomic clock, which is recognized for its accuracy, is used by the military in larger systems; however, the typical atomic clock is large, heavy and requires lots of power. Large systems/platforms like bombers have the advantage of having more power and space to accommodate a full-scale atomic clock, but that’s not true for a Soldier on the battlefield or for munitions being fired,” Del Colliano said.

The chip-scale atomic clock or “CSAC,” which is approximately 15 cubic centimeters, could be integrated into a platform, weapon or a device worn by a soldier and will be completely transparent to the user, said Paul M. Olson, acting associate director, Systems Engineering, for CERDEC CP&I.

“The CSAC is a critical tool for systems that require very accurate time synchronization, such as communication, navigation, radar and weapon systems. When used in conjunction with other sensors, the CSAC can help these systems provide highly accurate location and battlefield SA to units and commanders,” Olson said. “If GPS is disrupted or jammed, a CSAC could provide precise time to the GPS receiver to enable rapid recovery or to protect receivers from GPS spoofing, a condition where false GPS signals are broadcast to fool GPS receivers with erroneous information. The hope is that the Soldier wouldn’t even know that his GPS is being jammed.”