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The Gadget Itch Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, May 1, 2014 8:43 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Gadget Itch






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Post #1566906
Posted Friday, May 2, 2014 12:54 AM


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I am far from being good with my hands. Although I have improved over the years.

At college our computing course split into a business stream and a software engineering stream. The business stream did Cobol, more advanced accounting, management etc. whereas the software engineering did assembler, C, electronics, software engineering principles and such like. Naturally, I opted for the software engineering stream with a slight trepidation towards the electronics.

I missed the first electronics lab and before the lecturer turned up at the second I was shown this tool with a vacuum cleaner function by one of my peers. I jokingly made out to vacuum one of the other kids heads. Everyone laughed. I actually "vacuumed" his scalped. Everyone laughed even more. The kid cried out saying things that didn't add up until a friend tapped me on my should and whispered in my ear "You do know that is a soldering iron don't you?". Oops.

So back to the question: What would you build if you had a parts list like this one?

That is easy: I would join an enthusiastic team and help with the coding but leave the hardware (and any soldering!!!) to them.


Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
Post #1566941
Posted Friday, May 2, 2014 4:52 AM
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I like the idea of "a hacking competition across a couple hours at a SQL Saturday or conference.". As part of performance tuning courses we used to corrupt the students database on the last day. Their final task was to fix the corruption. Another one was to have a poorly performing database with a few tables and stored procs and give participants 30 minutes to do all the tuning that they could. Its all fun, but also interesting to watch how different people approach problems.


Post #1566983
Posted Friday, May 2, 2014 5:21 AM
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The last thing I built was using Arduino, a GSM shield and relay. It acts as as an override to turn the central heating on with a text message / sms. The next stage is to add an LCD and some push button switches to create a module to replace the existing time switch.
Post #1566991
Posted Friday, May 2, 2014 5:27 AM
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I thought this could all be done now with 3D printers.
Jokes aside, I recently saw a CNN special where they showed how to create a very sophisticated artificial limb for an African boy who had lost both his arms in a civil uprising.
And it was done with a 3D printer.
He couldn't play tennis with this arm but he was able to go through the normal motions of eating from a plate with a fork - including picking up bread crumbs from the table with the artificial fingers.
I was truly flabbergasted.
Post #1566993
Posted Friday, May 2, 2014 6:24 AM
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Given these parts there's a quite few projects I could build: remote weather station, quiz show type game with wireless remotes, various robots, reverse GPS cache, network indicator, simple to complex calculators, various communication devices/remotes/radios, environment monitoring, etc...

But then again I've soldered since the age of ten, I'm amateur radio operator, was trained in the military for electronics, went to the university in the field, have worked the "full-stack" from semiconductors to systems. This stuff is my passion outside of work.



Post #1567003
Posted Friday, May 2, 2014 6:58 AM


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I'm sure I'm in the minority with my perspective. I love SQL Server - learning how it works, why it does what it does, how to make it hum, etc. However, if I'm not working with SQL, I generally stay away from the latest technological trends. I wouldn't even have a cell phone if I didn't have to be on call. I already spend half my life working with SQL, I'd rather spend the other half fishing, hunting, playing sports, and just spending time with the family. Maybe once my kids get older, if they take an interest in technology I'll pay a little more attention. So unless that parts list can be used to build a new fishing pole (doubtful), it'll be sitting at home while I'm out on the lake!
Post #1567015
Posted Friday, May 2, 2014 7:15 AM


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david.gugg (5/2/2014)
I'm sure I'm in the minority with my perspective. I love SQL Server - learning how it works, why it does what it does, how to make it hum, etc. However, if I'm not working with SQL, I generally stay away from the latest technological trends. I wouldn't even have a cell phone if I didn't have to be on call. I already spend half my life working with SQL, I'd rather spend the other half fishing, hunting, playing sports, and just spending time with the family. Maybe once my kids get older, if they take an interest in technology I'll pay a little more attention. So unless that parts list can be used to build a new fishing pole (doubtful), it'll be sitting at home while I'm out on the lake!


Perhaps the minority isn't that small. I could have followed my Father, an inventor/engineer, and worked more with my hands. However, I've always been more interested in ideas than things. I leave the gadgets, which come and go, to those that are turned on by them. However, give me a good algorithm to find, or a puzzle to solve, and I can get lost in it for hours/days. I'm glad there are people that like getting dirty building things. But, I'd rather work with data and more abstract things.


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Post #1567022
Posted Friday, May 2, 2014 7:47 AM
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I have been in application and SQL development for many years. I got interested in robotics a couple of years ago and wrote some simple C# programs, Wi-Fi... using Lego Mindstorm robotics kit. It was fun but after a while I really wanted to build a robot from scratch and use my programing skills. The issue, I didn't know a multimeter from an ohm.

If you are a newbie to electronics, can write software, and really want to get into things like the Raspberry PI, you'll need to learn the fundamentals of electronics. This can be overwhelming proposition when just starting out. I bought a book Make: Electronics by Charles Platt. You'll be integrating software and hardware and understanding electronics in just weeks. This is a hands on hands-on book. You will be able to eventually use any of the things on the parts list.
Post #1567033
Posted Friday, May 2, 2014 10:28 AM
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A friend of mine recently made a wireless device to light up and make a sound when he hit a target on the shooting range.

It was interesting to see him go from idea to working device. It was a process similar to what I go through when programming.

Yesterday was the 50th birthday of BASIC. I think I will write a BASIC program at work today.
Post #1567111
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