When Make: Electronics was published about five years ago, it was widely hailed as the greatest book about learning electronics ever written. With beautiful photos, easy-to-read schematics, clear, jargon-free text, and dozens and dozens of fun and educational projects, author/illustrator Charles Platt made a book that has ended up in every makerspace and library I've visited.
A few weeks ago the Second Edition of Make: Electronics came out, and it's even better than the first edition. Charles rewrote the text, replaced the photos of breadboarded circuits with diagrams showing component placement, included new projects, added new photographs with a ruled background to indicate the scale of tools and components, and included a chapter on Arduino.
This is the book to get if you want to learn electronics.
(Disclosure, I was Charles' editor when I was editor-in-chief of MAKE) Read the rest
Amid growing fears about safety and security risks from unauthorized drone flights, federal regulators say they plan to require pretty much all recreational drones in the U.S. to be registered.
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Kevin Kelly and I had a great time talking to Limor Fried, an MIT engineer and the founder of Adafruit, a one-stop shop for makers to buy electronics kits and components as well as learn and share ideas related to electronics prototyping. Limor told us about the giant pick-and-place and stencil printers she uses at Adafruit to make her kits at her New York City factory.
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(CC Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch) Read the rest
The Exploratorium's Tinkering Studio has a nice tutorial on how to make tiaras/copper crowns with copper wire, solder, batteries, and LEDs.
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If only all computer interfaces were as gloriously sci-fi as this excellent "DIY Overhead Control Panel" hand-built by a maker called Smashcuts. It features a slew of LEDs and 100 programmable buttons and switches that activate shortcuts on his PC, open apps, control volume and screen preferences, etc. Read the rest
Here's episode 6 of Circuit Playground, a charming show that teaches kids about electricity. It's produced by our friends at Adafruit. In this episode, Ladyada teaches Adabot about electrical grounding.
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For three years, makers have hacked together some terrific and janky DIY Raspberry Pi cases (like these). Finally, Ebon Upton and the Raspberry Pi Foundation have produced their own official Raspberry Pi case. Read the rest
When electronics retailer Radio Shack filed for bankruptcy, the chain proposed selling customers' personal data to raise cash and repay creditors. That's not gonna happen, and the news is seen as a win for the right to privacy. Read the rest
When I was one of the editors at Make: Books, one of the projects I was proudest to have helped conceive of and edit was Charles Platt’s Make: Electronics (which has now been a best-seller for years). Growing up being absurdly visual and suffering from mild dyslexia, I found it incredibly difficult to learn electronics using the books of the day. They were usually very poorly written, with bad editing, dark and dreary photos, and crude diagrams. Forrest Mims’ 1983 Getting Started in Electronics, beautifully hand-drawn on graph paper, with succinct and clear text and playful examples, was a revelation to me.
For Make: Electronics we wanted to create a Getting Started for the early 21st century – well-written, beautifully photographed and illustrated, and in high-quality, full-color. Charles Platt and Make: delivered on that promise, in spades, with Make: Electronics and its follow-up volume, Make: More Electronics. And Charles continues to knock it out of the park with Encyclopedia of Electronic Components, currently in two volumes, with a third on the way.
Volume 1 covers batteries, power supplies, motors, resistors, capacitors, inductors, switches, encoders, relays, diodes, transistors, and more. Each entry describes what it does, how it works, variants on the component, how to use it, and what can go wrong with it. Each entry is illustrated with well-shot photos (the components are shot on a graph paper background, so you can get some idea of their size), charts and graphs, and cut-away diagrams. The writing is very approachable while not shying away from technical rigor. Read the rest
Mike Harrison has been experimenting with tiny flexible LED filaments found in LED bulbs that mimic incandescent bulbs. He came up with this cool light cube and a very bright clock display. Read the rest
Charles Platt shows you how to build a noise-detecting siren that stuns rude shouters into silence.
[Video Link] Amanda Wozniak hosts the latest Circuit Playground video, which is about the diode, a common and useful electronic component.
The videos are based on the A-Z coloring book that Adafruit Industries published last year. So far, they've released 3 episodes: A is for Ampere, B is for Battery, and the latest, C is for Capacitor. Read the rest
Circuit Playground is a cute and informative video series created to teach kids (and everyone else) about electronics. The videos are based on the A-Z coloring book that Adafruit Industries published last year. So far, they've released 3 episodes: A is for Ampere, B is for Battery, and the latest, C is for Capacitor. I learned quite a bit by watching them.
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Joshua Lifton is one of the founders of Crowd Supply, a company that crowdfunds around products. They take a very different approach to preparation, funding, and follow-up than Kickstarter. Kickstarter just announced that it had crossed $1bn in pledges in its five-year lifetime. Of that, it's disbursed nearly $850m. It's on track to facilitate perhaps half a billion in 2014 alone.
The name Kickstarter may be used interchangeably with the term crowdfunding, and it is the 800 lb. gorilla in the space. (Watch out for the shipping charges on that gorilla, especially internationally.) But in its wake, hundreds of millions of dollars are being raised from all sorts of other sites which fill in important aspects of ecosystem, and Crowd Supply is one of them.
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Mailchimp helps more than five million people and businesses around the world use MailChimp to send email newsletters. They sent 70 billion messages on their behalf in 2013! They also have hats for cats and small dogs. Read the rest
John Twells tallies the synthesizers that shaped modern music
. tl;dr: Minimoog, Odyssey, Prophet-5, Fairlight, PPG Wave, Juno, Yamaha's CS-80 and DX7, and Korg's MS-20, M1 and Triton. Oh, yes, and Roland's 303 and 101. [via MeFi
, where a good tally of travestatious omissions accrues] Read the rest
Phil Torrone from Adafruit sez, "Collin's Lab: Multimeters! The multimeter is your greatest ally when working with electronics. Learn how to measure voltage, resistance, current, & continuity - as well as which meter works best for specific tasks. Here are the previous episodes."
Collin's Lab: Multimeters
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I learned resistor color code values as a kid by memorizing a racist mnemonic that a friend taught me. Today, there's a much better way. It's an app called Mho's Resistance, and it was created by our friends at Adafruit Industries!
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