Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: I Fell Down

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  • Paul Campbell, in reply to David Haywood,

    That’s exactly what I was after six (my God time goes so quickly) years ago – thank you so much! Bob and I will need to make some PCBs later this year so that information is super-helpful.

    Has Bob learned to solder yet? if not I'll send you a kit (mail me at paul@taniwha.com) we're teaching 8-13yr olds (8 kids an hour at a time) at the local Hive MakerPartys we're putting on locally.

    I'm also giving away cheap Arduino based electronics kits to local (Dunedin) kids - let me know if you think Bob is up to this:

    http://www.moonbaseotago.com/dunedin-arduino/

    learning to learn by screwing up is an important skill!

    I’ve done plenty of learning when designing PCBs then. My speciality for many years was somehow always forgetting a pull-down (or pull-up) resister somewhere on the board…

    Actually I was thinking more of Bob :-) learning to not get discouraged and try and debug and fix things when they don't work is an important life skill

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    learning to not get discouraged and try and debug and fix things when they don’t work is an important life skill

    I'm an occasional woodworker and one of the most powerful lessons was learning how to fix mistakes in wood. It turns out that woodworking books are full of neat tips for fixing things you get wrong. Something that teaches you a) everyone screws up and b) you can almost always fix wood and nobody will ever know you made a mistake - unless it's on u-tube :).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to ,

    I'm stuck! my layout is a rats nest

    Heh. I work with someone who describes himself as "a professional connect-the-dots player" because he designs circuit boards. It can get pretty nasty when you get up past 3 layer boards with fast chips so it's all about the RF. I feel happy that my little 2 and 3 layer boards have all worked after only a couple of prototypes. I have been known to underclock and stack to test, BTW, it does work but really only helps if you're making your boards in-house (why order 3 boards that have to be stacked when that's often more expensive than a single multi-layer board)

    The frustration thing is real, I have a 10x8 LED array that is utterly beyond me, I've spent the 3-4 hours debugging that I can deal with so now it's in the "too hard" bin. And I really should sell off some of the project stuff I have that I'm not ever going to use. Hmm. If Bob likes the Arduino I have a big honking array of LEDs that can be driven by one and look very pretty... if I needed that.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to ,

    not looking, even for Morphine. Bad things happen when makers start playing with musical instruments. A friend who has a wee factory making carbon fibre stuff for money has starting "recreationally" making carbon fibre musical instruments. I mean, they're very nice instruments, but musicians are not notoriously a large crowd of people able to pay thousands of dollars for nicer instruments. Some of them, sure, but not a paying market worth.

    Also, my musical abilities are limited to hating pianos and singing in the shower :)

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to ,

    I’m stuck! my layout is a rats nest and I’ve been up till 3am trying resolve this puzzle:-) it’s like being stuck in a maze :-) would it be cheating if I used zoro ohm resisters as bridges to get me over to the earth side? :-)

    No - we actually do that for the commercial stuff I design, sometimes a few surface mount 0 ohm resistors are cheaper than paying for a 2-layer board (especially if you're make 100,000).

    However 2-layer proto boards with plated through holes are cheap - the $14 for 10 boards mention above include them - we use 'vias' which means a drilled hole connects a top trace to the bottom one. If you're making your own boards the step from single sided to dual sided is a big one, if you're getting someone else to make them the cost saving is pretty minor unless you have a high volume

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Steven Crawford wrote:

    would it be cheating if I used zero ohm resisters as bridges to get me over to the earth side?

    I've certainly done many more inelegant things than that to make a circuit board work, Steven!

    Paul Campbell wrote:

    Has Bob learned to solder yet?

    Yes, he has! He's still on the learning curve (has a tendency to cook things) but doing okay.

    I’m also giving away cheap Arduino based electronics kits to local (Dunedin) kids – let me know if you think Bob is up to this:

    http://www.moonbaseotago.com/dunedin-arduino/

    Gosh what a great idea to do that, Paul -- good on you!

    I have to say that your kits might be ideal for Bob. He's been given a simple board for kids by his uncle that can be programmed using scratch (and can do quite sophisticated things), but it doesn't require the use of any analogue electronics. Your kit would provide Bob with the next practical step into using transistors, diodes, etc. I'll email you, Paul -- would be keen to make a donation.

    ... learning to not get discouraged and try and debug and fix things when they don’t work is an important life skill

    You certainly won't get any argument from me on that, Paul...

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to ,

    The thing I like about making the one offs on the mill is the potential to make them look aesthetically cool. I like the possibility of making steam punk hybridised electronics ( I’m thinking out load now ). You know how the mackintosh computer showed its inner workings during the company comeback when they first introduced the eMac. It’s was like the Victorian machinery that wore there cogs on the outside with pride.

    Oh and that's a great way to do it that way - I was more addressing the question of how to deal with topoligical stuff that requires you to step slightly into the 3rd dimension (be it vias, jumpers or 0-ohm resistors)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to ,

    And the of economics of scale is an interesting dilemma when we talk about small electronics. It’s cheaper to have them produced offshore, but it’s more rewarding to make them at home. But that also depends a lot on what part of the process the maker is most interested in. I’m probably out on the fringe a bit – trying to converge my spanner as a hammer engineering with my provincial art.

    Yeah, it is a dilemma - it would be cool to make everything here, but we can't do that and be competitive (it's worse than that we can't even ship stuff competitively from here) - I think the best we can do is to make stuff in China, sell to the world, ship from China, and bring the profits home - which is still better than not doing it at all.

    Actual manufacturing is, well, boring, I have a cheap pick&place machine, I do occasional (very) small manufacturing runs, it stops being fun fast. On the other hand visiting Shenzhen and hanging out with the growing western hardware hacker communitity is a lot of fun (well except for that whole Legionaires' thing).

    Mostly though I guess the thing I'm trying to get over to kids (and adults) is that electronics (and other consumer stuff) doesn't have to be just something that is made somewhere else by other people, we can design it here, prototype it here, build it and sell on the word stage

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to ,

    we share our space with a bunch of other groups, one is doing DIY electric car conversions - take a perfectl;y good car with a dud engine, rip it out, lock the gears in 2nd, bodge in an electric motor, spread some batteries around the empty spaces

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Actual manufacturing is, well, boring, I have a cheap pick&place machine, I do occasional (very) small manufacturing runs, it stops being fun fast. On the other hand visiting Shenzhen and hanging out with the growing western hardware hacker communitity is a lot of fun (well except for that whole Legionaires' thing).

    Mostly though I guess the thing I'm trying to get over to kids (and adults) is that electronics (and other consumer stuff) doesn't have to be just something that is made somewhere else by other people, we can design it here, prototype it here, build it and sell on the word stage

    On the other hand, assembling widgets has traditionally been a ladder of opportunity for those who've never won the social lottery of privilege. Now, credentialism is king thanks to the Wild-Westernisation of the labour market, among other factors.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    On the other hand, assembling widgets has traditionally been a ladder of opportunity for those who’ve never won the social lottery of privilege. Now, credentialism is king thanks to the Wild-Westernisation of the labour market, among other factors.

    I agree, but whether we like or not we're playing in an international market, ....

    The way I see it those of us in the West have a lot of privilege, we've built a civilisation on the backs of exploiting the 3rd world, I think it's time we shared the wealth. To me the big advantage of free trade, the one that no one ever mentions, is the long term leveling of the world economy, you see it now in China with a burgeoning middle class, in China they're already complaining about jobs going to Vietnam and India, China is working seriously in Africa, it will get there eventually.

    Of course if you level the world economies and bring up the standard of living of the poorest of the poor you're also going to bring down the standard of living of the richest countries - we see that as manufacturing jobs moving overseas ... but it's that growing Chinese middle class that's buying our milk .

    It may take another 100 years or so but I see this as a step towards a more equitable and safer world, and yes those of us in the West will not end up financially better off, we can ameliorate that if we do something about all that capital going to the 1% .... let's start with a capital gains tax - you shouldn't pay less tax on flipping a house than digging a ditch

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    The way I see it those of us in the West have a lot of privilege, we've built a civilisation on the backs of exploiting the 3rd world, I think it's time we shared the wealth.

    I guess the late Australian Ken Morley was driven by similar sentiments when he befriended the young Jack Ma on a visit to provincial Hangzhou in 1985. An avowed lifelong socialist, Morley shouted Ma his first overseas trip and, thanks to a generous cash gift, enabled him to buy his first humble apartment in China. These days Alibaba founder Ma vies for top spot among China's 50-plus billionaires.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I've always thought the way that Key keeps snuggling up to Ma is quite cute, AliBaba (and more important Táobǎo) is open to everyone, Key doesn't need to do some special thing to get access for NZ products .... all it takes is someone with a laptop, and a good Mandarin speaker (which you need to do biz in China anyway) - makes a good PR snap I guess, makes it look like he's doing something

    What Ma has done is quite enabling - he's provided a way for small Chinese businesses to market stuff to the world - walk through the electronics markets in Shenzhen late in the day, suddenly all you can hear is the ripping of that ubiquitous Chinese yellow packing tape - everyone's fufilling their daily AliExpress/Táobǎo orders.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I've always thought the way that Key keeps snuggling up to Ma is quite cute...

    Perhaps he'll flog DOC off to Jack Ma. Maggie would love the photo op.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    It may take another 100 years or so but I see this as a step towards a more equitable and safer world, and yes those of us in the West will not end up financially better off, we can ameliorate that if we do something about all that capital going to the 1% .... let's start with a capital gains tax - you shouldn't pay less tax on flipping a house than digging a ditch

    Globalisation and mechanisation in themselves aren't the problem, it's the bulk of the gains from the aforementioned going to the rentier hyperclass.

    Sadly, the rentier hyperclass have basically opted out of civil society by hiding behind gated communities, and hiding their hoard in places like the Caymans or Panama. And sadder still, it may take another Great Depression or WW2-grade crisis to shake the existing orthodoxy.

    Another factor weakening living standards in the West, especially English-speaking ones, is the rentierisation of many public goods and utilities. Is it any wonder that those angry at being left out of the gains have been warming to the likes of Trump, Sanders, Farage and Corbyn?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

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