20 Oct 2012, 13:45

E is For Electronics, Other Good Kids' Stuff and What's Next?


#“E is For Electronics, Other Good Kids’ Stuff and What’s Next?”

Limor “Ladyada” Fried of Adafruit has put together a really lovely colouring book called E is for Electronics. It has everything from A-is-for-Ampere to Z-is-for-Zener-Diode. You can buy it online for $10 or just print it off using the booklet setting of your printer. I printed one for our 8 y/o daughter and she is a big fan. I’ve just done another copy our 7 y/o son. I’ll order some as stocking fillers too.

Yesterday I also spotted a really neat set of products over on Sparkfun. They are paper projects like greeting cards and mini “night-lights” that use a conductive pen for the wiring. I’m going to order one today but in the meantime, I have downloaded the PDFs and will do a rough version of the night-light using wire and bits I already have.

This whole idea of Open Source hardware and designs really has me excited. Back in 1994 I built my first ever GCC cross-compiler and compiled an Open Source RTOS. In 1995 I installed Slackware Linux for the first time. That’s when I knew that everything in software was going to change forever. It’s exactly how I feel about hardware and electronics now. In fact, it’s fun to realise I have sort of come full circle in 30 years:

ZX Spectrum -> Electronics in College -> Embedded Software -> The Internet -> The Social Web -> Arduino+RaspberryPi -> The Internet of Things -> ????

So what is “????”? I think is IoT+Social. Everything and everyone network-connected, with all that data being crunched and used real-time, in ways we can’t even guess at yet.

I’ve always loved Mark Zuckerberg’s description of Facebook as “A Social Utility”. I don’t think FB is anywhere near that yet, but one of the big guys like them is going to have to be the enabler, if Social IoT is to work.

Meanwhile I have some spooky eyeballs to make for my daughters for trick-or-treat using LEDs and push-buttons.


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