Phillip Torrone answers your questions

September 5th, 2004, [Phillip Torrone] posts the very first article on a new site called He designed our logo, forged our identity, and then moved on to help shape many other hacker friendly groups including Make magazine, and Adafruit technologies.

We’re going to be interviewing him once we’ve compiled a decent list of questions. We’ve got a few of our own, but we really want to get yours to him. Leave your questions in the comments and we’ll compile the most popular to send along.

[image via Wired]


  1. SexieWASD says:

    It’s really only been since 04? It seams like I grew up reading hackaday!

  2. alankilian says:

    How do you feel when comments posted are nasty, negative downers rather than encouraging, positive suggestions?

  3. stephendotexe says:

    What are the inspirations that got you into hacking in the first place? Are there any cool hacks you’d like to someday pull off but don’t have the time or resources to do them? Do you forsee DIY hacking to change in the next 10, 20, or 30 years? If so, what do you see? Thanks!

  4. M4CGYV3R says:

    What is your favorite type of wire?

    I’m partial to the trusty copper 22AWG solid-core, but everyone seems to have their own prefs.

  5. Matt says:

    What obstacles do you encounter most frequently in your projects?

  6. Physics_Dude says:

    When and how did you relies your interest for all things related to electronics?

  7. Physics_Dude says:

    When and how did you realise your interest for all things related to electronics?

  8. knuckles904 says:

    How do you define a “Hack”

  9. Physics_Dude says:

    When did you first discover what a maker was? What was it like back then?

    Ps. Double post at 4:58pm, plz fix.

  10. Reggie says:

    How did it feel when you started dev’ing on your first arduino? How about the release of the arduino uno?

  11. Pix3l the B1t says:

    What were your ambitions for this website when you first created it?

  12. Is that an arduino with a shiel attached in the picture?

  13. macw says:

    @hekilledmywire — it’s the Wave Shield from adafruit. I know this because I have one in front of me right at this moment…definitely the cheapest way to get half-decent audio (and 5 hours of it!) on an Arduino.

    Philip: what can you say about the ‘old guard’ type of commenters on here — those who shoot down every hack with something like “pff, I could do that with three capacitors and some pencil-lead resistors”? Do you think it helps keep the quality of accepted submissions high, or do you think it just has a chilling effect?

  14. bluewraith says:

    For those looking to go back to the beginning and read a lot of the older articles, just got to page 637.

    Note for future visitors.. as stories get added, the page number will increase.

  15. nave.notnilc says:

    why did you start the site, and how much time did you put into it?

  16. cde says:

    Why did you abandon us like so much useless consumer products? Why did you leave us in the hands of this current bunch? WHY!!!???

  17. Volkemon says:

    @PT- WHAT did you finally hack that has a smile on your face? ;) I have teased you for years on your ‘straight faced’ pics, good to see you almost gleeful.

    Seriously, all the best in this go.

  18. fluidic says:

    Given a typical electronics workbench and a room full of common consumer electronics to salvage parts from, how would you defend against the zombie horde that’s massing outside the building?

  19. d3c4f says:

    Any specific favorite hacks?

  20. mjrippe says:

    What role do you think the internet has played in [what I see as] the recent widespread interest in hacking/making?

  21. Robert says:

    Not to get too personal, but “What is the deal with you and Lady Ada? Are you an item? Just sharing an apartment? What gives?”

  22. Philip says:

    When I was growing up I read a book you helped write, Flash Enabled. I subsequently dove into learning flash and interaction and followed you through to Make: and so on. Since then, flash has only become more powerful, but it’s also gained a large group of detractors who question its openness and general direction as well as other issues, some more warranted than others. My question is, what do you see as todays most hackable languages, platforms, and most promising technologies to send young people towards a passion for creative hacking and making and how do they promote the concepts of openness, sharing, creativity, and design.

  23. Drone says:

    Question to HaD…

    “Leave your question in the comments and we’ll compile the most popular to send along.”

    How do you know which questions are “the most popular”? Questions already asked are not going to be asked again, so it’s not the number of times a question gets asked. You have no way of telling how many times a question gets read; or which questions most readers find popular.

    So this should really read, “Leave your questions in the comments and HaD will decide which ones to send along.”

    Notice I even had to correct the grammar in the original sentence. Sheesh…

  24. CanDroid says:

    If someone wanted to learn as much as possible about electronics, to go from being a novice to being capable of completing their own project ideas, what path of topics should they study? Could you recommend a progression of books that you would recommend a novice to read to become competent?

  25. samuel says:

    Are you and Limor dating?

  26. gottabethatguy says:

    Do you still follow the site and if so how do you feel about the direction it has taken recently?

  27. Sean says:

    In terms of prototyping, how do you recommend a hacker with a low budget maintain enough stock in electronic components so that they don’t have to process an internet order for each project they are trying to make? In other words, which electronic components do you consider most vital to making new designs and how do you go about procuring them?

  28. Abdul H Hamdy says:

    How are you so cool without the need for regular warm-ups?

  29. Malikaii says:

    Sean, the answer to this question is pretty easy. There are 2 HUGE resources for used electronics from which to scavenge. First, there are the electronics surplus stores. These places catch the surplus from offices and industrial places before going to the dump, and sell it for peanuts. Then there is There is a freecycle for almost every locale. Go check it out. You’ll have to strip the components yourself, though…

  30. ayo says:

    the bones have softened during processing, and are edible

  31. @fluidic

    I also think that same question (repeated in paraphrase here)

    If you were in a room with any tools and parts/salvage bins, how would you defend yourself against the Zombie Horde??

  32. s says:

    Do you foresee that the (forced sometimes)trend in some of the big technological industries along the past years to be more hacker friendly will continue at this pace, incresase/decrease in the future?

  33. Branno says:

    Speaking for the rest of the beginner hackers out there, do you have any suggestions for projects or just general suggestions to help us get into this stuff and build our skills? It can sometimes be a little intimidating for the uninitiated.

  34. Julius says:

    What is your most outstanding hack you ever could lay your hands on?

  35. Piku says:

    Tea or coffee?

  36. mowcius says:

    “Tea or coffee?”

    What are your opinions on the state of consumer electronics in today’s society?
    Do you own in iPod?

  37. Haku says:

    Solder – leaded or unleaded?

  38. nes says:

    @Sean: Tim Hunkin has some useful tips on sourcing components here (contacts are a bit UK specific though):

    The whole site makes fascinating reading if you’ve got a few hours to spare one day.

  39. smoker_dave says:

    1. Do you always have an urge to hack / create something or do you suffer from periods of something similar to “writers block”?

    And kind of a follow up question:

    2. Where do you find your best sources of inspiration? (Maybe watching TV, after a few beers, on the toilet?).

  40. smoker_dave says:

    A few more:

    3. What has been the most enjoyable hack you have worked on from a personal point of view (the most rewarding).

    4. What has been the most useful hack you have worked on from another persons point of view. Maybe some kind of technology that helps people or improves someones quality of life.

    5. Hardware or software?

  41. smoker_dave says:

    6. Have any of your hacks lead to commercial success? If so you can expand with experiences of taking it to market.

  42. Grovenstien says:

    How do you think hacking technology has, does and will affect us in the past, present and future?

  43. Dr. Nefario says:

    What would you say to someone new to this scene?

  44. skab says:

    Have you ever eaten yourself?

  45. Ryan says:

    We are all busy people, so what projects have you had floating around in your head that you just can’t get enough time to work on?

    And how do you manage your time for all the various things going on around you?

  46. ral says:

    Do you have favorite “specialty” tools? I’m quite partial to the Stripmaster wire strippers by Ideal.

  47. Glenn says:

    What are your top three favorite tools when working on something?

    What are the top three (affordable) tools you would recommend a newcomer to get so they can get the best start into this field?

    Please explain why with each item.

    And, you’re bumping uglies with Limor? Right? Amirite? Just kidding, you don’t have to ask that one.

  48. gottabethatguy says:

    Linux or windows?

  49. siddharth tyagi says:

    is thereany way to install android apps on symbian or any native symbian shell which can run on symbian and let android iphone apps run on it .


  50. OXiD says:

    Why did you left HaD?
    Will you be coming back, and post Real Hacks?

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