An in depth interview with [Jeri Ellsworth] about everything

Here’s an interesting interview with [Jeri Ellsworth] over at the Jenessee Network. Usually the interviews I see popup with people are fairly short and sweet but this one really delves into many subjects and takes its time to explore. They start off talking about how [Jeri] began with hacking, which was literally smashing toys “with rocks” to see what was inside. They move on to discuss her adventures in building a race car, and then racing it as a teen… as an act of defiance.

In case you didn’t know, [Jeri] has been full time at Valve for about a year. Much of the discussion focuses on this from about 20 minutes in. She doesn’t hold back on information about what her daily life is like at valve as well as her experience during the hiring process. An interesting fact is that she didn’t initially recognize the name “Valve” and ignored them for a while. She does admit that if they had mentioned portal she would have paid a little more attention.

I was unaware that she had a side job putting the overflow of pinball machines she aquires into bars. When she moved to valve, she shut down that business, but she’s been flooding the halls with pinball machines, much to the enjoyment of the older folks.

An interview with Laen (the force behind Dorkbot PDX)

[PT] recently interviewed [Laen], the man who makes it cheap and easy for hobbiests to have small PCBs manufactured. He created Dorkbot PDX’s PCB group order, a rapid turn PCB service which we see used in projects all the time (pretty much any purple PCB has gone through [Laen]).

Turns out his real name is [James Neal]. He’s a sysadmin by trade but deals in recreational circuitry at night. We were surprised to learn that the service has been rebranded. Its new name is OSH Park and it’s got a purple website with a new submission system. In the interview he discusses the genesis of the service. Inspired by a group parts order (that’s a mouthful!) with other hackers in Portland he saw a need for boards on which to mount them. The service has grown so much that he was spending 2-4 hours per night panelizing the designs. He made the wise choice to include an automated submission service in the new website that takes care of most of this work for him.

The rest of the interview spans a large range of topics. [Laen] shares his feelings on getting the boards manufactured domestically. He speaks briefly on the future of the service, and riffs on why open source hardware has value to him.

Interview: [Vladimir Demin] the creator of the player guitar

We have been amazed by [Vladimir Demin]‘s work twice now. Originally, with his automatic Bayan, and more recently with his amazing automatic guitar. What you didn’t get to see was how pleasant ant fun [Valdimir] was in his email correspondence with us. You will get a chance though, because [Vladimir] agreed to answer some questions for us in an impromptu email interview. Join us after the break to get to know this fascinating gentleman a little bit better.

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An interview with [Justin Gray]

When it comes to the subject of hacking, we all have different ideas of what is the coolest. Some prefer bits and solder, some prefer hammers and fire.  [Justin Gray] has built a name for himself doing a broad mixture of the two. Mainly known for his fire sculpture bots, [justin] also has a fab shop where he builds electric motorcycles.

Make magazine recently did a fun interview with some great pictures that show a little bit of [justin's] work.

Justin’s advice for aspiring hackers:

9. What advice do you have for young makers who are inspired by your work?
I think that people who are inspired my work should decide to build and be committed to build and stop listening to the people who insist on going the normal route in life. For kids, keep playing, keep imagining, keep painting and making art.

Join us after the break to see a little bit of robot demolition fun.

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[Phil Torrone] interviews [Bunnie Huang] about chumby and more

Over at Make, [Phil Torrone] has done an interview with [Bunnie Huang]. [Bunnie] has been a major contributor to the pages of Hackaday as far back as we can remember. He started in 2002 hacking X-boxes and sharing his findings with the world. It is this sharing that makes [Bunnie] stand out. He has always shared all his findings and pushed for open source wherever it would fit. We recently discussed how Chumby, a project to which [Bunnie] contributed is coming to an end. In this interview, he talks about what the future holds for himself and how he plans to spend his time. Most interestingly, he plans on spending a year just building things he’s wanted to see built. Be sure to check out the interview to see what he’s already accomplished.

An EEWeb Interview with Todd Harrison

Although Todd Harrison could be one of many of our readers (and most of our writers), it was nice to see one of “us” featured in [EEWeb]. [HAD] has featured him before in posts such as this recent one about replacing solder tab batteries.

What may be interesting to many is that soon after [Todd] graduated he took a job as a computer programmer, but like many other part-time makers, he still had the need to physically create and modify things. This article goes over some of his preferred tools, as well as some of the various projects that he’s done or is working on now.

In the article, [Todd] goes over what he sees as the biggest challenges to inspiring new generations of engineers. One of these is that circuitry is increasingly locked down and are not easily tinkered with. Without exploring how things work, his view is that fewer will be inspired to go into engineering. Although there is certainly some validity to his point, as some doors close, others hopefully will open. The accessible learning environment of the Internet, open source resources, and many maker-friendly materials like the Arduino should help to fill in the gaps.

For more information, [Todd] also has his own blog, Toddfun.com, which features his projects.

An Interview With Bre Pettis, Founder of MakerBot Industries

For those of you that don’t know, the Makerbot is a 3D printer created by Bre Pettis. It is probably the best-known 3D printer that you can buy at a price point meant for the hobbyist. Although this article doesn’t go into how the MakerBot is made, it focuses instead about the business itself and the man behind it. Bre was a hobbyist maker just like many of our readers, but decided to turn his passion into a successful business.

Although not all businesses are a success, Bre has made quite a start at becoming one. His company now employs 50 people and is currently hiring (like this posting for a “Web Warrior”) and has just secured $10 million in venture capital funding! Check out the full interview for all the details. It may inspire others to go from “hobby maker” to “professional.”

For other 3D printing-related posts, check out this one about the RepRap printer which is capable of replicating itself. For other ways to make your own parts, this rotomold machine may be of interest or this semi-DIY CNC router.