Hackaday Links: Monday June 13

Tim wrote in to tell us about this simple hack where he replaced the stock button lights with some really cool Blue LEDS on an ’87 BMW. He uses some capacitors, to achieve the effect that it takes a bit for the charge to drain out so the lights stay on for a bit after being turned off.  The lights themselves look really nice, so check out the pic.

Here’s an awesome coffee Table built using a large electrical board. It definitely would look good in anyone’s den, although it most likely has a low wife approval factor (WAF). This is actually based on a “motherboard wall that HAD covered before, but the “coffee table” form probably looks even better.

Finally, after the break is a video of someone washing an interactive art exhibit. Not sure if it qualifies as a hack, but it looks pretty cool to see lights following someone around when he’s washing the screen/window.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IPTcTC9bkY&w=470&h=349%5D

46 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: Monday June 13

  1. You’re right, that does raise a question: What’s the husband approval factor on that table? We really shouldn’t assume that husbands will automatically put up with our choice in furniture.

  2. “bitches be hatin on my sweet table when they should be in the kitchin making me some BLTs”

    i’d say THAT is a ‘more than a little sexist’.

    What do I know though? I’m just a transgendered domestic partner living in a man’s/woman’s world.

  3. Little surprised check the comments and see a few people commenting on the sexist remarks, makes me feel better.

    I don’t think it’s fair the wives are categories as people not into electronics by virtue of the misconception that girls aren’t into electronics. I know plenty of guys who aren’t into electronics and would probably think it was weird or meh if I had something like that in my apartment.

    What’s annoying is that it was just a casual throw away sentence, was it really necessary to begin with?

  4. Wow, really guys? The author has a point about the WAF thing. I understand that it’s a little sexist, but seriously the fact is, most guys DO have to worry about whether their wife will approve of their hacks/sense-of-decor. My electronics class only had 1 woman in it. So yes, MOST women aren’t into electronics. Not ALL, most.

  5. From high-school through university, all of my technology subjects (IT, Electronics, Computer Science) have been one big sausage-fest. Physics was also quite male-dominated, but not as bad as the technology subjects.
    If someone has data to suggest the opposite, or that it’s almost split, I would be interested in seeing it.

  6. Seriously? This much uproar over a psuedo-sexist comment? Perhaps WAF isn’t sexist and you are?

    Do you get offended and defensive for mother’s when someone uses the term ‘SoB’ too?

    The only way to be offended is to allow yourself to be offended. I suggest you all just buck up and go about your lives, trust me, the world isn’t likely to become the non-offensive place you desire it to be anytime soon.

    PS – No link for the LED backlights on the BMW?

  7. Sexism, and most isms for that matter follows the rule of average.

    The average wife attempts to control their spouse through an assortment of means, the degree of which reached is determined by their approval amount.

    Saying something is sexist may be true, however it does not make it incorrect.

  8. @phnx
    I agree that it isn’t very offensive, but maybe it’s a driving force behind this cycle of females disintrested with the subject.

    Females in school have to deal with more peer pressure and a greater desire to “fit in”, so perpetuating the stereotype (which happens to be the norm) might be impeding change, being a second source of alignment for females wanting to fit in.

    Or maybe it has no effect, who knows? I don’t.

  9. Ugh….

    First off, the number of people in a field has NOTHING to do with interest and a lot to do with social stigma.

    I’ve been made fun of for liking electronics before because “it’s not what girls do.” So then I come on here and sure enough, every time there is a hack done by a girl there are ALWAYS comments about how attractive she is despite the fact that I, nor other women on here, feel the need to comment on the attractiveness of male hackers every time they do projects.

    All to end with some sanctimonious jerks who feel they can tell me exactly what sexism is and isn’t and that I should lighten up.

    What to know why EE is such a sausage fest? Because women get annoyed when they’re judged on appearance instead of the quality of their work and no one likes to have things explained to them veerry sloowly because they’re a girl or express shock when you mention you work with electronics because it’s clearly not a woman’s field.

  10. The reason why WAF is sexist is because it presumes that women don’t like electronics and that men do. Or am I missing all of HAF tags in posts?

    Saying that it’s just a true statement because that’s how things are is pointless and tautologically stupid. It’s no different than some politician in the 1800’s saying women are disinterested in politics because there are no women voters.

    While it is true that the lack of women’s interest in electronics isn’t as institutionalized as other things, it IS deeply engrained in society.

    So proclaiming that women aren’t into something because of a longstanding tradition of people saying that women aren’t into something is a giant waste of time and very stupid.

    So yeah John, when people stop making base assumptions about women and using loaded language to support it I guarantee that more women will enter the EE field.

    Sort of like how women are taking the lead in college graduates after the stigma of an educated woman broke post WW2.

  11. Just to clarify, when I mentioned disinterest, I was referring to the lack of people who actually entered the field, not their feelings toward the subject.

    To compare it to women’s suffrage in the 1800s isn’t the same, because in this case women have the choice, but chose not to because of the social stigma(?) and so we gauge their “interest” by participation.

    There are always males commenting on the attractiveness of women in videos on the Internet, regardless of website or subject matter.

    “So proclaiming that women aren’t into something because of a longstanding tradition of people saying that women aren’t into something is a giant waste of time and very stupid.” – Renee
    I guess you mean mentally into something rather than actual participation here. If so, I don’t disagree.

  12. I forgot what we were talking about…

    Oh yeah.

    A blue LED hooked up to a capacitor that fades out when powered off that I can’t read about because the server’s hosed.

    Now you kids settle down and take a nap.

  13. @JeremyC all good… if needed it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out a circuit with a couple LED’s and Cap’s. At least I hope not if someone is trusting themselves to dig into the door of their Beamer.

    @’the declarers of sexism’ well… the ones mentioning peer-pressure and social stigma… And the males have it any easier in those regards? terms such as ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’ are gender independent. However- Males are much more likely to be shown ‘social disapproval from their peer’s’ in a PHYSICAL way.

    I’m just sayin’ ‘harder’ and ‘easier’ are relative terms and not always applicable between comparison groups.

  14. @ phnx Who’s saying harder or easier? Nobody in this thread is talking about that.

    Nor can you just explain away issues of sexism by pointing out that guys are discriminated against too because issues of sexism aren’t built on the assumption that discrimination is a uniquely female problem.

    Nor is it a peer-pressure issue if you assume the peers of women to be other women. All of my issues on the subject have always been because of guys, I’ve never had a problem with other girls not liking or supporting my interests. Not to say that girls are always understanding, this is just my personal sample size.

    So in that respect I see it as more of a social stigma perpetrated casually through language like “WAF”.

    This was a very good article I picked up through Adafruit’s blog: http://blog-aauw.org/2011/04/07/inspired-to-wired/

    Relevant quote:

    women make up only 11 percent of all engineering professionals even though they represent more than 20 percent of all engineering graduates….Many women said that they left the field because they felt undervalued by their supervisors and peers and disliked the workplace environment. Others left because they lost interest in the field, wanted to spend more time with their families, or were unhappy with their working conditions and salaries. Several women said that they felt alone in a male-dominated field.

  15. @Renee Peer pressure doesn’t have to be explicit “Don’t do EE, it’s not girly!”. The history of girls not taking it up makes it not the norm, and high-school is all about conformity and the desire to fit in.

    Boys aren’t under as much pressure about their looks, gossip of their peers, and resulting drama (Sexist? Yes, probably), but that makes no difference, because the norm for boys is already to be interested in technology, so following suit is a non-issue.

    If we were talking about English, Creative Arts, Cooking, Biology, Nursing, Psychology etc. then the opposite is true, because they’re seen as feminine subjects.

    Post high-school, if women are getting into electronics via tertiary education or choice of career, I can understand all of you points about male colleagues/bosses/classmates/professors acting condiscending and underappreciating your work purely because you’re a girl, but I think your numbers were cut down well before that, and for a different reason.

    Or maybe it’s always male peers that are the problem, and my perspective is skewed because I’m just projecting my own experiences, but reversing the genders.

  16. @Renee- ‘Who’s saying easier or harder…’ You are actually. You are saying that terms like ‘WAF’ make it harder for women to become interested in electronics and that males have it easier due to societal acceptance.

    I’m saying that a person is a person and is free to do as they damn well please regardless of what anyone thinks of it. So long as the person deciding is happy- then so be it.

    I’m saying that ANY person is free to care *less* about being ACCEPTED and to care *more* for being the EXCEPTION. Likely be a better person for it once they learn that little lesson as well.

    And above *ALL*… I’m saying that if someone were to poll 50 completely and totally random couples about this table and the placing of it in their home you might get about 8 guys that would be down for that. You’re also going to get 6 women looking at men saying ‘Maybe in your …’Man Cave’… but not in _my_ living room.’

    But of those 50 completely and totally random women you might get two women receptive to the idea of having a table such as this in their living room. Keeping in mind that 50 is a pretty small sample size and that the number of people ‘receptive’ on both sides is likely being very generous.

    Now… the question is- If the man and woman are on opposing sides of the ‘in the living room’ question… where’s that table going to end up?

    It’s not a question of sexism, it’s a question of who in the family typically decides the design theme of the household, and a majority of the time it’s the male that really couldn’t care one way or the other so long as he is lucky enough to be allowed *A* room (usually the garage or basement, perhaps a Den or Study dependent on the subject) to call his own. Or in some cases… a _chair_, at least, that is his. Preferably one that reclines.

    Keep in mind, parts of this may have been exaggerated for illustration.

    Point is… for christsakes, It’s HackaDay… the poster wasn’t taking a stab at women, he was merely taking a swipe at the fact that it’d be a bitch to coordinate throw pillows and wall hangings with this table.

  17. I thought you were relating easier and harder in terms of general discrimination because you were talking about male oriented discrimination too. So my bad.

    I get your point about living arrangements but that’s irrelevant because you don’t explain WHY that is the case that men are less interested in the home than women are.

    If the home is stereotypically the woman’s domain and the stereotype is that men and aesthetics don’t mix then it’s pretty obvious to see why situations like that persist.

    It’s all stereotyping and it hurts everybody.

    As for the part about people being people and applying themselves, I really suggest you read the article I posted. Specifically the linked pdf by the NSF that the article is about.

    There is an excellent section that talks about how language and expectation can drastically impact the performance of women on testing. It’s on pg 56 of the pdf.

    There’s this particular philosophy I’ve developed that I call “Final boss battle prejudice.”

    Essentially, it’s the sorts of beliefs that people such as yourself have in topics just like this one. Basically, the idea that little annoying things like WAF don’t actually matter and that it’s not sexist is coupled to the unspoken idea that sexism (if it exists in the minds of that person) is really a sort of singular major problem composed of one central theme, that if defeated, would alleviate sexism.

    However, that’s not really how sexism works. Sexism is nothing more than a personal aggregation of a lifetimes worth of simple little passé statements about women. A sort of death by a thousand papercuts sort of thing.

    I remember one time when a few guys and myself were talking about how tired we were on campus and how early we got up. I mentioned something about getting up to do my hair and I was mildly criticized by one of the guys for being silly in my care for my appearance and wasting my time getting up early. Without missing one damn beat, the other guy said “yeah I know girls who don’t prep themselves in the morning, yuck…”

    It was a totally WTF moment and pretty much everything I needed to know about casual sexism was illustrated in that one conversation. Sorry if I come off as some ranty feminist but it sucks to come to a place I like only to see little comments like that. I don’t even bother reading comments on hacks done by Jeri anymore because I can already predict 75% of the content.

  18. And I still maintain that this is HackaDay, not a workplace and that there are no expectations to be met.

    I also maintain that the poster was simply using an established concept (WAF) to illustrate that one may find it necessary to have window treatments custom made if it were desired to have the subject (the table) match the rest of the room.

    I feel that ‘intent to offend’ counts for something and that if there was minimal intent then the feelings of offense should be minimal as well. Using the same math- find ‘X’…

    No intent = X

  19. Another of your female readers, disapointed again with the quiet implication that women in electronics is abnormal.

    Inequality in tech will remain so long as groups are made to feel unusual. It’s just a shame this is what passes for high end DIY journalism online. At the end of the day, writers at hackaday consistantly act about as well informed and well intentioned as any random dude on freenode. I think we should expect better than that.

    Seriously guys. Lift your game. Your female readers are tired and alienated enough. As social leaders of these communities it’s your duty to lead popular opinion towards a better future. I hope people like me are a part of your future.

    @JeremyC: The comments in here are pretty scummy. I can only imagine you’re well intentioned. Try not to let these guys get you down.

  20. sigh… @Jenna- BECAUSE IT IS ABNORMAL!

    FACT. There ARE less women interested in electronics. Just the same that there are overall less women interested in paintball, skateboarding, construction, the driving of Stock Cars and a myriad of other activities.

    Your denial of reality does not make a bit of difference to reality and acknowledgment of that reality does not warrant the level of offense that _should_ be required for there to cries of ‘Sexism!’ *You* devalue your fight by taking it out of the appropriate context.

  21. Okay guys absolutely no attempts at humor unless it’s funny to everyone and offends no-one!!! OMG, I’m so sick of all this PC shit! Seriously, get over it!

    [Back to the actual topic of the posting]
    Please post the BMW switch link.

  22. @ phnx

    Are there really? Did you even bother to read that article I posted, or more specifically the NSF’s giant paper on the topic of women and STEM?

    Simply stating women are less interested in STEM is an empty statement, and I’ve said this again, BECAUSE IT DOESN’T SAY WHY.

    It’s a simple fact, but facts are meaningless without an explanation WHY. I thought this point would be obvious to this crowd.

    Seriously, I’ve asked more than once that you read that study and I doubt you have. No wonder women seem to be creaming men in college, you can’t even be bothered to read one paper.

    TL;DR: Basically, it’s looking like there are less women “interested” in STEM primarily because they are influenced by various factors to not be. It’s not because women just innately don’t care.

    When women are told that they are intelligent and worthwhile individuals who can have happy careers in STEM, that greatly improves their chances of actually going into it.

    So what us women have been trying to plead is to stop using such polarizing language and offhanded mansplaining to shoot women down from possibly liking STEM.

  23. @Renee – No, I didn’t read that paper. I don’t come to HackaDay for material of that nature.

    This has all grown far out of hand, and I for one am a bit ashamed to have involved myself in something so ridiculous.

    Point is JeremyC did not mean to offend. For cries of Sexism! to be handed out so freely does more harm than good for your side in the war you claim to be fighting.

    I’m saying to save your being offended for something just a bit more deserving. Pick your battles.

  24. I never claimed JeremyC’s intentions were to be offensive, if anything, my entire argument is about the unseen effects of casual language. Language that doesn’t necessarily have to be intentionally offensive. Something, once again, covered in depth in that comprehensive pdf I linked to.

    But, you can’t be bothered to check facts yet you feel qualified to tell me and other people how to go about doing things.

    Yeah, I think the arguments pretty much done.

  25. No, I don’t think I “won” because I don’t really care about the size of my e-peen. If this means that much to you then fine, you won.

    I was just agreeing that the argument is over on account of you willing refusing to expand the argument any.

    I just don’t see the point in debating someone anymore who professed a sort of non-interest in the subject. Or would you expect me to keep rehashing the same points over and over again?

    I offered some info, you repeated the same thing over, I stated the info again and you said you’re not interested.

    Wicked victory you got yourself there.

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