Astronaut Or Astronot: Givin’ Away Scopes


Remember how we said we’d give away an oscilloscope to a random person on if they have voted on projects for The Hackaday Prize? Last week we tried that and no one won. This week we tried it and no one won. Then, because we’re awesome, we picked another person at random on [Rafael] is the winner, with a very nice oscilloscope heading to his doorstep. We’re going to need some contact info, hacker no. 13951, and if anyone has any advice on sending expensive electronics to Brazil, I think we’re going to need it.

We’re doing this again next week, so head on over to and vote. Also, pay no attention to the people who say voting is too hard and complicated and ill planned: they are wrong, and if you suck up enough the Prime Overlord will command that t-shirts and stickers be sent out to you.

52 thoughts on “Astronaut Or Astronot: Givin’ Away Scopes

  1. As one who worked for a FedEx Hub for years. I can confidently say that they handle package better than the alternatives. Which means you should expect it to be thrown no less than 5 feet.. and multiple times.. at the very least. The shipping industry is mean to packages.

  2. We have a winner, finally! Now if more people took a few minutes out of their life’s to simply choose which of two options is better a few times, we’ll have a better contest, more votes is also more chances for someone to actually win a trip to frickin’ space!!

    So guys, go vote, vote, vote!!!

      1. Vote for who’s project is better to give them a chance to win the HaD prize.. Help some lucky hacker win a trip into space

        I’m fairly sure if you had a project in there, you’d want people to vote.

        The only real issue is who to give the prize to if no-one votes?
        why have a hacking community if the community can’t spend 2 minutes simply helping in a vote?

        It’s upto you if you participate or not, if you don’t you loose your chance of winning something cool and that also reduces somebody else’s chance of winning the HaD prize.

          1. Just going to point out that right now, based on the last 1000 comments on Hackaday, you have commented the most, with mostly curmudgeonly comments.

            Keep on keepin’ on, man.

            Edit: email me your t-shirt size and address. You’re getting something. Also fartface if he’s around.

          2. @Brian Benchoff Thanks. I’d probably get shot wearing a Hack a Day tee shirt where I live though. Unless you have them in Real Wood camo pattern? They take piracy seriously here! OK I suppose on the weekends folks will shoot at just about anything that moves. Don’t kill the messenger.

        1. They selected somebody at random from, if that person had voted they won, if not, they didn’t.

          The set of people registered on is larger than the set of people that voted, therefore a winner was not guaranteed.

          They could of course have selected somebody at random from those who had voted, to guarantee a winner.

    1. A scope could get shipped by mistake and simply show up at my doorstep. That would be easier. Easier than that Hack a Day could send a staffer over to hand deliver it, and set it up for me too. I can’t think of a scenario easier than the last one. Although in my workspace even the hand delivery option would be disruptive. A space would have to be cleared, etc. I do not keep spaces open for new pieces of equipment that I’m not planning on getting. Nope, nothing is really easy.

    1. That’s a touch harsh – while it’s not in the same league as some of the big-name brands, they’re not bad for hobby levels and don’t forget there’s a reasonable hacking community behind them as well who have unlocked the higher-end specs on the basic scopes because all it takes is a software key (i.e. take a 2072A – out of the box 70Mhz but hacked it does the same as the top-end 300Mhz 2302A).

        1. You are correct my statement didn’t saying much for Rigol because it wasn’t intended to make them out to be better than they are. Rigol aren’t targeting the high-end market so their scopes will never match the likes of Tektronix. Also the scope being offered is not Rigol’s “top of the line” offering either (4 channel @ 100Mhz on their 1000 series) so why proclaim it as some super amazing prize.

          Now, where Rigol do well is that they are lower cost and, for their price, pretty well spec’ed so if one was to have a limited budget then they’re not bad ones to consider.
          Given that this is rewarded for free, to someone who votes, it makes a pretty good prize even to someone who already has a perfectly fine scope. It’s certainly not “cheapest and crappiest” (although some of their scopes are very cheap which results in them cutting some corners to achieve those price-points).

        1. Divorce is expensive too. Everyone who’s done it says it is a bargain though. Oscilloscopes don’t have to be expensive either. My first scope cost me $80. It was only an old round screen 500KHz model but it whetted my appetite. Then I bought a used 100MHz Tektronix 2336 with the Y option, which did set me back a bit. That same model is much cheaper today, and it is still a capable instrument. OK with the Y they’re still going for a good amount the last I checked.

          Anyone who is serious about pursuing electronics needs an oscilloscope though. Without a scope it is like flying blind. Which most of the time isn’t too bad, but you have to take off, and land sometimes. Then it really helps to be able to see what you’re doing.

          1. Scopes are cheep too. Everyone who’s bought one says so. Divorce is always expensive. My first divorce cost me $186,000. It was only an old 1960’s model but it whetted my appetite at the time. Then I had a used 1970’s model with the extra-children option, which did set me back a bit. That same model has more children today, and it is still a capable instrument. OK with the 1970’s model they’re still getting around the last I checked.

            Anyone who is serious about pursuing happiness doesn’t need an marriage though. Marriage is seriously punishing, you would get less for murder. Single most of the time isn’t too bad, sometimes you have to take off, and land somewhere else. Then it really helps to be able to see what you’re doing.

  3. I generally don’t bother with votes but this was literally a 5 minute affair. Also, as stated before, even if you don’t think either project is particularly worthy/both are fantastic I would be surprised if they aren’t relative.

    1. Sigh, let me explain.

      Imagine there are 100 users. 70 users vote (and you are one of them).
      Now, if they pick a random number between 1 and 100, there’s a 30% chance they pick a user that didn’t vote, right?

      1. ooh. I thought they were doing it where they take all the users who voted that week, putting their names in a list, and randomly picking from that. Why would they not do it that way, if the prizes are for people who voted?

        1. (1) It’s more complicated since you can’t just draw a random number and (2) it guarantees a winner which may not be desired (otherwise they’d have to give a prize every week, this way they can decide how often to give)

          1. ah, I guess that makes sense..

            in all of their posts they sound like they (a) want to give a scope out every week, especially this one since they gave it to someone who they aren’t sure voted or not, and then (b) always sound exasperated when ‘no one won’

            guess I misunderstood.

        1. Why not pick a number at random, check if they voted, then if they hadn’t do it again until you get a winner? If you’re doing it this way at least don’t sound so upset with us that you didn’t get a winner.

  4. There is probably a pretty good chance the scope will never show up. From what I have heard getting things to Brazil without being stolen along the way is pretty tough.

  5. It all comes down to the claim and value. Call it a “gift” and put value at less than $10. Maybe call it a “VHS tape rewinder” on the customs form. Pack it really well and (if avail. Put a church or Jesus sticker on there). Please no skull and wrenches on box. Its like an invite to mischief.

    1. This is a bad bad idea when dealing with Brasil. My company sent some equipment down labeled as new and they checked, found dust showing that was BS and disposed of the equipment. This was 10’s of thousands of dollars of back-plane boards.

      SO, be super accurate and follow their regulations to the letter. (They even change customs agents at random to fight corruption)

  6. Yo I wanted to vote. But when I go to the vote page I get a choice between 2 picked projects? Should we not be able to have a true democratic vote between all available submitted projects? If you pick which 2 we can vote on we might as well not have a contest and just take some friends to go into space. I was about to submit one of my projects. This way of working has me doubting it’s worth it…

  7. Hey Brian,
    Of the articles here on HAD I generally most appreciate the things you choose to write about so please don’t think I am launching into disparaging comments about you personally.

    I love the transparency of the way you selected a winner. There is absolutely noting that can be argued about when it comes to the fairness of the selection process.

    The one thing that does however concern me is that the database server name, database name and a selection of table names were publicly displayed.

    Surely someone on the team could have set up a simple web page for you to use for this purpose so that these pieces of information was not made public.

    And no, I am not a hacker or making any threats (to be clear). I work as a developer (back end) and security is always a concern for what I do.

    It may pay to delete this post as it has all the wrong keywords.

    1. Don’t worry. We don’t get many hackers around here. /s

      I’m on a VPN when I’m connected to the DB, I don’t show the login details, the DB is read only anyway, and we have overlords whose job it is to worry about this stuff. Not saying it’s 100% safe, but very few things are.

      If we were to set up a web page, it would just be something like return_user(7) or return_user(5), depending on if Mike or myself has the bigger bribe.

  8. Congratulations to Rafael for winning the scope. I was hoping I won it, but there’s always next week.

    Also, to say my piece on the whole voting business. The voting system was nice and easy, no real bother or unfair whatsoever. I saw a lot of nice projects come by and I will definitely vote in the next phase of THP. I actually kind of liked being presented with two choices, narrowed it down and made it easier for me to vote on interesting projects :)

    To all the people who said the voting system sucked, well, that’s your call. If you dislike the voting system, come up with some constructive improvement suggestions.

  9. I am from Brazil, and I can say USPS First Class Mail is the most time consuming way for delivery, but it’s the way that less is inspected at customs. DHL, FEDEX, UPS, all of these will be inspected and taxed at customs with 100% of sure !! USPS has less chance to be taxed. This is own experience :-)

  10. OK I went on the website and looked into voting. It looked too involved so I gave up. I think I’m done setting up Internet accounts at this point. There was a time when sites demanding registration wasn’t a big deal, I think that time has come, and gone now though. The boat sailed and you weren’t on it, sorry. I also ran into the same one or the other page as someone else here mentioned. I didn’t like that, or either project.

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