Pi Zero HackChat With Lady Ada

This Thursday, December 3rd, join us for a Live HackChat about the Raspberry Pi Zero with special guest [Limor Fried]. You may know [Limor] as [Lady Ada], the founder of Adafruit Industries. Adafruit has been on the forefront of the Pi Zero release. The $5 single board computer was announced one week ago by the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Join in the chat to discuss the Raspberry Pi Zero. Limor has done a lot of work with the board already, including hacking analog audio back into the form factor. This is a great opportunity to ask questions, talk about your own plans for the hardware, and to find collaborators for future projects.

Pi Zero HackChat starts Thursday at 5pm PST (here’s a timezone cheat sheet if you need it). Participating in this live chat is very simple. Those who are already part of the Hacker Channel can simply click on the Team Messaging button. If you’re not part of the channel, just go to the hacker Channel page, scroll to the bottom of the “TEAM” list in the left sidebar and click “Request to join this project”.

HackChat takes place in the Hacker Channel every few weeks and is a friendly place to talk about engineering and the projects you’re working on.

104 thoughts on “Pi Zero HackChat With Lady Ada

  1. Why does everyone act like she personally is doing all this work for the diy community? She is basically a figurehead that everyone loves because it’s easier to get attached to a single person than a team of engineers you don’t know anything about because they aren’t shoving themselves into the spotlight. All you’re doing is feeding her ego and taking away credit from people who deserve it.

    1. That’s wrongheaded. Limor Fried has done interesting work, both during her time at MIT and also throughout her time building Adafruit.

      She and the business she’s built have significantly reduced the perceived barriers to developing a making mindset and has helped encourage the general populace to take on electronic projects.

      She’s obviously not the only person helping build this new sense of creativity in our world, but you’re just being a dick when you try to bemoan her success and belittle the effect her persona has had on folks. I’ve personally used her Wired cover appearance to convince a teenage girl that she could build things by herself.

      Guh. She’s awesome. Be proud of another humanbeing’s success, and take pride in the positive aspects of our world.

        1. Agreed. Diversity provides more insight and creativity than one narrowsighted viewpoint. You have to give Lady Ada lots of credit. Graduating from MIT ain’t no picnic. Then to develop much of the hardware/software into the products she sells and grow this into a business. Hats off. What an icon in the tech industry. And the products are solid.

      1. I’ve heard Edison was a dick.
        In fact he was such a dick, Viagra actually made him taller!

        (will that do, Hirudinea? If not I can probably think of a joke involving a dick and a lightbulb or somehing…)

        Can’t compare Lady Ada to Edison though, Edison stole and patented works from other people who didn’t even work for him, let alone all the folkes emloyed at his workshop who got stiffed by him. The guy was a bit of a dick, come to think of it… ;-)

        1. A huge lying dick, who didn’t invent the lightbulb. That’s the short version. Then there’s the elephant thing. GREAT at PR and self-promotion. An olden-days Steve Jobs, basically. If Woz wasn’t such a nice guy, he’d have some tales to tell.

          1. I prefer the long version Humphrey Davy invented the first eclectic light the arc lamp. Joseph Swan invented the first incandescent light bulb, Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans improved upon Swan’s design and sold their patent to Edison in 1879. Which Edison and his team of researchers in Edison’s laboratory in Menlo Park were able to turn into the first practical / profitable incandescent light. 30 years later William David Coolidge invented an improved incandescent light using a Tungsten filament which we used for 100 years until florescent lights took over. Oh and there is no proof Edison had anything to do with the Topsy thing. In the war of the currents Edison had thousands of animals killed to prove the danger of AC power, but he Topsy electrocution happened after that. It is true the Edison Manufacturing movie company filmed the event and former Edison employees set up the killing apparatus. Luna Park even tried to contact Edison, because of his expertise in killing animals with electricity, but he never responded. It wouldn’t surprise me if Edison was involved, but there is no proof he was involved. Without Edison’s help Luna park wasn’t sure the shock would be enough to kill the elephant, so they dosed it with half a kilo of cyanide just to be sure.

        2. That would have to make Jobs an anus then. Those two kinda deserved each other. Probably would have had a great time patent suing and murdering competition and stealing ideas from NDA employees. Funny how very little things change sometimes.

    2. Of course she isn’t doing all the work by herself but I have never seen anything that would suggest or convince me that she is basically a figurehead. Yes she is the face of the company, largely in part because it is her company. That’s kinda how those things work.

      1. It is the business end of things that put me off the LadyAda bandwagon. Not my type of person. Raspi CORPORATION (sounds better than foundation) is another one of those feel good money making grifts. Use a lot of newspeak to obfuscate reality and so forth. To each their own I suppose. Probably why I will die broke with no type-a friends ;)

    3. Hey Matt. I think you are a bit mistaken here. Limor does real time live streams of designing and developing new boards on the Adafruit channel if you want to see her personally “doing it”. As well the content she creates and supports via the tutorials, Adafruit code libraries, articles and videos is truly admirable. On top of that she was a judge for the Hackaday Prize more than once. I don’t think there is much “ego” here- just support for the community…

      My 2 cents.

    4. I used to actually work for Adafruit/Limor semi-recently. I’ve been a customer since around 2008. I’m pretty sure she does most of the heavy lifting. I got my name on anything I worked on.

    5. ‘Ego’ and Limor Fried do not belong in the same sentence together.

      Believe me… if the opposite were true I’d likely be in line ahead of you pointing my finger but Lady Ada is far and away one of the more humble personalities with a recognizable name.

    6. Thank you for prompting a bunch of people to share how awesome she is :D Yes, she get’s good publicity, and she is certainly not the only one doing good things in the maker community BUT, she does do a lot more than most of us, with a lot more passion and a lot more people skills :P

      1. To all:
        I respect your thoughts but good discussions wouldn’t exist if everyone agreed.

        Limor, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg… They are great role models IF you are an entrepreneur. Being an electronics hobbyist isn’t about making something to satisfy a market- it’s about developing something that personally brings you enjoyment. I’m not saying they are mutually exclusive but being an entrepreneur means you develop for the masses and then spend double that amount of time marketing and convincing people that you are selling something they cannot live without.

        Adafuit is bringing too much commercialization into the hobby by offering products from companies and startups that do all the work for you. The hobby is not about buying premade gizmos, it’s about creativity and learning. Consuming does not bring real enjoyment. Nothing kills an enjoyable hobby like big companies stepping in and trying to get a piece of the pie. It’s happening right now and I bet five years from now it will be major theme in these discussions. Unlike Sparkfun, adafruit does not allow comments or reviews- probably to silence those saying these products are overpriced, overkill and made in china. They are NOT building a community doing that- they are being predatory towards people who don’t know better.

        Lastly, about Limor doing real engineering work… I’m sure she does some but it’s the celebritizing that gets to me- even if it’s mostly done by us. This isn’t Hollywood where the big names are oogled at and idolized. Being a maker isn’t about the fame, glory or money, it’s about the engineering. I’ll end this here by saying this: Bre Pettis.

        1. “Adafuit is bringing too much commercialization into the hobby by offering products from companies and startups that do all the work for you. The hobby is not about buying premade gizmos, it’s about creativity and learning…”

          By that measure HeathKit and even radio shack also brought “too much commercialization into the hobby.” I’ve been an electronics hobbyist for over 40 yrs and what you’re saying makes no sense. I’ve also designed prototypes of things that have become actual products for about 30 yrs. Adafruit is filling a very valuable niche in making block level components available for people to both build simple systems as well as prototypes of much, much larger systems without having to do the ground level engineering that can take up very valuable time and head-space and keep you from actually getting from concept to working prototype.

          No one is stopping you from ordering resistors, single chips, etc from Mouser or Digikey and building your circuits from the ground up. However, your disdain for people like Fried making a business out of making DIY electronics more accessible sounds a lot like someone who is very afraid his little playground is suddenly going to get a lot more crowed as the great unwashed noob masses suddenly discover their own creative outlets and invade your world. Same thing happened when the “AOL noobs” got “real” internet access. However this is a lot smaller sandbox. Deal with it. Go create fun & amazing stuff. Then, share what you’ve learned with the rest of the class… :)

          1. My first computer was one of the first personal microcomputers–the Altair 8800–and it was a kit. I learned quite a lot from putting it together (badly). Making money off kits is a *good* thing because companies that provide them keep providing them instead of folding. When microprocessors became so complex that wave soldering became necessary, it created a vast wasteland where you could either use a cheap, but underpowered processor, or get a whole big PC clone. I am thrilled that the Raspberry PI and other companies are providing a computing foundation for all the things that people are Making these days. (Oh, FPGAs rock, too).

        2. In any project you decide where to focus your energy, it’s ALWAYS make vs BUY.

          You can design your own discrete class D amplifier, or you can buy an IC that does all of the hard work.

          You have to decide what is it that you want to put your energy into designing.

        3. “That do all the work for you”

          That was awfully nice of Adafruit to do all the work for me. I sure do appreciate how they went ahead and soldered all the pin headers onto the T-Cobbler that I picked up at MicroCenter earlier today. /sarcasm …I had a choice, The Adafruit T-Cobbler with unsoldered pin headers or for $.50 more the other brand that was completely assembled.

          “Bre Pettis” …I’m not sure which direction you’re going with this- are you trying to put Bre Pettis and Limor Fried in the same category? Limor is no Bre… not even close. Not in integrity, and not in ability. But maybe that is the point you were trying to make in the first place.

        4. “The hobby is not about buying premade gizmos, it’s about creativity and learning. Consuming does not bring real enjoyment”

          I’d just like to observe that your experience or definition of “the hobby” is by no means definitive. If you prefer to make your own projects by drawing your own wire, creating your own semiconductors, and then wire-wrapping them into a groovy contraption of your own design, more power to you, but, for those just discovering electronics and “the hobby” of which you have declared yourself a gatekeeper, Adafruit’s simple tutorials, great documentation, and helpful support can make a world of difference.

          Other people will enjoy the thing you enjoy. They may enjoy it differently, but their enjoyment is just as valid as yours. Lady Ada is a badass engineer and shrewd business person who’s capitalizing on that.

          Let us know how the process of doping your own silicon turns out.

        5. I have to say I much prefer Jeri Ellsworth. She’s not just smart, she’s one of the smartest people in her field. She creates awesome things, and shares what knowledge we mortals might understand.

          Adafruit seems more to be about overpriced kits for plugging things into each other. Sure there’s a place for that, even if you can get the same stuff off Ebay cheaper. Maybe Adafruit have really good customer service, no idea, never used them. Their instructionals do seem to be specifically for the kits they sell, they’re making money off the information.

          1. Ooooh! They would be a show worth watching. Atoms, meet circuits. Components, meet interfaces.

            With a third that knew software (a Lovelace type to complement the more recent Ada, if you will), they could have the end-all tech show! “Zoom, whirrrrrrrr, ZAP”

            Maybe a touch of “This Old House” crew for building enclosures and eye candy for the bipeds.

            -BB-

        6. She may be a successful business person, spoke/”social” person or even an educator, but I wouldn’t put her as a hacker/engineer. I wouldn’t hire her even as a junior engineer as her technical skills isn’t that impressive.

          I have worked with lots of smart female engineers or learnt from very bright female professors/classmates. They are hard working, smart and capable, professional and not because they are girls or crave attention or being a web celeb.

          1. This is a baseless statement.

            We’ve been covering Limor’s work since Hackaday started and she is consistently producing interesting builds and executing them very well. Not a hacker? She built the Tweet a Watt. Not an Engineer. She built an RF jammer.

            I don’t understand the need to cast doubt on people’s skill. Let’s celebrate accomplishments, it has a more profound effect on our community than needlessly calling people out.

          2. Schematic of Jammer: This is actually one of her better oner. I have seen some of her other schematic that are far worse. Drawing a clean schematic is just important as doing documentation especially when you are working in a team environment or maintaining designs in someone else’s company. Neither is she spending time set up a good example of drawing good style schematic to show the beginner how it is done.

            See http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/28251/rules-and-guidelines-for-drawing-good-schematics
            >The point is clarity. A technically correct but obfuscated schematic is still a bad schematic.
            >Sort of related, try to keep junctions to Ts not 4-way crosses.
            >Clean up text placement

            She has 45 degrees nets, nets crossing out text, nets within a part symbol. Text are too long to fit in a symbol, extra dots. She could have done a better job using different line styles for the block instead of using solid line. Title block usually goes on lower right corner.

            In the power supply block, VIN net presumably is connected to after SW1. That net name is referenced by IC3 ‘IC4, but not visible at the source. IC3 has no input decoupling cap. R90 net goes no where nor labeled. R32 value not readable. R31 value = 0. Really? shouldn’t it be NC?

            The design is straight forward. Not seeing anything that really stands out.

          3. Also C22, C23 connected across output of IC5 (probably PWM) via L6 (probably ferrite). Connecting a large capacitor on the output of a PWM without current limiting resistors? This can violate the absolute max spec. Not a good design there. Also adding a resistive element there would help the performance of the low pass filter.

          4. I didn’t pick that schematic as an example. [Mike Szczys] did. Care to bring out her more recent and more complex designs? Hoping to see better examples.
            Sadly with engineering field is that if you are not actively pushing the edge of your field or capacity, you can get stale very quickly.

    7. Oh Hackaday boys you never surprise me.

      Limor is a hardcore engineer from MIT, BS and MS in Electrical Engineering with a company she built by herself over the last 10 years without a dime of funding.

      The products our school buys, Limor designed and manufactured in the USA. A requirement for our purchases. I am female Comp Sci instructor at a well known university and watch Limor’s show Ask an Engineer with my daughters each week. One daughter was on Adafruit’s show and tell sharing the project she designed using everything from Adafruit with the free tutorials and code from Github. My other daughter dressed up as Ladyada for Halloween and wants to be her when she grows up. I had to share this story :)

    8. I don’t agree with you at all.

      I have never noticed credit being taken away from anyone else. For instance, many great libraries in the Adafruit open source repos were developed by Tony DiCola and it’s easy to see which ones he authored.

      As far as Limor personally doing work for the DIY community, proof abounds. Check out all the projects that she puts together, the live webcasts she, Phil, and others do in the evenings (surely after full days of work). Add to that the mission she has set her company on to educate as many as possible about electronics. This is all community building.

      1. Tekkieneet’s complaint about her is schematic from when she was at MIT 10 years ago that she chose to share with others???

        Way to discourage any woman from wanting to share her work or be an engineer tekkieneet.

        Tekkieneet you FAILED.

        1. Did he in any place say that the schematic was too feminine or even mentioned her gender at all? No. He didn’t discourage any women from sharing their work, he discouraged everyone. But that’s the harsh truth – if you share something in public you get judged by it. Deal with it or hide. Gender doesn’t have anything to do with it.

        2. No he presented facts. If they are an engineer they want things to be correct. You are the one getting all butthurt over the gender of the supplicant. Think how many times folks get told their shit sucks ass on this site. Now think how many times we use kid gloves if we know from the get-go it was done by a “marginalized” population. Think how many folks have gone over Woz’s old schemas and provided corrections and modifications. That doesn’t stop guys from trying every day.
          I don’t particularly enjoy tekkieneet or ladyada, but I feel like you are possibly the one placing gender in the equation. I also feel that when you go big scale corporate like this, you are going to have the bad with the good. Yet, we are sold by the face of the corporation in lieu of the service they actually provide so all your Gates, Jobs, Musks, and Frieds are gonna face some personal criticism along with the factual stuff. Just rebuff the facts. You don’t need to get tangled up in the noise of gender if there is a solid base ;)
          Looking at the mobbing that Matt got above for his views, it doesn’t seem like there is any lack of supporters, secretly gender-biased themselves or not. It works in both directions.

  2. Whats with all the silly hate and obnoxiousness..?

    For starters, Limor Fried:
    1) is a practicing engineer with both an BS *and* and MS in Electrical Engineering from MIT. No small feat for anyone. (“look to you left, look to your right – two of these people won’t graduate…” Do they still say that on the 1st day of freshmen orientation at MIT? All my friends who were @ MIT in the early 80s remember that line really well…)

    2) built a thriving business that has opened up very complex DIY possibilities for all of us to learn/make and even launch new hardware businesses with practical engineering head-starts that would have been impossible even 5 years ago

    3) attracted lots of very talented engineers, artists and others to help build an entire ecosystem around the business that helps people get involved, learn and DO cool things. Think about that fairly priced: building blocks for hundreds of non-trivial projects from sensors to micro-controllers — with the sources, schematics, BOM/Build/CAD Files? A-f%#king-mazing.

    4) brought electronics manufacturing back to the most storied commercial district in NYC – probably the most important commercial electronics outsize of the Ginza District in Japan. Long before there was a “silicon valley” or Intel or Apple, or Microsoft or Fry’s or even television(!!) there was “Radio Row” (look it up kidz… srsly) in New York City. When the inventors who made the stuff that made Silicon Valley possible needed to find the parts to start the revolution *you now live in*, they went shopping on Radio Row in Lower Manhattan. Welcome back Radio Row … great job Limor! [My Dad got me started in electronics when I was just ~7 in what was left of radio row in the late 60s. He was devastated when radio row was mostly demolished to make way for the WTC and would have be been amazed by what you’ve accomplished…]

    Don’t mean to be cheerleading, but Limor Fried and the folks she’s brought together — and the corollary businesses she’s inspired — are probably the best thing to happened to the open source hardware / maker movement since its inception.

    Think you can do better? Go for it…. but remember it’s easy to tear things down — any idiot can do it — but a lot harder to create something like Adafruit, let alone make it work.

    1. I agree that Ms Fried has done a lot of positive things . I guess I find it slightly annoying that just about every post about one of her projects has a picture of her in it. If she was a guy I think you would see less of that but that is not her fault it is the media. On the flipside having her picture maybe a good reminder that she is a she and help some men that women can do any technical task as well as any man and may help some young women feel like they can be part of the tech community.
      So I say more power too her.

      1. Pretty strong words. Care to back up the assertion with 1) your real name and 2) some examples of what work you find “below junior grade?”

        The misogynist sniping smacks of childish little boys rather than adults with positive/constructive things to contribute. No one has the time/head-space for that silliness.

        This isn’t a contest – in case you haven’t been in this space very long (I have for > 30 yrs) all of the engineers/developers/artists/makers mentioned across all of these posts are part of a great larger ecosystem that moves both the hobby of DIY projects and the business of both software eng and research/consumer electronics forward. We should all be glad they’re doing what they’re doing…. and rather than sniping and tearing people down if you find something lacking, contribute something your self and help move the ball forward,

        1. I have also been around doing electronics long enough. I have done my share of posting my posting my complex projects and explaining how things works in great details + usual source code/full simulations/design specs etc. just like what I do for any engineering work.

          Not sure if disclosing my name or resume would make make what I said any different.

          1. Hiding behind anonymity destroys your credibility. If you have a beef with someone’s work and decide to call them out, tell us who you are, and prove what you’re saying. Anything else is just baseless an-homenim attack.

          2. I don’t care about my credibility or fame when I make an argument. My points should have its own merits and they should not rely on who I am or my reputation. Feel free to judge me that way if that’s how you think.

        2. Criticising / insulting someone who is a woman isn’t misogyny. Misogyny is a hatred of all women. Tekkie hasn’t based his criticisms on her X chromosomes or her menstrual cycle, just her skills. Same way everyone else is judged.

      2. Junior level means someone with 1-2 year engineering experience and capable of performing at a certain level of complexity for their work. May be she is busy teaching beginners, so she hasn’t shown any of her projects that are functioning at what a company expects as a junior entry level engineer.

        Does that show any personal gender bias like you said?

      3. I’ve run stuff on Bunnie’s boards, I’ve run stuff on Limor’s boards. Bunnie’s were more “powerful”, but Limor’s are still running. Documentation of Bunnie’s projects has turned out to be harder to follow, and I’ve found myself using Limor’s documentation of some of his work – go figure.

        They are both really cool engineers. Will buy again.

        -BB-

      1. Actually I answered her beginner level question on her forum on a project she tried to make. Let say I am less than impressive on her technical skills. Even than impressed at her way of drawing a schematic. Let’s say she doesn’t give a shit at making a schematic readable or even learn at at school.

        1. Tekkineet, you write ” Let say I am less than impressive…”. OK, I agree with you. Yes, I am quoting you out of context but I do think your comments are less than impressive.
          I have bought a few Adafruit kits and have been very happy with them, they did what I wanted and did it well. Adafruit is a good company and they seem to be doing well.
          Limor Fried has succeeded in her project. And you and the other trolls? Dunno, but I got my doubts, your attitudes are all wrong.

        2. God, you are such a moron. She doesn’t owe you anything, and its pretty hilarious how all your efforts to bitch and whimper about her work only makes everyone support her more.

          You keep saying “junior engineer” but I’m pretty sure you’re not a senior engineer. Infact I doubt you’re an accredited engineer at all.

          Your comments about the rigor of an MS vs PhD are very incorrect as well.

  3. Would have loved to get in on this.

    Unfortunately I have only been in possession of my RasPi Zero for roughly 5 hours at this point… haven’t even soldered the headers on yet. (Spent the last three hours adding a wall plug, cut me some slack)

  4. First off, i don’t know Limor Fried, and i habe nothing to do with adafruit. However, after reading the comments I wanted tobsay something about my experiences with her and her company. I never would have learned as much as I have about electronics or had the incentive to “make” as I do today were it not for the support (tutorials and detailed – easy to read descriptions of products) her company offers. I’ve ended up on their website countless times when searching for guides to particular chips simply because I know the way they explain things is easy for me to understand. The fact that many products are commercialised and offered on a breakout board with a tutorial and a complete *how to*, is nothing short of wonderful IMHO. Recently I purchased an sdcard breakout board for a project, and now actually have it working just how I want it to. I NEVER would have tried it without knowing there was some resources available to give me something to fall back on if I needed it.
    For me, it seems the criticism of her company and indirectly her person is so surprising that I felt the need to take a moment and just publically say how greatful I am that people like her, and all those helping her, exist. Thank you Limor, your work has truly changed who I am as a person in ways that go far beyond the boundaries of mere electronics.

    1. ^ I agree with this exactly. All the hating is absurd, Adafruit is awesome. They don’t just sell crap and link to the datasheet. They take the time to explain how to use each and every little thing, they often give you an example application and code snippets. It shows they really care about what they do. And I can’t remember where I saw this but I believe Limor has personally written more Arduino libraries than any other person on the planet – that’s why she’s famous, because she is a leader in helping beginners learn electronics. I am sure she is doing well, as she deserves.

    2. Exactly this! Anybody criticizing adafruit has clearly never seen their fantastic tutorials. Ladyada’s tutorials on board fabrication are also extremely detailed and helpful.

      Complaints are probably a direct result of the Pi Zero supply fiasco, and are almost universally being made by people who don’t understand the first thing about economics.

  5. I really like both Sparkfun and Adafruit. I think they both have done a lot to make the electronics/embedded hobby accessible to the masses. I prefer Sparkfun slightly due to the fact that they provide their breakout board schematics openly. This open hardware approach has really helped me and many others reinforce our hardware design skills. Adafruit doesn’t quite go that extra mile with their breakout boards. Nevertheless Adafruit still publishes many great open source software libraries, distros e.t.c not to mention they also have some great tutorials that go with their products.

    As for Limor she’s a great entrepreneur and an engineer. But as with most humans she probably not perfect nor does she need to be. If you don’t like her or Adafruit simply don’t use her products.

    I’m not a fan of over-glorifing successful people as much as I’m not a fan shoot them down (a.k.a stupid Hollywood culture). But one should try to give credit where credit is due.

  6. I think people just get tired of the cult of personality thing.

    There are a lot of hardware “hackers” out there that I don’t view as the typical basement dwelling hackers of old.

    These days they are more or less professional engineers that use their schooling and degrees to sell a product disguised as “I’m just like you” – which is really kind of the antithesis of what a hacker used to be.

    Someone that didn’t necessarily have a lofty degree from an ivy league engineering school or a degree at all taking some piece of hardware or software and making better or making something to accomplish a task that you couldn’t just go and buy. A loner, a rebel.

    Now the line is blurred and you have no shortage of highly educated professional engineers selling “hacking” as a product and lifestyle trend.

    You also have a push for things like STEM for children, especially girl children as there is a ( perceived or otherwise ) shortage of women in technical fields and someone wanted a role model to attract girl children into the field. So you get a girl role model painted up in cyberpunk flair who also happens to have a lofty ivy league engineering school degree selling hacking as a product. Go figure. Demand, meet supply.

    I feel the same way about a lot of the male figures sold to us by the likes of HaD. I don’t need Nate from sparkfun selling me parts that I can get on my own at a much lower price then his mark up and then telling me “it’s for my convenience” when I can navigate mouser or digikey or some chipmakers sample program just fine on my own.

    I don’t need Ben doing some crazy high science in his garage when he’s really leveraging that big lofty degree and surplus stuff from the silicon valley where people were using the exact same gear to do the exact same things for years before him. He’s not inventing anything new, he’s simply rehashing stuff that someone at Varian or Litton were doing in more or less the same fashion, only the location, their garage vs his has changed.

    I am far more impressed when some 14 year old kid designs and builds a motor controller for his motorized skateboard sans a degree or much outside help. That’s why I come to Had. people who ARE actually somewhat like me.

    1. That got cut short by O.E. on my part.

      But there are people who do want or need a hero or someone to hold their hand and guide them gently through the scary hacker forest and don’t really want to get the full immersion of reading the f*cking data sheet top to bottom or writing their own driver code for their breakout board / arduino blinky or who want to live vicariously through the exploits of a full blown degreed physicist doing sciencey stuff on youtube. Or they need a blue or pink haired lady to inspire them that being a geek is cool.

      And that’s all ok too. As long as they stay the hell off my lawn.

  7. I just jumped on here to check out the chat with Lady Ada and was shocked by some of the comments. I have been involved with electronics and electricity since before I can remember. I played with electrical adapters before I got my first Legos. I was drawing schematics on the back of the bulletins in church when I was six. I etched my first circuit boards in the 5th grade. Got involved in ham radio in the 5th and 6th grades. I got involved in programming and IT in high school. I eventually ended up with a BS and MS in CompSci from Boise State University (Go Broncos). I discovered Adafruit about three years ago when my son was born and I wanted to build him an Arduino based night light. I love the tutorials on the site and the video blogs. I work with engineers all day long and engineers come in all shapes and sizes (and genders). I have been involved in the open source community for more than 15 years and find it refreshing to find that the community around Adafruit that makes it so easy to share ideas, code and hardware designs.

    Many of the engineers I’ve known (including myself) have an exceptionally difficult time taking a complex idea or concept and convey it in a way that is accessible to people without a BS degree, regardless of which school they attended. To me, that is one of the most impressive aspects of what Adafruit, and Lady Ada specifically, has accomplished. One of the first things taught in Comm101 is to know your audience and adjust your content/presentation/writing level accordingly. Most newspapers are written at an 11th grade reading level even though the journalists and editors likely have BS or MS degress in English or Journalism for this very reason. Adafruit seems to be taking the same approach, creating an environment when someone without the degree can design and build amazing things. The fact that Adafruit is still in business and apparently quite successful reflects how well they know their target audience. Heck, my mom is interested in getting started building wearable electronics.

    As for what whether Limor is a “true” engineer… What is it that engineers do? We build things, hopefully things that work well and meet a need. From my perspective, Lady Ada has accomplished this hands down.

  8. You see these comments? Comments attacking people, their work, their education, and everything about them. This is the kind of thing that turns people off to Hackaday’s front page. It’s one of the few parts of this job that I truly dislike. If you attack Limor, how does that make the neophyte hacker/maker/engineer feel? I’ve seen awesome projects that I couldn’t share on the blog because the creator didn’t want to be placed in front of the firing line of Hackaday’s comments.

    All the elitist crap needs to stop. One shouldn’t feel they need to prove their mettle before chatting or leaving a comment. You are only hurting the community, and yourselves.

  9. @Matt and others. Lady Ada is great, I’m old school and don’t buy her stuff, but she helps noobs and other prototypers get onboard. Not sure so much chatter would be had over a bloke. Get over it.

  10. Since, everyone on here is having a rant. I will to. So they have made a raspi zero and now we have a bunch people are hacking stuff back onto it that were taken off so it would be small and cheap. WTF really? Buy a micro-controller or a Raspi B+ seriously.

  11. She’s not my cup of tea. But everybody has to start somewhere, As far as I;m concerned Lady Ada and Adafruit are a fine helping hand to beginners. Nothing wrong with the service she provides for them and others.

  12. I keep forcing myself to backspace.

    Limor was an invited guest. Can you imagine for a moment standing eye to eye in front of a guest and drenching this visitor with your rhetoric? I will reserve a smidgen of hope that you feel some shame.

    Implementation of a ‘killfile’ feature in the comment system might bring some civility to HaD.

    1. It’s “hate”, not “hate on”. Proper grammar plz.

      Can we also stop saying “haters gonna hate” and other such stupid bullshit hip-hop cliches? Just because someone doesn’t agree with, or like you, doesn’t mean they’re some sort of creature who’s whole existence is to hate things. That’s as much a stupid idea as “bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks”.

      We can do better than this! Dr Dre hasn’t even got a real PhD.

  13. Well this seems to have degenerated into Youtube territory. This is a shame, I come to Hackaday for a little respite from the world, and have always enjoyed vigorous debates in the comment sections, mostly without to much trolling.

    The guys slagging Limor off should be ashamed, theres no need for it, shes built up a very successful engineering company from nothing and has encouraged a lot of people to take it up as a hobby, which can only be a great thing, and all you guys can do is argue over the semantics of whether she is a ‘proper’ engineer or not.

    I’m all for a engineering argument, but this is silly.

    Shaaaaame!*Ding Ding*

    And Hackaday admin, keep up the excellent work, you are appreciated! This is without doubt my favourite website, long may it continue.

    1. Yeah, sorry, but Jeri hasn’t delivered anything (that she sold three years ago) yet, while LadyAda has been running a pretty awesome business in NYC for the last ten years.

  14. I am as pleased with the support for Limor here as I am saddened by the attacks.

    I’ve been following Limor since the original Minty Boost or so. (2006?) Her original Arduino tutorials are what enabled me to get started with microcontrollers to begin with. Well written tutorials on the platform weren’t all over the place then like today. Her tutorials made no assumptions of the abilities of the reader, teaching not just about the software aspect but about the how and why of pull-ups, debouncing, etc. They provided me (and countless others no doubt) a nice foundation to build on. I’ve since grown up from tinkering with kits to having my own boards fabbed to solve the odd problem here or make a fun thing there. I’ve even been featured here on Hack-a-day exercising what I learned from her. That’s not to mention of her/Adafruits contribution to the open source community by way of libraries and hardware.

    So thanks Limor. I appreciate what you’ve done for us.

  15. All this is rather surprising. Forget that she is a female. Consider that she has two MIT degrees and has built up and is running a successful business. Someone to take note of in anyone’s book regardless of gender. I enjoy doing business with Adafruit (and Sparkfun). They make things conveniently available that would otherwise be problematic or entirely out of reach. My hat is off. All this venom! It can only be rooted in envy.

  16. I know nothing about the lady, but the company is kinda rip-off. But that should not be surprising.
    Running an electronics supply shop out of NYC ? Who subsidizes the rent? Unless Adafruit is an importer from Chinatown or the Bronx, I can’t see how this company can realistically survive given the costs and the competition.

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