Join Us For The “Holiday With Hackaday And Tindie” Meet-Up

It’s a ritual in workplaces around the world this time of any other year but 2020: the office holiday party. Too much food, perhaps too much alcohol, and garish sweaters that you wouldn’t be caught dead in on any other occasion. Things are, of course, a tad different this year, which is why we’re putting our community’s party online with the Holiday with Hackaday and Tindie meet-up on Tuesday, December 15 at noon Pacific time!

Why should you come to this hangout? Because why not! This is going to be a loose, informal meet-up that will give us all a chance to get to know one another. We’ve got an amazing community here, and just putting faces to names can be really valuable. You’ll be able to connect with old friends and perhaps make new ones. It’s your chance to reach out and find someone to collaborate with, or perhaps just find an answer to a thorny problem you’ve been stuck on. Be sure to bring your latest projects to show off, and maybe even consider giving everyone a virtual tour of your shop. Ugly sweaters are optional, of course, and we don’t judge.

The Holiday with Hackaday and Tindie meet-up is being held on Remo. Those of you who joined the Friday night Bring-a-Hack session at Remoticon this year will no doubt remember the platform, which we got a lot of good feedback on. You’ll want to check browser compatibility ahead of time and reserve your spot, so head over to Remo and make it so. If you need help with timezone conversions, we’ve got you covered on that too.

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone at the Holiday with Hackaday and Tindie meet-up!

Hackaday Links: December 6, 2020

By now you’ve no doubt heard of the sudden but not unexpected demise of the iconic Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. We have been covering the agonizing end of Arecibo from almost the moment the first cable broke in August to a eulogy, and most recently its final catastrophic collapse this week. That last article contained amazing video of the final collapse, including up-close and personal drone shots of the cable breaking. For a more in-depth analysis of the collapse, it’s hard to beat Scott Manley’s frame-by-frame analysis, which really goes into detail about what happened. Seeing the paint spalling off the cables as they stretch and distort under loads far greater than they were designed for is both terrifying and fascinating.

Exciting news from Australia as the sample return capsule from JAXA’s Hayabusa2 asteroid explorer returned safely to Earth Saturday. We covered Hayabusa2 in our roundup of extraterrestrial excavations a while back, describing how it used both a tantalum bullet and a shaped-charge penetrator to blast regolith from the surface of asteroid 162173 Ryugu. Samples of the debris were hoovered up and hermetically sealed for the long ride back to Earth, which culminated in the fiery re-entry and safe landing in the midst of the Australian outback. Planetary scientists are no doubt eager to get a look inside the capsule and analyze the precious milligrams of space dust. In the meantime, Hayabusa2, with 66 kilograms of propellant remaining, is off on an extended mission to visit more asteroids for the next eleven years or so.

The 2020 Remoticon has been wrapped up for most of a month now, but one thing we noticed was how much everyone seemed to like the Friday evening Bring-a-Hack event that was hosted on Remo. To kind of keep that meetup momentum going and to help everyone slide into the holiday season with a little more cheer, we’re putting together a “Holiday with Hackaday & Tindie” meetup on Tuesday, December 15 at noon Pacific time. The details haven’t been shared yet, but our guess is that this will certainly be a “bring-a-hack friendly” event. We’ll share more details when we get them this week, but for now, hop over to the Remo event page and reserve your spot.

On the Buzzword Bingo scorecard, “Artificial Intelligence” is a square that can almost be checked off by default these days, as companies rush to stretch the definition of the term to fit almost every product in the neverending search for market share. But even those products that actually have machine learning built into them are only as good as the data sets used to train them. That can be a problem for voice-recognition systems; while there are massive databases of utterances in just about every language, the likes of Amazon and Google aren’t too willing to share what they’ve leveraged from their smart speaker using customer base. What’s the little person to do? Perhaps the People’s Speech database will help. Part of the MLCommons project, it has 86,000 hours of speech data, mostly derived from audiobooks, a clever source indeed since the speech and the text can be easily aligned. The database also pulls audio and the corresponding text from Wikipedia and other random sources around the web. It’s a small dataset, to be sure, but it’s a start.

And finally, divers in the Baltic Sea have dredged up a bit of treasure: a Nazi Enigma machine. Divers in Gelting Bay near the border of Germany and Denmark found what appeared to be an old typewriter caught in one of the abandoned fishing nets they were searching for. When they realized what it was — even crusted in 80-years-worth of corrosion and muck some keys still look like they’re brand new — they called in archaeologists to take over recovery. Gelting Bay was the scene of a mass scuttling of U-boats in the final days of World War II, so this Engima may have been pitched overboard before by a Nazi commander before pulling the plug on his boat. It’ll take years to restore, but it’ll be quite a museum piece when it’s done.

Hackaday Meetup: Shenzhen

Hackaday and Seeed Studio are hosting a meetup in Shenzhen on Friday, March 22nd and you are invited!

This meetup is happening at X.factory, a maker hub run by Seeed Studios. Sophi Kravitz and Mike Szczys will be in town for the meetup and will both speak, along with a project talks from members of the Hackaday Community. Snacks and beverages will be served, and as always, if you have a project you’re working on bring it along! Having a piece of hardware is a great way to start a conversation, and this is the perfect place to draw inspiration, seek advice from your peers, and find team members to join in your projects!

Come and celebrate a love for design, electronics, learning new things, and meeting new people. We hope to see you at X.factory next week!

Hackaday Meetup: Vietnam

Hackaday is hosting a meetup in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on Sunday, March 24th. We’d love to see you there!

Sean Boyce lives in HCMC — you’ve likely enjoyed several of his articles detailing some of the culture, like keeping track of your scooter when parking in busy areas, and squashing myths about the quality of the coffee. In less than two weeks Mike Szczys will be stopping in to visit Sean and this is a great reason to host a Hackaday meetup!

Sean enjoying a coffee on his scooter.

Join Sean and Mike at Trung Nguyên Legend Café from 7-10 pm on Sunday, March 24th for a bring-a-hack style meetup. If you have a hardware project you’ve been working on, come and show it off as an excellent conversation starter. If not, that’s fine too. We’ve also lined up three short talks spanning topics from robotics to analog electronics. Of course if you’re excited about giving a talk, let us know in the comments below and we’ll work on squeezing you in.

Hackaday tries to host live events in all corners of the world, and it’s exciting to add Vietnam to the list. Head on over to the event page for more info, and we look forward to seeing you there! Of course if you happen to be on the other side of the world this coming weekend, there’s a Hackaday Mini-Unconference happening in Cambridge, UK!

KiCon Gets Our KiCad Conference On

Oh, what’s KiCon you say? KiCon is the first dedicated conference on our favorite libre EDA tool: KiCad, organized by friend of Hackaday Chris Gammell and scheduled for April 26 and 27th in Chicago.

Having stuffed ourselves full of treats through the holidays, followed by sleeping through the calm winter months, we find ourselves once again facing the overwhelming tsunami of conference season. This year things are heating up early, and you’ll find a lot of Hackaday staff are headed to Chicago for KiCon.

Now that early selection of talks has been released, the end of April can’t come soon enough. Being user focused the conference is centered around what people make using the tool, and how it can be leveraged to improve your next project. Wayne Stambaugh, the project lead for KiCad itself, will be on hand to talk about the state of the tool and what the road map looks like from here. There will be a pair of talks on effective version control and applying the practice of continuous integration and deployment to the EDA world. We’ll hear about methods for working with distributed project members and tips for designing easy to learn beginner soldering kits. And there will be two talks on RF and microwave design, one of which we hope will teach us how to use that mysterious toolbar with the squiggly lines.

For an extra dash of flavor there will be a few Hackaday staff participating in the festivities. is making the flight over to present a talk about how to quickly generate and use 3D models in FreeCAD, something we’re very interested in applying to our messy part libraries. Kerry Scharfglass will be around to walk through how to lay out a manufacturing line and design the test tools that sit on it. And our illustrious Editor in Chief Mike Szczys will be roaming the halls in search of excellent hacks to explore and brains to pick.

Interested in attending or volunteering for the conference? Now is the time to buy your tickets and/or apply as a volunteer!

Of course there’s a ton of fun and games that surround KiCon. Hackaday will be hosting another edition of our always exciting bring-a-hack the evening of Saturday April 27th after official activities wrap up. Plan to stop by and enjoy a beverage at this gathering of like minded hackers who are showing off awesome toys. We’ll get more location details out soon, but for now, grab a ticket to the con and make your travel arrangements.

Today: Hackaday Is At UK Maker Faire Plus Afterparty

As a finale to our month on the road through parts of the British Isles, we’ll be at UK Maker Faire this weekend, and we’ll also be hosting our final bring-a-hack at Maker Space Newcastle this evening, Saturday the 28th of April.

For the rest of the weekend’s UK Maker Faire, held at Newcastle’s Life Science Centre, you’ll find both Hackaday and Tindie at our booth number M118, and if you’re lucky you might even snag one of the [Brian Benchoff]-designed Tindie blinkie badge kits.

A few familiar faces from the Brits among our wider community will have their own booths, for example [Spencer] will be there with the RC2014 Z80-based retrocomputer, Rachel “Konichiwakitty” Wong will have her collection of wearables but no 3D-printed eyeballs, and Tindie seller extraordinaire [Partfusion], whose bone conduction skull radio we saw at EMF 2016 (Correction: the bone conduction radio was the work of fellow TOG stalwart [Jeffrey Roe]) and who also spoke at our Dublin Unconference.

There is still time to make your way to Geordieland to attend the event if you haven’t made plans already, and should you bring a conveniently portable hack with you then we’d love to see it. Especially if it’s a Hackaday Prize entry.

Hackaday And Tindie Are Coming To London On Sunday!

Hackaday and Tindie have arrived in London at the weekend, fresh from our Dublin Unconference. Join us this Sunday afternoon, as we convene at the Artillery Arms, a pub on the northeastern edge of the City. It’s a free event, we ask though that you sign up for it via Eventbrite if you’d like to attend.

We’re following our usual Bring-a-Hack style format, so come along and hang out with members of the London Hackaday community, and if you have a project to bring along then don’t be shy as we’d love to see it. And especially if you have a Hackaday Prize entry to show then we’d particularly like to see it. You never cease to amaze us with the work you do, be it the simplest of hacks or the most technically advanced. Just one thing though, if you bring something, make sure it’s handheld or portable enough to easily sit on a pub tabletop, space may be limited.

In attendance will be Tindie’s [Jasmine Brackett] and Hackaday’s [Jenny List], as well as quite a few of our community regulars. What better way could there be to spend a spring Sunday afternoon in London?

But what if you can’t make London, and face the prospect of missing out on us entirely? Fortunately, this one is not the only meetup we have planned, we’re heading to Nottingham and Cambridge on the 18th and 19th of April, respectively, and might even squeeze in another date if we can.