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Hardware Hacking

O'Reilly's New Magazine for DIY Tech Projects 207

Posted by michael
from the stay-alert-and-keep-your-soldering-iron-handy dept.
sargon writes "O'Reilly will begin publishing a new magazine, 'Make,' in early 2005 which is aimed at the do-it-yourself crowd. To quote the home page: 'Make brings the do-it-yourself mindset to all the technology in your life. Make is loaded with exciting projects that help you make the most of your technology at home and away from home. This is a magazine that celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your own will.' The first issue will focus on kite aerial photography." Any suggestions for what they should cover?
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O'Reilly's New Magazine for DIY Tech Projects

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  • by pjones (10800) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:15PM (#10291923) Homepage
    you can see a bit at the o'reilly site in the subject but you can also read quite a bit about Make on the various blog reports of FOO Camp.
    At that time, I thought that Make == Popular Mechanics/Electronic + Wired (when Wired wasn't tired). Think of Make as a Mook or a Bagazine.
    Here's my blog entry of the presentation at FOO:
    The Real Paul Jones - Make = Mook/Bagazine [ibiblio.org]
  • Will it be like (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:16PM (#10291932)
    Ready Made [readymademag.com] for geeks?
  • by StrawberryFrog (67065) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:22PM (#10291956) Homepage Journal
    I'm very interested in such a magazine, but disappointed that they almost inevitably are or become those "gadget" magazines

    Make is not another one of those "gadget" magazines that feature products on every page. While we like gadgets as much as the next person, we chose to focus on cool things you can do with technology, not just what to buy. Each of us has plenty of new technology at home and in our briefcase, and we'll write about our experience using this technology. What we are most interested in is the knack for making that technology work the way we want it.

  • Circuit Cellar (Score:4, Informative)

    by gaj (1933) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:48PM (#10292085) Homepage Journal
    This sounds link a simpler version of Circuit Cellar [circuitcellar.com], brought to us by that master of "programming in solder", Steve Ciarcia. For those of you too young (or too new to geekdom, anyway), Steve wrote a column for Byte back before it became just a weak PC Magazine clone.

    Circuit Cellar does range into more advaced electronic design, but the've done lots of fun and approachable stuff over the years. Back in the early days they did a whole series on making rockets with 2 liter bottles.

  • by R2.0 (532027) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @05:10PM (#10292509)
    I can't help with the other two, but:

    "how to make my computer trick my thermostat into thinking it's a full-fledged climate control system,"

    http://diy-zoning.sourceforge.net/

    "how to make an uber-scary AI haunted house at halloween,"

    http://markbutler.8m.com/monsterlist.htm

    That being said, the magazine still sounds cool.
  • by AJWM (19027) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @06:30PM (#10292958) Homepage
    But they are just about the only hardware hobby magazines left. Why? The market is shrinking faster and faster.

    So are the parts -- I pretty much gave up on DIY electronics when everything went to surface mount. I mean, when your PCB has rosin drops on it bigger than the components... ;-)

    More seriously, it's like moving up a level of abstraction. Back in the real old days folks wound their own coils, made their own carbon mikes, and potted their own crystals. These days instead of inserting ICs into DIP sockets, it's reprogramming some embedded PC gadgets and networking them in some novel way.
  • by Noksagt (69097) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @06:57PM (#10293167) Homepage
    I will be eager to see this magazine! I was very bummed about the demise of the "Amateur Scientist" column from Scientific American [scientificamerican.com]. You can get that wonderful column on a CD [amazon.com] (yes, that has my ref id in it) or read recent articles online [amasci.com]. The old articles are the best--how to construct electron/proton accelerators & the like.
  • by poptones (653660) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @07:43PM (#10293452) Journal
    What you just described is Steve Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar magazine. It was one of the first online and even offered BBS access to usenet to its members way back when even Playboy had yet to come to the internet. They were my email address for years and the thousands of posts I made to usenet will, I guess, forever linger in the google archive.

    Anyway, it seems nobody remembers steve, because I expected to see someone here mention how this magazine looks pretty much like a "mainstream" version of Circuit Cellar [circuitcellar.com]. The whole "aerial photography with a kite" thing was done AGES ago in that magazine - as well as helium balloons, hot air balloons, rockets and R/C airplanes, helicopters, and cars (and, I believe I recall, even model trains). And "home control" was the project that got steve started on all this way back when. The magazine often cooperates with manufacturers of chips to sponsor design contests, and some really nice projects have evolved from this.

  • Re:Focus on old tech (Score:4, Informative)

    by plcurechax (247883) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @10:22PM (#10294268) Homepage
    Your idea of using surplus is only good is you have whatever said surplus already laying around. I don't happen to have any of the old parts you mention (gameboys, zip drives, scanner, etc.) lying around, or you have a large enough surplus supply (electronic goldmine [goldmine-elec.com], ocean state electronics [oselectronics.com], ebay but prices get whacked quickly) on the market.

    Experimenting with cheap 8-bit microcontrollers such as Microchip's PIC [microchip.com] or Atmel's AVR [atmel.com]s is quite cheap, and typically all you need is a chip and one (really cheap [covingtoninnovations.com] if want) device - a programmer [netsuite.com] to transfer the (binary/hex) programs from your PC to the microcontroller's flash memory.

    You will quickly outgrow Radio Shack unless you need a part right now and you don't have the right one in your own stock pile, often referred to as a "junk box" regardless of actual physical size. You should be getting the free catalogs (or CDs) from Digikey [digikey.com], Mouser [mouser.com], Newark [newark.com], and Jameco [jameco.com]. These all have usable online ordering systems and reasonable minimum order & shipping fees. UK geeks check G3SEK's UK Component and Tool Suppliers [ifwtech.co.uk] web page.

    Many useful projects can be made for less than $100 even if you need to buy all the parts. After you build a collection of common parts (common resistors, capacitor values, PIC 16F628, AVR AT90S2313, red & green LEDs, 2N2222A, 2N3904, 2N3906, 2N4401, 2N4403, 2N4416, 4N25, 1N4148, 1N4001, 1N4007, etc.) and tools this cost will go down.

    The real question is do they assume a general audience or do they assume a "knowledgeable user" is their target market? If the stuff is purely "cookbook" & kit building (AmQRP kits [amqrp.org] as an example) with little or no encouragement (and knowledge transfer) for the average Make reader to explore and expand it won't survive IMHO. BTW AmQRP kits on their own are pretty limited at expanding your knowledge, but combined with the AMQRP Homebrewer magazine and Conference Proceedings they do teach a lot. There is also the QRP-L mailing list which is very useful for technical questions (and has a rich archive [qsl.net])

    I think it should be what Nuts and Volts [nutsvolts.com] magazine tries to be, but without the "legacy" dead weight and filler articles. A gentler introduction to most of the Circuit Cellar [circuitcellar.com] type stuff.

    If people think this will recreate the Homebrew Computer Club, I expect they will be mistaken, but if you expect it to awaken the curiousity and encourage youth to learn about electronics, then I hope it is a brillent success.

    In the end, I am curious and not quite sure what to expect of Make. It could be really lame if all it ends up being is computer geeks pretending to be electronic engineers (or electronic hobbyists). I hope that at least 10% of it expands what I know, which is more than I can say of books like Hardware Hacking Projects for Geeks [oreilly.com] (O'Reilly) and Hardware Hacking: Have Fun While Voiding Your Warranty [grandideastudio.com]. I am more interested in reading stuff like Hacking the Xbox [hackingthexbox.com] (An Introduction to Reverse Engineering) by Andrew "bunnie" Huang which starts simple but gets into FPGAs and reverse engineering.

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