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Hardware Hacking

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

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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:01PM (#10291840)
    How to create your own DIY Tech Magazine.
    • by BoldAC ( 735721 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:46PM (#10292077)
      Both of them are confusing sometimes...
      Both of them are popular...

      Just for reference, we are talking about this O'Reilly [], not this O'Reilly. []


      Really though, get your boss to get you a subscription to Safari O'Reilly. [] You get access to any 10 O'Reilly books you want each month for less than $20. We've quit buying dead trees... and we just all use this now as our library.
      • by shadowkoder ( 707230 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @04:45PM (#10292379)
        I just went to that link, and I noticed in the top right corner it said "Welcome Rochester Institute of Technology" (my univ). Umm ... wow. If I understand this right, RIT pays for this service so I do not have to buy a book from them if I'm willing to forgo the benefits of the dead-tree version. I wonder how many other univ's have deal like this (and students who dont know about it) ?
      • If printed copies of these books average $30 each, the break-even point on this subscription service is 15 months. Even in this industry, not very many things worth writing a whole book about are revised that often, not to the point that 16 month-old books are worthless. So as fascinating as this concept is, and as handy as search features and revised-as-needed reference material can be, this smells like a losing proposition for users. Books are meant to be owned, not rented.

        I'm taking a tech writing c

      • I don't want Safari quite frankly. What I want is for O'Reilly's to include a HTML/PDF version of the book inside the actual dead tree version. I don't want to haul 5 books back and forth from home to work every day and I'm sure as hell not going to buy two sets of the same damned books. I should be able to get an electronic copy to benefit me when I'm away from my dead tree racks. Safari just doesn't cut it. I need more.
  • Make (Score:5, Funny)

    by Zorilla ( 791636 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:03PM (#10291853)
    user@localhost>make o'reilly
    No rule to make target 'o'reilly'. Stop.

    Fuck. Not for me, I guess.
    • Re:Make (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ezzzD55J ( 697465 )
      Actually your shell generally wouldn't parse that due to the single quote ;) however:

      $ make "o'reilly" make: don't know how to make o'reilly. Stop

    • Re:Make (Score:3, Funny)

      by darkonc ( 47285 )
      user@localhost>make o'reilly
      No rule to make target 'o'reilly'. Stop.

      Lucky you: I just got a greater-than sign that wouldn't go away, no matter how many times I hit 'enter. . I had to enter the command again, then I got this:

      [darkonc@me projects]$ make o'reilly
      > make o'reilly
      make: *** No rule to make target `oreilly

      make oreilly'. Stop.
  • Archives (Score:5, Funny)

    by VistaBoy ( 570995 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:04PM (#10291860)
    So the archived copies of Make Magazine will be called Makefiles?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:06PM (#10291868)
    Hustler has been providing a magazine which is aimed at the do-it-yourself crowd for decades.

  • by mikael ( 484 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:07PM (#10291875)
    ...How to build your own personal reusable spacecraft using only an old washing up liquid bottle, some sellotape, a couple of lemons and a box of bicarbonate of soda.

    If that proves too difficult, I'll settle for a flying car.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:08PM (#10291881)
    The problem here is its such a broad topic. People's interest diverge so far that it's really a much more suitable topic for a generalized search engine Google rather than a magazine format. While some people will tend to think that stuff in the kitchen is cool, others will think it should include coding. Others will want automotive and others will prefer architecture or explosives or metalwork or hide tanning or alternative energy. The Foxfire series tried to do something similar, but they also had a theme beyond just doing it yourself which was doing it the old fashioned way. That only appealed to a certain set. Coming at it from the opposite, doing it yourself and doing in the new way doesn't really seem to work as a theme.
    I think the real question is, do we still need magazines?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:19PM (#10291944)
      I think the real question is, do we still need magazines?

      Are you the guy I saw on Flight 2451 bringing his laptop into the shitter?

    • by syukton ( 256348 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:46PM (#10292076)
      Well, magazines have some stuff going for them that other mediums do not.

      The weekly newspaper covers a broad range of topics, and these topics are easily diveded into sections. I do not see any reason to prevent the collection of various projects under an arbitrary set of "topics" in order to sequester the attention of those interested in, say, mechanical engineering, to only the brown-tabbed pages. Just because it's all bound up together doesn't mean that you can't divide it up.

      But the question is: do you want to divide it up?

      It depends on what you're making. I've always wanted to know how to get the iron out of iron ores. I could search it up on wikipedia, but what if I'm on a bus on my way across the country and don't have access to the handy-dandy wikipedia? It would be nice if it were in a magazine that I could fit in my backpack. But what use is knowing about smelting if you can't build your own smelter? Once you know how to refine iron and make steel (in your own smelter!), what use is it unless you're making things with these materials, from scratch? Sandcasting is a great way to make objects from molten metals; you could find yourself making all kinds of things. As an aside, possessing this kind of DIY know-how would make for much more interesting episodes of DIY-theme gameshows.

      You need to make the information accessible, is the thing. The internet is great and all, but it's nothing for disseminating information like a magazine. For about 8 to 14 hours a day while the sun is up, you can read any book or magazine you like. The internet is down when my cable modem is out, when there's a hurricane, when I'm not at the computer. I can't pass my computer to the person next to me and say "read this article" without first presuming that they know how to use my computer. But with a magazine or a book, you hand it over, you point your finger on the place that they should begin reading, and whammo! Your information has been shared!

      Mentioning hurricanes in my previous paragraph prompted this perfect example: There's nothing but junk all over the southeast right now. Knowing how to turn junk into things like nails and hammerheads and axe blades and so forth is fairly valuable knowledge in the midst of a terrible disaster, no?

      just my $0.02.
      • by HeyLaughingBoy ( 182206 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @06:04PM (#10292811)
        Knowing how to turn junk into things like nails and hammerheads and axe blades and so forth is fairly valuable knowledge in the midst of a terrible disaster, no?

        No, because it's still easier to go to the next county/state and find a hardware store ... and that is why I think the magazine will fail.

        I just surfed over here from Nuts & Volts (interested parties can figure out the URL and hopefully avoid the /. effect without a link). N&V is a hardware hobbyist magazine that's beginner oriented. At the other end of the scale is Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar (of Byte mag fame). At one time or another I have subscribed to both and read many more. But they are just about the only hardware hobby magazines left. Why? The market is shrinking faster and faster. It is now so easy to get interesting things off the shelf cheaply that formerly were expensive or had to be custom built that there is little incentive for the average curious person to even become interested in building things.The barrier to entry has become so high that most won't bother when they can go write code instead.

        Same reason Heathkit went out of business: the things they offered as kits became cheaper to buy complete and with warranty at the local Circuit City.

        I like the concept of experimentation and building my own stuff -- that's why I have a basement full of electronics parts and tools, but I don't think this new magazine is going to last more than a year or so.
        • by AJWM ( 19027 )
          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 D
    • Perhaps not (Score:3, Interesting)

      Popular Mechanics in the 1960s etc was very much an interesting HOW-TO type mag, unlike the glossy car-wax-commercial thing it is now. Many people browse these mags on an infomercial basis, just interested in how stuff works and what they can do with things without actually ever getting around to do stuff oneself.

      Sign me up!

  • by wertarbyte ( 811674 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:08PM (#10291884) Homepage
    Most magazines here (in germany) claiming to be about hacking cover subject like "How to copy ANY CD!" or how to 'hack' your neighbour's WLAN, these magazines seem to aim at 13 year old wannabe-crackers who just discovered this secret hackertool "tracert" with which they can "track and locate" other computers on "T43 n37". I hope that this new magazine will present the term "hacking" in the right light. Well, it'll be hard to receive in germany I guess.
    • by Generalisimo Zang ( 805701 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:58PM (#10292122)
      I'd actually be interested in something like that, and I know others would be too.

      Sometimes people forget that not everyone is endowed at birth with immense knowledge (like the parent poster apparently was :P ), and that many people would appreciate something that walks them through the simple first steps of new concepts.

      What really tees me off about a lot of tutorials and manuals, is how they'll go into great detail on the basic principles (great), and they go into great detail on solutions to intermediate and advanced level concepts (again, great), but they spend a tiny ammount of time quickly glossing over the first few steps to actually get something done (arrrghh!).

      It's sort of like getting some piece of furniture home from Ikea, and discovering that the pictographic instruction sheet had been replaced by a journeyman carpenter's course book.

      Yeah yeah, it's great to be able to see how to shingle a roof and build drywall... but I just want to know how to put friggin Tab A into Tab B so my Ikea bookcase doesn't collapse when I set it up.

      So, please don't disparage anyone who's going to actually step up to the plate and provide good solid basic knowledge to people who may not have been exposed to it in a way that they could actually USE it before.

      Basic knowledge is a good thing... except for those of you who were born knowing everything :|
  • DIY Tricorder (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cpt_Kirks ( 37296 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:10PM (#10291893)
    Using Pic and BasicX microcontrollers and various sensors (RF, Chem, Rad, etc.). Add a nice graphics LCD, and a SD memory slot. (All of this is available now)

    My "Mark I" should be operational soon. Maybe I will do a write up for "Make"...

    • Re:DIY Tricorder (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:48PM (#10292089)
      This is not exactly sardonic. The microcontroller performance/price ratio has risen greatly over the past few years. But it hasn't risen as fast as the cost of medical equipment.
      It's not uncommon to have 100-to-1 ratios between the price of the electonic parts and sensors and the retail price of specialized medical equipment. It comes from an environment of predatory lawsuits and cost-is-no-object medical insurance coverage. Health care costs are rising insanely in the USA. The only way employers are dealing with it is by not offering medical insurance benefits to their employees, which is not dealing with the issue at all. The Republican/Democrat lawmakers are bought off by the HMOs and the drug companies, and will continue to only vote for legisation that directly benefit the HMOs and drug companies.

      When people like you will need medical care in America in the future, the options will be to take a trip to another country and buy treatment at a much less cost than America, or use black-market treatments, medicines, and medical equipment that has not passed US FDA certification. DIY stuff.

      Black market medical equipment will be one hot fast-growing market for electronic developers and technicians in the next twenty years, simply due to the tens of millions of people thrown off the health insurance rolls. It will be necessary to develop an illegal, but parallel, FDA to ensure that this black-market equipment is reasonablely safe and reliable.

      Networks in medical electronic schematics, software, sensors, and parts will spring up in P2P formats. Like the P2P music file-sharers, they will be completely illegal. And, like the music sharers, they will be completely necessary and fill the vital social function of providing a market for industries that have painted themselves into a corner through their own greed and stupidity.
      • Re:DIY Tricorder (Score:3, Interesting)

        by skaffen42 ( 579313 )
        Fuck, can't figure out if that was a very insightfull comment or if you have been reading too much William Gibson...

        Unfortunately I suspect you might be right. I have considered medical tourism a couple of times, and actually know a couple who fly from Seattle to South Africa for any serious medical/dental work. Even with the cost of the flights, they still save money, have excellent medical care and get to have a vacation at the same time.

        I guess this should also serve as a wakeup call for all the gu
      • It will be necessary to develop an illegal, but parallel, FDA to ensure that this black-market equipment is reasonablely safe and reliable.

        Actually, these already exist: other countries. Pretty much every country has its own equivalent of the FDA. While I probably wouldn't trust equipment that had only been certified by Tibet or Iran, I would trust equipment that had been certified by Canada, Europe, or Australia, say.

        Plus, because it's now all completely legal, it's a hell of a lot easier to get hold

    • I had long had plans for doing this too. Make my own tricorder gadget. What kind of sensors have to gotten? I already have the experience with microcontrollers but have to figure out the analog sensors better.
      • There are so many choices when it comes to sensors: RF detector, frequency counter, radiation detector, gas sensors, IR motion detector, meteorological sensors, GPS...

  • Interest High (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mefus ( 34481 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:10PM (#10291895) Journal
    I'm very interested in such a magazine, but disappointed that they almost inevitably are or become those "gadget" magazines spoken of in the description.

    I think the advertisers in such a magazine often end up fighting the reader base and pulling the focus of "cheap and homemade".

    Maybe there's a better chance this one will stay focused if O'Reilly is the publisher?
    • Any other magazines (online or otherwise) like that out there?
    • 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

    • Re:Interest High (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Jeff Duntemann ( 20005 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @04:02PM (#10292144) Homepage
      As I understand it, "mooks" fall somewhere between the book and magazine business model. (I'm curious where Borders will shelve them!) Print magazines are supported almost entirely by advertising revenue, and thus advertisers have almost literally the power of life and death over them. (I have edited several tech magazines in my career, and lordy, do I understand this or what?) Subscribers have been trained not to pay for print magazines by ridiculous "six free issues!" pitches, so in truth, subscriber revenue can't cover but a fraction of what the magazine costs.

      My guess is that Make will come out twice a year and be much thicker than a typical print magazine. It will probably be a thinnish book, and may cost as much as $12 or $15.

      As for advertisers, figure the people who sell the raw materials for tinkering: Radio Shack, mail order electronics parts houses, tech book publishers like Lindsay Books, and so on. The revenue from advertisers will bring the retail cover price down below what you'd expect for a tech book.

      These are guesses on my part; I have no inside information. But if I were to go back into magazine publishing again, this is how I would do it.

      I wish Tim the best of luck, and perhaps I'll be able to contribute articles.


      --Jeff Duntemann K7JPD
      Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • by Cryofan ( 194126 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:12PM (#10291906) Journal
    Probably, they now that all the "Learn Programming in N Days" books are no longer such a big profit center, they are turning to the recreational side of technology, like so many former IT professionals who have been laid off....
    • That's Sams..

      O'Reilly publishes the programming books that don't suck.

      • O'Reilly publishes the programming books that don't suck

        And who publishes programming magazines that don't suck? The only thing on the newstand that I look at today is Dr. Dobbs and I no longer buy it - it is largely irrelevant to what I do.

        I find the professional journals largely unreadable today except for an occasional article in CACM with a practical basis. Sorry, the last time I went to a local ACM meeting, I concluded that ACM stood for "Academic Computer Masturbation".

        As for DIY magazines, there
  • Please. (Score:2, Funny)

    by OmegaBlac ( 752432 )
    "O'Reilly will begin publishing a new magazine, 'Make,' in early 2005"
    Instead of O'Reilly running:

    # make Make

    maybe they should run:

    # apt-get install Make

    and it will be here now instead of 2005!
    • Re:Please. (Score:3, Funny)

      by darkonc ( 47285 )
      # apt-get install Make

      I think of apt-get being for prepackaged and (nearly) complete builds.

      If you're in the DIY mode, you're more likely to be using Make. Once you have a (semi) complete product then you'd be making it available to the apt-get crowd.

  • by ThisNukes4u ( 752508 ) <tcoppi AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:14PM (#10291920) Homepage
    Because half the fun in trying out cool stuff is thinking up the idea yourself, then trying to put your idea into a physical (or binary) representation. This magazine would take out all the fun.
    • by darkonc ( 47285 ) <stephen_samuel@bcgr e e n . com> on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:33PM (#10291998) Homepage Journal
      Because half the fun in trying out cool stuff is thinking up the idea yourself, ..... This magazine would take out all the fun.

      Not at all.. The magazine lets you see what other people are doing. This gives you some interesting ideas for:
      1: Things you might want to do that are (slightly or completely) different
      2: Ways of getting unusual things done on a budget not signed by the NSA.

      The guys that were the technical advisors to one of the second world war escape movies ("The Great Escape", I think) considered the possibility that it might give future jailers ideas about preventing those same tactics from being used again, then decided that what was most importat was teaching the committment to thinking up ingenious methods and diversions that was most important, while the specific tactics were all but irrelevent.

    • I think it gives a good "springboard" to your own customizations. Kind of like "that's neat, but with this part like that, it can also perform another function twice as well".

      Kind of like software programming, you shouldn't need to write your own kernel now, but it is easy to modify someone else's Linux or BSD kernel work rather than redoing the entire job.
    • I would see this as a great way to find out if there really are any user serviceable parts within that "No user serviceable parts" item. Motors, cuircit boards, etc... I hope they have an entire section dedicated to letting you know what is in diffrent electronic devices that can be gutted and used in something else.

  • 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 []
  • Will it be like (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:16PM (#10291932)
    Ready Made [] for geeks?
  • Wake me up when O'Reilly publishes Apt-Get, Emerge, or Pkg-Add. ;)
  • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:19PM (#10291943) Homepage
    One of those digital photoframes to display the pictures from your kitecam. The panoramas... the approaching ground... the horrified expression on the face of a soon to be ex-digicam owner...
  • Huh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by josh3736 ( 745265 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:25PM (#10291966) Homepage
    This is a magazine that celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your own will.

    Funny, that's not what the good people over at the RIAA/MPAA have been telling me...

  • Only my soldering iron? What about my cutting torch and my drill press?
  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:39PM (#10292034) Homepage Journal
    Since the gov't seems bound and determined to make any form of hardware hacks illegal, they may as well have a monthly column on the state of affairs on the DMCA and all that other crap they're trying to pass.

    Reminds me of that movie where ppl buy 'consumer goods', then take them home and put them down a chute. You can buy it, they want you to buy it, but you can't DO anything with it.

    • Yes, I can think of topics for at least three consecutive issues. One on the DMCA, one on the Broadcast Flag, and one on the Audio Home Recording Act. Each and every one of those makes one or another project illegal.

  • by brxndxn ( 461473 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:41PM (#10292039)
    My buddy and I build a HT subwoofer on our own and it turned out pretty amazing. It was very powerful and very tight. We paid about $200 for the materials and it turned out about as good as a $1000 subwoofer.

    There are lots of ways to build speakers, but they are more complicated because the sound quality depends a lot about the box that they're in. Perhaps this magazine can have a few DIY templates for speakers boxes, crossover wiring, and things like that.

  • DIY CAM Lathe! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by carcosa30 ( 235579 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:41PM (#10292040)
    O'Reilly-- you must cover the Gingery Lathe!

    Gingery lathes are professional quality machine tools you make yourself. Not from parts. You build a furnace out of concrete and sand, you melt the aluminum, you sand-cast the basic parts. Then you use the skeleton of the lathe to machine the rest of the parts out of steel.

    There are also people out there who have turned-- no pun intended-- turned gingery lathes into CAM gingery lathes.

    BTW if gingery lathes have not been on slashdot before, they certainly deserve to be. More than, say, the Japanese guy who made his own Battle Angel Alita realdoll out of sushi-rice. IMO.
    • Wish I had mod points - good one :)
    • Yeah, Lindsay has a ton of cool books. Everything from "The Impoverished Radio Experimenter" to "DIY Embalming" (I'm not kidding).

      Lots of metal working stuff and old books on interesting subjects.

    • DIY Silicon! (Score:3, Interesting)

      Yup, it's a dream but some of us are working on making it real: Semiconductor devices made on an individual or small community scale. We're aiming for full-on complex circuits but we'll be very happy when the first transistor works.

      One of the stages is indeed a home-made lathe and milling machine, to make some of the vacuum chambers and chemical vessels. Fun stuff :) By the way, thanks Slashdot for pointing me at these books. (This isn't the first article whose comments recommend them).

      Is anyone els

  • by strider3700 ( 109874 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:43PM (#10292050)
    This is something that I'd be all over.

    I've just finished building a projector out of a LCD some lenses and a very bright lightbulb. Got the plans from and I have to say it works amazingly well.

    Next project is getting mythTV or Freevo working with my hauppage under linux to give me TV on the new projector(It was plug and play under windows but I can't stand 2000 anymore)

    After that I'll be using the serial port on my motorola cable box to let the PVR change channels on the cable box. At that point I don't know where to go with my media center. Maybe remote PC's to let me access the backend from all the rooms in the house?

    Now as for the magazine I'd love to see a nice big how two on creating my own speakers, even if it is just a build a box and plug the parts in I'm curious if this can be done cheaper then buying the nice ones at a store. Home made amplifiers would be cool as well.

    Getting away from my media viewing, I'd love to see articles on wiring up houses. Temp sensors in every room/area, on the water pipes. A way to monitor electric usage on every circuit. Door/Window open/closed monitoring... All linked back to a PC with some nice logging software to keep track of whats going on in the house.

    There are tons of other things I'd love to have but can't afford so I'm forced to build them. The difficult part for the magazine is going to be how difficult some of them are. Using one project to develop the skills needed for the next is a great way to learn but if you jump in to the magazine part way though you could end up stuck. If they don't gradually get harded the long term readers will be bored.
    • 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 Cel []

  • by Duke Machesne ( 453316 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:44PM (#10292063)
    I want to see hacks for things like dashboard-console mp3 servers running out of the trunk on the existing alternator,

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

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

    how to make a creepy surveillance systems that automatically close the storm shutters and say nasty things to intruders...

    I'm envisioning Martha Stuart meets Kevin Mitnick
    • by R2.0 ( 532027 )
      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,"

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

      That being said, the magazine still sounds cool.
    • "I'm envisioning Martha Stuart meets Kevin Mitnick"

      Why? Are you expecting Kevin to violate parole and get sent back inside?

  • Steve Ciarcia (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:45PM (#10292066) Homepage Journal
    This kind of reminds me of the Circuit Cellar articles that used to appear in Byte and have since become a full magazine. I know that Steve has long since left control, but last I checked, and since I am off doing other things I do not read it regularly, it still seems to a good magazine to get project ideas.

    Of course these articles appeared in the day when it made much more sense to build your own IC board, solder your own components, and build your own cable. Today one 'builds' a computer by plugging off the shelf components together and downloaded software and drivers. If the current complaints from the DIY crowd are any indications, few people even think to write their own drivers. I wonder if the articles in Make will teach the readers interesting concepts and techniques, or merely provide a step by step on making cool toys.

    So my questions for this magazine are two. First, given that Steve Ciarcia showing us how to build cool technology 20 years ago, how is Make the First. For instance, the current issue og Circuit Cellar talks about building a rover. Second, O'Reilly has wonderful editors that keep errors to below industry average, but the quality of the authors vary widely. For books that is fine. One can pick a choose. But a magazine requires a much tighter control. Can O'Reilly find enough authors and good ideas?

    • Re:Steve Ciarcia (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:58PM (#10292125) Homepage
      I miss Byte, I really do. When I was but a spotty student at RGIT, I used to spend hours in the library reading very old back issues of Byte (going back to the late 70s IIRC). Whole articles devoted to building your own 32x24 character tv display, and stuff. Brilliant.

      There used to be a few good magazines like Hobby Electronics, and Electronics Today International, but HE folded and the last issue of ETI I saw was ages ago, when the "construction" articles were pretty much all about plugging *this* ready-made microcontroller development board into *that* ready-made LCD controller, then programming it from your Windows PC. Dull dull dull. All this from the same magazine that published a 4-part article on constructing a very nice little analogue monosynth, in the late 70s. Shame really.

    • Y'know, there's probably a great website to be had by seeking out the old Byte magazine Circuit Cellar columns and putting them online. All the more great if you were to check parts availability and update anything that would be difficult/expensive to do now.
  • 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 [], 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.

  • Headphone Amplifiers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HeelToe ( 615905 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @03:56PM (#10292117) Homepage
    Ok, maybe this is over the top geeky, but I built a solid state headphone amp for has tons of info, but it would be neat to see this geeky pursuit put in print with good research and recommendations.

    Anyway, it's amazing what a difference in sound quality a headphone amp can make. As a magazine wanting to help you get the most out of your tech at home and elsewhere, I think headphone amps qualify.

    • Yes, I second your headphone amp recommendation. I just bought a set of Grado's and it's amazing how much better everything sounds (troubling, too: you can really hear the flaws in mp3s...I've pretty much gone back to CD's, although .ogg files still sound great). Anyway, next on my list is building a "mint tin" headphone amp.
      • This is actually what I built - it fits in an Altoids-sized mint tin. I had a wall-wart for it at work, though now that I'm telecommuting, I may just build a very nice solid-state amp that runs off mains - I'm thinking separate circuitry from power to output. Not sure how to do the volume control in a synchronized way, though. Perhaps a dual pot that is physically synchronized on one knob.
        • I plan on using a dual (ganged) pot, but I'd like to find one with a switch on the end of it (to eliminate the separate on/off switch). I can find pots with switches for single pots, but haven't found one for duals. :-/

  • Suggestion Box (Score:2, Interesting)

    I've been wanting to build my own compiler-farm using Linux boxes and distcc []. Now that computers are so silly cheap [], it's looks like a good idea, and probably other people around here have had the same inkling.

    But it's still too much money for me to be the one to go make all the first-timer mistakes and discover all the hidden costs. I guess that's precisely the reason most DIYers would buy a magazine like this.

  • MacGyver (Score:2, Funny)

    by cronius ( 813431 )
    I really hope they get MacGyver to write some articles, I already got a Swiss Army Knife and a roll of duct tape standing by.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @04:11PM (#10292196) Homepage Journal
    Remember the 1970's (and earlier)? People were into all sorts of geek DIY activities. Building your own electronic devices, photography with home darkrooms, mechanical stuff, theater/stage tech ... there were a lot of hobbies that are now a shadow of their former selves because the advent of personal computing sucked up all the mindshare.

    That trend almost reversed itself in the 1990's, when computers became boring. A vast wasteland of Intel and Microsoft. Nothing fun there. But then Linux and Open Source came along and re-kindled geeks' love for computing again. There's undeniable geek fun in the DIY aspect of open source hacking. (And it's great that we also have non-DIY products available now for the non-geeks.)

    My prediction (which I hope never comes true) is that if Microsoft's DRM dystopia becomes reality and we can't do open source anymore, geeks will scramble away from computing in large numbers, and we'll see a resurgence of interest in DIY hobbies.
  • connect my house (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bvdbos ( 724595 )
    There's tons of things i'd like to do if only i'd know how, for instance:

    * connect my thermostate to my server so I can turn the heating on when I leave work

    * feed my rabbits through a remote system (so I can go on holiday and feed them by browsing to their own server)

    * create a grey-water system which tracks and records waterusage, rainfall, humidity of the gardensoil etc

    * remote-control the lights in house

    * remote-control my vcr/tivo

    * put solar-energy panels on my roof and track and record ene

  • Focus on old tech (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seraphim_72 ( 622457 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @04:20PM (#10292258)

    Dont give me projects that require the latest and the greatest. If I have to spend $300 to save $299 it isn't worth my time - though it may be really fun. If it costs $1200 - even if it involves sex it isn't going to be that fun. For example I have two old b/w gameboys lying about - tell me how to port the screens to my computer. I have tons of old hardware - tell me how to solder in flash ram from a thumbdrive into an old digital camera. Provide How-To's to the how to's, not everyone was born witha soldering iron in one hand and a Bridgeport in the other. Gimme anything that an old stick of RAM is good for. Or an old scanner, or zip drive. Have a case mod corner - I don't case mod at all - but I find them neet to look at. Starting in #3 start a basic course, a mid and advance course in electronics. Have something that involves gun powder, and another that involves a catapult. .Get feature articles about cool stuff people have done, and &exactly& how they did them. Get advertisers that supply stuff - for example, short of Radio Shack I know of no place that will sell me a resistor - get me some adverts that will. Get that "Dark Tipster" guy from Tech TV to write a column. There, hell, do you guys need any actual help? Call me.


    • 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 [], ocean state electronics [], ebay but prices get whacked quickly) on the market.

      Experimenting with cheap 8-bit microcontrollers such as Microchip's PIC [] or Atmel's AVR []s is quite cheap, and typically all you need is a chip and one (really cheap [] if want) device - a programmer [] 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 [], Mouser [], Newark [], and Jameco []. These all have usable online ordering systems and reasonable minimum order & shipping fees. UK geeks check G3SEK's UK Component and Tool Suppliers [] 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 [] 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 [])

      I think it should be what Nuts and Volts [] magazine tries to be, but without the "legacy" dead weight and filler articles. A gentler introduction to most of the Circuit Cellar [] 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 [] (O'Reilly) and Hardware Hacking: Have Fun While Voiding Your Warranty []. I am more interested in reading stuff like Hacking the Xbox [] (An Introduction to Reverse Engineering) by Andrew "bunnie" Huang which starts simple but gets into FPGAs and reverse engineering.
  • I got an idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by segfault7375 ( 135849 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @04:23PM (#10292270)
    This is a magazine that celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your own will.... [snip] ...Any suggestions for what they should cover?

    How about where to hire a good lawyer that knows how to defend against DMCA lawusuits?
  • How to send video back from a kite over 802.11 is a good start. I'd like to see similar projects for remote controlled planes. Sending the control signals up on the same wireless link is a logical extension.

    I'd like to see other wireless related projects, like some of the things that have been covered by [] - making antennas, community access points with cheap hardware and free software etc.

    Details of simple hacks (hardware and software) would be great to fill in between the
  • by Helpadingoatemybaby ( 629248 ) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @04:46PM (#10292381)
    I've been working for some time now on hacking my toilet. Basically some previous person had installed a "low flush system" into a high flush toilet which is very, very bad for pressure. Those who have this "serpent" configuration will sympathize.

    So I've been working on "improving" the toilet with various weights and countermeasures so that the water will submerge the low flush system but not overfill the tank.

    If you look at how a toilet is designed, you'll see it's actually quite brilliant. Most designs use the water itself as a counterweight to keep the valve open -- quite ingenious actually. But this only works if the tank is exerting the right pressure, otherwise as soon as you lift the handle, the valve closes.

    And for those of us with four or five death logs sticking six inches past the rim it's either hack the toilet or use the plunger as a club -- "Die! Die! Die! Why! Won't! You! Go! Down!"

    Anyway, that's what I'D like to see. Umm... because of my girlfriend. (*cough*)

    • The solution to this, of course, is to flush WHILE you're on the toilet, as well as AFTER you're done with your duty there. Sure, it uses a bit more water, but a heck of a lot less than when you clog the toilet and have to flush 3, 4, 5 times to get that pile down the pipe.
  • A how-to guide for hacking the TCPA's "Fritz" chip would make for a great DIY article.
  • Disclaimer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by *Pres* ( 114530 )
    Very important: they should put a huge disclaimer on the first page about voiding warranties, stuff blowing up, no guarantees, etc.
  • Speaking of hobbies, I want to lean more about electronics and circuit theory. Does anyone recommend specific learning kits? I've seen some at Radio Shack [] and other places. I don't have any place to solder and I don't want to electrocute myself, so I'd like to start out with some kind of kit.
  • I have a fear that this magazine will unfortunately be a half-assed regurgitation of other peoples' free how-to's. Like many magazines, they'll probably run a companion website that will provide as much or more value as the print version.

    In that light, I am going to go ahead and assume that the Kite Photography article will be about 4 pages of cheap ineffective hacks (somewhat akin to the recent engadget articles). Anyone wanting a serious collection of articles on KAP might consider buying the complete ar
  • My current project involves successive refinements on a networked music player (in my living room) that grabs OGG and MP3 files from a server machine (in my office) and plays them on the stereo. The successive refinements involve cutting down the minimum hardware requirements (pricewise more than MIPS-wise).
  • 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 []. You can get that wonderful column on a CD [] (yes, that has my ref id in it) or read recent articles online []. The old articles are the best--how to construct electron/proton accelerators & the like.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990