Tools of the Trade Vol.1

    Tools of the trade Pt.1

 tools

Hallo und wilkommen zu, ehh… I mean hello and welcome to the second article of the Electronics series. Today we will be dicussing tools. Every electronics hobbyist must have a set of trusty tools to rely on while embarking on the magnificent journey of electricity. I like dividing my tools into 2 major categories software and harware.scratching-head

-But is software a tool?

Well.. yeah,because there sooo many kinds of compilers,IDEs,CAD (and other) software,operating systems (trust me here, there are more than 3) that you need to have quite a bit know-how in order to find your way through all of that info.

-So where do I start from?

The basic stuff,a general rule of thumb for beginners(especially those of you with no programming experience) is to keep it nice and simple,just so you can get hold of general concepts that dwell in the realm of programming. My suggestions:

       Regarding programming languages:

  • Absolute beginner: Scratch, a simple yet information packed computer language that can get your running with the big boys (or girls) at no time!
  • Intermediate: C or some variety/version of C (such as C++,C#),because it’s a language that combines some high level characteristics (similarity to physical language,libraries,functions) with low-level goodies (speed,efficiency,etc.)
  • Advanced: Python,what can we say about Python? It’s such a weapon!High level,featuring powerful built in functions in a vast array of applications, just an all around wild card!
  • Super Advanced Boss Level: Verilog. If you have never heard it,then you probably don’t fall in this category. If you do then you certainly don’t need instructions regarding basic electronics!

       Regarding software (from the design/CAD viewpoint):

 

  • Absolute beginner: Fritzing super simple but powerful designing software,really intuitive too.
  • Intermediate: After a lot of thought I reccomend Draftsight, which is sort of a free AutoCAD version but a tad simpler.
  • Advanced: For you there is AutoDesk 123 a 3D designing program ideal for the well conditioned hobbyists (or as I like to call them semi-pros).
  • Super Advanced Boss Level: Eagle CAD with PCB layout features and a ton other stuff.Eagle is really powerfull, but skillwise a very demanding software.

For everyone I recommend CircuitLab a very usefull and easy-to-use little programme!

 

Regarding Operating Systems(this can come in handy in our Raspberry Pi exploratons):

 

  • Absolute beginner: If you have Windows stick to it, if you have a Mac well things might be a little more difficult for you but hang in there! More and more programms are incorporating Mac compatibility and in the meantime we are here for you!
  • Intermediate/Advanced: Linux,cause it’s EVERYWHERE nowadays: PC,servers,smartphones (I’ve even heard of vending machines that run it) plus the infamous Raspberry Pi platform runs Linux.
  • Super Advanced Boss Level: Hehe aren’t you in for a treat.. for all of you OS wackos out there I have…. MINIX 3, I won’t even say more just look it up!!

-Whoa you weren’t kidding when you said there are a lot of stuff out there.

No I wasn’t. But hey,look at the bright side we’re done with the software part of tools!

-Thank God,…ehh I mean bummer 😦

I will let that slide,Mr. hypothetical reader but just this once!

**Note: Because I will be upgrading some of my equipment in the next few days/week(s) the hardware part of Tools is going to be uploaded  a bit later (sorry in advance.)

Books: C++ Primer,Python for kids(not really a book for kids)

 images

 

Confused? Ask me anything right here,

or there: https://www.facebook.com/JustAddCoffeeBlog?fref=ts

or there: https://twitter.com/jacofe

Stam out.

Images from: Google.com

 

Quick Update/Magnifying Glasses Projects Teaser

Next week together with the second series article called: “Tools of the Trade” ,I will be uploading a short 10′ hacking project  that I completed yesterday. The idea for this project occured to me while searching for an electronics magnifying visor  in my hometown (every visor I encoutered was either too crappy or too expensive, or both). So, I decided to hack a pair of glasses and a magnifying monocle i had previously bought online, in order  to create a  pair of comfortable,repairable and above all CHEAP  magnifying glasses. I already told you too much, this project will self-destruct in 10 seconds.

 

Stam out.

Electronics 101 (A beginners guide to awesome)

 

 JACFE3

Hello and welcome!

 

My name is Stamatis and I am the newest member of the JustAddCoffee team,I also am an engineering student from Greece and an a huge electronics enthusiast. From here on I will be your wizard guide/Jedi mentor (much like Gandalf and Yoda but with a goatee and a lot less green) to electronics. Through this series of articles I will be presenting to you the basics of electronics DIY building including: motion/light activated circuits,build your own robot(world domination instructions and giant monsters not included),microphone,electric guitar effects,scripts/sketches/code and debugging,sensor input,tool usage and basic circuit schematics reading/drawing skills and a bit of theory too.

 

-What is electronics,exactly and why should I care?

Do you like:

  • TV
  • Robots and electronic toys
  • PC’s and game consoles
  • Cellphones,Smartphones and GPS
  • Dubstep and electronic music in general (Google ATARI Punk Console)
  • Lasers
  • Youtube,Google,Facebook,Instagram and generally The Internet (don’t lie)
  • Cars,airplanes,boats,hi-tec bicycles
  • Ice cream,chocolate and French frie production so you can enjoy them anytime (again,don’t lie)

 

If you do,then chances are you are using electronics a lot ,in fact hundreds of basic electronics components work together right now composing  a nanometer sized orchestra to enable you to read this very article and help you accomplish hundreds of everyday tasks that would be impossible without their assistance.

-Oh no, not another electronics geek,just what we needed,get your math,physics and object oriented programming and take it somewhere else buddy!!

Wait,you think electronics is all science and no fun right?  Wrong(annoying buzzer-like voice)

You wanna know all the math and physics you’ll need through this course? Get ready here it comes:

V=I*R

V=Voltage

 I=Current (not C because of  monsieur Coulomb a french scientist from wich a static electricity charge unit was named)

 R=Resistance

ohms-law-1                                                                                                                                                                              (Source:Google)

Yup that’s all ,pretty much this formula is all you need. Courtesy of Herr Georg Simon Ohm (a pretty cool dude overall).

Georg_Simon_Ohm3                                                                                                                                                             ( Source:Wikipedia)

-Hah!! What about the programming?

Simple stuff as well, the platforms I will be using have very simple structure and require minimum programming experience,however if you are a total beginner I will be uploading the code from square one for every project with comments right beside to each line explaining what it does, so you can review the material at your own pace.

-tl;dr I’m a visual learner.

Like video? No prob, we got you covered, every article will be accompanied by a video featuring yours truly displaying techniques,shortcuts,making mistakes and explaining them all for your visual and educational enjoyment.

-I have questions

Ask away! Either a comment below the video, the blog comments section,my facebook,my twitter will be answered as soon as possible

-I wants moar!!!!

Need some books? Perhaps some extra articles/videos/schematics? Want to compare prices?No worries we’ve got tons of material to recommend for all you electronics geeks in the making out there!

-Oh yeah,also I’m broke…

Lucky for you (and us) electronics is one of the cheapest hobbys around, most parts are dirt cheap,reusable,easy to find,vary very little from seller to seller and require minimum space. In fact a desk is all you need. Budgets for every project will be announced beforehand (including cheaper and more expensive alternatives and where to find them ).

-What will you be covering?

Mainly open source harware and software topics. For starters I will be presenting Arduino platform projects,then Raspberry Pi applications/hacks/projects,BeagleBone black projects/hacks/setup,robotics using all of the above including basic software engineering(making the controller do want you want it to do) and who knows what more!!

-Any software needed?

Nope, although I will be recommending some types of software (don’t worry it’s all free) no software is required. (Except the Arduino IDE and Raspbian Wheezy packs which are obligatory in order for the Arduino and Rasprberry Pi platforms to function)

-Why should I listen to you?

Well, even before university as a student I was really interested in electronics and what I lacked in knowledge back then I made up in persistence.I have destroyed over 100 small electrical devices in my youth and probably made all the possible mistakes a beginner could do.I just want you to get a headstart in electronics through the experience I gained, which means all the fun minus the hard work and frustration (and getting scholded by your Dad for destroying the toaster/radio/TV remote)

-I have an idea/suggestion!

I am open to ideas/suggestions so feel free to contact me through any medium!

 

That’s all for now folks,remember any questions and/or suggestions can be posted below.

 

 Stam out.

 

 

*Extra Bit: Too excited? Can’t wait? Want something to read?

Try reading: Getting started with Arduino by Massimo Banzi (Co-creator of the arduino)

Try watching:The MAKE presents video series on Youtube (featurin Colin Cunningham) to get acquainted with some basic electronics parts and their historical backround.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mHLvtGjum4&list=PL5A1CBB3B80AF24B9)

** Next up: Basic tools, time to invade a beautiful and mysterious realm…your Dad’s tool cabinet   (or your local harware store)

 

 

Kim Dotcom in search of whistleblower. Price $5 Million

kim-dotcom

Kim Dotcom seems to be wanting to loose the handcuffs once and for all. As legal fights are still alive against him , Kim , announced he will reward $5 million to anyone willing to whistleblow  any illegal tactics used by his prosecutors (US government and New Zealand government) in order to acquire evidence against him or forward his case. As KitGuru says :

“Former Senator and now MPAA chairman Chris Dodd and Vice President Joe Biden in particular have abused their political power to make the pre-trial destruction of Megaupload possible,” he said. In the whitepaper he published last year, Dotcom suggested that Biden deliberately promoted a colleague of his to focus on taking down Megaupload.

He also mentioned that the evidence doesn’t need to be case winning, it just need to give Dotcom an advantage in the legal fight. More on, he suggested various means to anonymously provide this information.

Image courtesy www.whaleoil.co.nz