Chris is back in his lab after a week and a half of travel; Dave continues to trick out his lab to take advantage of his high speed internet.
- Chris has road-tested the portalab! There isn’t enough lighting, nor time in the day to work on it.
My hotel room based electronics lab pic.twitter.com/f3AXExoZIB
— Chris Gammell (@Chris_Gammell) May 20, 2014
- Does solder have an expiration date?
- Dave is going lead-free in his lab.
- Flux pens can be nice, but pricey. No clean flux isn’t worth it.
- In the late 80s, there was a push to use citrus cleaning solvents for boards (PDF).
- The TSA also went through Chris’s Portalab case. They were met with this note:
Packing the portalab for the journey home. This is my note to the TSA, should they decided to mess with my stuff. pic.twitter.com/cltEIXmUeC
— Chris Gammell (@Chris_Gammell) May 24, 2014
- Chris was still in San Francisco for SolidCon (you can see the schedule here). It’s meant to be a conference for the crossover of hardware and software.
- Videos should be online eventually. Dave doesn’t understand why people would speak at conferences without someone taping it.
- On interesting protocol that Chris learned about was MQTT, a lightweight way for machines to interact. This is what Facebook uses for their notification.
- A similar topic was covered by Peter Semmelhack and Stacey Higgenbothom on the Internet of Things Podcast. The new platform (vs protocol like MQTT) is called dweet.io.
- The “hard” part of hardware is the manufacturing and distribution side of things. Brady Forrest of PCH Int’l and Highway1 gave a talk about how there is “No China Button”.
- During the meetups on non-conference days it was crazy to see how much ferver there is over hardware (and really tech in general). Quirky is opening a new SF office and hiring up to 60 hw engineers.
- Outside of SF, Tony Hsieh (the Zappos guy) has invested $10M in US manufacturing (specifically in Las Vegas).
- Another investor, Renee DiResta of OATV, gave a presentation about the state of hardware startups and revealed the cost of labor in Mexico are falling past those in China.
- Dave was impressed by the growth of hackerspaces/makerspaces (where do they go when a big city has them?).
- Chris’s favorite presentation was by Nadya Peek, a PhD candidate in the MIT Center For Bits and Atoms (Neil Gershenfeld‘s group). The talk focused on modular machines building reconfigurable tools for manufacturing.
- If you’re interested in the building your own Portalab, there is a lower cost case offered by Digikey.
- Mentor and Digikey are pairing up for a low cost CAD tool. At first glance we didn’t realize the $300 price tag only gets you schematic capture. Boo.
- We ARE excited for the new feature from the CERN folks, working on KiCad. The push and shove router is now released (whatever that means for KiCad)
- The “Never trust the autorouter” t-shirt is now available for sale on teespring.
- Can solar roadways work? There is a crowdfunding project raising money for further research. Chris and Dave agree that feasibility on a large scale road would take a long time to implement.
- Another group at SolidCon was the Makani wind turbines/kites.
- Chris made a comparison between the derision that smokers receive and people wearing Google Glass. There are a wide range of reactions.
- NASA is giving amateurs the chance to recover a long lost satellite out in orbit.
- TI is auctioning off the first microchip that Jack Kilby made. It is expected to sell for $1M+.
- Chris has been doing field research and hardware people are still cheapskates. Are any of our listeners a counter point?