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Welcome to our guest this week, Joe Grand! Hardware hacker, electrical engineer and former TV host! (but not a washout as Joe was saying)
- Joe gave us a behind the scenes look at being part of a TV show (all the design docs here). His 13 episode show was Prototype This on The Discovery Channel.
- There are some clips available on The Discovery Channel’s YouTube channel or some behind the scenes footage on Joe’s YouTube channel (example below).
- Joe was an early members of The L0pht, a hacking group out of Boston throughout the 90s (Joe’s handle was “Kingpin”)
- Corporate influence and commercializing the company hurt the group later.
- We wonder if the recently announced BugLabs collaboration with Ford will have a similar effect on the OSHW nature of their devices.
- Joe still stays in touch with some from the group, including Mudge, who is now a program director for DARPA trying to get funding for quick turn solutions from hackerspaces, called Cyber Fast Track.
- Aside from hacking days, Joe has debuted and licensed multiple designs to other companies, including:
- Emic Text-to-Speech Module
- The yet-to-be-released Low Cost Laser Range Finder. The build log is here and it’s predicted to be coming out next week.
- DEFCON 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 badges
- We also talked to Joe about manufacturing and where he does his, prompted by multiple articles about smaller companies moving manufacturing back to the US. Joe has used:
- Sonic Manufacturing in the Bay Area.
- E-Teknet in China and the US
- The Boston Consulting Group has predicted a resurgence in manufacturing in the US in the next 5 years.
- Shoutout: MakerBot TV just started, a weekly show about using a MakerBot! Awesome!
- This Week In Nerd History: On this day in 1958, Jack Kilby demonstrated his invention of a miniaturized electronic circuit to his boss at TI. This was recognized as the first integrated circuit to be built and operated. This was not the first transistor ever invented (as Chris wrongly stated).
- Dave took a picture of his ad-hoc recording studio:
Whoa! The LOphT. Remember reading about them way back and them ‘Dumpster diving’ for gear to use in the loft. Perhaps this is where Joes love of eight bit comes from and his minimalist values. Great show and linked content, will keep me busy until the next show I think!
As a bit of extra curricular look up John T Draper (Captain crunch) and Blue box. Looking back it is a wonder anything ever worked in this naive time, a Hackers playground to be sure. Will we ever experience such times again? … not in my life time I’m sure.
Charles J Gervasi says
That was a fun show. I listened to it while I was in my basement working out what’s different between my MSP430 board and the eval board. It made me feel like I was in a lab with engineers chatting nearby instead of in my basement.
Congrats on getting married. As I’ve told you the nerd life won’t end when you get married. That’s when you have kids. It didn’t stop Dave, though. It took us about two years to figure out how to have two businesses plus a life plus kids.
I agree with Joe that’s it’s good if your wife does something different. My wife helps me with forms and contracts I find almost impossible to follow. When I read things, I look for the diagrams, graphs, and equations first. She ignores those things altogether and looks for phrases that are borrowed from statues or precedent. We both do writing, and it’s good to get a different perspective.
were these the manufacturing sites mentioned?
Chris Parker says
On the topic of people ignoring engineers, Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem called “The Sons of Martha”, which makes just this point, that engineering is a thankless job. In Canada, engineers still are referred to as the sons of Martha sometimes.