Posts by Paul Campbell

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  • Hard News: Dirty Politics,

    Oh, excellent, couldn't be happening to better (worse) people, for a better reason - what they did to those researchers was IMHO the worst part of Dirty Politics

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2432 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: I Fell Down,

    I've always thought the way that Key keeps snuggling up to Ma is quite cute, AliBaba (and more important Táobǎo) is open to everyone, Key doesn't need to do some special thing to get access for NZ products .... all it takes is someone with a laptop, and a good Mandarin speaker (which you need to do biz in China anyway) - makes a good PR snap I guess, makes it look like he's doing something

    What Ma has done is quite enabling - he's provided a way for small Chinese businesses to market stuff to the world - walk through the electronics markets in Shenzhen late in the day, suddenly all you can hear is the ripping of that ubiquitous Chinese yellow packing tape - everyone's fufilling their daily AliExpress/Táobǎo orders.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2432 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Hate and guns, in reply to Martin Brown,

    some time ago when a colleague/friend applied for a license I was interviewed by police seeking my opinion on his suitability, as were others including of course, his wife. Maybe no longer so stringent. Don’t know.

    A friend was inheriting an old family heirloom and applying for a gun permit and I was interviewed as a character reference last year. I was quite impressed, they asked about his mental health, who else lived in the house, what I knew of their mental health, whether there was any whiff of spousal abuse etc etc

    I'm not sure what else you can do, perhaps contact family doctors (so they know to make that call if things are looking bad)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2432 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: I Fell Down, in reply to DeepRed,

    On the other hand, assembling widgets has traditionally been a ladder of opportunity for those who’ve never won the social lottery of privilege. Now, credentialism is king thanks to the Wild-Westernisation of the labour market, among other factors.

    I agree, but whether we like or not we're playing in an international market, ....

    The way I see it those of us in the West have a lot of privilege, we've built a civilisation on the backs of exploiting the 3rd world, I think it's time we shared the wealth. To me the big advantage of free trade, the one that no one ever mentions, is the long term leveling of the world economy, you see it now in China with a burgeoning middle class, in China they're already complaining about jobs going to Vietnam and India, China is working seriously in Africa, it will get there eventually.

    Of course if you level the world economies and bring up the standard of living of the poorest of the poor you're also going to bring down the standard of living of the richest countries - we see that as manufacturing jobs moving overseas ... but it's that growing Chinese middle class that's buying our milk .

    It may take another 100 years or so but I see this as a step towards a more equitable and safer world, and yes those of us in the West will not end up financially better off, we can ameliorate that if we do something about all that capital going to the 1% .... let's start with a capital gains tax - you shouldn't pay less tax on flipping a house than digging a ditch

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2432 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: I Fell Down, in reply to steven crawford,

    we share our space with a bunch of other groups, one is doing DIY electric car conversions - take a perfectl;y good car with a dud engine, rip it out, lock the gears in 2nd, bodge in an electric motor, spread some batteries around the empty spaces

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2432 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: I Fell Down, in reply to steven crawford,

    And the of economics of scale is an interesting dilemma when we talk about small electronics. It’s cheaper to have them produced offshore, but it’s more rewarding to make them at home. But that also depends a lot on what part of the process the maker is most interested in. I’m probably out on the fringe a bit – trying to converge my spanner as a hammer engineering with my provincial art.

    Yeah, it is a dilemma - it would be cool to make everything here, but we can't do that and be competitive (it's worse than that we can't even ship stuff competitively from here) - I think the best we can do is to make stuff in China, sell to the world, ship from China, and bring the profits home - which is still better than not doing it at all.

    Actual manufacturing is, well, boring, I have a cheap pick&place machine, I do occasional (very) small manufacturing runs, it stops being fun fast. On the other hand visiting Shenzhen and hanging out with the growing western hardware hacker communitity is a lot of fun (well except for that whole Legionaires' thing).

    Mostly though I guess the thing I'm trying to get over to kids (and adults) is that electronics (and other consumer stuff) doesn't have to be just something that is made somewhere else by other people, we can design it here, prototype it here, build it and sell on the word stage

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2432 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: I Fell Down, in reply to steven crawford,

    The thing I like about making the one offs on the mill is the potential to make them look aesthetically cool. I like the possibility of making steam punk hybridised electronics ( I’m thinking out load now ). You know how the mackintosh computer showed its inner workings during the company comeback when they first introduced the eMac. It’s was like the Victorian machinery that wore there cogs on the outside with pride.

    Oh and that's a great way to do it that way - I was more addressing the question of how to deal with topoligical stuff that requires you to step slightly into the 3rd dimension (be it vias, jumpers or 0-ohm resistors)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2432 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: I Fell Down, in reply to steven crawford,

    I’m stuck! my layout is a rats nest and I’ve been up till 3am trying resolve this puzzle:-) it’s like being stuck in a maze :-) would it be cheating if I used zoro ohm resisters as bridges to get me over to the earth side? :-)

    No - we actually do that for the commercial stuff I design, sometimes a few surface mount 0 ohm resistors are cheaper than paying for a 2-layer board (especially if you're make 100,000).

    However 2-layer proto boards with plated through holes are cheap - the $14 for 10 boards mention above include them - we use 'vias' which means a drilled hole connects a top trace to the bottom one. If you're making your own boards the step from single sided to dual sided is a big one, if you're getting someone else to make them the cost saving is pretty minor unless you have a high volume

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2432 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: I Fell Down, in reply to David Haywood,

    That’s exactly what I was after six (my God time goes so quickly) years ago – thank you so much! Bob and I will need to make some PCBs later this year so that information is super-helpful.

    Has Bob learned to solder yet? if not I'll send you a kit (mail me at we're teaching 8-13yr olds (8 kids an hour at a time) at the local Hive MakerPartys we're putting on locally.

    I'm also giving away cheap Arduino based electronics kits to local (Dunedin) kids - let me know if you think Bob is up to this:

    learning to learn by screwing up is an important skill!

    I’ve done plenty of learning when designing PCBs then. My speciality for many years was somehow always forgetting a pull-down (or pull-up) resister somewhere on the board…

    Actually I was thinking more of Bob :-) learning to not get discouraged and try and debug and fix things when they don't work is an important life skill

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2432 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: I Fell Down, in reply to steven crawford,

    I cut the circuit boards out on the mini mill using open source software from MIT.

    I teach PCB design at the local Makerspace (I can get most people up and productive in an hour or two). Most people don't have access to a mill, but these days cheap proto boards from China are readily available - there are many places that fab you full spec 2 sided boards - my current fave is:

    10 boards for $14 including shipping means you can afford to screw up as you learn (and learning to learn by screwing up is an important sklill!). The bulk boards I have made to teach kids soldering cost under 50c.

    Grab the free copy of Eagle to start with - feel free to poke me if you need help

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2432 posts Report Reply

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