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Thursday, January 10, 2008
Low Tech Hacking in 2008
You can't know everything all at once, but you can know how to know anything when the opportunity arises. What good is an electronics expert who has never enjoyed Shakespeare? At AlgoMantra, the year 2007 was spent in making software that enabled human-computer interaction in innovative ways.

Towards the tail end of December I did a rather frustrating course on basic interfacing between circuits and computers, but I also realised that the answers I was looking for did not lie in knowing all the fundamentals of electronic engineering. I just wanted to hack cheap Chinese toys and make new stuff, but I think my instructors were trying to teach me the value of patience and perseverance. So if you're in a similar situation, I reccommend the following guide:

for artists and architects

by Usman Haque [] and Adam Somlai-Fischer []

The PDF is a great introduction to circuitbending philosophy, with the only problem that the first chapter mentions something called a CAT, which is actually explained a little later in the document. Who said it was a linear book anyway? I think it's a very useful thing to have lying around though. Also have a look at Doctronics for very clearly explained sensors like the LDR (light-dependant-resistor).

And when you start making your own low-tech sensors and actuators, you might want to contribute to the wiki they've setup. I think that the small PDF is a great idea, but one could have a gigantic repository of this stuff. Most DIY websites just don't explain things clearly to noobs, engaging in the same kind of vainglorious attitude that has allowed the consumer electronics market to become such a fucking pain in the arse.

Thank you, Usman & Adam.
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