Congratulations to founders Christy and Eric

  Congratulations to you both for the creation of such a wonderful site ! I look so forward to each new batch of creative ideas and I eagerly look through them to see what I can learn . Exploring Programming is my main goal , but there are so many ideas on Instructables  that I find myself reading many different subject just to see how the authors do their problem solving.    I wish Instructables all the best and I am proud to be part of this community . Build_it_Bob  

Posted by Build_it_Bob 4 years ago


Christy and Eric along with Dale Dougherty on the Heather Gold Show

Check out this clip from the October Heather Gold Show where Christy and I show off our laptops as part of a discussion about DIY.

Posted by ewilhelm 10 years ago


I get to go to the Instructables HQ!

Yesss!I am leaving to Yosemite on Thursday, renting a hotel.Then the next day (Friday), I am going to hike or whatever.Then we go back to the hotel.Saturday morning, we start out to San Francisco.We get there around... I dunno, 3 or 4 or something?I won't be able to make it to Yuri's Night, but the next day (Sunday), Eric and I are planning on meeting at the HQ at around 11 I guess.This is gong to be sweet.Sorry the images lack color...

Posted by GorillazMiko 10 years ago


Let's all greet Eric and Canida's cousin! She just joined.

GREET HER! CLICK ON THESE LETTERS TO GO TO HER ORANGEBOARD!Okay, I posted a forum topic with this same goal, but maybe didn't give it the most descriptive title...so almost nobody looked at it...so I made this one.I know she is the real deal. Canida greeted her and used her apparent name.Anywho, Several people have greeted her so far-let's see if we can set a record for most orangeboard welcomes? What do you say? It's for the best of causes!

Posted by Lithium Rain 10 years ago


Canida's lecture

Googletech have put a video of Christy on YouTube:

Posted by Kiteman 10 years ago


Squid Labs Tour with Christy, Corwin, and Eric

Here's an old video I found starring Corwin, Christy and me talking about some of the stuff we did at Squid Labs. It was filmed in 2004 and early 2005 - we don't mention Instructables, because we hadn't started it yet! Hope you enjoy: When you're done here, check out this one starring Tim.

Posted by ewilhelm 10 years ago


Eric Wilhelm and Christy Canida on Popular Mechanics

Check out Christy Canida & Eric Wilhelm on Popular Mechanics website for the article: 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream   "More than the work he did at MIT while earning a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, it was his passion for kite surfing that led Wilhelm to create Instructables. Launched in 2005 with his wife, Christy, and colleagues at the design firm Squid Labs, the DIY website quickly became a forum for step-by-step instructions—the kind Wilhelm had been distributing to fans of his handmade boards and sails. The site, which was bought by Autodesk in 2011, now features more than 100,000 user-generated projects in fields from cooking to woodworking to electronics." Check out the video interview with them on Popular Mechanics. Also, Totusmel gets a shout out!

Posted by Penolopy Bulnick 4 years ago


My Daughter's Marriage Invitation

Dear honorable members and staff at Instructables, My family and myself cordially invite you all at the marriage of our daughter Anita Christy with Mr. Anandha Bharathi On Monday, 09th June 2014 at 09:00 AM at "Our Lady of Lourdes Church", Kayathar, Thoothukudi District, Tamil Nadu, India. Route: Chennai (Tamil Nadu) - Madurai - Thirumangalam - Kovil Patty – Kayathar (Distance from Madurai : 130 kms) Reception at Bride's home-town on 13th June 2014 at 04:30 PM at K.K.S. Mahal, Uthamapalayam, Theni District, Tamil Nadu Route from Chennai (Distance 530 kms) Chennai - Tiruchirapalli - Dindukal - Theni - Chinnamanur - Uthamapalayam Route from Madurai (Distance 110 kms) Madurai - Usilampatty - Andipatty - Theni - Chinnamanur - Uthamapalayam Nearest Airport and Rail-head : Madurai With Regards Antoni Raj & Mrs. Josephine Raj Jose Xavier Anand (younger brother to Anita Christy) Alice Niraimathy (younger sister to Anita Christy)

Posted by antoniraj 4 years ago


Etsy Craft Night with Special Instructables appearances! Monday Nov. 12 4-8 PM, Brooklyn, NY

Christy and I will be at Etsy's craft night this Monday. Full details and directions here on the blog.

Posted by ewilhelm 10 years ago


Instructacon Dinner

With all the interns in town there was one thing that had to happen: a huge dinner where everyone had to make something delicious. We went shopping and then descended upon Eric and Christy's place for a frenzy of cooking. Lots of amazing food was cooked and enjoyed. Here are a few pictures from the meal.

Posted by fungus amungus 10 years ago


Hey, everybody, it's lizzie!

No, not THAT Lizzie...Eric and Christy's cousin!Greet her!Let's see how many people can greet Lizzie. Seeing as how she's family of staff, I think it would be cool for the community to welcome her.

Posted by Lithium Rain 10 years ago


Multi-color Wizard Wands Almost Ready for the Harry Potter Conference

Only a few hours before her floo powder flight to Harry Potter summer camp (Terminus), Christy is madly making Wizard Wands in an assortment of colors. Why pink? You'll have to ask her directly for those gory details.

Posted by ewilhelm 10 years ago


Instructables AMA on Reddit!

This Wednesday at 2PM PST notable founders of Instructables, and prolific DIYers, Eric Wilhelm and Christy Canida are going to be answering your questions during their Reddit AMA! Always wanted to know a bit more about cryo-frying? Or how much bacon these guys REALLY eat? http://www.reddit.com/user/InstructablesAMA/

Posted by audreyobscura 4 years ago


Which K'Nex Guns Can I Build?

Christy gave me the 400 piece Value Tub of K'Nex. I've built the ultralight, and it wasn't particularly rewarding. So, which guns can I build with the pieces I have? I took a picture of the parts list so you can see what I have to work with.

Posted by ewilhelm 9 years ago


Instructables Live Chat with Eric (and Christy) A great sucess - Chat Logs Incl here!

It was late at night, I was nervous, shaking almost, waiting.The live chat went perfectly this evening, and fun was had by all, the chatroom was filled till it was bursting at the seams!You can find the full chat logs in the attached .PDF file.(You can get Adobe Acrobat to read the pdf Here)Be sure to give it a read, there were many good questions.Thank you to you both for taking the time to talk to us all.We hope your RSI Isn't too bad!Be sure to add your thoughts from the chat below. Or snapshots of bits that you thought we're funny/entertaining.Personally, I think Eric is VERY cool. And I'm honoured to have been there.-gmjhowePs, Thanks to Adrian Monk and Bumpus for helping me out, and for you all behaving so well!This is a sentence about Wburg.

Posted by gmjhowe 9 years ago


My time at Instructables HQ...

.. was boring. There was nothing to do, Eric talked to much, they were so lazy... Eric wouldn't even let me see the laser cutter! ....... YEAH RIGHT! Instructables HQ was one of the best days of MY LIFE! It was so awesome. I got to laser engrave my phone and Flip Video camera, I got to take pictures with Eric, Christy. I met and talked to Tim Anderson, I met and talked to Patrik as well. They gave me like two HUGE sheets of the rectangle robot stickers, and the circle ones. That's about 350 stickers. I got to check out the tower, Christy gave me and my brother each shirts from last years 2007 Halloween contest. It was so awesome. Everything will be in detail with images and stuff in my Slideshow that will probably be posted today. So you guys will just have to wait. I will post a comment on this that says "It's up!" and then you can check it out if you like.

Posted by GorillazMiko 10 years ago


Caption Contest! Winner announced!

Eric and Christy recently spent a couple weeks in Guatemala and didn't invite any of us to go along! Well, we at least got to see the several hundred photos they shot while they were out there, including this bird shot.Come up with a caption for this photo and win this awesome magnetic photo rope from Photojojo. The best caption will be selected tomorrow afternoon. Limit of 5 captions per person.

Posted by fungus amungus 10 years ago


Instructables Town Hall meeting!

Hey everyone! There will be a Town Hall meeting in the chat room, Monday, at 3:00 PM, PST. As some of you know I'm now an intern here at instructables. On Monday I will be answering any questions anyone has. I'll have the attention of Eric and Christy. So, if you have any questions, requests, or anything else, this is your opportunity! No one will be turned away. See you all there! Drinkmorecoffee

Posted by drinkmorecoffee 9 years ago


Categories and Channels

We've just released the big recategorization work which has been occupying the whole dev team for the last few weeks.  Christy has written up an explanation of it here so I don't need to say too much.  That's the big thing; there are a few more bugfixes in Pro payments and some caching changes to help with our bandwidth but check out the browse pages!  I found a bunch of interesting instructables I hadn't seen before just while verifying the functionality.

Posted by rachel 8 years ago


Pro Membership for Featured Instructables

Last night I released another small update to Instructables.  The main change is that we will now be giving away a three month Pro membership to authors with a home-page featured Instructable.  (Christy will be writing up a more detailed discussion of this soon.)  There are also small fixes around RSS display, PDF image display, direct links to Steps, and private Instructables that people have favorited.  Additionally there are one or two admin features - the site admins ALWAYS want more features, imagine that :)

Posted by rachel 8 years ago


Signed Copies of the Best of Instructables Volume 1

We're selling a limited number of signed Best of Instructables Volume 1! Signatures from Christy, Cloude, Ed, Eric N., Matthew, Noah, Rachel, Randy, Sarah, and me!Signed copies - $40 on our Instructables Store.Or, if you can get enough of our signatures in the picture, unsigned copies - $30 at the Maker Shed. Finally, if you want to save on shipping, copies should arrive in bookstores near the end of the month. See the latest news about The Best of Instructables Volume 1 here.

Posted by ewilhelm 9 years ago


Autodesk Halloween Party Costume Contest

I just wanted to share some pictures from the Autodesk Halloween Party yesterday. There was a costume contest with 6 categories.  Instructablers managed to win 3 of those categories! Congratulations: Christy - Best Scary Costume - Dune Sandworm Paige - Best Homemade Costume - Wall Mounted Taxidermy J, Noah, Gabe, and Julia - Best Group Costume - Shop Accidents Other winners: Best Female Costume - Breaking Bad, Heisenberg Best Male - WWII Fighter pilot Best Funny Costume - Monopoly Man

Posted by Penolopy Bulnick 4 years ago


Biggest Corn Maze in the World!

On Sunday, Christy and I went to the biggest corn maze in the world! At over 40 acres, Cool Patch Pumpkins secured its title from the Guinness Book of World Records this year (news story here). The owners designed the maze in MS Excel and constructed a number of bridges and lookouts, which allowed you peer over the maze from different vantage points. A map was provided on entry, and even using the map, it took us an hour and a half to make our way through.I love life-size mazes, and have always been jealous of the British tradition of hedge mazes, so this was a real treat.

Posted by ewilhelm 10 years ago


Safe and Sound

Hey homeboys and girls. This is Bilal checking in from Eric's dining room table. So it's true, I did have a bit of trouble with Airport Security. They made me miss my flight checking out all my crazy scary gadgets. It would be irritating but hey, I'm sure loads of people haven't seen a metronome before. Gasp! It ticks! Arriving in SF would have been quite unsatisfactory without a brief car chase so thankfully security obliged us with a short run with their tiny electric cars. Never fear, Eric, Christy and I made a swift getaway to the hills. Go Volvo go! -BG (thanks for breakfast Eric)

Posted by lamedust 10 years ago


BioDiesel-Powered Hauling

Recently, I've been re-doing one of our bathrooms. (An Instructables is in-progress.) This project, and a number of previous projects, has generated a quarter-of-a-garage-full of debris that can't go in our normal trash and wasn't going to be reused by us anytime soon: ceramic and glass tiles, cement backer board, grout and mortar, giant slabs of marble Christy scavenged 5 years ago, etc... When I came across Bakari Kafele's winning Instructable, Vehicle efficiency upgrades: 28.5mpg (so far) in 2.5ton commercial truck, and his BioDiesel Hauling business, I was spurred to action. Last week, he came by and we loaded the junk up to be recycled, reused, or taken to the dump. Here's to finding local businesses through Instructables!

Posted by ewilhelm 8 years ago


Instructables Internship Days 5-6 (Including the weekend!)

Hi everyone,Sorry I didn't post on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, but I'll make up for that now.So, Friday:I arrived at Squid Labs knowing that today was a special day. Today would be the day that construction on Proj. X would commence. Jason and I layed out the materials and began building, taking pictures every step on the way. We assembled the main component by lunch time, and installed about 66% of the other components by the end of the day. Noah helped us out a bunch, figuring out where certain components should go and how to attach others to the "mainframe."The (construction) work environment at Squid Labs is awesome! We pretty much just dragged our materials outside and started working. You really can do whatever you want, whenever you want; it's truly amazing. I'm pretty sure that Today was the day that I realized how much I'd be willing to drop out of school and just work for Instructables. I don't really think it's a great idea, but I'd certainly be happy working full-time for Instructables, no doubt about it!I really didn't do much else today, Jason and I pretty much just worked on the.... on Proj. X (Caught myself, whew!) all day!Now, onto the weekend!Friday, Billy and I decided that we would go into the city (San Francisco) via BART/Bike on Saturday. Saturday has come, and it's finally time for me to go to S.F.After Christy dropped off Billy and I (with our bikes) at the BART station, we rode BART all the way to the city. Christy also gave us 2 tickets to go to the S.F. MOMA, which was awesome. There was this one drawing that I really, really liked. Unfortunately, I can't remember the artist or the title of the work, although I'm pretty sure it's entitled, "Untitled." There was also this really odd exhibit, which was...just generally odd. Imagine a house. Now, rip all of the walls out of the house, rotate the whole structure that you ripped out equally over the X and Y axis, and then shove it through the walls of MOMA.... yeah, it was pretty damn weird. Then they guy drilled and off-center hole in a record and that was playing on a timer, so it went really fast, then slow, etc etc. In the next room, there were about 20 pictures of what we just saw... Again... just odd.Anyway, after MOMA, I decided that it would be really awesome to see the Golden Gate Bridge, so Billy and I rode our bikes down toward the piers, and we'd then take "The Embarcadero" to the bridge. So, as we were passing Pier 39, my left pedal stripped out of its socket, leaving me no way to "bike" to the Bridge. Luckily, it broke off at pier 39, which just-so-happened to be a "tourist pier." Billy and I hung out there for most of the day. During lunch we "fed" a bunch of birds; pigeons, little birds, and a really mean seagull...After we realized that we would have to walk all the way back to the BART station, we started on our journey back. Awesomely, on the way, we came upon a really tranquil-looking park and a square with a huge, awesome sculpture. The sculpture had a bunch of gigantic concrete "square tubes" that jutted out of its huge base. There was water flowing out of almost everything, and steppingstones that allowed the viewer to walk underneath the immense structure. The only two words that I could describe it with are simply awesome.We arrived back at the original BART station, Christy picked me up, we ate dinner, and went back home.Sunday:Sunday was just awesome. Mitch and Erica took me Surfing with Mike, Jason, and Jason's Sister. Although the waves were small, it was a beautiful day, and we had an awesome time. For lunch, Awesome Mike brought his mini-propane grill and we had hot-dogs on the beach. After lunch, we went back into the water to surf a bit more and then left. Surfing was a blast!Back at "home," we watched "Sunshine," a sci-fi movie about a team of scientist/astronauts on a mission to deliver a bomb into their dying sun, to create a new sun within the old. Most of the movie was actually pretty good, but I thought the ending just... sucked outright. I won't ruin it for you, but you really don't need to see the movie. During the movie, though, Christy whipped up some Rhubarb Pie! YAY!Back to work - MondayYesterday, in the morning I made the "How to Create Homepage Images" Instructable, which I suggest you check out if you want to contribute to the website's homepage. We're giving you the opportunity to make homepage images that we'll actually use on the homepage... if they're good enough ;). After, Jason and I pretty much finished up Proj. X, but we will require some time in the afternoon on Tuesday to finalize construction. This thing is going to be AWESOME!In other news, Billy and I are going to "The Googleplex" tomorrow (Tuesday) to give a small talk with Christy, which I'm really excited for. At first I didn't expect that they'd want interns to go talk to Google, but Christy and Eric explained why they want us to go. Google wants the opinions of the users. Billy and I promise to speak well of everyone, and speak on everyone's behalf. I've gotta go, we're leaving soon!Cheers,-Muffinatorp.s. I burned my PB and Banana sandwich again v_v...

Posted by T3h_Muffinator 11 years ago


GPS route optimizer

My type-A personality never lets me stop trying to optimize everything in my life. Recently, I’ve started taking data on my commute to work: time of departure and time of arrival versus a number of different routes. This is endlessly amusing to houseguests, and a point of constant annoyance to Christy (who typically records the data while I drive; I record it myself when I bike to work). The result of all this data would be a 2-D color map that could give me an estimate of the shortest route depending on the time I was leaving. However, on further thought, I realized such a chart would only tell me about routes I already knew and would be very sensitive to my route ordering. For example, if there are three ways to get to work, how do I order them? By length? By number of turns? By my perceived annoyance of that particular route? I then got to thinking of taking time measurements between each possible node in a route. Those segments could then be built into routes I’ve never explored before. You can just imagine the look Christy gave me when I suggested this. Clearly, this is best done by a computer. So the question: has anyone seen anything like this, or a GPS unit hackable enough to permit this without carrying a laptop as well (I’d like to do this on bike, too)? Wouldn’t the final version of this be sweet?! You tell it where you’re going, and based on past experience, the time of day, and real-time traffic data it suggests the optimal route. (I’ve seen GPS + real-time traffic, but my guess is that traffic data isn’t nearly as useful as past experience data.) To everyone that can relax while commuting and not worry about 16 versus 17 minutes: I envy you.

Posted by ewilhelm 11 years ago


Wild-Foraged Oyster Mushrooms

I've always wanted to forage for wild mushrooms, but have been hesitant to do so with just information gleaned from the internet because the risk to reward of a really good tasting mushroom versus a mouthful of neurotoxin is too asymmetric for me.  However, today while hiking in the Berkeley Hills, Christy and I were lucky enough to run into someone collecting oyster mushrooms from some rotting logs.  He turns out to be a member of the Mycological Society of San Francisco and helps with their annual Fungus Fairs, and so was eager to help us identify more oyster mushrooms and death caps, which have recently caused some illness near us. We collected the oyster mushrooms shown here, and I sauteed them with a little bit of butter, salt, and pepper for dinner.  They were fresh, earthy, and tasty!

Posted by ewilhelm 8 years ago


Prototype This premiers tonight

Prototype This premiers tonight on the Discovery Chanel. It stars Zoz, a good friend of mine from MIT. Here's what Zoz has to say about the premier:Dear lords of the realm,Please join me in advertisement-laden spirit this Wednesday for a thrilling three hours of television tomfoolery:8pm: Discovery Channel - season premiere of "Time Warp" produced by crop circle nemesis and doctor of weirdness John Tindall and co-hosted by Robots alum and all-around superhero Jeff Lieberman; followed by:9pm: Network Presidential debate - mix red food colouring with corn syrup and smear it on the screen so that all participants look like the blood-soaked zombies they are; wipe it off in time for:10pm: Discovery Channel - season premiere of "Prototype This" co-hosted by yours truly! That's right, the Apocalypse Now of television - the series that wouldn't die, that took longer than most Master's theses to make, is finally going to see the light of day!Representative websites here:http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/prototype-this/prototype-this.htmlhttp://blog.wired.com/geekdad/2008/10/preview-discove.htmlhttp://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-10016485-52.htmlTo anyone who got this shameless plug twice - take it as a compliment because I didn't want to miss anyone so this one is going only to important individuals, not lists! But still tell all your friends to watch so we can get good ratings and get picked up for more seasons so I don't have to find a real job!It's been a long and circuitous path from idea to actual show. In one of the first ideas, Squid Labs was going to prototype various ideas in a reality-TV-like show. To see how it's evolved, check out a couple of the casting reels we filmed starring Tim, Christy, Corwin, and me:MITERS Tour with TimSquid Labs tour with Christy, Corwin, and EricI've got Zoz's casting reel too, and I'll share that shortly.

Posted by ewilhelm 9 years ago


Upcoming Site Changes!

Hey folks, You may have noticed the new look on our homepage and header - I just want to let you know there are more exciting changes coming! We try to do small site updates about every two weeks, and now that the development team is a bit bigger we'll be able to stick closer to that target schedule. The one constant in a healthy website is change, and our philosophy is to test and modify based on actual results: it's incremental, hypothesis-driven website design of both function and aesthetics.  Lots of small, frequent changes help us evolve the site at a comfortable pace. So stay tuned for new features, design updates, bug fixes, and other good stuff coming your way!  We'll keep working to make Instructables a better place to visit. Christy (and the rest of the Instructables team)

Posted by canida 7 years ago


Guerrilla gardeners green their city on secret moonlit missions

CNN discovers the growing Guerrilla Gardening movement, in a nice article by Lara Farrar:Guerrilla gardeners green their city on secret moonlit missionsStory Highlights# Guerrilla gardeners cultivate neglected land without asking for permission# Guerrillas meet for digs in night to make over derelict patches of dirt# Richard Reynolds says he has helped create 28 guerrilla gardens in London# Artist Liz Christy founded first guerrilla group in 1973 in New York CityOf course, here on Instructables, we've known about Guerrilla Gardening for quite a while. Check out the following cool projects:Moss bombsWater bottle sprinkler capHow to plant flowers on your sidewalkMoss GraffitiElectric seed hopper for remote gardeningThere's also the Reap what you Sow & Guerilla Gardening group...

Posted by Patrik 10 years ago


Instructables Build Night: How to Make Soft Circuits

Instructables held a "themed" build night on Thursday, August 14--the first installment in the new Build Night Series.Rachel taught a brief lesson about soft circuits and conductive threads/fabrics, and participants got to do some pillow anatomy and see the insides of LED vibrating pillows, fabric sensors, and other electronic-fabric creations. Then, everyone tried to build their own soft circuits in whatever style they wanted.Check out the promo video below and, if you're interested and in the SF Bay Area, come to Make your own Mouse Mouse with Christy on September 11 or another upcoming event.The office--aka build night workshop extraordinaire--is located at: 489 Clementina Street, 3rd FloorSan Francisco, CA 94103 We hope to see you there!

Posted by joshf 9 years ago


Category changes under the hood

Just pushed out another release of the site.  The big news here is that we have enough content now that it was time to reorganize it. The new system isn't live yet but before we can do that, we have to get the current Instructables sorted... Christy wrote a post about it here which explains the whole thing in detail. I invite you to read and comment on it.  Additionally there are a couple administrative changes to make things easier for the site admins, and a bugfix or two... and I just noticed we broke the RSS feeds AGAIN!  Will fix that first thing in the morning, boy do I feel silly doing that twice in a row. Please let us know if you see any problems by filing a bug! Update: RSS feeds fixed (all the ones I saw, anyway; let us know if yours is still broken).  Also authors' ability to update their categories & channels.

Posted by rachel 8 years ago


Friday Forum: Ask an Editor (pre-Maker Faire edition)

Hi guys. My name is Wade, and I run the editorial team at Instructables. I'll be answering community questions posed on this thread on Friday, May 16th from 1-4PM PST.   All questions asked and answered for today. Feel free to ask more questions, though, and we'll probably run another one of these in a week or two. If you've been curious about the site, here's a chance to get the inside scoop on what actually goes on at Instructables. how to get featured how we choose featured authors the best time to enter a contest how much meat do Eric and Christy actually consume? how we decide what prizes to give away ...and whatever else you're curious about Thanks to everyone who participated. Especially Ben, whose interrogative greed was beneficial for everyone who lurked without posing a question. For the next Friday Forum on May 30th: https://www.instructables.com/community/Friday-Forum-Ask-an-Editor-Contest-Edition/

Posted by wilgubeast 4 years ago


2013 Pre-Maker Faire Ice Cream Social!

In town for the Bay Area Maker Faire next weekend?  Come to our annual Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Social! There will be: Liquid nitrogen Ice cream made with liquid nitrogen Pizza (not made with liquid nitrogen) Beverages (possibly made with liquid nitrogen) Authors and other interesting people (playing with liquid nitrogen) Also, we may have some liquid nitrogen When:  5-8pm, Thursday, May 16, 2013  Where:  Instructables HQ, 82 2nd St, SF, CA (look for the big robot on the window!) Come see our lab, meet some amazing people, eat pizza and ice cream, meet the Instructables team, and take advantage of your last chance to really decompress before the craziness that is Maker Faire. If you can make it, please RSVP to: LN2 @ (instructables.com)     <-- slightly obfuscated to avoid spambots! so I can order enough pizza for the crowd!   We're looking forward to meeting you! Christy and the rest of the Instructables team

Posted by canida 5 years ago


Web 2.0 Expo Ignite Talk: Budding engineers design, build, and share their rubberband-powered creations on Instructables

On Sunday, April 15th at the Web 2.0 Expo Ignite session, Christy gave a great 5-minute talk titled "K'Nex Guns: Open-Source Hardware on Instructables: Everyone wants open-source hardware, but how do we get there? A group of K'Nex gun-building kids has actually done it on Instructables; I'll explain how." It was fun, people liked it, and she was asked to give it again today during the Wednesday Keynote presentations of the Web 2.0 Expo.In light of tragic events at Virgina Tech, we wanted to reaffirm our message and ensure that no one mistakes it as glorifying violence. The community that has formed around rubberband-powered K'Nex guns is a positive community. They are using their energy to build, document, collaborate, and share their ideas. They help, support, and encourage each other. They innovate on each others designs, and are meticulous about sharing the credit. These are great qualities we respect and encourage. So, we ask you to look beyond the surface and past the rubberband-powered guns to what's beneath. The users' gun fascination will fade with age, but the underlying positive qualities instilled by this community will not. The skills they're building here are exactly those required for a successful engineer, and for a responsible, mature member of the innovation community. We're against violence, but for innovation and design and creativity.One of the chief reasons we started Instructables was because we saw a community growing and thriving around open-source designs for kitesurfing. The K'Nex community is very similar and grew organically, so we wanted to highlight it and share our insight into it. Check out the slides from Christy's talk, here in the attached PDF, and links to some of the things mentioned:The longer user-innovation talk that this talk is based on.KILLERK's K'NEX GUNtoulvus's Making 3d knex models using mlcadmepain's knex tripwire, huge knex crossbow, and XW30K 8-1/2 cm shot ShifleMost Innovative K'nex Gun Design Contestoodalumps's Knex Machine GunTrainman 2000's The VORTEXInnovative Knex Guns groupNo guns K'Nex groupThe K'Nex projects are impressive and inspiring, but Instructables is the platform for for a wide variety of great projects and ideas. Check out some of the other projects on our site: We have other great communities building around bikes, boat building, homemade gifts, micro-controllers, recipes, recycled materials, and many more. Join in, learn something, and share your knowledge with the community. Enjoy your time here on Instructables.Added: Thanks to Fumi Yamazaki for letting me link to her video, which includes a brief hello to her Japanese audience (taken at the end of the conference) then a little bit of my talk

Posted by ewilhelm 11 years ago


Instructables from Guatemala

Christy and I just returned from a couple of weeks in Guatemala and Honduras. We brought our laptops and experimented with "working from home from abroad." Did you even notice we were away? Lots of people in the Bay Area didn't! Check out the view from our Antigua, Guatemala office with Volcan Aqua looming over us. We investigated Mayan ruins in Tikal and Copan, climbed a volcano and stood 2 meters away from an active lava flow, learned to salsa dance, visited the Valhalla Experimental Macadamia Nut Station, were attacked by a scarlet macaw that ate one of my shirt's buttons, and ate as much typical Guatemalan food as our stomachs could hold. I liked Pepian de pollo so much, I took a class to learn how to cook it myself. Some of the things we learned have already been posted:Air Bags for EggsCreate an Ergonomic Standing Desk and Office on the GoHow to Sharpen Knivesand we've got Instructables coming soon for many of the traditional dishes and how they run the macadamia nut farm. All of our pictures can be found on this Flickr collection.

Posted by ewilhelm 10 years ago


Pictures of Instructables Show and Tell at Yuri's Night

The Instructables Show and Tell at Bay Area Yuri's Night was awesome! Check out these pictures of our booth (since I was running the Show and Tell, I unfortunately didn't manage to get any pictures during the actual showing!), and an abbreviated list of presenters: Christy shared some knitting she's been working onBilly showed his Bratz Knife Block, which was the most photographed project we broughtRandy demonstrated an amalgamation of found electronics that I didn't quite get because he's on a higher artistic plan than I could ever imaginePatrik brought some gorgeous wooden bowls he just finishedCory and Eric from Orbswarm drove one of their spherical robots all aroundRobin shared some of her steel jewelryTim gave a member of the audience with no prior experience a 30 second guitar lesson, teaching them more than 300 songs! Rose and Mike from HomeBrew Robotics Club brought a flame-extinguishing robot Ed demonstrated some instant office golf holesNoah presented the world's largest light bright (or at least close there to)and, a bunch of others shared their cool stuff.

Posted by ewilhelm 10 years ago


Tour of the Largest Private Collection of Military Vehicles

Through the MIT Club of Northern California, Christy and I got the chance to tour the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation's collection in Portola Valley. Seeing 100 tanks from different time periods lined up and seemingly ready to roll was pretty amazing. I've always had a thing for half-track vehicles, and was especially pleased to see a half-track motorcycle (SdKfz 2 Kleines Kettenkrad). In all honesty, this is probably one of the most impractical vehicles ever created, but it just looks so cool. My other favorites to see in-person were a SCUD missile launcher (SS-1b Scud A) and an M48A5 AVLB (armored vehicle-launched bridge).They also have a large shop where they repair, rebuild, and often re-engineer parts to restore the various tanks. While I was there, they were in the middle of repairing a World War II-era German tank found in a river. The collection is the hobby of Jacques Littlefield, whose father, Edmund Littlefield, amassed a $1.7 billion fortune by running the family construction and mining company, Utah International, and merging it with GE (more here at Forbes).The Instructables forums aren't exactly the best place to few 57 pictures, so here's my Flickr set, and here's the Flickr set of the person who organized the tour.

Posted by ewilhelm 10 years ago


Instructables Internship - Day 2

Day two!Today, I would get to meet everyone who didn't show up yesterday. (It was, after all, Presedent's Day) When I got in, I hopped on the computer and started poking at my copy of the database. I know this isn't exicting for most people, but as someone who's worked through and designed a few DB's that never were populated, it was a chance to not only learn style, but play around with a ton of data. You guys are really busy!As I was working hard on my queries, I would continue work on the TV-B-Gone, and talked to Randy some more. Its so awesome meeting and talking to people in real life, and hearing and seeing their projects that are works and progress, some which may never make it to instructables.I couldn't stop laughing at Christy's attire, which has to do with a little project of hers and Eric's, and Mitch's that is going on this week, but you're going to have to wait until they make an instructable!Later in the day, I kept at all my projects, joked around (just a little! I swear!), and eventually finished the TV-B-Gone kit! Later. I was able to test it and it actually worked! I also got to use the laser cutter. I want to try cutting a perforated pattern, like a checkerboard, only *really* small. All and all, today was an awesome day, and I can't wait to get back tomorrow!wow! so excited, I'm making sooo many typos!

Posted by zachninme 10 years ago


Garlic as health booster

From Unlocking the Benefits of Garlic in the New York Times:The power to boost hydrogen sulfide production may help explain why a garlic-rich diet appears to protect against various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancer, say the study authors. Higher hydrogen sulfide might also protect the heart, according to other experts. Although garlic has not consistently been shown to lower cholesterol levels, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine earlier this year found that injecting hydrogen sulfide into mice almost completely prevented the damage to heart muscle caused by a heart attack."People have known garlic was important and has health benefits for centuries," said Dr. David W. Kraus, associate professor of environmental science and biology at the University of Alabama. "Even the Greeks would feed garlic to their athletes before they competed in the Olympic games."Now, the downside. The concentration of garlic extract used in the latest study was equivalent to an adult eating about two medium-sized cloves per day. In such countries as Italy, Korea and China, where a garlic-rich diet seems to be protective against disease, per capita consumption is as high as eight to 12 cloves per day.I read this and immediately thought, "1-2 medium cloves per day! Christy and I probably eat that much in a single serving!"Try upping your garlic with these awesome recipes:Roasted TomatoesRoasted Eggplant with GarlicRoasted Sweet PotatoesGarlic Mashed Potatoesand here are some more recipes with lots of garlic.

Posted by ewilhelm 10 years ago


Thanks for the hospitality!

Hi everyone! It's been a week since Maker Faire, sorry it's taken so long to post this--I came down with some sort of awful bug the day after I got back to Eugene.  I've spent the last several days (including today, my birthday!) just lying around and feeling sorry for myself. Anyway, I'm starting to feel a bit better this evening, so I just thought I'd say thanks!  I had a blast at Maker Faire, helping out at the instructables booth and meeting folks from HQ, fellow authors, and just plain fans of the site.  It was really, really great meeting you all and seeing the enthusiasm instructables brings out in people. In particular, hello and thanks to Mikeasaurus, Laura, Quincy, Gregg, Randy, Sarah, and anyone whose name I forgot in the madness that was last weekend, for making me feel welcome.  Special thanks to Christy and Eric for really making me feel at home in a new city!  The week before MF which I spent working in central California, and the couple of weeks leading up to it that I spent preparing for the trip, were incredibly busy and hectic for me.  It was fantastic to cap that all off by seeing the weird and wonderful sights at Maker Faire, and meeting for the first time in real life people who I had only known previously on the internet.  It really made me feel like a part of the instructables community. Thanks so much, and hopefully I'll get to see more of SF on my next visit!  I didn't even get a chance to see instructables HQ! Ian

Posted by depotdevoid 7 years ago


Wild Boar Hunt

This past weekend, Christy and I went a on wild boar hunt near Red Bluff, CA. We used a local guide called Catch 'Em Outfitters, and had one of the best weekend-vacations in a long time. In the end, we came home with over 100 lbs of wild pig meat. Christy had a blast gutting and field dressing all the animals -- surprising the guides -- and we've spent the past few days processing the meat ourselves making hams, chops, and sausage. There will definitely be a few new wild boar recipes, but probably no how to hunt or how to field dress a pig Instructables, unfortunately. Since most of our friends have read Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and paid special attention to his description of a boar hunt, they have already started begging for meat. So far, I've made wild boar maple sausage, which, despite my feeling that it was a little too one-note with just maple syrup, still received a review of "I was not ready for how good that was going taste."There are more pictures of the hunt on my flickr collection of the weekend, but be aware that they show the full process of converting an animal to meat on the table. What follows below is my Yelp review of the hunting guide, and the experience in general:Catch 'Em Outfitters is a hunting guide service, and because of the extraordinary work of its owner, Jasen Mead, I brought home over 100 pounds of wild pig meat.I chose Catch 'Em because of Jasen's excitement to take a novice hunter out, and his willingness to let me use his rifles. I've hunted birds before, but for my first wild boar hunt, it was important for me to go with someone who was interested in teaching. Additionally, he encouraged my wife to come along as a non-hunter, and she ended up gutting the animals. He offered my choice of spot and stalk hunting -- where one tries to locate hogs with binoculars and local knowledge of where they might be feeding and bedding down -- or fair chase -- using well-trained dogs to find, flush out, and potentially hold down pigs. During my hunt, I had opportunities to fire at large boars using both methods.Catch 'Em offered as many as two morning hunts and one evening hunt for me to get a pig. As a novice, it took me all three times, but Jasen and his assistant, Ron Stone (who is also a fishing guide) never lost enthusiasm, and I'm pretty sure they stayed out longer and worked harder because they were so determined for me to have a successful first hunt. However, they were very clear in their understanding of the law, and had a firm set of ethics around hunting and conservation in general, so I felt comfortable that we were always doing the right thing from a variety of different perspectives. Bear hunting is Jasen's primary guiding business, and apparently his favorite type of hunt, but you'd never know it by the way he threw himself into my pig hunt. It's clear he just loves hunting, and teaching new people.Obviously, much of the preparation for a hunt like this falls on you: taking the hunters safety class, learning to handle firearms safely and accurately, getting all your documents in order (I bought two pig tags, and was glad I did because I used them both), and being prepared to run full-speed through ankle-deep mud in head-high tule marshes. Finding a good hunting guide is definitely chief among those set of preparations, and Catch 'Em totally delivered for me.

Posted by ewilhelm 9 years ago


Instructables Internship - Day 1

Hello from Instructables HQ!*Last Saturday, I flew down to visit Instructables. I stayed and poked around San Fransisco over the weekend, but today I started my Instructables internship!(Sadly, I left my camera at home, and I don't have nearly as many pictures as I'd like)I arrived at the control tower, and was greeted by [/member/numberrandom Mitch] and [/member/fungusamungus Ed], and [/member/candia Christy] & [/member/ewilhelm Eric] arrived shortly thereafter. I was shown around the place, and then I started to get working. I got to take [/member/noahw Noah]'s desk, since he's out for the week. (Probably chasing [/member/T3h_Muffinator Muffinator] to get Project X's instructable done...)Soon, [/member/rachel/ Rachel] walked in, and helped me get a copy of the database working, so I could start working on site-related things.While the computer was chugging away (as it did for the rest of the day), I walked around and met [/member/randofo Randy], and a few other people. Randy explained to me some of the cool things that he's working on, and I offered to help. Somehow, we stumbled upon the idea of drying clothes by microwaving them, and we were really close to actually trying it...Later, I started assembling and documenting [/member/ladyada Ladyada]'s (seealso) TV-B-Gone kit. I didn't get to finish it before the day ended -- it just flew by!Everything was going great. I had been extremely excited for this opportunity, and its even better than I thought. Everyone seems interested in each other's projects. Its really cool.I can't wait until tomorrow, where I hope I get to do more exciting and fun stuffs! Yes, I said stuffs!* okay, I'm not there right now...

Posted by zachninme 10 years ago


Pre-peeled versus fresh garlic?

In what dishes can you tell the difference between pre-peeled and fresh garlic. How about Chinese versus Californian pre-peeled garlic?If you can tell the difference, how can you be sure? I love garlic, and use a lot of it. I'll toss a handful of chopped cloves into almost any savory dish that involves a sauteing step. Using so much and being pressed for time, I primarily buy Californian pre-peeled garlic, and chop it right before I use it. I'm curious if you judge pre-peeled garlic to be less flavorful, and if so, can that flavor be returned by an increase in total garlic or if there are fleeting compounds that escape as soon as the garlic is peeled.Another thing I've noticed is that I need to be careful when I make dishes where I food-process the garlic to mince it. I've ruined a curry or two by using food-processed fresh turmeric, fresh peppers, and pre-peeled garlic that smelled fine but had probably spent a week in the fridge. In the finished dish, the garlic contributed a pretty nasty "raw vegetal" taste. Similarly, Christy once food-processed and sauteed some onions and older pre-peeled garlic only to have the whole mixture turn blue and taste horrible. http://whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/bluegarlic.htmThe discoloration is due to pigments that form between sulfur compounds in garlic and amino acids. When the garlic tissue is disrupted, as happens in processing, an enzyme is liberated and reacts with it to form thiosulfinates compounds that then react with the natural amino acids in the garlic to form blue pigments. The age of garlic determines how much isoalliin there is in the first place, and the nature of the processing determines how much enzyme is liberated.The blue color apparently shouldn't harm the taste, so it would be neat to develop a dish that naturally turned blue using this reaction while still tasting great.

Posted by ewilhelm 9 years ago


Eric Wilhelm wins TR35 Innovation Award

Sharing your projects and ideas on Instructables is now officially a Big Idea. Eric just won the TR35 award for top innovators under 35 from MIT's Technology Review magazine for his work with Instructables; check out the press release below, and read about the other winners.I'm pretty psyched to be part of this site, as we're clearly doing something exciting and important -- it's especially neat to be an early adopter with the power to change the way society works.-- ChristyProject-Sharing Website Creator Named Top Young InnovatorSan Francisco, CA - August 19, 2008 -- Eric Wilhelm has been recognized by Technology Review magazine as one of the world's top innovators under the age of 35 for creating Instructables.com, the Internet's #1 project-sharing website.Instructables.com began as a way for Eric to document his engineering work and grad-school kitesurfing projects, and has evolved into a world-wide hub for documenting and sharing creative projects. The site's simple, elegant step-by-step format provides an intuitive platform that allows anyone to publish their project, complete with pictures, text, and embedded video.In a world of mass-produced culture, hand-making and personalizing is experiencing a resurgence, and people everywhere are reviving classic skills and technologies. Instructables is the hub of this movement, providing a social and interactive environment to demonstrate amazing projects and ideas. The site dramatically lowers the barrier to sharing projects, enabling crafters, modders, engineers, artists, cooks, bicyclists, and techies to gather and share their work freely, and where cross-pollination is actively encouraged."Everyone wants to be a creator, not just a consumer," Eric explains. "We bring passionate people together to learn from each other. Instructables makes it cool to be smart." Instructables is also a valuable educational resource. Parents and teachers rely on Instructables as a source of project ideas, and students maintain their personal portfolios at the site. By coupling old-fashioned tinkering with thoughtful discussion and long-distance collaboration, Instructables has begun to revolutionize learning and innovation.Eric Wilhelm and the other TR35 winners for 2008 will be featured in the September issue of Technology Review magazine and honored at the EmTech08 Conference. "The TR35 honors young innovators for accomplishments that are poised to have a dramatic impact on the world as we know it," said Jason Pontin, editor in chief and publisher of Technology Review magazine, "We celebrate their success and look forward to their continued advancement of technology in their respective fields."About Eric Wilhelm:Eric earned his SB, SM, and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT, where he developed methods to print electronics and micro-electromechanical systems using nanoparticles. He co-founded Squid Labs, an innovation and design partnership, and a number of Squid Labs spin-off companies including Potenco, producing a human-powered generator for cell phones and laptops; Makani, an energy company seeking to harness high-altitude wind; OptiOpia, developing low-cost portable vision-testing and lens-fabricating devices; and Instructables, a collaborative how-to site that helps people document and share a process or skill. See Eric's How To Start A Business Instructable for the more detailed story.About Instructables.com:Instructables is the most popular Do It Yourself community on the Internet. Started in August 2005, Instructables provides accessible tools and publishing instructions to enable passionate, creative people to share their most innovative projects, recipes, ideas, and hacks. The site is currently home to over 14,000 projects covering such diverse areas as crafts, art, kids, electronics, pets, bikes, cars, robotics, green projects, and cooking.About Technology Review, Inc.:Technology Review, Inc., an independent media company owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the authority on the future of technology, identifying emerging technologies and analyzing their impact for leaders. Technology Review's media properties include Technology Review magazine, the oldest technology magazine in the world (founded in 1899); the daily news website TechnologyReview.com; and events such as the annual EmTech Conference at MIT. ContactsFor Instructables:Christy Canida, 510-931-5622press (at) instructables (dot) comFor Technology Review:Sarah Mees, 978-208-1499press (at) technologyreview (dot) com More news and press about Instructables here.

Posted by canida 10 years ago


Instructables Build Nights!

Instructables is pleased to present the first in a new series of Thursday Build Nights here at our San Francisco HQ!These are small-group sessions focused on specific projects - you MUST RSVP to attend, as we can only handle a certain number of participants. Registrations will be handled on a first-come basis. We're starting with a bit of craft/tech crossover, and plan to run sessions on a variety of topics.October 2: Intro to Chain Mail with SpiderOctober 23: Halloween open build night.See the descriptions below for details, including things to bring and/or materials fees. To sign up for one of the sessions, simply private message Christy with your name, email, and phone number. We hope to see you there!October 2: Beginning Chainmail with SpiderLimit: 10 participants (confirmed RSVP required)Materials Fee: $10 Start Time: 7pmProject is a European 4-in-1 chainmail bracelet. I'll teach 4-in-1 because it's the most widely useful chainmail weave. Students can use this same weave to make jewelry, armor, sculpture, lampshades, iPod cozies, etc... The materials fee is $10, which covers copper jump rings and clasp, plus the loan of appropriate pliers. I'll bring other goodies for people to look at, and I'm happy to answer any and all chainmail-ish questions.Additional kits and tools will be available for purchase after class.October 23: Halloween Costume & Decoration Open Build NightLimit: none, but please RSVPMaterials: Bring your own!Time: 6pm-9pmWe'll be working on our Halloween costumes and decorations -- bring your work-in-progress along and join the fun! We've got plenty of floor/table space, a couple of sewing machines and other useful tools, and enough skill and imagination to share. It's always easier to get excited about your project when you're working with a group. Please RSVP so we know how much snack food to acquire, and how much of the office to clean up. We'll kick you out at 9pm, or when the last Instructables staff member has to head home.

Posted by randofo 10 years ago


Categories: A New Way of Looking at Instructables

We sent out this announcement to showcase the new Categories available on Instructables. Tim O'Reilly wrote about why he likes them, which made us pretty happy. Are you finding them useful and intuitive?--ChristyApril 4, 2007Alameda, CA -- Instructables has just released Categories, a new feature that will enable users to better browse, sort, and share knowledge online.Instructables.com is a free site that founder and CEO Eric Wilhelm describes as "a place where passionate people share the things they do and how they do them. It's an on-line DIY magazine, written by the people who read it."Current Instructables range from recipes and home repair tips to art, science, and LED projects. "The categories emerged organically as the site has grown," Wilhelm explains. "It was time to apply a taxonomy."Users may now tag their Instructable with two of eight categories: Art, Craft, Food, Home, Life, Not Liable, Ride, and Tech. Food, Art, and Tech categories are basically self-explanatory. Craft includes sewing and knitting as well as welding and woodworking; Home is for useful domestic organization and infrastructure; Ride includes cars, bikes, boats, planes, and other "things that go". Life skills can be found in Life, while Not Liable is for anything that should come with a warning label- things of interest to 14-year-old boys of all ages and genders."Categories will make browsing and sorting Instructables easier," Wilhelm says, "so users and advertisers can directly target their areas of interest." It's easy to search cross-listed projects, and Instructables in the overlap are often among the most exciting. A few examples: Art + Tech = LED ThrowiesTech + Craft = Floppy Disc Bag Craft + Not Liable = Marshmallow Gun Not Liable + Ride = Kite + Ice + Butt + BoardInstructables began as a way for the founders to document their own personal projects, and soon grew into a separate company. Since then Instructables has exploded in popularity. Instructables won the 2006 Wired Rave Award for Industrial Design, was showcased at the Web 2.0 Launchpad, and is listed by Technorati as one of the top 100 blogs. It currently has over 3,600 projects and 60,000 registered users.Instructables home page: https://www.instructables.com.

Posted by canida 11 years ago


Jayefuu as Instructables' Artist in Residence

Thursday saw the end of two of the most fun filled months of my life. Since the beginning of February I've been an artist in residence at Instructables' office in San Francisco. First impressions? The office was unlike any I'd ever visited or heard of. An open plan 2nd floor office above a deli and a night club on 2nd street, Instructables' headquarters is home to a team of 25 young and enthusiastic staff. It's not like your average software company either, no desk is the same and each is covered in or surrounded by a mix of complete and incomplete projects, or is in itself a project. Those above mentioned staff are all friendly. The office has the same tight knit community feeling that I have felt part of as a non-staff member using the site. As an artist in residence I was given no direction other than to be creative and pursue and finish projects that interested me. The environment was hugely beneficial as a maker. At home I feel that I have to explain why I want to make something. “But you can buy that!” I am often told. At Instructables I was surrounded by people who understand that making is a passion, that it's important and ideas quickly develop and grow as enthusiastic friends chime in with over the top but all too often adopted suggestions to improve projects in progress or create new projects. There doesn't need to be a reason to create something to amuse, educate or just show off. While in residence I worked on a bubble machine, a giant chess set to play in Eric and Christy's kitchen, an improved laser cut jenga pistol, a cupcake decorating stencil, several educational instructables as well as writing Perl to simplify several tedious admin tasks performed by the editors. My most used tool was the laser cutter. If I had to choose a favourite new skill that I learned, I'd be hard pressed to choose between the skills I developed with a DSLR and lighting, and how to drive a forklift. The best piece of insider information I picked up.... I know who the next artist in residence will be! Given a chance, I'll definitely be back. I love the staff, I love the city and the nearby climbing is exceptional! James

Posted by Jayefuu 6 years ago


The low-down: Where have I been?

It may be a bit narcissistic for me to think anyone missed me or even noticed I was gone, but for those of you that did notice heres the low-down.Without a doubt, the time I spent working at Instructables last summer was the most fun I have ever had in my life. It was the perfect combination of working among smart creative individuals ( Eric, Christy, Tim, Paul, and Noah), having such an open ended job where I was actually paid to do what I love, and being in bright sunny free thinking northern California. The cherry on top of this summer of awesomeness was going to Burning Man (see pic below). It was something I had wanted to do ever since I had read about it online many years ago, and, as fate would have it, I ended up going the first year I was actually old enough to.I don't think I am ever going to forget driving Tim's manual truck (I don't know how to drive stick) on a deserted road in Nevada, at 3:30 am Sunday morning, the energy drinks wearing off and Tim sleeping peacefully in the passenger seat, while it rained intermittently, with only a vague idea where I was going, and doing this all with just a NY state learners permit. Nor will I forget getting my first sight of the playa, just as the sun was coming up, with all the massive metallic sculptures glistening on the horizion. The week that followed was just pure surreal amazingness. Anything I wrote about my first Burning Man experience wouldn't give it justice, but Tim describes it nicely in his Burning Man instructable.The most surprising thing about the summer though, was that by the end of it I actually looked forward to going back to school. I wanted to learn circuit building and other cool electrical engineering skills that I could incorporate into my future Instructables projects. I wanted to be able to post impressive electronic projects, instead of just minor circuit hacks like the tazer glove and capacitor charger. I wanted to master the movement of the electron.One plane trip from SFO to JFK later, I'm back home. The contrast between Frisco and NY was staggering. If there was one word to describe how NY looked to me at that time it would be "gray". The experience was like watching the Wizard of Oz in reverse, going from the bright, colorful, surreal land of Oz back to black and white Kansas. Don't get me wrong, I love my hometown. I am of the opinion that NYC is the single greatest city in the world (California wins as a state, but in terms of a single city nothing can compare to NY). If you don't agree with me, stand in the center of the Brooklyn Bridge and turn around to get a full 360 degree perspective. Your opinion will be swayed if not changed. Still, September 07 was a very gray month for me. It took me a few weeks to wade through the bureaucratic bullshit of Brooklyn Poly and finally get registered for classes. The classes I did get registered for were all prerequisites and nowhere near my area of interest. I know I am going to have to suck it up and complete them eventually (especially now that my school has merged with NYU, so I get to graduate with a much more impressive degree then the school I was originally accepted into), but at the time I was just too miserable and distracted to pay attention in class. It was even hard for me to respond to e-mails from summertime coworkers because hearing about the activities at the tower brought back memories of a happier time. I was in a state of near-complete mental shutdown, my creativity was shot, and I was depressed. I decided that I needed to take a break from school, so I took a leave of absence for the Spring semester. That leave of absence bought me a time period of 8 months to do whatever I wanted. I figure why not live out my weaboo fantasy, and travel to Japan. I can not say exactly when my obsession with Japanese culture began. Maybe it was subconsciously planted in my brain with the cherry tree in front of my childhood home, cultivated with anime, and brought to fruition when I actually started reading about their history and culture. Whatever the reason, it has been something I've always wanted to do, and what better time to "find myself" then while on a break from college (Its stereotypical-tastic!). There was only one obstacle standing between me and the romantic imagery I had of bathing in hot-springs and meditating in front of Shinto shrines ... money, at least a few thousand dollars of it. Japan aint cheap, and even if I was going to get a job to support me while I was there, I would still need a butt-load of money for the initial travel and living investment. (On that note if any of you Instructablites knows someone in Japan who you could get me in touch with regarding job opportunities or living quarters, or has some advice for living cheaply while there, I'm all ears) I spent most of January half-assedly looking for a job. I did not devote my whole ass to the task because, no matter how much I wanted to go to Japan, I wasn't too excited about the prospect of getting a minimum wage job which utilized none of my skills (I have very unique skills, so finding a job that used them would be next to impossible). It was looking as though my next few months would be filled with minimum wage menial labor. That is until I thought of throwing myself on the mercy of Eric and Christy, and asking for my old job back. I lacked the testicular fortitude to ask them directly, and so reverting to grade school mentality (the one that figures rejection will hurt less through proxy), I asked Tim to test the waters and see if my old job was still available (grade school version: Psst Tim, I've got a crush on Eric & Christy ::school girl giggles:: can you ask if they like me). Tim was kind enough to oblige. A few e-mails later I found out I could come back as long as I promised to return to school in September. (This was no problem because I had already made the same promise to my parents, and myself because I didn't want to loose my 20k a year scholarship).One plane trip at the end of February from JFK to OAK later, I'm back in California. My longterm goal for the next few months is to live as cheaply as possible, learn Japanese, and try to acquire some work that I can do while in Japan. Living cheaply has been easier then expected. I quit smoking (something I thought would be much harder then it was, but after two months of lukewarm-turkey I was able to eliminate my nicotine cravings entirely). I am able to feed myself almost entirely off the excess of others, with the occasional purchased produce being the exception. I bike for transportation (that same yellow road bike in the picture below). I'd say that overall, it took more effort to stop being a consumer-whore then it did to quit smoking, but it feels equally good to be free of both of those bad habits. Well thats my story. I should probably get back to work.New instructables coming soon ...

Posted by Tetranitrate 10 years ago