Sunday, April 26, 2009


My better half, reminded me about Noisebridge a few weeks back. I heard about it when they first set-up but then promptly forgot. Noisebridge is a hackerspace located in the Mission district of San Francisco (much like NYC-Resistor; see for a comprehensive list).

As well as being a general space for people to go and work on projects, they also offer a few tutorials/courses to the general public. I decided to head along to one of the "Circuit Hacking Mondays" to meet the crew, hone my soldering skills and make something interesting. This session was hosted by Mitch Altman (of Brain Machine and tvbgone fame - gizmodo with tvbgone at CES2009), who gave an easy to follow introduction to general electronics and some tips on soldering.

Mitch got out a load of examples of the kits he'd bought with him for people to make. I chose to make a "Trippy RGB Waves" kit (also available at the makershed), but was tempted by the Mini POV kit and, of course, the TV-B-Gone kit. I think I may go again just to make another kit in an easygoing environment with some interesting people.

Putting the kit together was pretty simple, I did get off to a slightly shaky start as Mitch decided to use me as the "demo bunny", I'm glad I'd soldered before so I didn't look like too much of a tool ;) After the initial intro, people just got stuck into soldering their kits. It was a lot of fun. Great to meet such a diverse group of people as well - there were Noisebridge regulars popping in and out all the time to work on their personal projects or just to see who was around.

I'd definitely recommend popping by to anyone who lives nearby! Another interesting evening is the Machine Learning get together every Wednesday night. I managed to make it to a couple of the neural net themed ones, and am planning on heading back soon. I got quite a kick out of coding up a perceptron in the first tutorial.

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