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2016

Year of the MonkeyCelebrate Chinese New Year with element14!

 

Day Eight: Happy New Year!

 

Hao xie nian! The holidays are upon us, which is wonderful news, albeit the end of our element14 celebrations. And here we are, welcoming in the Year of the Monkey, and a brand new badge to usher it in.

 

Now that it's the Year of the Monkey, all you need to do to win our time-limited badge is stop by to read and comment on each of our New Year blogs. The badge will only be available to earn until February 23, after which you'll have to wait 12 years before it comes up again (given the cycle of the Chinese zodiac).

 

Monkey Business

monkey.jpgThe monkey signifies a year of creativity, innovation, and also of mischief. Which seems quite fitting for the element14 Community!

 

So in honour of the cheeky monkey that'll be looking over our celestial shoulders this year, we want you to give all your top tips, cheats, hints and tricks that you regularly employ while working on your electronics projects.

 

Thanks for joining in with our Chinese New Year celebrations, and may you have a splendid year swinging from the trees and causing all manner of mischief!

Year of the MonkeyCelebrate Chinese New Year with element14!

 

Day Seven: The Lantern Festival

 

Nimen hao! Admittedly, the Lantern Festival actually takes place on the closing day of the Chinese New Year celebrations, but it feels a little too important to leave out, and there's lots of fun to be had with lanterns, we're sure you'll agree.

 

But first, it's the Year of the Monkey, so in order to win our time-limited badge, all you need to do is stop by to read and comment on each of our New Year blogs. The badge will only be available to earn until February 23, after which you'll have to wait 12 years before it comes up again (given the cycle of the Chinese zodiac).

 

Shining a Light on Electronics

taiwan-lantern-festival.jpgThe Lantern Festival takes place on the first full moon of the New Year, and is presided over (according to Taoist doctrine) by Shang Yuan who enjoys all things bright and joyous. Quite a nice chap to spend time with, next time you're in heaven.

 

Anyway, this is also the perfect opportunity for us to put an electronics engineering spin on the festivities, by asking for all your coolest ideas based around lighting, LEDs, illumination and all other things bright and beautiful. What kind of projects have you made, or would like to make, that focus on lighting and illumination?

 

Tell us all about it, and make Shang Yuan smile!

Year of the MonkeyCelebrate Chinese New Year with element14!

 

Day Six: Zao Jun

 

Nimen hao! We're now sprinting toward the Year of the Monkey, and it's time to start preparing for all the visitors and feasting! And who better to help out than Zao Jun, the Kitchen God?

 

But first, it's the Year of the Monkey, so in order to win our time-limited badge, all you need to do is stop by to read and comment on each of our New Year blogs. The badge will only be available to earn until February 23, after which you'll have to wait 12 years before it comes up again (given the cycle of the Chinese zodiac).

 

What's Cooking in Your Kitchen?

Zao-Jun.jpgZao Jun is an interesting chap. He's the God of the Kitchen, which sounds quite passive in most respects. But he actually has something of a sinister, authoritarian remit.

 

During the Chinese New Year celebrations, people burn paper effigies of Zao Jun, but not to punish him. It whisks him away to the nether realm so he can report on you and your family to the Jade Emperor (who runs heaven) about all your good deeds and transgressions. A kind of naughty and nice list, if you like.

 

One method of encouraging Zao Jun to give a more favourable report is by offering up sweet foods, like candy and confectionery. But maybe there are other options, like coming up with some awesomely clever electronics project for the kitchen. What can you think of that'd help out with those culinary tasks, or revolutionise your kitchen experience? Tell us, and therefore Zao Jun, all about it!

Year of the MonkeyCelebrate Chinese New Year with element14!

 

Day Five: Guan Yu and Me

 

Nimen hao! Perhaps you remember our Christmas advent calendar shenanigans, when members of the element14 team all gave away their deepest, darkest secrets, and we asked you to guess which skeletons belonged in which closet?

 

Well, one of my fun facts was a long-time love of kung fu, and I mention it now in the midst of our Chinese New Year celebrations as today's patron is someone I'm very familiar with from those kung fu classes. He's the Chinese God of War, and a very popular figure when the New Year rolls around.

 

But first, it's the Year of the Monkey, so in order to win our time-limited badge, all you need to do is stop by to read and comment on each of our New Year blogs. The badge will only be available to earn until February 23, after which you'll have to wait 12 years before it comes up again (given the cycle of the Chinese zodiac).

 

Romance of the Three Kingdoms

guan-gung.jpgWe won't get into a debate about the existence of gods here, but a unique aspect of the Chinese God of War, Guan Yu (or Guan Gung, as he's also known) is that he really did exist. His epic exploits saw him become the subject of one of China's greatest works of literature of all time (The Romance of the Three Kingdoms), and his subsequent ascension into being a recognised deity.

 

When you position your Guan Yu statue in your house (and every respectable house has such a statue, of course) he's positioned to face the door. This prevent bad luck, demons and those of ill intention from being able to enter your dominion.

 

So in honour of Guan Yu in the New Year, we want to hear your thoughts on new or existing security-focused projects. Digital security, physical security, personal security -- any clever ways to make the world a safer place through the magic of electronics!

Year of the MonkeyCelebrate Chinese New Year with element14!

 

Day Four: Red Dog Day

 

Nimen hao! Yesterday it was lions, and today it's dogs! We're well into our run up toward the Chinese New Year now, and this is a part of the festivities that I, for one, wish we had built into Christmas over here in the west. But more on that in a moment.

 

As you know, it's the Year of the Monkey, so in order to win our time-limited badge, all you need to do is stop by to read and comment on each of our New Year blogs. The badge will only be available to earn until February 23, after which you'll have to wait 12 years before it comes up again (given the cycle of the Chinese zodiac).

 

The Dog Days

Red Dog Day.jpgThe red dog is also known as the God of the Blazing Wrath in Chinese culture, which makes for an ominous day. So to help minimise the chance of being on the receiving end of all that bad luck, it's traditional for people to stay at home on the third day of the New Year celebrations, and to not receive any visitors.

 

I know what you're thinking. Sounds like a perfect opportunity to start a brand new project, when you know you've got the day off work and that no one is going to be hanging on the door bell!

 

So give us your thoughts on the perfect project to start on this magical day of social solitude. It can be anything you like -- a smaller one day project, or a good sprint start on something more ambitious. How would your perfect Red Dog Day shape up?

Year of the MonkeyCelebrate Chinese New Year with element14!

 

Day Three: Lion Dance

 

Nimen hao! One day closer to the Chinese New Year, and today we're feeling inspired by an art form that's an equally integral part of Chinese culture as the New Year itself. Lion dancing!

 

And as you know, it's the Year of the Monkey, so in order to win our time-limited badge, all you need to do is stop by to read and comment on each of our New Year blogs. The badge will only be available to earn until February 23, after which you'll have to wait 12 years before it comes up again (given the cycle of the Chinese zodiac).

 

In the Jungle

Lion Dance.jpgLions don't actually live in the jungle, but whatever.

 

I've actually had a go at lion dancing, as it's practice is a style of kung fu much like any other. It's a great workout, and even more fun than it looks!

 

It's unknown how far back lion dancing goes, but it was certainly established by the time of the Tang Dynasty, making it a good 1,400 years old. The New Year is a favourite time for dancers to break out their costumes and visit shops and houses to "eat" the vegetables and greens left out for them. And this ties in with yesterday's post, as the lions then pay for their produce by spitting out hong bao!

 

So in honour of the Chinese lion, let's hear your thoughts on projects based around music, dance and kung fu! Or, if you've already got a project that fits into this category (maybe you entered the Music Tech Challenge?) then tell us all about it. Zaijian!

are-you-college-because-you-have-everything-i-am-searching-for-funny-valentine-meme.jpgValentine's Day is almost upon us. So before you carry on reading this, make a note in your diary or Google Calendar or whatever reminder system you use that you need to order those flowers/chocolates/feather-lined handcuffs or whatever else it might be ahead of February 14.

 

Done that? Good. Potential matrimonial crises averted, and just another of the many services we aim to provide our members with here at element14.

 

Now, I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that of all the annual "holidays," Valentine's Day is the one that engineers and makers care the least about. However, upon discussing this with other members of the Community team and doing some online research into love and romance (be careful what you search for if you do this yourself), it became apparent that there are still ways for the more pragmatic among us can do to show the affection at this time of year.

 

"V" is for Valentine (Not Volts)

The truth is, we harbour a great deal of endearment to the element14 membership, and not just because you go and spend money over at Farnell and Newark. But if it's not because of the money, what is it that creates this special bond?

 

In good engineering fashion, it turned out that the proof was right there in the numbers. Love, it seems, can actually be quantified using statistics (probably not a big surprise to you guys) and my research highlighted that sharing is a big part of what you humans consider to be intimacy.

 

This isn't normally something that we'd do, laying our statistical hearts bare for the world to see, but these numbers belong to everyone at element14, and not just the admins. So in honour of Saint Valentine, here are some of the numbers we regularly generate that show how strong the bond really is between the community of electronics engineers, makers, enthusiasts and element14.

 

Sharing is Caring

And in return, we thought we'd set up a new badge for you to earn by sharing the love around the Community! To get the badge is pretty easy in principle, but requires some careful consideration and no small amount of effort when it comes to showing your loving side. If you know what I mean...

 

Yes, well, anyway, to get the new Share the Love Badge, you need to...

  • Like 20 different pieces of content on the Community, and...
  • Get 10 likes on your own original piece of content (a blog post or a document, for example).

If you can earn the badge on or before February 29th -- the day when women traditionally propose to men, I'm "reliably" informed by Wikipedia -- and you're okay with our Ts&Cs on the subject, you're in with a chance to win a very special token of element14's affection: a cotton candy machine!

 

The Mathematics of Love

So, on with the numbers that demonstrate our deep connection to each other in a way that engineers, mathematicians, coders, scientists, technicians and makers can appreciate. Through the magic of statistics!

 

Membership

    • We now have over 390,000 registered members at element14.com.
    • Over 80,000 of those registrations happened last year alone.
    • At the moment, around 31% of our members are in the US, 17% are in the UK, 6% are in China, 5% are in Germany, 5% are in India, 3.7% are in Canada and 2.8% are in Australia.
    • Our monthly newsletter is read by ~125,000 people.
    • Over 1.25 million people have gone on from the Community to buy stuff from Farnell, Newark, CPC, MCM and element14 (which we'd like to thank you for doing!).

 

The Community

    • Data_meme.jpgLast year we had around 10 million visits to element14.com.
    • You've interacted with us over 450,000 times in the last 12 months.
    • Over the past year (ish):
      • The Raspberry Pi section has had the most views, at over 7 million, and has the largest number of followers.
      • The Top Members section has the most Likes on its blogs, discussions, messages and posts.
      • You guys have posted more responses to content in the The specified item was not found. section than anywhere else.
      • There are almost three times as many votes cast in the Member Awards than any other section (not a big surprise there, though).
    • More than 40% of you identify as engineers in your element14 profile, with makers/hobbyists coming in second.

 

Feedback with Feeling

You might have noticed those survey links at the bottom of the screen, which we use to solicit feedback on the public's experiences at element14.

 

Below are just a few recent comments from the last time the survey results were collected, which gave us a warm, fuzzy feeling inside (it was either that or the canteen's chilli, anyway).

 

And much of this feedback is the result of interactions with element14 members, rather than us, so this feedback is for you guys.

 

    • "Years ago a place like this with all of this content was not available. Keep up the good work."
    • "The question/answer discussion was very helpful regarding an electronic problem I have. Thank you"
    • "Well done guys, keep it up."
    • "I have some experience in data acquisition, but this is my first venture into coding. I like what I see here!"
    • "Looking forward to finding out more about how I can use the Raspberry Pi."
    • "I am an electronics engineer and work on a lot of different circuits. This website is perfect, thank you."

 

 

No time for love, Doctor Jones! Go get started on the brand new Share the Love badge!

element14 Share the Love Promotion & Competition - Terms and Conditions

  1. This opportunity is organized and sponsored by element14 (the “Organizer”).
  2. The application period will be open from 01 FEBRUARY, 2016 – 29t FEBRUARY, 2016 23:59 PM BST
  3. Entries will be reviewed and winners selected for the Share the Love competition by members of the element14 team, from registered members that have earned the Share the Love badge prior to the closing date. Applicants who have been chosen will receive notification via email post no later than 15 MARCH 2016.
  4. Submissions will be selected at the sole discretion of element14.
  5. By submitting an entry for consideration, the applicant:
    1. Authorizes the Organizer to use their personal data (as defined in the Data Protection Act 1998), application and any content created in relation to this promotion for the purposes of running and promoting element14.com, this year and/or in subsequent years
    2. Agrees to positively participate in all publicity surrounding their participation in the competitions contained within the promotion.
  6. General
    1. This promotion may be terminated at any time if there are, in the sole opinion of element14, an insufficient number of entries, or if the applications are not of an appropriate standard for this promotion.
    2. The Organizer has the right to cancel this promotion if necessary due to circumstances outside its reasonable control.
    3. The Organizer reserves the right to delegate all or any of its powers, rights and obligations arising in relation to this promotion to any Associate and certain such rights and powers are assumed by the Organizer on behalf of itself and each Associate. Reference to “Organizer” shall be deemed to include reference to each Associate.
    4. The Organizer shall have the sole discretion to disqualify (without correspondence or right of appeal) any Applicant it considers to be adversely affecting the process or the operation of this promotion or to be in breach of these Terms or the element14 Terms of Use and Privacy Policy or to be acting in a disruptive manner or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other Applicant or Participant.
    5. The Organizer has the right to amend or add to these Terms from time to time. Revised Terms and Conditions will be posted within this document or on the Competition site and it is a condition of entry to this promotion that Applicants and Participants agree to comply with these Terms and, if appropriate, such Terms as amended from time to time.
    6. Headings are for convenience only and do not affect the interpretation or construction of these Terms and Conditions.
    7. The Judges’ decision is final and without right of appeal. No correspondence will be entered into.
    8. These Terms and the operation of this promotion shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English Law and any claim or matter arising under these Terms shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

 

 

Now go Share the Love with element14!

81ZmDPq.jpgCelebrate Chinese New Year with element14!

 

Day Two: Hong Bao

 

Nimen hao! As we draw another day closer to the Chinese New Year, we're ready with our second look at how electronics engineers and makers can get the most out of the Far Eastern festivities.

 

And as you know, it's the Year of the Monkey, so in order to win our time-limited badge, all you need to do is stop by to read and comment on each of our New Year blogs. The badge will only be available to earn until February 23, after which you'll have to wait 12 years before it comes up again (given the cycle of the Chinese zodiac).

 

Money Makers

0023ae606e840eb5f43f52.jpgGiving money as a present is quite normal in China, and it tends to be handed over in small, vividly decorated red envelopes called hong bao ("red treasures"). If anyone out there hates shopping as much as I do, the notion of adopting hong bao as a valid gift option will sound pretty appealing.

 

Anyway, shopping aversions aside, the practice of giving hong bao made us wonder if this was a tradition that could inspire the innovation that synonymous with the Year of the Monkey. For today's addition to your badge earning efforts, we're looking for great projects or concepts that revolve around money, gifts and payments.

 

It could be as simple as a motorised piggy bank, or as complex as a Bitcoin mining BeagleBone Black. Whatever your idea is, just remember to harness your inner monkey and (mischievously) blow our minds!

Year of the MonkeyCelebrate Chinese New Year with element14!

 

Day One: The Lunar Calendar

 

Nimen hao, wo pengyou!

 

In celebration of the Chinese New Year, which begins on February 8, we're launching a brand new badge for all you cheeky monkeys to get your digital hands on. Over the next week we'll run a fun, frolic-filled blog post each day around various aspects of the New Year on the run up to one of the world's most celebrated holidays.

 

And as you know, it's the Year of the Monkey, so in order to win our time-limited badge, all you need to do is stop by to read and comment on each of our New Year blogs. The badge will only be available to earn until February 23, after which you'll have to wait 12 years before it comes up again (given the cycle of the Chinese zodiac).

 

Cool Calendar Contraptions

Chinese Calendar.png

By Western calendars, the Chinese New Year changes its date each year. This is because it's based on the lunar calendar, rather than rigid Gregorian time scales. This put us in mind of calendars in general, and the relativity of time as it's perceived by you humans.

 

So to kick things off, we want to hear all about your great ideas for an electronics project that centers on calendars, clocks and time pieces. It could be a project you've already made (in which case tell us all about it) or a simply a concept you've been toying with.

 

Give us the how, what and why of your project idea in the comments below, and you'd a step closer to climbing the peach tree!