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43 Posts authored by: Dave Young
As a new parent I found a debate in our society about how to approach vaccinations, which is especially hot here in Colorado. There are now even court battles addressing if vaccinations should be a requirement for anyone wanting to attend public schools. The majority of parents and doctors support vaccinating their children based on the CDC’s immunization schedule, but there are a growing number of parents who elect to forego vaccinations. Parents worry about the effectiveness of the vacci ...
Searching for parts: easily one of the most important tasks when creating a new design.  Get lazy here, and it will haunt designs later.  The importance is paired with the significant amount of time that it takes to get just the right parts selected. This is probably why engineers everywhere fight specification changes once the parts are defined. It's a fine balance for each part to work with one another in concert.   Given the importance of the part selection process, surely the ...
If you've been in electronics for any time at all, it is easy to see a pattern develop between hardware and firmware/software engineers.  As soon as a problem crops up, it is instantly clear to the hardware team that it is the code that needs fixing.  However when asking the software engineers, they confidently state that the hardware is at fault.   When pressed for details, both sides will end up saying something like, “Well, I don't know what is wrong, but I know it c ...
I love attending events like last week's Denver Startup Week, Boulder Startup Week, BLUR conference, and various entrepreneurial meetups around the country. Spending time with this collection of interesting people who are passionate about what they do is probably the best way to learn something, be inspired, and enjoy an evening. While I've been going to them for years, 2013 has shown something unique: an affinity for hardware startups.   What is going on?  It isn't like the well of ...
Often times I get questions from my BlueStamp Engineering students on what the best method is for applying to college.  After having conversations with many people in this space such as high school students, college students, parents, admissions counselors, and college counselors, I have a few suggestions that may help a student which I'd like to share here.  However when asking for advice on any subjective topic such as this, please remember that different people have different approa ...
As I've mentioned before, a paycheck represents only half of the value that a person gets from working their first job at a company.  The experience gained provides the other half, and supports the long term investment in one's own ability.  Many of us in technical careers wrongly assume that focusing on technical prowess is the only skill that matters; thinking that being able to create the best designs will solve any career insecurity.  While that is true to the extent that bein ...
There's a problem with 'networking' which is best described by how a person's contacts can be a commodity;  something that can be bought, sold, or rented.  It is as if people are trying to mechanize the process of building relationships in order to mass-produce their contact list in the same way one might collect baseball cards.  Thankfully, there are events like EntConnect to make real relationships over a long weekend with an agenda full of fun and productive items.   The ...
The line between a hobbyist and entrepreneur is pretty blurry, as some of the tools used by both suggests.  The groups are driven mostly by interest and passion, and the path followed is often a result of serendipity rather than strict planning and structure.   How, then, does one create a conference that fosters this type of atmosphere?  An agenda that is set months ahead of time will likely become irrelevant and boring by the day of the conference.  A stuffy conference ha ...
Dave Young

Thank Your Mentors

Posted by Dave Young Dec 17, 2012
I love this time of year leading up to and including Christmas, New Year's, and most importantly, the week between the two.  Not just for the delightful skiing weather, but it offers a chance for the engineer's working world to slow down (even more than Chinese New Year).  It allows people to take stock of their current situation, look back at where they've been, and where they want to go.  It's a good time to review goals, budgets, and challenges for the upcoming year both person ...
“Chips will continue to swallow board functions” “Size, complexity, development time, and cost requirements are making individual components an expensive luxury”   As chip manufacturers continue to get better and better with integrating functionality on System on a Chip (SOC) devices, engineers are saying things like those listed above.  It is true that the industry of making Integrated Circuits (ICs) is becoming more and more advanced every day.  Some of ...
    RePlay For Kids is a Cleveland, OH based charity that modifies mainstream toys for children with disabilities. Since many electronic toys utilize activation switches that require a level of dexterity that not all children have, Replay modifies the toy to add a more accessible switch in parallel.  This not only provides local organizations with toys for disabled kids at no cost, but the toys are not limited to the few that are specifically designed for special needs use.  ...
Dave Young

2012 BLUR conference

Posted by Dave Young Nov 20, 2012
The 2012 BLUR conference was held last week in Broomfield, CO to showcase developing technologies in Human Computer Interaction (HCI).  Far from a conference of people developing screens, keyboards, and mice, the topics centered on technology that reveals how much humans have been adapting to their input devices instead of the other way around.   Then most striking aspect to the conference was the focus on 3D printing.  The discussions opened up an entirely new way of thinking a ...
I'm currently in the midst of a challenging design problem that is new in my career.  One of my clients contracts their electronics assemblies overseas.  Ideally I would design the product, it would go to the manufacturer for quote, tweaks will be made for manufacturability and price, and the design will be finalized.  This allows for the majority of the design cycle to occur close to the company here in the US while gaining the benefits from low cost manufacturing of foreign supp ...
“What designs would you open if product sales were your primary source of income?”   The Open Hardware Summit was held last week, and I had the pleasure of attending.  The principles of open licensing are simple: share all design files into the public domain and place no ownership or restrictions on the technology, allowing the community to learn from and build on it without wasting time 'reinventing the wheel.'   The reason I was so excited to attend OHWS was the li ...
Thanks to the NYC Maker Faire this weekend, there has been a lot of discussion of new project ideas becoming a reality.  With the wide array of different development platforms that are coming out for FPGAs, Microcontrollers, and even complete computing solutions, there is always a system out there to be explored.  It can be intimidating to approach such a wide array of possibilities, so what is it that makes for the best first projects?   The most important aspect of any project ...

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