henderson reed hummel





More electronics than ever before.

published: 2023-12-04

Since returning from The Recurse Center I’ve been back in the hobbyist electronics game for the first time in years (aside from a dalliance with the relatively straightforward world of mechanical keyboards.) I realized earlier today when yet more electronics arrived in the mail that for the first time ever, I’ve got the holy trifecta of energy, time, and a modicum of cash to spend on electronics. Until now, I’d always been either employed (with no free time), broke, or burnt-out (and once all three.)

So it’s been a joy to investigate the world of electronics a bit more fully and build some skills that until now I hadn’t been able to. Current projects include a bluetooth speaker build inside a camera lens case, and also some MIDI controller prototyping.

the market now:

I’ve been astonished at how cheap and awesome widely available parts have gotten! So many of these neat little boards are so cheap that you can only buy them in large packs.

A little sampling of what I’ve picked up lately:

Lots of these would be cheaper on Ebay, but I’ve been buying from Amazon because I’m impatient! Most of these orders came in around 2-4 days!

camera stuff too!

Additionally, I’ve been shocked at the continuing drop in prices for decent-quality AV equipment, both online and off! It must be due to the growing “influencer” market, which means that everyone and their uncle are trying to make it big as influencers. So, for those of us interested in documenting projects via video, it’s never been a better time I think!

Another little sampling:

anti-consumerism disclaimer

I think it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the “oh my god, everything is so cool and cheap!” energy that a digital marketplace can produce. So I think any post like this deserves to be accompanied also by a suggestion to maybe cool down and evaluate what you need rather carefully. I’ve even listed things here that I intend to purchase eventually, but so far haven’t convinced myself of an immediate need (the spendy lights).

I find too there’s something fun too about resisting the impulse to buy something to solve your problem. I look at it like a puzzle - how long can I work with what I have? You’d be surprised sometimes how well you can do without a purpose-built item, or even how eventually you might end up preferring whatever you started with. There’s a big social element to this, in that there can exist a culture within a hobby or professional circle about what is “required” and it can take a certain amount of “waking up” to realize that this is total bull.

Anyways, buying stuff: it’s a question of balance always. I can’t put a post like this out without encouraging balance.