Karl Bielefeldt

Member Since: May 26, 2012

Country: United States


Design engineer making telecommunications equipment for a living. Tinkerer in RC, robotics, and amateur radio for a hobby.

  • News - February Caption Contest | about 2 months ago

    What Bob doesn’t realize yet is those women just got an awful idea while they were inventorying the igniters.

  • News - December Caption Contest | about 4 months ago

    Testers for sparkfun’s new line of thinking caps uncover a few mind-altering bugs.

  • News - Does It Matter Which Brow… | about 5 months ago

    My first browser was lynx in 1993, which I used at college to visit college and library web sites. I didn’t even know web pages could have pictures until 1996. Then it was netscape, mozilla, then firefox. I use Chrome now because when I first tried it shortly after it came out (I don’t know if it’s the case anymore), it rendered much faster than the alternatives, and ran javascript faster too. Also the syncing, minimalist interface with lots of room for what you’re actually reading, and url and search in one place. OS is Windows at work, and Arch Linux at home.

    On a side note, am I the only one who sees Nick staring at a floating magnifying glass?

  • News - Ada Lovelace Day at Spark… | about 7 months ago

    Gotcha, thanks for the clarification about the day’s purpose. Count me in for highlighting some female role models in my homeschool lesson this evening.

  • News - Ada Lovelace Day at Spark… | about 7 months ago

    I understand the importance of female role models, but don’t forget to ask fathers to introduce and encourage STEM topics with their daughters. After all, as long as the gap exists, it’s fathers who are more likely to already be familiar with those fields. My daughter helped me change a light switch yesterday and enjoyed it. We’re working this week on adding a Lilypad and LEDs to her Halloween costume. She loves playing with hexbug robots with her brother and me.

    She is such a feminine, dress up, doll and pony loving girl that I worried we might never have anything in common, but she also loves doing science and electronics with me. Don’t be afraid to ask. A father can also be a role model for a girl.

  • News - Enginursday - Three Child… | about 8 months ago

    For me, it was how a PCB works. I still remember the first time I saw one. I was 6 or 7 and opened up my tape recorder, and it was green inside! I don’t know what I expected to find, but it wasn’t a green circuit board. Actually, it kind of makes me sad to think about all the mystery gone out.

  • News - Engineering Roundtable - … | about 9 months ago

    I made something similar for my wife a long time ago when she had a project that required dividing skeins of yarn into equal thirds. No 3d printing or laser cutting, just hardware store parts. No dual stepper motors, just hand cranked. No arduinos, just a decade counter/7-segment decoder IC. Did use a hall effect sensor though. Kids these days.

    Now, if version 2.0 could change the spool without operator intervention, I might forgive the overkill :-)

  • News - July Caption Contest | about 10 months ago

    With health insurance rates skyrocketing, SparkFun introduces a subtle new fitness program for their employees.

  • Product SEN-11836 | about 11 months ago

    I think that’s what the 506 byte template is, which you can read using external software. I don’t think it comes out exactly the same every time though, so you have to run some sort of matching algorithm yourself. The benefit of the ones stored inside the module is the module runs that matching algorithm for you.

    Remember to flash every single fingerprint on the screen as your software does the search, CSI-style :-)

  • News - Whatever Happened to The … | about 11 months ago

    There are two forces working against “the future”: economics and education. Economics means the benefits of the new technology must outweigh the costs. Take self-opening doors, for example. We’ve had the technology for that since before I was born, but no one has it at their home, because the alternative is simpler, cheaper, and meets our needs just fine. Where is the technology used? Where the benefits outweigh the costs: at stores where you need to push a cart through the doors, and where it helps people with wheelchairs get around more easily. Same goes for flying cars, or ubiquitous electric cars. We’ve had the technology for a while that makes it possible, but it won’t become widespread until it is cheaper, safer, and more convenient than what we’ve got.

    The other factor is education. Every once in a while Star Trek will show a junior high student complaining about calculus and warp core theory. The presumption is new technologies will get pushed earlier and earlier into curricula, but that is happening extremely slowly, if at all in real life.

    If they’re lucky, kids will get some basic education in using computers as an office tool: writing papers, doing research, making presentations, etc. The programming knowledge needed to advance the technology is still only taught at an extremely basic level until you get to college. Electronics teaching is practically non-existent in our elementary and secondary school systems, even though kids have the aptitude for it at relatively early ages. What education does happen is done almost exclusively as extra-curricular activities. It’s a travesty that most kids graduate high school without even doing something as simple as blinking an LED using an Arduino.

    The unfortunate result is the maker movement is largely inaccessible to people unless you have post-secondary education in it, or you personally know a maker who can mentor you, or you are extremely motivated to teach yourself using the Internet.

No public wish lists :(