Member Since: April 27, 2008

Country: United States



Software Developer / Lead


Tyler Technologies

Spoken Languages

English, enough Spanish to ask where the bathroom is

Programming Languages

Too many


Network Engineering Systems Administration Software Development

  • Most RVs have wiring rigs for remote cameras (nominally “back-up cameras”), and some include a 4-way mini-stick to pan and tilt the camera. Shouldn’t be hard to arrange something suitableā€¦

  • Not as clumsy or random as a heat gun; an elegant tool for a more civilized age.

  • All I can say is that I don’t even like GIT very much, for various reasons, and this is still one of the most, if not the most, useful interview filter methods I’ve ever seen.
    Seriously: anyone who cares enough that they deserve to work at SparkFun, and has even half the clue they need to do the jobs involved, should have no trouble figuring out how to do the required steps, or at least finding someone who can help them do so (having skilled folks who are willing to advise you is a rather useful job skill, believe it or not…)
    Bonus points for the accidental challenge with the URL. :)
    I’d apply, but I actually like where I’m working right now, and it involves a five minute commute (and I really hate driving; SparkFun is actually the only thing I’ve ever cared enough to drive to Boulder for even once).

  • One thing that might be worth considering: arranging for the outside of the box to have impact-resistant solar panels and a couple of super-caps inside the box, enough that once any ‘normal’ internal battery wound down, the box could still transmit a periodic beacon signal. Ideally you’d want one that sent the last recorded lat/lon reading, but even a simple ‘blip’ tone AM transmission would let you do triangulation, and it is a dirt-simple circuit to build and easy to make extremely robust.
    This is basically just a variation of the same technique used for “radio collar tagging” large animals during studies; as someone else mentioned, if you have a friend with a small GA plane you can cover a lot of ground using simple directional antennas, and as soon as you get a ping you know enough about the location to be able to get bearings for triangulation (even if you have to go into the area on foot rather than in the air for whatever reason).
    Not guaranteed, since there are still ways for it to end up being unable to get enough solar to power the signal, but the collars are also designed to run for months on minimal battery power, so that’s another alternative.

  • Expecting to be there, but I hadn’t realized the fountain existed. Definitely have to make a point of seeing it.
    SparkFun’s classes/events are currently a close second for “how far am I willing to drive to go somewhere?”, this will put them (and the Maker Faire in general) solidly in first. I really hate driving. :)

  • It isn’t uncommon to find either, but the vast majority will be one of the two (CEP because it gives a better number and CEP is a standard way of measuring, or 95th percentile if they follow the actual GPS specification for reporting accuracy).

  • Simple methods that rely on nothing but physical situations are still liable to work best. For example, breakaway connections that destroy connectivity… and look exactly like the pre-broken pins they are mixed in with. Pair that with silicon-etched information about which ones are supposed to be broken, seal that under a tamper-proofing layer, and you’ve made it exceedingly difficult to manage to get into one without bricking it.
    Or, for more fun, take one of the lovely PiN phototransistors (a.k.a. “tiny solar cell”) that SparkFun currently sells, and put it somewhere unobtrusive, or a handful of them wired in serial, and set them up to apply a reverse bias voltage to a critical bit of hardware that is, again, under tamper-proofing sealant along with the core chip. Would cost more in time and effort to fix that than it would to simply build a trojan pad from scratch.
    Practical? Probably not, but fun to think about.

  • A unique connector isn’t actually required ? just “sufficient”, and it happens to be one of the easiest ways to achieve the goal. There are others, but they generally involve far more complex methods.
    And since the folks who make 50-ohm amplifiers or ultra-high-gain antennas aren’t going to bother to change them for this, it at least helps prevent truly accidental use of such gear (along with the excuse “I had no idea”).
    And no, it doesn’t stop the folks just smart enough to know how, and not smart enough to remember that triangulating a mostly-stationary signal source is a matter of a few minutes with a car and a directional antenna.

  • Wireless can be shared or unshared, just like wired can. Just depends on how you set it up. In fact, the most common wired connection (Ethernet) is technically a CDMA (Carrier Detect / Multiple Access) technology. Prior to having switches (rather than hubs) be cheap enough to buy at your local drug store as an impulse item ? yes, I’ve seen it ? Ethernet was generally a shared medium. In fact, it technically still is a shared medium, just one that now has exactly one speaker and one listener on each line.
    ‘Unshared’ wireless is built the same way; tight-beam directional antennas and receivers, to improve range and prevent stray signals from other sources interfering.

  • No particular reason the two have to be exclusive. I certainly get both?