I’m guessing if you follow me at all on Twitter or Facebook or just about anywhere else on the internet (I’m not too hard to find), you might know about the 555 contest. I have been talking about it quite a bit on various channels, all except here.
So I thought I’d discuss some of the aspects I might not discuss on other forums because they wouldn’t be relevant. But since this site is basically about me and my interests…well I get to write whatever I want! Sweet!
First off, I thought I should mention Jeri. Honestly, I didn’t know her well when we got started working on the contest. Mostly just talking on Twitter and watching her videos. It’s been nice getting a chance to chat though. She’s just as bright as her videos let on. And it’s always interesting meeting new engineers with similar past experiences. Many of the same struggles I’ve gone through in the past, she has as well. Since she has more experience than me, I’ve been learning stuff from her. When I’m not learning from her, we usually make fun of Dave together! (kidding Dave!)
Next, I thought I should mention the spontaneity of the articles about us and the contest. Have a look at some of them:
- Jack Ganssle wrote about us on his site Breakpoints
- Mike Demler wrote about us on his blog IC Design Corner
- MAKE wrote about us when we were getting started
- Hackaday called me famous for some reason. Everybody responded, “Huh? Who?”
- Paul Rako didn’t like the 555 (nor did Bob Pease) but wrote about us anyway
- A few other originals and a few that syndicated content from above.
So here’s the dirty little secret: we know most of the people that wrote about us. Yup, it’s true. But the interesting part for me is thinking just how often this kind of things happens. A friend/acquaintance calls up and tells you about an upcoming design contest, you might want to write about it, right? Welcome to the world of PR! I’m super happy all these wonderful people decided to write about us, and I don’t think they would have unless we had something fun and intriguing; but still, I thought it was interesting and wonder if the contest could be even bigger if bigger names were setting up the contest in the first place.
And finally, I should point out that as much as I enjoy working on the contest, it’s a ton of work! I’m not trying to complain but it makes me appreciate those that run other similar events (and in the past I didn’t consider it). Sending emails alone and trying to coordinate sponsors across distances can really wear on you. If nothing more, it’s a lot of typing! So not difficult per se, but time consuming. Not to mention my stellar timing of jumping into this project a week after EngineerBlogs.org started; I really set myself up for a bit of time sitting in front of a computer.
So that’s all from me for now. In case you’ve been lamenting my lax writing schedule, I’m signed up for at least one post a week over at Engineer Blogs, usually on Wednesdays. And I can continue to be heard weekly on The Amp Hour radio show. And if you really want to grab my attention, be sure to check out the 555 contest site and start your entries today!
Dr Dave says
I can't recall just how old the 555 is – 1971 or 1972 comes to mind. I know I was still pretty green when I first used it.
I know/knew a lot of engineers who claim to have had a hand in the original design but I believe Hans Camenzind (formerly) of Signetics was the original designer.
I also know a lot of people that don't like the device. And even though Mr Pease may be among those (and I listen carefully to anything Bob Pease has to say), somebody finds it useful or it wouldn't still be readily and cheaply available some 40 years later – including a National Semi version (although I don't know if you can still get a bipolar version).
Almost as old as the 741…(also still available – from National Semi)
I hope you have fun with the contest. A chip that encourages some strange and wonderful ideas.
Chris Gammell says
Hans is not only the original inventor…he's also one of our judges! Forrest Mims is the other right now. Hoping for a few more big names, we'll see who pops up.
Alan Parekh says
Is the 555 site dead? Looks like it is just a parking page now…