How to be a Stud in Geekdom

I was reading an article in WIRED magazine about Open-Source Hardware and how it is the newest trend to hit the open source market. It was mostly about the Arduino circuit boards, but towards the end began to mention David Rowe. I hadn’t remembered hearing his name before, but thought I may have used his products or been introduced to them in the past. A quick Google search and I am staring at this minimalist, humble-as-pie, mac daddy of projects. Check out this list:

Current Projects

  1. Free Telephony Project: Free (as in speech) hardware and software for embedded telephony. My particular interest is using this technology to help people in the developing world through low cost community owned telephone networks.
  2. The Mesh Potato: The Mesh Potato is a 802.11bg mesh router with a single FXS port. Adjacent mesh potatoes automatically form a peer-peer network, relaying telephone calls through a community without land lines or cell phone towers. The Mesh Potato is designed using open hardware and open software and is part of the Village Telco project.
  3. Open Source Line Echo Canceler: A popular high quality line echo canceler for Asterisk that is free as in speech. Works with any Zaptel-compatible hardware, from humble X100Ps to multiple PRIs. Removes the need for expensive “hardware” echo cancellation.
  4. Electric Car: I have converted a Daihatsu Charade to run purely on electricity. Estimated range of 50km, 130 km/hr top speed, 144V at 300A peak, and no more fuel bills ever again! Here is the evalbum entry and some slides from a presentation I made at Linux SA.
  5. Peak Oil: I spend a lot of time researching this subject. IMHO the biggest challenge facing the world today – bigger than climate change.

Previous and Inactive Projects

I don’t have the time for these right now but would love to see them move forward – please contact me if you are interested.

  1. WiSPCaR: Wifi Station Power Controller And Reporter. A PIC micro-controller gadget using to monitor solar powered remote Wifi stations. Parts cost is around $2!
  2. Low Cost IT for The Blind: The Louder Router is a $200 talking computer for the blind, built around free software and commodity routers.
  3. $10 ATA Project: Cheap telephony for the developing world using a novel $10 Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) design and commodity routers.
  4. gEDA gschem/PCB: Perl Scripts for the free gEDA/PCB CAD tools, e.g. automatic updating of PCB footprints, and improved component dragging.

This list inspired me to coin the term, “Stud in Geekdom”. Geeks who read this understand that this a) not easy stuff, b) is beneficial and useful, and c) varies in specialties, something that not everyone can do. Every once in a while I run across people like this and from now on I will start to track them as Studs in Geekdom.

If anyone has anyone, guy or girl, they would like to recommend for this honor, please post it in the comments.