Going to China for a month!

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Hey everyone,


Just wanted to let everyone know that I will be heading out tomorrow to work from China for a while! I was lucky enough to be invited to a Chinese-American Maker Competition in Beijing. I didn't want to say anything before now because it was a little bit up in the air but everything is finalized now and I'm getting on a plane tomorrow morning!


For the next week it may be difficult to get online behind the Great Firewall of China but I will do my best to be responsive. After the Maker competition I will be heading to Shenzhen to work on the Papilio DUO for 1-3 weeks. 


Please watch the Gadget Factory blog where I will do my best to share pictures and info about the trip!


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Make sure you take DP Ian's advice on where to eat in SZ, esp bbq. Check out the DP hacker camp notes from April, there's lots of good stuff in there. Oh and the haxlr8r map is by far the best.

If you want to pick up stuff while in china to bring home, I recommend shopping on Taobao (use google chrome to translate) and using an agent to collect it. The markets are overwhelming, you can waste a lot of time finding stuff.

I used bhiner.com because they are based in SZ, they held everything for me and delivered it to my SZ hotel via cheap local courier - they charge a percentage and give a crappy exchange rate though. Itead also did local delivery for me with some pcbs, but Ian will do this now too.

Definitely recommend buying reels of leds and passives while there. The LEDs are about $usd15-20 per reel, I think the passives were like $usd5 a reel!

Buy an extra suitcase, avoid shipping charges and take the ferry to HK airport from Shekou (you can't take 2 suitcases on the MTR, carrying one nearly killed me anyway).

Have fun,


ps also check out akiba's series from the mit tour last year, so much good stuff in there on factory selection and generally how stuff works in China (http://www.freaklabs.org/index.php/Blog/MIT-Media-Lab-Shenzhen-2013/)

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I forgot to add that the best thing we bought by far was the VGA microscope.


This unit goes for about $us170 in the markets (without the monitor, seem to remember the monitor was about $us40 more).




If you can manage the negotiation, try to upgrade to the HDMI 5MP camera head.




They're not so good for soldering (some latency) but excellent for inspection.  It comes nicely boxed in styrofoam ready to take home.


Make sure you get a LED illuminator for 110v too.




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I'd love to look at some laser cutters too.

I would do some research beforehand -  the markets in downtown Shenzhen don't have light or heavy industrial stuff.  Stuff like motors, hardware, etc were fairly scarce (as were Arduinos).  They are largely focussed on phones, electronic components, electronics tools and finished consumer electronic goods.  I believe there are other districts out towards the manufacturing zone (Bao'an) that carry this kind of stuff (to service the local factories out there).  eg. I didn't see any CNC stuff, even light duty.


Redsail seems to be in Shandong, north of Shanghai, might be worth a side trip.


I'd really appreciate you sharing anything you can learn about Bao'an - there is a little bit in Akiba's blog but the geography isn't clear.  Am planning to return at some point.

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So now the cat is out of the bag (a true internet conencted toaster), can I ask, does it have anything to do with https://www.windowsondevices.com/, where you can/could get yourself a Galileo board just for registering?


( http://bytedebugger.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/microsoft-is-going-to-send-you-a-free-intel-galileo-board-just-sign-up/  )


Intel did provide the Galileo boards to the teams for free. I'm not sure it is the same promotion but it is related somehow. :)



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Ok, so a whole lot happened since I last checked in with you all! The competition got really crazy and we worked like two days straight on our projects. Then we went to an awesome award ceremony at the People's Hall with Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Secretary of State John Kerry in attendance. They made a video from the competition to show at the award ceremony and I was quite surprised when I saw myself briefly on the huge movie screen! It was a fun and inspiring event meant to create personal bonds between Chinese and American Makers. I would say it was a success since I made a ton of new friends and have pages of WeChat friends now! (WeChat is like Skype in China but better. There is no need for business cards, just scan WeChat QR codes and there is nothing to lose afterwords.)


I just arrived in Wuhan where things will hopefully calm down a bit and I can get some more pictures posted to the blog!



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I like your t-shirt :)


Reminds me of Sean Moss-Pultz on the Openmoko mailing list a few years ago (2008):



On 7/12/08 simarillion wrote:

can somebody tell me if I will lose my warranty when I open my


Hehe...do you really think we could get away with that kind of policy?!

This is Openmoko. If you /don't/ open your Neo, you should probably have
your warranty voided


Pity Openmoko/GTA02-core fail to go mainstream. But iPhone appeared in the middle of the process... tough times.



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