But there is a darker undercurrent here that really needs some introspection. The "makers market" of today doesn't work.
Let's compare the market between say 1975 and 1985 with the market between 2010 and 2020. Money spent on the early market supported no less than 6 monthly printed magazines, several chains of electronics component stores (Radio Shack/Tandy/Dick Smiths/Marples(sp?)), a host of retail outlets, and several equipment manufacturers selling into the market.
In the "modern" era, there are no profitable magazines or web sites or blogs or ANYTHING with respect to this hobby, there are NO brick and mortar retail components stores, and no equipment maker sells into this market.
So why is this? I suspect that a large chunk of that is money. In particular, the "cost" of things has gone so far down that the money selling those things is a mere pittance of what it was before. But salaries of people to run these businesses, offices, etc hasn't changed. Nor has postage or warehouse space etc. But the interesting follow on effect is that it makes no sense to pay $8000 for an advertisement (the full page price of an ad in Modern Electronics in 1980) when you might generate an additional $4K in revenue. Similarly for blogs or podcasts where 70 to 90% of the ad revenue goes to the ad network (Google, Bing, Etc.)
Open source is great, but without money people have to work other jobs and so their ability to contribute quality time to their hobbies, much less full time to them, is that much harder to do.
I used to write free lance articles for Byte, Dr. Dobbs, and others and they would pay me $600 - $800 per article. A recent article suggests that the editors for Hackaday get paid but the places they link? They just get "exposure." (cue the Oatmeal comic on spending "exposure").
There are some standouts, like Adafruit, but even there the margins are tight and the operations are small. They are certainly not a "Radio Shack" level of enterprise.
I don't know what the "fix" is, but there is some re-imagining, re-inventing that needs to go on here to pay these people who put in their time to make the "maker movement" work. Or it will continue to struggle.
Yes, there are no "brick and mortar" stores because in 1985, brick and mortar was the only type of store that existed. Nowadays, Internet shopping is so developed that Adafruit, Sparkfun, Digi-Key, etc. don't need brick and mortar stores. The experience of shopping for parts online is much better than at a Radioshack -- it's not like you need to physically inspect a 555 timer to gain any information about it before you buy it, like you would with a winter jacket. The only thing lost is the ability to get a part today which sometimes sucks but that's life. We don't need 6 magazines anymore because people put their code on Github and their projects on YouTube, and for free. Profits in the industry are probably lower but that's because there's more competition from other vendors and from people just sharing this stuff with no profit motive, which maybe sucks for the industry but is fantastic for the hobbyists of limited means.
Today, hobbyist makers are building stuff that actually does something useful, that has no commercial substitute. With Github, YouTube, forums, people are inspiring each other to make more interesting things than in 1985. Back in 1985 people were usually building stuff that could be bought. Today people are building stuff that can't be bought, and if there's enough of a market for it they productize it with Kickstarter or Tindie. People are sharing code and board designs and projects, and whether at the high end like Mark Rober or the low end like some guy's homebrewing controller the maker world is really bursting with success.
And the difference, for me, between user hosted content (Github and Youtube), and a magazine is that the magazine also has an editor who both made sure the article was clear and for the better magazines perhaps built the project themselves to see how it worked. There is a ton of content from people who don't know what they are doing which obscures the content from people who do. It can be frustrating for people starting because there are so many variables. Did I build it wrong? Did they describe it correctly? Did I miss a step that was obvious to the writer but not me? You get a few projects that fail and you get disillusioned.
A good example of this is a high school kid I helped who was convinced they sucked at soldering because it never worked for them like it did on youtube. Except they were using silver solder "because that is what the hardware store had." Hmmm? Obvious to someone who was taught soldering by someone who knew how to solder, but not obvious when the content creator assumes everyone knows how to solder and what solders are used, so leaves that out of their presentations.
Don't get me started on Kickstarter :-) It has put more people into bankruptcy than MLM in my opinion. When you don't know what you don't know, how can you possibly predict how much money you need to deliver a random number of units of your idea?
Solid, curated, material for new people and advanced people. The stuff magazines used to provide, has made things more difficult rather than less difficult. And it is my opinion that this is at least part of the problem with declining STEM capabilities of students these days.
I don’t understand what this means. The creators of kickstart projects overcommit and then bankrupt themselves trying to fulfill orders? Backers of kickstart projects bankrupt themselves supporting more projects than their financial resources allow?
Adding the required 50% margin to the BOM of a consumer product is painful and unintuitive. Most kickstarters are done by regular people, and as a normal consumer it can be hard to be appropriately pessimistic when pricing a product you have to manufacture and sell. It's endlessly temping to lower the price.
I've heard that Kickstarter, etc. Are best used as marketing platforms. I.e. only put a product on there once you've made it to the point where you are ready for mass production, have the suppliers waiting, and even products in hand. It's doesn't work to "launch" products from the concept of prototype stage to market.
I think I disagree with both of these. But I'll only tackle the first one.
With respect to reliability of information, I agree there's an enormous amount of misinformation out there now, especially in places like YouChube. But ⓐ there's also excellent reliable information out there on Wikipedia and Stack Exchange, for which there was no equivalent in the 01980s, and ⓑ even YouChube isn't that bad.
Let's take a look at the particular example you picked, misinformation or lack of information about solder types. My top ten hits for [how to solder] are https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqV2xU1fee8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu3TYBs65FM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rmErwU5E-k https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp37DPZVdRI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW9Y8rDm4kE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qps9woUGkvI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxMV6wGS3NY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpkkfK937mU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxqZJH3SfN4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwU9SqO0udU, which mysteriously all ten are about soldering electronics and none about plumbing. Of these #1, #3, and #5 talk about lead-free solder vs. leaded electronics solder, and #2 does that and also specifically warns you away from silver solder and acid flux. Only #4 (which is of very poor quality), #6, and #7 omit information on the question of different solder types. (#6 does mention "rosin-core solder" but doesn't explain that there are other kinds.)
Item #8 is a special case: it talks a lot about flux, shows rosin-core solder highly magnified, talks about solder composition... but it incorrectly claims the rosin is "a weak acid" and doesn't really mention the existence of other types of solder until a passing mention of lead-free solder near the end.
(I, uh, ran into my writing deadline before checking items #9 and #10. Comments welcome.)
So, even though YouChube is much less reliable than Wikipedia or Stack Exchange, I think that if you were to spend fifteen minutes watching randomly chosen videos that YouChube serves you up when you google [how to solder], you would find out that you need special electronics solder, and most of the other information you got would be correct. And you would have spent fifteen minutes watching experienced technicians explain and demonstrate proper and improper soldering technique under high magnification.
Of course, this is still vastly inferior to being taught soldering by someone who knows how to solder! But we weren't comparing YouChube to apprenticeships, were we? We were comparing YouChube to reading Popular Electronics and, I don't know, the worthless pap that passed for "educational TV" in the 01980s. PBS or something. Most PBS shows were the TV equivalent of WIRED Magazine: just enough information to give you the illusion of understanding, but not enough to actually learn anything.
As for the reliability of magazines and books, I recall my Encyclopedia of Science and Invention in the late 01980s solemnly informed me that computer RAM consisted of magnetic cores and that fluidic integrated circuits were commonplace in missile guidance systems. OMNI Magazine was full of UFO speculation. The how-to booklet that came with my Radio Shack 200-in-1 electronics kit gave me wiring diagrams for how to wire up a Hartley oscillator, but no equations and not even the name "Hartley oscillator", so I really had no hope of ever understanding how the damn thing worked. In high school in 01992 I took a "pre-engineering electronics" class, whose textbook explained to us that TTL logic had propagation delays around 5 ns, while CMOS logic was more like 20 ns — true in 01972, but that was the year the school was buying a 200MHz DEC Alpha αxp server, which I naturally deduced must consist entirely of ECL.† And I recall getting very excited when I started reading books in the school library about the Bermuda Triangle, and then there were the Hare Krishna books explaining how worms bite babies in the womb and how Krsna Consciousness would liberate you from the cycle of rebirth, and the books explaining how to develop your psychic powers...
So I think YouChube and BitTorrent and the like have vastly improved the access-to-information situation, even in the specific example you chose, and moreover there are vastly better information sources around. I already mentioned Wikipedia and Stack Exchange, but there are also reputable open-source projects like QUCS and yosys, there's ##electronics on libera.chat, there's Hackaday, there's still Don Lancaster, there's Kuphaldt's excellent open-content textbook at http://www.ibiblio.org/kuphaldt/electricCircuits/, and there's the Internet Archive; and, for those living in places where they're legal, Library Genesis and sci-hub provide instant access to a depth of knowledge on nearly any topic that vastly exceeds what even any university library had in the 01980s.
There is vastly more misinformation available. But there was always plenty of misinformation. There's also vastly more of precisely the solid, curated material for new people and advanced people that you're looking for, and it's immensely more accessible!
† The Alpha was of course a CMOS microprocessor, like every microprocessor I've ever seen or heard of. CMOS propagation delays were down below a nanosecond in 01992, but our textbook was outdated by over an order of magnitude.
There doesn't appear to be a notation similar to the C style prefixes 0x and 0 (hex and octal), nor like the mentioned assembly language post-fixes.
It would greatly aid clarity if there were a clear way of denoting these were dates. Visually, my language parsing center is optimized to assume years are 4 or 2 digits in length. Five is confusing.
And what sort of long term thinking, wants all that extra electricity used to denote pre-zeros endlessly, thus increasing data transmission, disk space usage, and even calories to type it. I bet current excess power usage, is equal to at least a bucket full of coal yearly, and that adds up when thinking over 10k years or more.
The story begins:
"There is a Clock ringing deep inside a mountain. It is a huge Clock, hundreds of feet tall, designed to tick for 10,000 years. Every once in a while the bells of this buried Clock play a melody. Each time the chimes ring, it’s a melody the Clock has never played before. The Clock’s chimes have been programmed to not repeat themselves for 10,000 years. Most times the Clock rings when a visitor has wound it, but the Clock hoards energy from a different source and occasionally it will ring itself when no one is around to hear it. It’s anyone’s guess how many beautiful songs will never be heard over the Clock’s 10 millennial lifespan.
"The Clock is real. It is now being built inside a mountain in western Texas. ..."
I've been an active community member for over ten years (from age 12, I'm 24 now) and the truth is that with the availability of parts — combined with all the benefits of traditional open source — the hardware/"maker" scene has absolutely been flourishing for the past few years.
With rapid prototyping becoming more commonplace it's completely reasonable for your run-of-the-mill maker to own a 3D printer or be able to turn around a custom PCB within a week, tools that massively accelerate the development phases of early ideas or business ventures. We'll definitely start seeing more companies taking advantage of the community spoils as technology continues to advance at a faster and faster rate over the coming years, especially when those same tools are just as easily employed by your competitors.
(Hardware based startups are in a unique position as the tools to compete with larger companies or scale product are more readily available than ever before. At this moment for a few hundred dollars it's completely possible to produce thousands of PCBs through online overseas services, ready to ship to customers.)
Aside — it's also a community that is heavily invested in the history of computing/technology and how we got here - in a way it's comforting to be able to replicate a circuit from three decades ago, circuits that used to cost thousands, and experience first hand computing history for pennies on the dollar.
I don't know how much Don spends on hosting† to make everything he's ever written instantly available to every hacker in the whole world but I'm guessing it's about US$100 a month. Inflation-adjusted, that's probably less than Popular Electronics Magazine spent running the office coffeepot. Not counting the price of the coffee.
He's written about the days Chuck is—wrongly, I think—eulogizing in https://www.tinaja.com/glib/waywere.pdf.
The objective we should measure ourselves against is not the headcount in retail sales (though Amazon seems to have a workforce of substantial size) or the number of inkstains on people's hands; it's access to knowledge and tools, and the power to create that access unlocks. It's people dreaming of wonderful things that never were, and making them real. It's human flourishing.
So, how are we doing on that?
† Unlike people who just host on GitHub, who depend on Microsoft's continued goodwill to foot their publishing bill, Don hosts his own pages.
I think you missed the meaning of the word "market". The parent was commenting on the economics of the maker's market and you were talking simply about the proliferation and innovation of today vs history.
> which maybe sucks for the industry but is fantastic for the hobbyists of limited means.
Agreed. Which is what makes you both probably right.
Professional looking PCB's, inexpensive components direct from China ... all within the hobbyists reach.
Oh sure, a few of them might get an Arduino and blink an LED from time to time - but nowhere near enough to support high street component stores.
Of course, from a certain perspective hobby electronics has never been better. Component stockists with huge ranges and fast, cheap shipping? Professionally produced PCBs for $5 including shipping? Microcontrollers with built-in wifi for $1? And the compilers and dev tools are all free? Some of these things have never been better :)
$5 PCBs sound great, but what might appeal to me even more is an associated robotic CNC and surface mount service to install all the fiddly stuff and source the 10-50 whatevers of each thing I need from an assembly house's yearly consumption of 5 million Xs.
Are there any services like that? Where small runs are possible without the massive cost effect if picking parts that are already in flow?
Yes, lots of them. JLPCB even has a promo right now where they do SMT assembly for free.
Back in the 90s I was carefully tracing out circuits with a resist pen, etching them with a ferric chloride bath and hand-drilling the component holes. Not only was this extremely finicky and time-consuming, it was expensive! I only ever made a handful of boards of my own design.
Would rather have more hardware people than software but sadly not the case. Hardware is...well...hard. Automating deployments? eh not so much.
This seems to be a general trend where the smart people are gravitating towards "not hard" fields like data science, software and finance. So our houses look like they're straight out of the future retro 60s except for our flat LCD smart TVs and and Alexa pods.
Too much effort for too little revenue. The probability of a customer spending only $50, but also needing 2 hours of customer service might be too high. Once you engage in a transaction with someone, there’s a lot of possible future liability that comes with it.
Electronics is one of the things I miss most about living there. The air pollution was terrible though. New Zealand has great air, a good second-hand market (2014 Retina MacBook Pro for 300 USD), but 1-2 months shipping does slow down my hobby electronics. Jaycar, PBTech, JB HiFi have a few common items, but nothing like I could get in China, Japan, or Taiwan. It makes me think twice before buying gadgets though, which might be a good thing!
Nowadays there are probably 20 electronics shops remaining, the rest is occupied by grocery/meat/fresh produce suppliers.
You can see how it evolved in Street View switching camera between 2009-2017 footage.
Not to say that your lamentation for what’s lost is invalid, but you’ll find some incredible people on those new platforms. Check out Jeremy Fielding, Machine Thinking, AvE, and many others on YouTube.
We have lost, and we have gained.
Leo's Bag of Tricks:
(i work at adafruit, founded hackaday)
What is their long term vision for how this acquisition fits into the rest of their electronics and engineering portfolio?
I'd be interested to know if Hackaday has any plans for branded events when deemed safe? With Hackaday.io it also seems like the potential is there to help organize community events or maker-faires on a larger scale as we reenter a post-pandemic world — a gap not really filled since the fall of Make.
(A "Hackaweek" hackercamp sounds like it would be a blast)
I'm surprised, Adafruit has a 50-100% markup on most items compared to Aliexpress/other Chinese electronics.
Personally, I was never hugely into the connecting devboards together style of work (which is of course the fastest/best way to get results), which is pretty much only possible with "1 $ style" devboards, because eval boards have never been single-dollar items. I usually handwire everything or roll my own PCBs. I try to be conscious with component selection, if I can get components made in first-world countries I will pay the usually higher (1.5-3x) price tag for that. This is however somewhat difficult, because the country of origin is often hard to find out for components (and weirdly enough, many manufacturers are pretty quiet about it, even when it's made in the EU, Germany, UK, ...). It's a hobby, I don't really need to count pennies.
If you choose direct from the supplier then don't expect the same level of support as adafruit since you've voted away with your purchasing power any sufficient margin to support it.
Most of the benefits the locals provide are tutorials, support and shorter delivery from local inventory.
The race to wafer-thin margins has consequences.
Amazon is worth a look too, particularly for Prime users.
Edit: also, I generally have a hard time keeping my order under $100, so I guess I've never actually seen what the shipping fee would be :D
Plus, until recently, you could order things from aliexpress or banggood etc. at low Chinese prices and not even pay shipping (that was essentially free).
 - https://archive.org/details/byte-magazine?tab=collection
 - https://circuitcellar.com/
 - https://hardcoresoftware.learningbyshipping.com/p/013-end-of...
I would argue that much of the sales of 1975-1985 places like Radio Shack/Tandy/etc. were around early adopters of home computing. And I would also assume that the vast majority of the sales/items they had were finished projects, not "maker market" type of stuff. Many of the magazines of that era are "how to build $x for your home" or "program $y".
I would say that what we are seeing is the market getting much more mature and specialized rather than the makers market going away. I don't think it was ever big enough to be sustainable to begin with, it just so happened that products required bits here and there that those companies had any volume from the general public on maker type of stuff.
And, really, I don't know if there's anything like that today. I'm not sure that a store like the original Radio Shack could exist anymore; I mean, RadioShack may have given up on the space for a reason, indeed the reason that you cite (it wasn't big enough to be sustainable). But that doesn't mean that its departure isn't a genuine void, however small.
You might be seeing the situation through nostalgia goggles.
Chuck is saying that 40 years ago there were so many hackers doing these things that there was a whole workforce—partly, but not entirely, a hacker workforce—selling them what they needed for their arcane hobbies. And that, today, there isn't.
You seem to suggest that average teenage wankers watching Simone Giertz's escapades is roughly equivalent to 01980s hackers buying transistors at Radio Shack to build a walkie-talkie out of. They aren't. Watching a video of someone doing something is completely different from doing it yourself.
The difference between eighties and now is in the eighties corporations wouldnt even talk to you, so you had to go to RadioShacks, hamventions, or live near Akihabara Electric Town. Nowadays random hacker has access to whole planets supply chain with overnight shipping and websites taking orders 24/7.
Therefore Walmart doesn't have a whole workforce supplying people named Ralph.
> Nowadays random hacker has access to whole planet's supply chain with overnight shipping and websites taking orders 24/7.
I believe this is a case of "cost disease", when the labor in one sector continues to get more expensive without matching productivity gains.
So I guess it depends on the tradeoff.
Magazines and magazine ads didn't survive the internet intact anywhere in any industry. They're all dying. That isn't special for electronics - its because its easier and cheaper on the internet, and more people will see it.
And they don't need to be a radio shack enterprise, because they aren't doing what radio shack did. Radio shack went out of business.
And even the stores with 1980s holdover stock or bottom-barrel crapware are going away. People would rather just wait 2-4 days for Amazon or even wait 10 days for Mouser/DK. It's that bad.
I think there's a sweet spot where a brick and mortar store can sell components. In fact I think the potential there is huge. It'll have to do a lot of things exactly right:
1) Knowledgeable, non-snooty staff who can answer a question quickly and effectively. "My daughter is making an LED circuit" "Okay, LED kit is here, buy some roughly 330 ohm resistors here, these LEDs can't handle 3v directly so they need something to take up the overage, thank you, next customer"
2) Sell parts people want. If your warehouse is full of parts made in 1982 that should fill you with existential dread. Scour Amazon and ebay for electronics parts to determine what is popular. Follow maker sites to determine what parts people are using in hobby projects.
3) Resist the urge to sell high-margin items like phones, Remote-control cars, casio keyboards, or to start your own line of personal computers. That's what did Radio Shack in. You can get such things cheaper online, and no one needs a casio keyboard TODAY the way they need a handfull of 470mocrofarad capacitors TODAY.
Whether they'd be a profitable standalone business I don't know, but as a whole the Raspberry Pi operation seems to be very successful.
Circuit Cellar is an excellent print magazine, easily on par with the best of those available in the 1980s and earlier.
The only thing I might change would be the lack of edit/delete in the comments section (every time I read comments on there somebody seems to be asking mods to delete a duplicate comment, etc). I can't really complain, at least they didn't use some heavy, potentially data-sucking third party comment platform like FB or Disqus. I assume it's some kind of WordPress plugin, but I haven't looked into it.
Seems the contrast is excellent and no obvious disturbing layout choices. Fairly traditional layout although I'm not a fan of the white on black as I sit in the sun a lot, but generally it seems quite good if you compare it with most random blogs out there.
It's a way of sending the message, "It's my site, not yours. I don't care if you don't find it legible. Everybody else is wrong, and I'm right."
I remember not being happy but that's no longer the case for me... but I also don't read it regularly.
What I'd miss most is if the hackaday.io project site were to go away. Makes documenting my projects very easy.
Congrats to the sellers.
It was a bureaucratic beast, for sure, but definitely the best place I've ever worked. That being said, this was a business unit that was very complimentary to a lot of their other BUs. So the acquisition was for growth, not to destroy competition.
And that was that, from Mainframe manufacturer to nothing in 7 years from Siemens acquisition.
In 1993 Siemens bought Polish early computer manufacturer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elwro
it seems just to close it down
[EDIT ADD} OK been pointed out I slipped few points on that value and it's $700m which with that turnover makes way more sense. But epic Doh moment and hands up on that laugh.
My comments often go through multiple revisions like this in the first ~5 minutes or so. If dang has any ability to see or query these edits I wouldn't be surprised if they discovered my "edits per word" is among the highest in HN :D
The biggest play here is competition to Altium's Octopart purchase, especially with all of today's electronic component supply chain woes. The Siemens (Mentor Graphics/PADS/Expedition) + Findchips/SupplyFX data is likely one of the end goals where the value will be derived.
This is a bummer, time to forego http and switch to nicer realms.
> This will help customers to reduce costs, increase agility and make highly informed decisions.
Thanks for informing me about how to make decisions and somehow "increase agility" whatever the f that is supposed to mean. Piggusting corpowhorespeak.
If there's a platform created by someone who's already struck it rich once and truly doing it out of love, then maybe you've found a super rare unicorn.
It's just surprising, somehow I thought those sites were grassroot, made for passionate amateurs by passionate amateurs.
If you want to see the platforms you talk about I suggest taking a look at tilde servers, lots of passion and proper punk attitude
Software as Service appears to be the ultimate goal.
Hard to imagine what the connection to hobby electronics is.
It's a shame SupplyFrame wasn't profitable enough to remain independent, but as acquirers go, Siemens seems pretty reasonable.
On the plus side, maybe they can expand the payment options beyond Paypal.
Hackaday isn't going anywhere.
Ask me how I know: https://hackaday.io/hexagon5un
Cheap money make "miracles" these days.
Maybe even compete with Autodesk by making it easy to use their PCB and CAD software on the platform.
And, compete with AWS IoT and other cloud services by offering Siemens' own, compatibile with Adafruit modules.
How Siemens plans to get that value out is utterly beyond me, so I'd have some questions on the buyer side, but the seller side makes 100% sense to me.
What was your offer?
Selling a company ALMOST NEVER benefits the employees.
It ALMOST ALWAYS benefits the owners who sell.
And giving the snarky AF comment of "What was your offer?" is asinine and you should be ashamed of even going there.
"Thank you for reaching out @adafruit. @Hackaday und @Tindie are websites of @Supplyframe, and thus also part of the acquisition. Hackaday in particular is a community exchange website for engineers and developers. "
(no need to explain what Hackaday is to Adafruit.. probably they don't know who Adafruit is either.)
Or they could have been referring to Hackaday.io rather than hackaday.com.
These German megacorps put so much procedure and so many layers between the people who build stuff and the people who use it that it's impenetrable. You can get a Siemens sales guy in the office by just mentioning you might buy something, but when he gets there he can only parrot the information off the glossy brochures. You have to go through him to talk to the applications engineer. The apps engineer has a cursory knowledge of typical uses of the product, but when you actually need some details, they have to call their technicians in the lab. That tech can try it but can't offer any guarantees it will continue to work, they'll have their manager contact a manager of the domestic Siemens engineering office, at which point you finally get to the guy who worked on that product. But it turns out he only translated the English version of the manual, there's no way to reach the guy who wrote the original in German.
The inevitable result of all that communication friction just to answer a basic question is that the company representatives can't tell a good idea from BS. You need that to keep scams off of Tindie, submarine marketing and pseudoscience off of Hackaday, and in general build stuff better than the discrete companies that the megacorp slowly amalgamated.
For example, there's QuoteFX, DirectSource, DesignSense, FindChips, and a host of other solutions they sell.
I imagine they had great quarter or two during recent chip shortage, everyone is scrambling for inventory.
I sell a DIY touchscreen home automation controller that I build by hand in my basement. My product is targeted at DIY types interested in owning their own home automation environment. The project utilizes a 3D printed enclosure, a custom PCB, an ESP8266, Nextion LCD, and a few supporting components, fasteners, etc. All firmware, gerbers, STLs, etc are open source and available on GitHub.
I didn't really intend to sell these things, but several interested users who didn't have access to the required tools or skills talked me into listing on Tindie. It is a great platform for my use case - basically zero friction to get a simple store stood up and to start collecting orders. There is nearly no customization possible, you simply upload some markdown, setup your products, then add your PayPal info to collect payments.
Over the years, users have been requesting (seemingly simple) features to be added to the platform. For example, the Tindi API is a read-only affair. You can collect your orders via the API, but once you've shipped them, you cannot use the API to mark the order shipped (or provide tracking info, etc). User requests for this functionality have been made going back to 2015, and nearly immediately, statements were made that an "API v2" was coming "soon". You can request beta API access, but in my case that request went unanswered and no others have suggested that their access was granted either. 6 years later, there is still no way to mark an order shipped without clicking around in the web UI.
More concerning has been the lack of any ability to deal with taxes. US law now requires that I collect and pay state sales tax, but Tindie can't handle it and shows no sign of ever adding that feature. The list goes on, no way to handle UK VAT post-brexit, no ability to utilize payment providers besides PayPal, etc etc. Each request is met with "we're working on it", but in the 3 years that I've been selling on Tindie, I've never once noticed any new features added to the platform and no community announcements to that effect have ever been made.
There is allegedly a development team behind this, but there is zero outward indication of any product development happening at all.
Hopefully a cash injection might get Tindie up to modern standards for a web store. I love the ethos behind the product, but the product itself is severely lacking.
Hopefully, $700M will help move this platform forward.
This sounds like a disruptive competitor to existing Siemens product lines (50% of the functionality for 5% of the price). Maybe your best hope is that Siemens management doesn't notice that Tindie is a sales channel for things like this.
Probably doomed. German industry culture is toxic to software. Product perfectionism prevents shipping early and often, often doesen't ship at all, cause hype dies before product is done.
* What's Hackaday?
* What's Tindie?