The heart of the company’s technology set-up is an e-commerce platform built around an open-source software program called osCommerce. “The system has been with us since 2004,” Mr. Mak said. “We’ve customized it beyond recognition, so you could say it’s pretty much ours now.” JetPens also depends on Google Apps for e-mail and for document-based collaboration. PayPal handles the transaction processing and feeds the data right into Intuit’s QuickBooks — the nononline version — which handles all of the financial management, with the help of Intuit’s Online Payroll. The company tracks its Web traffic with monitoring tools Alexa, Compete and Google Analytics. Mr. Mak is also almost weirdly enthusiastic about eHealthInsurance.com, a service that helps small companies set up a health-insurance plan. “It lets you compare all your options right there on-screen,” he said. “Trying to do that by talking to a broker is like trying to order a take-out meal without a menu.”
I designed a keypad board for the Freescale MPR121 Capacitive Touch Sensor Controller chip and received it in my latest batch of boards from dorkbotpdx.org. I’m really happy with this one. The MPR121 is really easy to use and, though it has tons of internal adjustments and controls to suit almost any sensing job, works perfectly with all default settings for my little board.
This board was pretty tough to design in Eagle. The touchpads and the traces to them have to be laid out just so or they won’t work well. The autorouter completely refused to do anything with this board no matter what I tried, so I ended up hand routing everything. And even that was very difficult. But in the end it was worth it. It looks great, and works just as well.
Sylvia Martinez created this wonderful slideshow as part of her participation in a panel at the Summit on Women and IT. The panel is titled “Tinkering: How Might ‘Making Stuff’ Influence Girls’ Interest in STEM and Computing?” and the Summit is happening this week in NYC. She writes (emphasis mine):
School only honors one type of design and problem-solving methodology, the traditional analytical step-by-step model. It ignores other problem-solving styles that are more non-linear, more collaborative, more artistic, etc. These styles are seen as “messy” or “soft” with the implication that they are not reliable. However, who do we lose when we ignore, or worse, denigrate alternative styles of problem-solving. I think one answer may be “girls” but honestly, it’s broader than that. We lose all kinds of people who are creative, out-of-the-box thinkers. And these are exactly the people I want solving the problems we face in the 21st century.
Teaching a tinkering model of problem-solving is good for girls because it’s good for everyone.
If you’ve got employees, you’ve gotta pay them! And if you’ve ever researched how one pays employees in the USA you’ll know its an insane paperwork nightmare. Usually companies hire a person (HR) or company (ADP/Paychex) just to do payroll! We wanted to hire people but keep the system simple and managable. After much research we decided to go with Paycycle (it was a close race between Paycycle and Sure Payroll, they’re both very good!)
Usually, companies go with a payroll provider such as ADP. They’re massive companies that handle everything for you, but it comes at a price. You’ll often end up paying for “extras” such as direct deposit, or printing and mailing a W2. For example, say you have 10 employees, you’ll pay about $100/mo for the service and then $50 at the end of the year for sending W2s. They’re also set up best for companies that are not tech savvy. For example, they actually call you on the phone (!) to get the payroll information every other week. For large companies it may make sense to go with a service, but for a small business its a bit of overhead.
It used to be that when you did payroll, you would have to pay the withheld taxes of your employees on a schedule and that schedule was very very strict. So you’d end up with people driving to the bank to file the tax payments every friday. Luckily, in the last decade or so, governments have modernized so that state and federal taxes can be paid electronically (EFT) and its very simple to do so.
What is “Ask an engineer”? From the electronics enthusiast to the professional community – “Ask an Engineer” has a little bit of everything for everyone. If you’re a beginner, or a seasoned engineer – stop in and see what we’re up to! We have demos of projects and products we’re working on, we answer your engineering and electronics questions and we have a trivia question + give away each week. Mosfet the cat stops by too. Previous chats can be viewed at http://www.adafruit.com/ask
IDC socket / socket cables, handy for connecting boards together and also for programming AVRs and other chips that use a 6 or 10 pin serial programming interface. We just put these in the shop (here and here) but you can also find 10-pin cables at digikey! Update the wiki if you know other places to get these cables.
We now have little labels on items with a barcode and our url shorterner (fits nicely!). This is part of the many things we’re doing to make it easier for our staff to ship orders and for our customers to find the links needed for products.
NEW PRODUCT – 6-pin Socket/Socket IDC cable. Connect this to that with an IDC cable! This cable has 6 pins (2×3) in 0.1″x0.1″ spacing. Often used for programming AVRs. 6″ long with two sockets crimped onto either side, they’re quite sturdy!
NEW PRODUCT – 10-pin Socket/Socket IDC cable. Connect this to that with an IDC cable! This cable has 10 pins (2×5) in 0.1″x0.1″ spacing. Often used for programming AVRs. 6″ long with two sockets crimped onto either side, they’re quite sturdy!
I produced a great looking board yesterday on my little CNC mill. The solution was to add $4 worth of fender washers so that I could remove any vibration from the mill table. I’m using the same bits and configuration files between the these two circuit boards. The only thing that changed was the fender washers.
And no need to worry about the tones too much. There are thousands of dialects in China, and each dialect has its own toning system. Like in a city named Tianjin(my home city), which is just 120 kms far from Beijing, people speak their own dialect, and the tones are different from Mandarin though. So the point is, when you speak a sentence people can always figure out what you mean even if you use American accent – Karl
I’m using the Fluenz dvd for mandarin 1+2. It has a variety of tests built in and once you figure out the shortcut keys, it is awesome. Also my live-in speaks basic mandarin so I get some phrases and tonal corrections from him . Fluenz isn’t immersion, it is for native English speakers learning a language (and the course uses pinyin). That said there are some immersion modes in the software quizes. Since I’m living in Germany and learned German on the street and with six weeks of an intensive course in a language school, I think my next step after the Fluenz dvd is to enroll in a local intensive Mandarin course – fbz
China, now the second-largest economy in the world, is a vast and diverse country that is nearly impossible to sum up in a single photo essay. But here is an attempt — a recent photographic look across the nation. The ruling Communist Party is gearing up for its 90th anniversary. Massive growth and construction continue to raise environmental concerns. And three years later, residents of Sichuan are still recovering from the May 2008 earthquake that killed more than 85,000. This collection is only a small glimpse of events in China over the past month
I just wanted to send you a big thank you. I have been planning to purchase the MintyBoost for a year or so. I finally got around to it a month or two ago. My daughters (7 years and 3 years) had a blast building it… The kit worked perfectly the first time. My younger daughter is bugging me for our next soldering project – Conway