Comment on finding help on – building global communities for learning

​Is there a way to ask for help? I have many projects that I would like to try, but often am missing critical pieces that probably are obvious or trivial for someone else. For instance, I want to write algorithms for pan tilt zoom imaging with multiple cameras. The algorithms are relatively easy – but making a pan and tilt that is easy to use, gathering the raw data – these are hard (for me).

Maybe there is a way to ask for help. Or even to trade skills. I am good at computing and algorithms, but never took courses or had time to build PCB boards, amplifiers, stepper motors and movable stages. I tried some arduino and PI things. I can do it, but by the time I get a simple problem solved – for a larger question – I am so worn out finding the pieces that the larger problem gets lost or fuzzy.

Today I was looking for a simple laser interferometer based on fiber optics. I have seen piezoelectric transducers used to change the path length. But by the time I figure how to drive the specific piezo devices I find, and to find any kind of documentation to calculate ahead of time. I just get tired.

Recently I wanted a simple setup to measure the speed of sound in air over a fixed path. And the same for speed of light. There is not really a good index to the skills and knowledge on Hackaday,io. I am getting too old to spend months on every question that comes to mind. Trying to contact busy people, or people who did something in the past and posted it on long ago – but now not interested – is usually a waste of time.

The things you find on Arducam and Sparkfun and Arduino forums and many of the projects on GitHub and elsewhere are all fairly random things that people happen to write down.

On the Internet I am recommending that EVERY page have a way for people to contact the author and owner and operator of the site. And a way to “thank”, “support”, “crowdfund”. This is a different problem than finding people to work with. But it comes to mind because I would be happy to give money to people who I think are doing good things. But perhaps there are many people on Hackaday.IO who could do the things I want – in exchange for parts, tools, mathematics, software and other things, including money or help finding resources.

I know you ( have tried experiments in contests and chats and other things to stir creativity and collaboration. For about 10 years I ran Sculptor.Org. I set it up to have everything related to sculptors and sculpture on the Internet. The “sculptors wanted” page was the most popular. I set standards for posting items (wrote most of them myself in consultation with the groups wanting public sculptures (some millions of dollars, some smaller) – and then many more people who normally are not included had a chance. I helped about 500 groups and individuals to rewrite and improve their sites – because a good index site is only as good as what people see when they leave. it requires cleaning up the whole of a large area on the Internet for any one part of a group to succeed. That (helping large groups to clean up and organize on a global scale) is why I started the Internet Foundation 23 years ago next month.

I am really tired from trying to do things myself. Over the last couple of years I have tried to encourage the development of all sky (fish eye and full sky and 180 degree and dome live web cams as a way to teach and introduce everyone in the world (only about 4.8 Billion people now have some access to the Internet) and the 1.92 Billion first time learners (from 5-20 years) to the sky and what is in it. Sharing data and raw (lossless) images, putting overlays over every image and video on the Internet – is a simple way to cut down on the time it takes to match what is in those images to the massive amount of data that now is mostly inaccessible.

I have no idea, who if anyone, reads things on HackaDay.Io. I would love to rewrite the site to make it easier to see the whole of what is going on, and what in the world is connected. But then I am working on “global climate change”, “covid research efficiency”. “gravitational sensor networks” and thousands of other things. Many of the things I study on the Internet are hard to understand. I have to learn things in days that people spend their lives learning. I can do it pretty efficiently, but I am often stuck because I have never seen some things. These “interferometers” are like that. Vague videos and static images, drawings, and worst “words” are poor ways to learn. I want to see the thing myself. And if that means buying something just to look for a few minutes to get it locked in my mind – I will often do it.

Have you looked at how expensive “interferometers” are online – the parts are a few dollars, but the prices in thousands. Want data collection and it is much more. If you look at my gravimeter project it says “low cost”. I try to keep all 7.8 Billion people in the world in mind for every thing I do, and certainly for anything I recommend for the whole Internet. I know it is possible. Potentially, if would encourage and nurture low cost, reliable solutions and ways of learning – fast and efficiently – that income stream would help the whole community.

Richard Collins, Director, The Internet Foundation

​I was writing a long post and pressed enter by mistake.  It closed and won’t show the whole thing (see below above). I cannot open it to edit. Thankfully I had just copied it to my notes on my personal site.    You have  a problem if the size exceeds some unknown limit but no warning or recourse. Here is that link:

Comment on finding help on – building global communities for learning


I wanted a way to ask for help.  And I wanted a way to donate and thank the people on who are doing things I think will help many others in the world.

Richard Collins, Director, The Internet Foundation​

@Richard Hogben I have never looked at “Stack” or if I did, it was such a long list of uncategorized things it seemed too much to investigate.  You put a note about labels, but you need a visual way to let people put things on the screen for themselves.  Maybe I am just too 3D oriented, but long lists of text titles wear me out.  I keep wanting to see the people, the projects and their interconnections, the needs and issues – at a glance.  Not five hundred scroll inches of hard to read text.

I have joined a fair number of Hack Chats.  I find them interesting. But lately do not have time or energy to try to figure out ahead of time who is going to be talking. There is usually no agenda, no action items.  And while people get to spent time talking, not much seems to get done. That might be my own tired perception.  Just reporting my impressions and reasons for not being excited to post things there.

If you had “Something wanted” page, and I was willing to pay for it – either by donation, or by subscription, or paypal, or by the piece – it seems that would be attractive to many.  My impression of the people on is there are many young people trying things and looking for new jobs and opportunities.  Many older people finally having time and lower costs and somewhat easier entry – to try things they wanted to do all their lives. Too tired to give you a consulting report.

I was just looking for a pan tilt zoom camera to try a machine vision experiment.  It could easily spend hours looking online.  Or longer.  Nothing is documented well.  Almost no information on the controllers and their step sizes.  I know there must be precision control for pointing in 3D, but just want a good one then look at the data.  I have been looking at super-resolution methods generally and all the synthetic aperture methods work for PTZ cameras, or shaking cameras with inertial monitors, or moving things (earth rotation for stars and planets), moving things (planes, cars, people, clouds, ocean waves).  I can do the math, and the data – I just cannot get the cameras to point where I want them and to gather for days or weeks or months  to train for complex signals and phenomena.  It is is very complex, it needs more data.  I can squeeze a lot out of every data stream. But I need data streams and archived data that is lossless and where I know what has been done to each pixel.

Richard K Collins

About: Richard K Collins

Director, The Internet Foundation Studying formation and optimized collaboration of global communities. Applying the Internet to solve global problems and build sustainable communities. Internet policies, standards and best practices.

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