555 Contest Thank You

The 555 Contest was awesome fun, and I was lucky enough to win two prizes. Here I use one of them (Dave Jones life-time supply of LCD modules) to do a quick thanks.

Gotta give it to Chris and Jeri, the idea was inspired and the implementation flawless. The 555 chip is a timeless classic, and was the perfect storm for a grass-roots electronics design contest. The humble 555 is simple enough that all skill levels can get something going with it, yet so amendable to applications it was never intended for as to provide almost endless richness to the contest space. Similarly the open categories were well chosen to not constrain anyone's imagination. Finally getting Hans and Forrest as judges was an enormous coup, and herding the sponsors to put up such a wonderful set of truly useful and highly desirable prizes made it a top-class geek event not to be missed.

The contest got so much traction in the geek community a truly staggering number of entries were submitted. So many that EMSL and Adafruit had to be recruited to share the judging load. The quality of the entries was amazing too, not your average LED blinkers or knock-offs from magazines of the past, but a high percentage of completely original ideas and wonderful implementations. New standards for documentation and presentation of contest submissions were set, YouTube boasts a multitude of videos of the submissions, private blogs and maker/hacker news sites got plenty of fresh meat for their feeds. A contest conceived and implemented on the Internet, leveraging the Internet's rich social media systems.

I think it will be a while before we see anything quite like it again.