Establishing the Ultimate GeekDad Reference Shelf

Geek Culture


One of my many reference shelves. (Image: Brian McLaughlin)

When I get started on a new project or endeavor, I become a voracious consumer of information. I start reading everything I can get my hands on that will introduce me to that subject and give me a good foothold. If I am already well versed on a subject but I am going to be working with a new facet of that subject, I deep dive on that specialized topic and become really intimate with the details. What is always frustrating for me, however, is where to start. What is a good reference versus what is a dated or frowned-upon reference? I want to kick off a GeekDad Reference Library for topics of all sorts. It will be maintained on the GeekDad Community website and submissions will be accepted from the greater GeekDad community. What are your favorite references? What do you think a good starter point is for your geeklings to learn a topic? Let us know. To get this started, here are some of my favorite electronics references that I go to on a regular basis.

The Art of Electronics – Far from a beginner’s book on electronics I have heard this referred to as the electrical and computer engineering bible. You want to deep dive and really know why that component works the way it does? You are going to find it in The Art of Electronics.

Forrest Mims is a great author, in general, to reference. He has written numerous books on electronics and projects and some of my earliest memories of learning about electronics are from Forrest Mims books. Some great examples include:

Principles of Electronic Instrumentation – This is actually one of my wife’s textbooks that I have absconded with and keep in my office and bring home a lot too. It is a great introduction to the way a number of sensors are read out and how to properly amplify and detect signals.

ATMega328P Complete Datasheet & ATTiny85 Complete Datasheet – So far, when it comes to microcontrollers, I got my start with the Arduino so I am partial to the Atmel chips. The ATMega328P is the controller on the Arduino Uno and the ATTiny85 and its family are actually easy to program through the Arduino IDE. Important since I run an all Mac household and Atmel Studio requires Windows.

The Arduino Language Reference – I am constantly going back to this site to check on the finer points of some of the Arduino functions. I also can never keep in my head how many bits are in some of the data types. Always good to have a language reference handy.

The Sparkfun Electronics Tutorials – The Sparkfun Electronics tutorials and Department of Education sites provide a great wealth of information on any number of subjects for projects you may want to build.

Adafruit Tutorials – Great tutorials on many different subjects. Get some ground under your feet and feel that you know what you are talking about, maybe you’ve earned one of Adafruit’s Skill Badges?

So what are some of your favorites? We aren’t just talking electronics here, whatever the subject is that you geek out about, let’s hear it and I will cultivate a knowledge repository at the GeekDad Community. Go to my submission page and let us know your favorites! Once I have reached a decent number of entries I will start posting over at the GeekDad community.

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