The internet is truly one of the biggest resources society has at its avail.
One of my favorite websites is youtube.com. The utterly incredible quantity of super useful information delivered in entertaining ways for basically free still astounds me - both from the fact no one’s tried to monetize it yet, and the fact that content creators keep churning out video after video.
Google doesn’t have a total monopoly on this though - lots of other smart folks have created their own websites
This post is pretty low-effort. I’m just laying out a set of the youtube channels and websites I find personally useful. The hope is maybe to help out your technical skills a bit, or at least give a flavor of what I’m watching when I’ve got a few minutes to kill.
Note these are accurate as at the time of the post. They’re all dynamic resources, adding more content every day. This post is a snapshot of the now, I’m sure it will be come outdated quite quickly.
Chief Delphi - If you’re doing FRC, you should be on Chief Delphi. The depth of technical knowledge and active help available is the best I’ve ever seen. Nuff said.
First Updates Now (FUN) - Tyler and crew are producing a really awesome set of content related to all things FIRST robotics. If you ever wished there was a TV channel associated with FIRST, this is the closest we’ve got today!
The Compass Alliance - Similar to Chief Delphi, a useful repository of FIRST knowledge. Less volume, but much better curation.
/r/frc - Want 10% Chief Delphi, 90% memes?
r/frcmemes - Want 0% Chief Delphi, 100% memes?
FIRST Related Skills
3Blue1Brown - Where formal coursework falls short, 3Blue1Brown is by go-to answer for students to catch up on the calculus and linear algebra topics that occasionally come up while building a robot. The channel has excellent audio description of the concepts, precisely timed to great visual animations of the concept. It’s a great demonstration of how to teach complex topics very simply, to both the visual and auditory learners simultaneously.
EEV Blog - Dave Jones does a completely unscripted review of the internals of electronic devices. He’s got a ton of industry and technical knowledge he dumps into his content. It can be a bit long-winded (ever hear the pot call the kettle black?), but is super entertaining to me!
This Old Tony - An awesome dad in a basement, showing you how to do metalworking projects and use big machine shop tools.
Practical Engineering - Especially if you’ve got an interest in Civil Engineering, Grady’s got some great explanations and tips on how large systems work in the real world.
This Old House - If you ever own (or meerly live at) a home, you’ll have projects to work on. Ever want to hear a bunch of fun-loving dads talk about the details of their trade, and show others how to improve their living spaces, and learn a bunch of technical stuff at the same time? I thought so. Check them out. For you older folks reading, yup, this is the same crew that does the “This Old House” TV show.
Jay Leno’s Garage - I want to retire like Jay Leno. He’s used his fame and success to purchase and create a car museum. And he actually knows a ton about all his cars. And freely acknowledges when he doesn’t know stuff, and brings in experts. I love hearing him talk about his collection, and the humility with which he brings in others to help him (and the viewer) appreciate it even more. If you ever want to see a very well curated collection of mechanical beasts, check out Jay’s garage.
Bill Hammack, Engineer Guy is a professor from my alma mater, and has some wonderful presentations on various technology-related topics.
Brick Experiment Channel Is great to show the outter limits of what you can construct using (mostly) lego bricks. Definitely useful for FLL, and just interesting in general.
Curious Droid is less about robots, and more about technical documentaries in general. I miss the old history channel, but Curious Droid has totally scratched my itch for high quality documentary content.
Technology Connections is another awesome channel that presents lots of historical technologies, mostly related to AV equipment. Along with 8-bit Guy, these are some of my favorite references on how engineering of commercial products was done back-in-the-day - a phenomenal reference for the modern engineer to understand the shoulders they stand on top of.
Don’t Try This At Home
styropyro is the epitome of “do not try this at home”. So, you can watch someone else try it. If you like big lasers, deadly power supplies, and chemistry that goes boom, this guy should be your friend. But seriously. Don’t try any of this guy’s stuff at home.
Hydraulic Press Channel was basically a meme two years ago. Still super interesting. Ever wondered what would happen if you put household objects in a very powerful hydraulic press? Your question now answered with a smooth Eastern European flair.
I’ve got full post brewing on this topic, but for now I’ll at least introduce it - One of my other big hobbies is cooking. I love making food, and then eating it. I loved it before I started mentoring 1736, and the metaphorical marriage was almost too good to be true.
Along these lines, lots of my favorite channels involve food. With a strongly technical flavor.
Binging With Babish is probably the most cleanly-filmed, simple, and informative food shows on the internet right now. I’ve tried many of his recipes myself, and every one has been a slam-dunk on ease of prep and flavor.
Bon Appétit isn’t just the cooking magazine you may recall - their youtube video series has some of the best presented, casual yet technical explanation of cooking techniques and recipes I’ve ever seen. The people in the videos seem like so much fun to work with, and (assuming the videos represent day-to-day in their test kitchen) their workplace is one of the most positive I’ve ever seen. If engineering ever fails me as a career, my resume is totally showing up in BA’s mailbox.
EDIT: Well, I guess I spoke too soon. There was some information that went public earlier this year about some of the internal staffing and salary practices at Bon Appétit. I’m not personally involved with them at all, so I don’t want to post any links or list any specifics, as I can’t vouch for any of the facts. You’ll have to go do some googling on your own to find those.
That being said, what is out there sure seems pretty damning. It’s a lesson in why having a good HR department with good review practices is key to any organizations success. Also, why it’s important to step up and address problems head-on when they occur. Also, appearances are not always what they seem to be.
Oversimplified - Super entertaining and rapid downloads of historical events.