Bunnie Huang’s classic “Essential Guide to Electronics in Shenzhen” is now free online

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Bunnie Huang (previously) is a legendary hardware hacker, and one of his claims to fame are his annual trips to Shenzhen — China’s electronics manufacturing hub — with groups of MIT students to show them how electronic production actually works in the field, both so they can design projects with that reality in mind, and so that they can get an appreciation of what’s happening behind the scenes when they order parts, tool up a line, or otherwise interact with the factories — tiny and massive — of the Pearl River Delta.

Huang’s “Essential Guide to Shenzhen” grew out of that project: it’s a soup-to-nuts, practical electronics hacker’s guide to navigating Shenzhen, with point-to-translate guides to components, tools and tooling, bargaining, and transport. It’s got chapters on spotting counterfeits, tipping, dress codes, local sights, haggling, and “technical Chinese” language notes. There’s also a section on travel, visas, border-crossings and Chinese customs.

The book is all-but-out-of-print (Huang notes that “the last few physical copies of the book available for purchase are at MJ Maker’s stall on the 2nd floor of the SEG Plaza in Huaqiangbei. His stall number is 2A08; I think he has maybe 10 copies left as of this post. If you do stop by MJ’s booth, say hi for me”), and as the maps are out of date, he doesn’t want to bother reprinting it.

Instead, he’s put the whole book online as a free download (it’s Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike), “so that others can swap out the map pages with something more up-to-date and have a swing at making their own derivative works.”

As my friend Gavin Zhao once quipped, Chinese is a wonderful language for poetry, but difficult for precise technical communications.

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