This Wednesday, January 11, is SparkFun Electronics’ third annual Free Day. If you’ve never participated before, you’re missing out on a lot of sparks and a lot of fun.
What’s SparkFun? A great site where you can buy nearly 2,000 components and electronics. It’s like the RadioShack of the 21st century, if you think of RadioShack as that place where you could actually get parts to buy stuff. They sell everything from robotics parts to LCDs to wearable electronics parts like my favorite, the LilyPad Arduino. And if you need inspiration, they’ve got plenty of tutorials.
What’s Free Day? Pretty much what it sounds like–SparkFun gives away stuff for free. But not a little stuff. A lot of stuff. To be specific, $100 of free stuff, per person, for a total of $200,000.
In the past, Free Day has been more of a free-for-all madhouse with thousands of people clicking their browsers’ refresh buttons all morning hoping of loading the site, and if they loaded the site, managing to get to the checkout. Instead this year, 2,000 people who visit the website on Free Day will be chosen at random to win a $100 credit to SparkFun.
SparkFun CEO Nate Seidle came up with the idea of Free Day as a way to get the DIY community “sparked” and to stress test the company’s servers while they were at it.
As a bonus this year, SparkFun will be creating a Free Day Documentary about the event. They’re sending crews around the US to video how Free Day goes at hackerspaces, schools, and companies–wherever people have gathered to try to score free goods.
The only requirements for participation are a SparkFun customer account (which can be created at any time, even without a purchase) and to visit the SparkFun website on Free Day, January 11, beginning at 9 a.m. MT and ending when the $200,000 runs out.