Tonight, our friend (and previous host of Weekend Projects) Bre Pettis, will debut a new show on the History Channel called “History Hacker” so I asked Bre to do a guest post here on MAKE, enjoy!

On the set of History Hacker

My show, History Hacker, will be on TV tonight! It’s is all about exploring our technological history by hacking the inventions of the past. While making it, I imagined families watching the show and enjoying it together! If you can, I’d love it if you can watch it with your kids.

Neon Tube

I really pushed hard to make the show fresh. There are a billion jumpcuts in this show and we achieved some special split screen and in-camera effects. It’s an hour long, so I have time to get into some projects to break down some of the principles that Tesla pioneered and fought for in the war of the currents. I make a neon bulb, AC generator from a bike and muck about with an old telephone magneto. I also go check out the power plant in the basement of the New Yorker and the space systems lab at MIT to see how the principles that Tesla pioneered are being used today.

Rockem Sockem Tesla and Edison

Tonight, this show is really in you and your family and friend’s hands. It’s a pilot and so it will only go forward if it gets the ratings and response from viewers like you! If you feel so moved, write an email with your feedback to an email address that goes to the people at the network who make these decisions.

Tonight!!!!!
History Hacker on History
8PM and Midnight (Before and after the political debate)

32 thoughts on “History Hacker on History channel tonight

  1. Well, okay. If that’s what it takes to keep the young-folk watching, then go for it – it’s nice to see someone trying to get young people into science. But at the ripe old age of 28 this old man would rather skip the effects and just watch the demonstrations and information straight-up.

    Now get off my lawn!

  2. Great job Bre! I thought you struck an appropriate balance of technical depth and entertainment. Even my (non-technical) wife watched and made a couple “So that’s how that works” comments.

  3. Bre’s a good “everyman” host during segments like the one in the glassblowing workshop, which was really interesting. I’m totally sick of the hyperactive gen-x hipster TV host personality, though. I want to watch a show like this to see interesting things being built or hacked, not watch a “billion jump cuts” or someone mugging for the camera. I heard lots of grade-school factual errors, too. (Referring to power in volts, etc.) I might watch again but I would expect more “hacking” and less cornball.

  4. I am just a Little MORE than cheesed-off. The announcement of the History Hacker Pilot got to me 2:14 Am Sat. morning by email. from the Make Magazine Daily e mail.
    And I am reading it a full 13 hours after it aired..
    And of course Beyond Tv program guide has no Information when it might be aired again..

    #$%*&#@
    Rats..

  5. I thought the show was rather childish, but I blame the producer for that aspect of the show; I’ve seen the same guy make much better short videos here on the Make web site, and they are much better. May I recommend that you take that style and fill an hour with several interesting projects (slow down the hyper pace of the show, and check your facts – i.e. transformers do NOT amplify the signal, nothing can be more than 100% efficient…)

    It is generally agreed that Tesla went crazy in the latter part of his life (yes, you can be brilliant and crazy at the same time.)

  6. I have been crazy sick this week, and I slept through most of the show. The only part I was able to catch was the segment with fluorescent bulbs. From what I saw, I would like to see more. Does any one know if this is up on the You Tube or on the History Channel’s web site? I cant find it any where. Darn Germs!

  7. I snagged the first episode from BitTorrent today, and I’m sorry, but this show was awful. The topics and information were great, but the show itself gave me a headache. As others have pointed out, the “billions of jump-cuts” and “hyperactive gen-X hipster personality” aspects make this show unwatchable for anyone over the age of 25. The fact that so much TV seems to be like this these days is why I gave up cable to begin with.

  8. im under 25 and i loved the show, it was ADD enough, but it did need alot more projects. i do like the histroy aspect of it too, but i still think the mixture of hacking, science factoids, history , and jumpcuts needs to me fine tuned

    good first ep though

  9. I agree, the producer is probably mostly responsible for cut-up nature of the show. At times, I was wondering if I was watching the movie Spun.

    That, plus the semi-science of the show annoyed me. How many watts of electricity are being absorbed by your neon tubes? 50? 100? How many watts into that Tesla coil? 10,000?

    Do you really believe, Bre?

    The section on using superconducting magnets to guide satellites was silly too. Magnetic fields fall off at a huge rate, extending that takes LOTS of energy. MIT kids should stick to computer sensor systems that tell them when to change their underwear.

    It was good to see Bre on TV though.

  10. I forgot all about that. If you can effect a satellite 1000 miles away, you’re going to effect EVERY satellite with in 1000 miles! Whom ever owns those other one are going to be pissed. I have sleepless nights thinking about our tax dollars being wasted away like that.

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