NERP Tonite: Pingo means “pin, go!”

NERP is Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and
embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in
Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping
Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Luciano Ramalho is a member of Garoa Hacker Clube in Sao Paulo,
Brazil (http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/Garoa_Hacker_Clube).
Tonight at NERP, Luciano will tell us about the Pingo
project in progress at Garoa HC
(http://www.pingo.io/docs/intro.html). Pingo aims to make
interconnecting small controllers of all sorts easy and
transparent, so that they can use each other’s peripherals. An
example use case would be using Python on a Beagle (or similar)
to effectively “program” one or more attached Arduinos.

From the website:
“Pingo provides a uniform API to program devices like the
Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, pcDuino etc. just like the
Python DBAPI provides an uniform API for database programming in
Python.

The API is object-oriented but easy to use: a board is an
instance of a Board subclass. Every board has a dictionary
called pins which lists all GPIO pins on the board. Each pin is
an instance of a Pin subclass with attributes that you can
inspect to learn about its capabilities.”

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is July 7th, 2014.
NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com

Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi,
hackerspace, BeagleBone, Element14, Pumping Station One

07

07 2014

Join Us For Some Science!

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Hands-On Science | Experimentation | Curiosity Knows No Bounds

Applied Sciences Chicago

This is a group for anyone interested in applied sciences, including optical and scanning electron microscopy, fermentation science, saponification, herbalism, astronomy and planetary science, and citizen science.

We started this Meetup because many people think science must be done in a lab with expensive equipment. We want to show how easy and fun scientific experiments can be. We will gather to do science, talk about news in the world of science, and have field trips to places like Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin.

This group is open to people of all experience levels, from complete newbies to working scientists. Bring your curiosity and join us!

Also, please like our page on Facebook. Help us reach 100 likes by the end of July!

07

07 2014

Artificial Intelligence Q&A with Tim Winkler, IBM

Applied Sciences Chicago presents:

What will you do with Watson:

Come out this Monday evening from 7-8 to do a Q&A with Tim Winkler, a former PS:One member and software engineer at IBM who works on Watson, the Jeopardy winning artificial intelligence.

Tim has worked for IBM for 10 years and on Watson for about 3 years. He works with natural language parsing and machine learning.

Watson processes unformatted data, i.e. natural language documents, and not structured databases, so part of Tim’s job is to work on ingesting that data and making sense of it. One of his current projects is cognitive cooking, in which Watson comes up with recipes for us to cook and is really awesome:)

Cognitive Cooking in the IBM Cloud:

So come with any and all questions about one of the most famous robots in the world:)

When: Monday July 7, 2014 7-8 PM
Where: Lounge

More links to check out:

IBM’s Watson Supercomputer Destroys Humans in Jeopardy
Watson is headed for your pocket
Watson’s new job, IBM salesman
Watson goes to the hospital
Artificial intelligence

06

07 2014

DC Circuits Class Notes

DC_circuits

Thanks to everyone who came and participated in the circuits class this past weekend.  There was a lot of material that was covered and there was no way to go through it all in exhausting detail.  So I’m making available a scanned PDF of the notes I wrote for the class.  Enjoy all the spelling errors, in addition to the one found above.  The edges might be cut-off in some areas, but it’s the best I can do:   DC_Circuits_SK

Also, Carl Karsten did the exhausting (and usually thankless) job of recording a video of the class.  It can be found here:

http://videos.pumpingstationone.org/video/32/basic-electronics-dc-circuits-class

The solution to the bonus question was never explicitly stated in the video, so here it is:

bonus_solution

 

 

05

07 2014

Hack Your Coffee!

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Have you ever felt dissatisfied?

Have you ever woken up in the morning, considered all the projects you had ahead for the day, all the worthless meetings and teleconferences, and just said, “blah?”

You take a sip of your morning coffee, expecting a moment of brightness, goodness, something to cling onto by the fingernails, to hold you throughout the day, as you say to yourself, “You know, today is gonna suck, but at least I have this freshly brewed Java Supremo from Overpriced Cafe”?

You take that sip… and you say to yourself, “Really?  That’s it?  This is how my day is going to begin, not with a bang, but with a whimper?”

Yes, I too have felt that way.  I had wished there was a way I could seek out bold new flavor profiles in my morning coffee, beyond just “mild” “medium” and “strong.”  I wished there was a way to hack my morning coffee.

Thankfully, there are options.  Today, we are trained to only look for coffee at our grocer, or perhaps at the local cafe where we can pick and choose from pre-selected and pre-roasted coffee, perhaps even pre-ground, for our approval.  Or, we can do things the way our great-great-grandparents did it, which is, we roast our own damn coffee.  There are many ways to do this, one of which is with an air-pop popcorn popper.

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That’s right, this noble device, previously only a monotasked tool to deliver copious amounts of fluffed corn to your gaping maw whilst watching reruns of ‘Love Boat’ and ‘Magnum PI’ can also serve as a way to roast our precious coffee the same way the pioneers did.  Well, not really, but close enough.

Currently only one batch of green coffee beans has been successfully roasted and served to unsuspecting denizens of PS:1 (No, those are not flavor crystals, THAT’S REAL FLAVOR DANGIT) to glowing reviews.  This is only a proof-of-concept batch at this point, with much more work and experimentation to be conducted, but with continued testing and sampling, the overall goal is to create a viable procedure, optimize the process, and eventually create the capability at PS:1 to roast coffee, and tailor to your specific discerning tastes.

The output of this project will include a wiki page with optional training, an understanding of the variables of coffee roasting and how to tweak the process to serve your tastes (i.e. using APPLIED SCIENCE to understand the roasting process), and recommendations on where to source green coffee beans.

More information is forthcoming in a future 300 Seconds of Fame!

 

 

 

02

07 2014

We have videos

Did you miss the talk on Machinekit: BeagleBone CNC & beyond!? Or maybe you weren’t there for the unboxing of the Shop Bot.

We have videos.

Carl and I have set up Pumping Station: One Videos.

02

07 2014

Women’s Electronics Workshops

Our first round of Women’s Electronics Workshops were a huge hit!

I’ve had several requests for more events like this, so I’ve created a Meet Up page for it. Please join it if you’d like to participate.

ADSC_4544-Lab-pan-HI

14-06-28-Chris-n-Rodica 14-06-28-Etienne-BreadboardADSC_4535-Sara-n-Rodica14-06-28-Sheila-n-Kathy   ADSC_4546-Jill-Liz-Solder  Read the rest of this entry →

30

06 2014

PS:One and SSH present: Business Planning for Hackers, Creatives, and Other Out of the Box Types

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PS:One & SSH present: Business Planning for Hackers, Creatives, and Other Out of the Box Types

Facilitated by A. Catherine Noon of Writer Zen Garden.

Taking an idea from concept to execution poses unique challenges. One way is to just do it, throwing enough mud at the wall that eventually some will stick. This is time-intensive and may not yield much more than a mud-covered wall.

There’s a better way. Businesses have been around since the time of Babylon; why not experiment with some tools that have made others successful? A business plan can yield benefits not just from the process of clarifying your goals but as a funding tool. If you can crystallize your passion onto the page then chances are, you’ll have a shot at inspiring others as well.

After all, mud on a wall is mud on a wall.

Over twelve weeks, we will explore our own ideas using tools from right-brained artistic games to classic business school (like SWOT and budgets). You will need a copy of the book, The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real by Lisa Sonora Beam, available from Amazon, the Chicago Public Library, and other booksellers.

You will also need a blank journal book, at least 8.5” x 11”. I like the Strathmore 400 Series journals, available from retailers or Mister Art.com; their 12” x 9” is my favorite.

These will be held alternating Thursdays at Pumping Station: One (PS:1) and Southside Hackerspace Chicago (SSH:C). Addresses and links are below the schedule.

Our first four sessions have been well attended and productive. We work in a collaborative fashion, alternating between roundtable discussion and work/play time on our individual projects.

If you’re curious about the process or want to get clear about your own ideas for a business, please check us out.

Week 1: What To Hack… (Thursday, 06/05/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: Intro, Why Plan?
  • Exercise: Mandala 1 & 2

Week 2: Exercise: Mandalagain (Thursday, 06/12/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Exercise: Mandala 3 & 4

Week 3: Discussion (Thursday, 06/19/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Discussion: Completed Mandala share. Synthesize, answer questions in group. Guides.

Week 4: Exercise: Map Your Brain (Thursday, 06/26/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

Exercise: Left Brain/Right Brain Map.

Week 5: Exercise: Map Your Modes and Remedies (Thursday, 07/03/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: Modes, Part I: Modes of Functioning: Sensing, Thinking, Feeling, Acting. Constructive & Destructive.
  • Exercise: Mapping Your Modes. Mapping Your Remedies.

Week 6: Exercise: Recipe Cards (Thursday, 07/10/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Topics: Modes, Part II: Recipe Cards – Mastering Your Modes; Self-Inquiry Portraits
  • Exercise: Recipe Cards

Week 7: Exercise: SWAT THE SWOT (Thursday, 07/17/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: The Art of Strategy: SWOT
  • Exercise: Create a SWOT; Research Punch List

Week 8: Exercise/Discussion: Be SMART! (Thursday, 07/24/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Topics: Be SMART – Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics.
  • Exercise: Prioritized Task Lists, Not To-Do List. Group Exercise – Synergy
  • Discussion: Brainstorm Objectives, Strategies and Tactics.

Week 9: Exercise: Envision it! (Thursday, 07/31/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: SMART Framework
  • Exercise: Vision Cards – Personal Strategic Plan

Week 10: Exercise: Promote it! (Thursday, 08/07/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

Topics: Promotion, Part I: Define Target Audience

  • Exercise: Customer Persona Collage, Competitive Analysis

Week 11: Branding (Thursday, 08/14/2014 @ PS:1)

  • Topics: Promotion, Part II: Customer Needs; Features vs. Benefits; Branding Basics

Week 12: Exercise/Discussion: Make It and Break It (Out)! (Thursday, 08/21/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Topics: Promotional Tactics
  • Exercise: DIY Mini-Journal & Greeting Card Cover
  • Discussion: Wrap – Roundtable – Share Completed Plans

Pumping Station: One

3519 N. Elston
Chicago, IL 60618
http://pumpingstationone.org/

Southside Hackerspace Chicago

2233 South Throop St, Unit 214
Chicago, IL 60608
http://sshchicago.org/

 

27

06 2014

Liquid Nitrogen – Part 1

LN2 withdrawal systemLiquid nitrogen (LN2) rocks. Yes, officially speaking, I need to get liquid nitrogen at PS:One so that we can do serious sciencey stuff, like, say, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy on the scanning electron microscope. But, unofficially? Driving nails into wood with a frozen banana, or making ice cream, is just plain awesome. And the clouds of chilled water vapor billowing out of flasks like something from a mad scientist’s lab… what can I say, I’m easily amused.

First, we need a source to buy LN2. Fortunately, a very generous individual, who happens to own a really cool company that has helped us in the past with CO2 tanks and refills, and provided free LN2 to test the EDX detector on the scanning electron microscope, offered us a great deal for purchasing it. But transporting -321F liquid to PS:One and storing it presents unique challenges.

LN2 boring the plugSo we need to start with a large storage dewar. These can be ridiculously expensive. I scoured eBay, found one, posted a crowdfunding request to the PS:One mailing list, and, thanks to the generosity of a bunch of donors, I made the purchase.

Read the rest of this entry →

26

06 2014

Basic Electronics – DC Circuits Class – Sunday June 29th @ 2pm

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Well, I finally got around to finishing the curriculum for a beginning Electronics class.  This class will cover a lot of the fundamentals that should be known when designing any type of electronic circuit.  DC circuits will be covered here, so no frequency dependent (AC) topics will be touched.  Hopefully in the future, I’ll have time to eventually write a followup Intermediate Electronics class that will cover AC circuits.

It will be broken up into two parts, a lecture-ish part with lots of fun whiteboard time and a lab (hands-on) portion:

Lecture Topics:

  1. Electricity, conductors, and insulators
  2. Ohm’s Law
  3. KVL & KCL: Series and Parallel circuits
  4. Voltage Dividers
  5. Traditional Circuit Analysis: Mesh Currents & Node Voltage
  6. Better Analysis Tools: Superposition & Thevenin’s Theorem
  7. Silicon Diodes and LEDs

Lab Topics:

  1. DC Circuit Simulation with LTspice (the best analysis tool)
  2. Learn how to use solderless breadboards
  3. Build simple circuits using resistors and LEDs

I will be giving away one small electronics “starter kit” consisting of a solderless breadboard, bags of resistors and capacitors, a bunch of jumper wires, and a digital multimeter.  I’ll most likely dish this kit out by asking a bonus question and giving it away to the first person with the correct answer.  Anyway, hope to see you there!

The Details:

  • Who: Anyone who knows basic Algebra (Open to the Public)
  • When: Sunday, June 29th – 2:00pm to 4:00pm…..or 5pm or 6pm or however long you wanna stay and learn
  • Where: 3519 N. Elston – 2nd Floor in the Electronics Lab
  • Cost: FREE

 

26

06 2014