Tuesday 29 March 2011

Back at the Lo

As you've probably figured out by the title, this week’s meeting was at the Lo pub. As usual it was good times, and we had a few new members show up! I'm still surprised seeing so many tech savvy people in Winnipeg, it’s one of those things you almost wouldn’t expect. We only had a few things to go over because we went over the details of finding a space in last week’s meeting.

For those of you who haven’t read the discussion emails, Jay is spearheading the RSSF, and has found two possible locations. The first is on 111 Lombard, and we’d be able to rent it on a monthly basis. There is of course a catch. There are planned renovations for the space, and at any given moment we could be kicked out. Though a little risky, the price is right, and for a trial space it may just fit the bill. Jay mentioned some issues with cleanliness, but I think a weekend spent with brooms, mops and buckets could go a long way.

The second space is at 250 McDermot and is an open area of 750sq ft. The price is $875, it requires a yearly contract, and is supposed to be in much better shape. If utilities are included in this price the space would be a prime candidate. The RSSF will investigate tomorrow and update us via email. If anyone wants to help Jay with calling agents, it’d be greatly appreciated. It doesn’t take long, and Jay will hook you up with all the info! Send an email to the discuss list!

That’s about all we have for spaces right now, if we can get more people calling and talking to agents our options will likely expand. There are a lot of spaces, but apparently none of the agents responsible for them answer the phone.

In other news, we’re planning ahead for our April hackathon, which will probably be on Saturday the 16th. Ron’s going to send out a survey asking about what you liked/disliked about the previous event and how we could improve. We’ve already learned a lot from our last hackathon, and this one is shaping up to be even better. We’re going to get more tables and chairs to create more of a workspace type feel, better separate the music and talk areas, and try to set up workshops where attendees can tinker and code socially. Also, we’re working on fixing the network issues.

We’re probably going to be focusing on embedded systems this time around, with talks potentially covering the Launchpad platform and more about the Arduino. We’d like to set up an arduino workshop and give a talk covering some aspect, then allow people to try it out on their own. The topic will probably be serial communication, as that’s not only easy to implement on the Arduino, it’s also applicable to other embedded platforms. I’ll be sending out an email!


If you haven’t gotten an arduino yet, here are some websites where you can score one! We highly suggest you get one and bring it to the hackathon.
Best bang for your buck is probably the budget pack

If you have a bit of extra cash to blow, the experimenter pack will get you set up with everything you need to learn about micros. I really wish this was around when I got my arduino

At the talk I mentioned a shortcoming of the platform was the lack of ports. They fixed the fuck out of that problem with the Arduino Mega

Check out the rest of Adafruit’s arduino stuff here.

If for some reason you’re not down for ordering from Adafruit, Makezine carries them.

So does Sparkfun

And Evil Mad Scientist sells a totally badass variant, the Diavolino

They stock all sorts of really cool stuff too, usually more one-off and hard to find than sparkfun.