Ever since starting to try and figure out Arduino it's been a solo activity. It was something I poked at quietly for hours, presenting the results to Michael or Kirsten and getting an almost encouraging, "wow, that's great, it blinks."
In an effort to find someone who would appreciate that it was more than plugging in lights that made it work I sought out my friend Kip. He's been working intermittently with this stuff for a few years now and has enough of a head-start to have a lot he could teach me.
Going back to the, "that's great it blinks" phenomena, is where I think my aattention is being drawn. My biggest complaint with many of the Arduino projects I see is, they're more about how to get the circuits and code to work over what they're actually making. Same general observation for glass blowers, the technique takes so much effort to master and perfect, that often less aattention is paid to actual design. My ultimate goal for success with Arduino will be, "wow, I've never seen it used that way before"
A few observations on our bromance play date:
- I think he has far more talents than his gee-gosh humbleness allows.
- Not soldering for 20 years; it's not like riding a bike. Wow was I surprised. I'm considering getting some simple (who wants a dork watch for christmas?) soldering kit from Adafruit or Sparkfun just to get some skilz back.
- We work well together. we knew we pontificated and drank well together already. The yin/yang of what are we making?/how does it work? seemed to play out well.
We were desigining a sign for his girlfriend's daughter's birthday. He had a few yards of these RGB strip lights. They're pretty cool, I think the more we played with them the better they got.
The code we copied to get them up and running had 4 or 5 sample sequences. Each sequence in succession automatically reminded me of gay pride christmas, or deli sign on steroids. Mainly because of the roygbiv-ness of the color palette and the parade like displays. But after we worked with them a bit, and I'm told he refined it even more after I left, they were starting to become less of a rainbow extravaganza and more a subtle color thing,
I'm pretty sure the 8 year old will not be tracking down this post (due to utter in-interest not ineptitude), so I will speak freely about the surprise. We're planning to make a sign of here name in el panels built into a translucent light box with the led strips in a separate diffused layer. Like all of the these component projects, no single piece costs that much, but once you get the whole thing spec'ed out it can get pricey.
More details once we get started on it. We've got a couple of weeks before it's suppoed to be done. Upshot was, I think it took getting together with Kip before either of us would to start something from scrtach, I'm glad we did. details to come.