Micro controllers, soder, pizza and beer

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

New York Breakfast had an event tonight in Dumbo that I went to with my co-worker, Mark Phelan. The nominal goal of the event was to sodder some controls to the new Google Verbalizer and then hook it to our Mac computers and get the inputs to talk to the software. This was an Arduino controller, and the software was written in Processing.

The people organizing this were good, though the place suffered terrible wifi support. There was free pizza and beer and the crowd (20 people plus 5 organizers) was pleasant. Because of limited seating, the crowd had been, in a sense, hand picked via email. We had to beg to get in.

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Mark burned himself with the sodering iron, as you can see in the photos.

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Zolty, who you can see in this photo, actually wrote the software. It was very alpha. It only worked with Macs, and it did not work with Macs running OS 10.5. Zolty had to adjust the code by hand to get it working for us, and he was working from his own machine.

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When we walked outside there was a huge fireworks show happening a few blocks west, so we walked over, but it ended just as we arrived.

[Added later:] The organizers were 5 guys and 1 woman, so if you look at the photos it looks like the room is majority male. However, of the attendees, there were 9 men and 9 women. I was curious about that. Was that arranged deliberately? We were all, in a sense, handpicked to be at this event — after we signed up they sent us an email every day saying “Are you sure you still want to be in, please reply by 10 PM or you are kicked out.” We failed to reply on Sunday night so we got kicked out. Then on Monday they told us there was an opening (someone else failed to reply and got kicked out). So we got back in. But the point is, everyone who was there was, in a sense, picked. So I’m curious if the organizers deliberately engineered the 50/50 gender split. The whole thing was videotaped, and we had to sign a release form for the video as soon as we walked in.

By the way, all of the equipment was given to us for free. Even the sodering iron was given to us for free. I guess Google was throwing around some marketing dollars. This is the most impressive free event I’ve been to in months.

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