4x4x4 LED Shield

2016-Aug-15, Monday 09:32 pm
chebe: (WalkSign)
You know the story; you go into Maplins for solder, and you walk out with an LED Cube Shield. (It can't be just me.) Anyway, building one of these yokes seems to have become a kind of rite of passage for the makery sort. So, I made one!

Couple of photos )

Not so straight LED Cube, completed
Photo by chebe


EMF 2016

2016-Aug-10, Wednesday 10:46 pm
chebe: (Default)
EMF happened last weekend. I went, with some of the tog people, but not with tog. It was a really good weekend.

It's difficult for me to describe what EMF is. Because it is simply too big now. There was somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 people, camped in one large field. With five stages, several workshop tents, villages, bars, food vendors, and a giant beanbag-filled lounge tent. Every person attending will have had different experiences, some even seeming to be from completely different events. It's large. There's a lot on. And it's utterly surreal.

If you've been to any of the maker faires, then EMF can be described (as one of the other attendees said) as a large faire, only instead of explaining your ideas and projects to regular people you're showing them off to other makers and hackers. There's a level of engagement, of enthusiasm, of sheer energy, that is difficult to gather in other places. It's a bit like a temporary Never Never Land, full of grown-up techie toys, organised and run entirely by volunteers. Large inflated bunny filled with neopixel strips that you can change the colour of by tweeting it. Really tall LED tower game. Pong made physical, with giant paddles and fire. A podium that made fire dance to music beats. Bbqs, fire pits, self tending bar robot. Amazing micropython badges. An incredible wifi network with over 64 access points, a beautiful dashboard, and nearly two terabytes of data transmitted. Electricity to your tent. Hot sunny days, clear starry nights.

Reality is proving just how hard an act EMF is to follow.

You can check out photos, and watch the talks. It will give you a flavour, but it isn't the same as being there.

An aside )

It was a replenishing weekend. Fun, energising, and completely exhausting. I want to go back.
chebe: (Default)
This post is going to be a little out of character for this blog. For one, it's an actual update (yes I'm still around), but two, it's autobiographical. This friends is the story of how I came to leave the hackerspace.

It started just over a year ago. And by started I mean it all fell off the edge of the cliff it had been tottering on and the end had begun. And by just over a year ago I mean 12th May 2015. (I know this date because I have the emails, all the emails.)

Ireland was having itself a little vote. One of the things up for public decision was a referendum to remove the distinction as to gender/sex from the articles for marriage. Basically, it was a marriage equality referendum, to allow any two people to marry, irrespective of their gender/sex. A short time previously we had gained 'civil partnership' for same-sex couples (as distinct and not equal to different-sex couples) and the sky hadn't fallen in. So it was time to push for full equality.

This was a very emotive issue. The No campaign were making a lot of noise, using scare tactics, threatening all kinds of irrelevant outcomes. Crowds of volunteers organised to travel the country advocating for marriage equality. Thousands of people told their intimate stories again and again to strangers. Essentially pleading, even begging, to be treated equally. Some well received, others not.

In order to get volunteers around the country, and to get brochures, leaflets, posters made up the Yes campaign were fundraising. Part of this was selling Yes/Tá badges, tshirts, etc. These items actually became quite coveted. Seeing a stranger wearing one in the street made you smile, feel comfortable, accepted.

I bought a big bunch of badges. I brought them to Craft Night in the hackerspace to give them away to whomever wanted one. They were eagerly snapped up, but I had many so there were some left over. I said I'd leave the extra in the Swag box (full of badges, stickers, pencils, etc from random companies and projects) for people who I knew wanted some but weren't able to make it in. And I was told that if I did they would be thrown out. I'm sorry, what? Apparently the hackerspace was to remain completely apolitical. Rather stunned and taken aback I saved my badges and redistributed them manually.

Another woman at that Craft Night later on that evening emailed the fullmembers mailing list to have a discussion that sometimes, on an individual case-by-case basis, we should take a stance.
"In particular, I'd like to see TOG as a group being pro-Yes for the upcoming marriage equality referendum. I'd like to see YES badges and leaflets available in the common room, and for NO leaflets to be unwelcome."

If you are familiar with mailing lists you'll know what happened. The ensuing shitstorm resulted in the majority of the membership saying "we don't want to be unwelcoming to No voters", or, saying nothing at all. Several members, did as the volunteers did, and opened their private lives, their soft quishy insides, to the scrutiny of the group. They asked to be seen.

It's at this point that several people will want me to point out that any group, especially a hackerspace, is not a homogeneous whole. That some peoples' opinions do not represent the group. Except, thing is, we work by Consensus. So when we decided that we'd rather protect the feelings of hypothetical potential members (who don't see their fellow human beings as equal) rather than support a significant chunk of the existing membership, it did actually speak volumes about the group as a whole. It told us that we were not welcome. That the realities of our lives were disruptive (in the bad way), and something not to be talked about in polite company. We were rejected.

On Friday 22nd May 2015 the country voted. On Saturday 23rd May 2015 the country partied. The result was 62% Yes. (Only one constituency had a majority No vote, and even that was by a tiny margin.) Nearly a 2:1 ratio. We became the first country in the world to pass marriage equality by popular vote. We were ecstatic. We were deeply, deeply relieved.

The hackerspace went on saying nothing.

Things continued on as usual. Our lease was being terminated, we had to find a new space. Then we had to do up the new space. We were also changing legal structure from a club to an actual company (one of the 16 new definitions that had just become law that Summer) with limited liability. Lots of to-ing and fro-ing, lots of discussion about direction, ethos, and internal wall layouts.

The landlord was putting in new toilets. In the old space we had two separate toilets, gender neutral. We asked one to be made wheelchair accessible. (In the end he didn't make the door wide enough.) The other he put urinals in. So now we had a Mens toilet, and an Other toilet. This did not sit well with many of the membership. But it wasn't seen as a real issue by many others. We were pushed out again.

Around this time I started being harassed by another member. (For reasons as yet unknown.) Counter to some stereotypes, and playing into others, this other member was/is female. Verbal harassment, accusations, following me, making me leave rooms, not leaving me alone as I repeatedly asked. Which several months later escalated to her trying to get me thrown out of the building for simply showing up.

You probably have guessed the pattern already. The hackerspace did nothing but bury their heads in the sand. When it escalated many months later, it made the rest of the membership uncomfortable enough that the new Board of Directors decided we should seek independent arbitration. This is a fair idea, except that in the meantime I was so scared of this person that I self-selected out of physically attending the space, expect when I knew there would be many other people there as well.

I'll never know how the arbitration would have worked out as the first session would have been next week. But that all seems a bit redundant now. Also, at time of writing, they are still discussing whether or not they need a Code of Conduct, what should go into it, if it needs to be enforceable, and how. A discussion which has been going on for over a year. They (baring a few trying to push it to happen) just don't see the need.

To wrap up this long tale, yesterday a Consensus Proposal arrived on the mailing list. Two of the Board were supporting a new member's request to have their probationary period shortened (the usual period is three months) to less than a month. I asked why. I wasn't told. I said that it wasn't fair, it looked like favouritism, and that more justification needed to be given. Mailing listness happened, and I was forced into an official objection. To many I suppose I won the battle. But that's only if you completely miss the point.

I received the most condescending email I have ever received (and there's been a few) privately from one of the Board. I realised that I couldn't deny it anymore. Despite the best efforts of a great many people over the years, despite blood, sweat, and tears, my beloved hackerspace had abandoned their own ideals and become just another boys' club. Which broke my heart in ways I didn't think possible. So I quit, with barely a peep. And the (near) silence I got in return is proof enough that I did the right thing.

I truly, deeply, desperately, hope they can turn it around, that they can make it better. But I've no energy left to fight for something it appears nobody wants.
chebe: (Default)
DeepVR is this amazingly beautiful and serene underwater virtual reality that some very talented and extremely dedicated people have been working on for a while now. (It is seriously astounding, check it out if you can.) You are immersed in this other reality with the Rift, or now also the Vive. You navigate the world by controlled breathing. There isn't yet a popular controller to do this, so they have been trying various different configurations and learning from each iteration.

One such type of belt )

Finished belt outside
Photo by chebe

Apologies for the poor photos, I was so focused on finishing them that I forgot to get decent photographs. The rush was because the belts have flown off with the team to Tribeca, where they will surely be put through their paces. I look forward to finding out how they held up and what didn't work so well.
chebe: (Cyberish eyes)
Yesterday (Saturday 20th February) Career Zoo was once again held in the Convention Centre. It had a couple of themes, one of particular interest to myself; women in tech. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the powerhouse that is Coding Grace got in touch, organising a mini wearables hackathon in the middle of the whole thing. Uh, yes!

We spent the day in an indoors white-picket-fenced picnic area next to DAQRI, our generous sponsors. Playing with toys, battling software, sharing resources, talking to curious attendees, and having a great laugh.

Wearables mini hackathon picnic in progress
Photo by CareerZoo, source

Photo journey )

A huge thank you to my fellow subversive hackers; [twitter.com profile] whykay, [twitter.com profile] micktwomey, [twitter.com profile] saoili, [twitter.com profile] meaigs, [twitter.com profile] taraannosaur, [twitter.com profile] norette, [twitter.com profile] NaoimiGillis, and everyone I got to talk to during the day/night for keeping me so entertained! And Coding Grace, DAQRI, and Career Zoo, for making it happen.

Hack-ter Party
Photo by CodingGrace, source

chebe: (StepIntoTheLight)
Three *years* ago I started this project. At a Christmas Jumper Make Night for charity. It seemed like a simple idea; sew up some LEDs with some conductive thread. The first year I only got most of the felt snowflake done. The second year I got the SewIO board wired up. It wasn't until the third year that I managed to complete the circuit. And there are problems, but we'll get to that.

Details )

All in all, except for the faintness of the LEDs, I am happy to declare this project finished.

It was pointed out that most light-up jumpers are so bright that it can hurt to look at the person wearing them, so dimmer, softer, LEDs aren't actually a bad thing. Especially as this kind of jumper is typically worn in winter, in dark pubs. That is a very good point. I just wish it was intentional.

Winter Jumper, modeled
Photo by chebe

chebe: (Sewing Machine)
Well, they do say "start as you mean to go on", so I humbly present, that most rare of creatures; a blog post.

I picked up another Gléasta bag making kit at the craft fair a few weeks back. They cut up all the fabric (in cute combinations), so all you need to do is pull it out and sew. Far less preparation. And in the manner of easing myself back into making, I dusted off the sewing machine and opened up the kit. Start to finish only took a couple of hours.

Reversible shopping tote, in sewing/haberdashery print, laying flat Reversible shopping tote, in sewing/haberdashery print, opened to show green inside

Reversible Shopper
Photo by chebe

I have a few long overdue posts on past projects that I hope to get up in the next couple of weeks. Until then, let this past year burn, and welcome the new!
chebe: (AsciiC)
Further experiments with the LCD screen.

Install two libraries;

Uno pins;
- 13/SCLK to SCLK
- 12/MISO to MISO (not needed)
- 11/MOSI to MOSI
- 10/SS to CS
- 9 to DC
- 8 to RST

Arduino Uno breadboarded to 2.2inch LCD

Uno works smoothly
Photo by chebe

LilyPad Maincontroller pins;
- 13/SCLK to SCLK
- 12/MISO to MISO (not needed)
- 11/MOSI to MOSI
- 10 to CS
- 9 to DC
- 8 to RST

Arduino Lilypad Maincontroller breadboarded to 2.2inch LCD

Lilypad Maincontroller works as well!
Photo by chebe

chebe: (Pi)
Take one cute little Adafruit 2.2" LCD(isplay), and make it work with BBB.

Wire up as per this post.
- (DL not connected)
- BBB SCLK pin P9_22 to TFT SCK (yellow)
- (MISO not connected)
- BBB MOSI pin P9_18 to TFT MOSI (blue)
- BBB CE0 pin P9_17 to TFT CS (green)
- (SDCS not connected)
- BBB pin P9_12 to TFT RST (orange)
- BBB pin P9_15 to TFT D/C (purple/white)
- BBB 3.3V power pin P9_3 to TFT Vin (red)
- BBB ground pin P9_2 to TFT GND (black)

Then following the Adafruit tutorial;

Enable SPI(nterface);
- Add this line to /boot/uEnv.txt
- And reboot

Install all the things

Edit the python scripts in the examples directory to comment out the raspi pins and uncomment the BBB pins. Run. See cat. Be happy.

BeagleBone Black (in blue case) breadboarded to 2.2inch LCD

Beagles and cats get along just fine
Photo by chebe

NeoPixel Tiara

2015-Aug-25, Tuesday 08:08 pm
chebe: (BeautyQueen)
I love the Adafruit Learn site, particularly the wearables section, there are some really fun ideas in there. And when I saw the NeoPixel Tiara I knew I needed one. I had almost everything already, except the 3d-printed band.

To TOG! We downloaded the thingiverse file (tiaraHolesClose.stl), converted to gcode, and watched the LulzBot Taz print for 50 minutes. *cue montage music* It was a pretty good print, given how fine some of the detailing is, but our process needs tuning as there are artifacts, and the strands are coming apart as I touch them. Still, usable!

LulzBot Taz 3D Printer part way through printing the tiara

Robot minion making me a crown. Finally.
Photo by chebe

On to the assembly! Process details await )

Tiara on top of my head, looking nicely symmetrical, with centre NeoPixel lit up

Finally, my royal position secured
Photo by chebe

And, because the tutorial code has a nice sparkle effect to it, here's a short video.

I am going to wear this everywhere.
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