DCWEEK invited me to host a dedicated workshop for the Internet of Things. We had a session learning about what IoT is all about, some basics of electronics, and then a hands on section. In a matter of minutes, we had things online. A group sent a tweet from a button and others moved a motor from a web page. It was great to see a roomful of adults happy to tinker with some new technology. What a great experience!
“Greencastle” is an upcoming independent film that I am fortunate to be a part of. I make a small cameo as District Dean Roy Baker giving a commencement speech for a correspondence school graduation.
Created by my long time comedy writing partner, Koran Dunbar, “Greencastle” is a film about a single father who works at a small-town pet store in Greencastle, PA. Poitier struggles against self-doubt and an unclear life direction while trying to raise his young son. In the midst of his “quarter-life crisis” enters Leslie, an attractive woman running from an ugly past. Fate brings them together, but Poitier discovers that opportunities only come to those who take chances, and he must come to terms with his own past before he can embrace his future with confidence.
The crew behind “Greencastle” filmed the movie over the summer of 2011 and the footage turned out great as you can see in the trailer above. They want to take “Greencastle” to a wider audience and looking to use a website called Kickstarter to do so. Have you heard of Kickstarter? Kickstarter is a website where people can post their project and raise funding by offering incentives such as autographed scripts or items related to the output of the project.
“Greencastle” is already submitted to film festivals like SXSW and I would love to see where this project could go with everyone’s help. Check out the Kickstarter for “Greencastle” and see if this is something that you are interested in supporting… Thanks!
EL Wire is a flexible wire that glows when you apply electricity to it. I am seeing more and more things trimmed with EL Wire and it makes for interesting effect. If you watched America’s Got Talent you might have seen a finalist called Team iLuminate. The iLuminate team used EL Wire to create animations and lighting effects on top of group dancing.
My nephews and niece were in town for Halloween and I was struck with the idea of adding a little animation to our Halloween Pumpkin. I wanted to make a pumpkin that changed expression. We made a basic smiley face and angry face by carving grooves into the face of the pumpkin. Then, we laced the EL Wire in and out of the grooves. We used red for the mad expression and blue and green for the smile expression. It was pretty easy to do and I had fun sharing my bits knowledge with the kids. It was rewarding to hear them come up with their own ideas — “We could hook an MP3 player up to this and scare people” or, “What if we added motion detection?”. It was also fun to hear my 5-year-old niece Zoey say, “Electroluminescent”.
I think the Blue EL Wire worked the best and looked the best. The red looks a little orange. The Green EL Wire sometimes didn’t illuminate. You can only illuminate 2 strands of EL Wire at a time with the stuff I had from SparkFun. I need to experiment more with EL Wire and get an EL Wire controller to do some more intricate animations. I will post future projects if I come up with anything interesting.
Always start with sketches when you start your project. It’s important to have a plan to allow yourself to stray knowingly.
Last weekend was the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop hosted by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. I gave a talk on the Internet of Things and building apps using the Perl programming language as the connective tissue between devices and web applications. I covered the basics on how you interface devices to the real-world. I also hosted a Hardware Hackathon and got to discuss hardware, connecting things, and Perl. I introduced everyone to my remixed theory of innovation. Just get out there and copy a well documented project, learn by transforming some part of the project, and combine it with other ideas. This is the only way innovation has ever happened… Thanks for the awesome time at PPW!
Here are my slides from the 2011 Pittsburgh Perl Workshop:
My parents saved up Campbell’s Soup labels and gave them to my school. For whatever rational, the school would get computers from Apple based on the number of soup labels collected. We got a lab of Apple II’s, then came along the IIe, IIgs, and finally the Macintosh. I spent most of my early time on the Apple IIe programming. This was a very significant time for me and planted the seeds for my future career in software. I was inspired to create and can’t think of an existence without his influence. While we mourn the loss of a great one, I wanted to say, “Thank you, Steve Jobs.”
“…the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. Think Different.” – Steve Jobs, 1955-2011