Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'm moving, but by god I'm staying in the same neighborhood.

or, Sometimes (not often) the antidote for programming is more programming, or, I have a button that does ANYTHING!

I was feeling crummy tonight because I couldn't get anything to work at work, and I had the evening free to do a thing I want to do. One of the things I had wanted to do was string together a bunch of software to make a thing that lets you talk to your phone. After my dismal failure to do anything other than stare all gaggley-like at various documentations last time I tried that, I was in no mood to do so again.

Another thing I wanted to do is make a button that talks to my computer. And yet another thing I had wanted to do was check out Metrix Create Space, a place with a neat idea that is four blocks away from me. A plan for this evening materialized.

But how do you go into a place where people know how to do electronics, and say "hey I want to do some electronics I think?" ... well, just like that. There were only a couple people there, and I went in and talked to Morgan, the guy running the shop, and outlined my plan. "I want to make... a button... that I can press... that will do something on my computer?" He knew exactly what I needed: an Arduino, a mini bread board, some wires and buttons and resistors.

Three hours later, I had it fully working. I press this button, it runs a script that opens a text file and inputs the current time. Remarkable! Right now I can maybe soon use it to track sleep schedules. In the future I can use it to do anything! This is super exciting.

So big thanks to Metrix for being awesome super cool and wonderful (and I can do electronics without ever having to go to radio shack!), to the folks behind Arduino for making a cool thing that is really easy to use and only $40, to the folks behind Processing for making a really great and simple language that I can't wait to explore more, and to Morgan for all the help.

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