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March Dorkbot DC

March Dorkbot DC

Tuesday, 25 March 2008
7 PM – 9 PM (ET)
Smith Hall of Art, Room 114
George Washington University
801 22nd St NW
Washington, DC 20037

Tom Lee  :  Cheaper Arduino Wifi

Lady Ada's XPort-based Arduino shield.Bringing ethernet connectivity to the Arduino for around fifty dollars, Lady Ada’s XPort Shield has gotten people understandably excited. But with a little elbow grease and a custom firmware, you can do even better: a $10 component can bring Ethernet, wifi and a full Linux environment to your microcontroller project. Not bad, right? Tom Lee will explain how, and show a simple Arduino-based ambient display that uses the approach to show Metro schedule information.

Tom Lee is a DC web developer and technologist who contributes to DCist, Techdirt and whatever other blogs will have him.

Gareth Branwyn : Jack Parsons: The Original Burning Man Photo of Jack Parsons with a solid-fuel engine prototype.

Gareth will present a “Maker Profile” on under- appreciated American rocketry pioneer Jack Parsons, based on “Darkside Rocketeer,” his piece on Parsons running in MAKE Volume 13.

Jack Parsons is one of the most important figures in the history of American rocketry and space development. He invented the JATO (jet-assisted take-off) motor– America’s first rocket program, co-founded the Jet Propulsion Laborartory and Aerotech Corporation, and created the formulations for solid rocket motors still in use today. Unfortunately, Parsons’ controversial private life — as a practitioner of ceremonial magick, a follower of infamous British occultist Aleister Crowley, and as a devout hedonist — has caused many of his technical achievements to be shoved into the closet of history. Parsons’ untimely death in a mysterious home lab explosion, has only added to the sordid nature of his story.

Gareth will talk not only of Parsons, but the group of fellow amateurs and CalTech students he worked with, known as The Suicide Squad, and the amazing intellectual backdrop of Pasadena and CalTech in the 1920s and ’30s.

Gareth Branwyn is a writer on technology and fringe culture. He is a contributing editor to MAKE, writes for the Make: Blog, and is an editor for O’Reilly’s Make: Books imprint.

Welcome to Dorkbot DC!

From the Pages of MAKE


Read this article in MAKE: 13: Magic, Page 94. To get MAKE, subscribe or purchase single volumes. Subscribers–read this article now in your digital edition!

8 thoughts on “March Dorkbot DC

  1. Hessel says:

    Let’s open up the Fonera’s

  2. fooman says:

    Yep, $10 sounds an awful lot like the cost of a Fonera invite on eBay.

    This of course works, I’m doing it myself, but hardly compares to using an x-port as it’s not scalable and involves violating the terms of use for your fon.

    Sure wish we had a cheaper than $80 option for WiFi on an arduino.

  3. rod says:

    $10 ? OK I’ll bite… so where’s the article ???????

  4. Tom Lee says:

    Good guesses — you guys are right, I’ll be talking about how to modify a Fonera and get it speaking serial to an Arduino. I am of course engaging in a bit of salesmanship by teasing a mere $10 price tag. For what it’s worth I believe in the FON project and hope people will support it. I do: I run an access point using stock firmware at home and at work. I’ve only used unutilized routers donated to me by coworkers for my Arduino experimentation. Still, there are a ton of these things floating around out there, many of them unused, and I’ll be glad if some people discover how handy they can be.

    But either way, fooman, I think you’re being too pessimistic. Even if we remove FON from the equation, it’s completely possible to acquire a similar router with no licensing encumbrances for $20-30. In fact, it’ll likely be easier to flash and have more memory, letting you run scripting environments that the Fonera can’t manage. That still compares favorably to the XPort (except of course in terms of size & power consumption).

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn
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