295: In the Key of Lime

This week we talk about CircuitPython (@CircuitPython) with @adafruit’s Kattni Rembor (@kattni) and Scott Shawcroft (@tannewt). 

The suggested first board is CircuitPlayground Express with LEDs, sensors, and buttons. CircuitPython is also available for many other boards including the BLE Feather (NRF52832).

For a basic introduction take a look at What is CircuitPython and see some example scripts. To dig a little deeper, check out the many resources in Awesome CircuitPython. The whole thing is open source so you can see their code. If you are thinking about contributing (or just want some fun chats), get in touch on the CircuitPython channel of the Adafruit Discord server: adafru.it/discord

Many of the language’s design choices favor ease-of-use over ready-for-production. Imagine teaching an intro to programming class without worrying what computers will be used or how to get compilers installed on everyone’s machines before time runs out. 

One final note: Kattni did a project that gave us the show title: Piano in the Key of Lime. After we finished recording, Chris asked her why she didn’t add a kiwi fruit to her mix… Kattni explained she had limes and they were small. Chris only wanted a different fruit so she could rename it Piano in the Kiwi of Lime. It is always sad when we stop recording too early.

289: Stamping HORSE on Zebras

Alicia Gibb (@pipix) joined Elecia to talk about open source hardware, the OSHW association (@ohsummit), using trademarks for quality control, and light-up LEGO blocks.

Alicia is the editor and author of Building Open Source Hardware: DIY Manufacturing for Hackers and Makers. It is a handy resource for any manufacturing.

Alicia is the director of the Blow Things Up Lab, part of the Atlas Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Light up LEGO blocks are available at Build Upons.

The LilyPad Arduino has many sewable electronics components.

You can find more talks and hacks on Alicia’s personal site, aliciagibb.com.

287: Joke With No Punchline

Kate Compton (@GalaxyKate) spoke with us about casual creators, Twitter bots done cheap and quick, and the creativity that is within each of us.

Kate’s website is galaxykate.com. Her Phd dissertation defense is interesting, see it on youtube.com. She is joining UCSC’s CROSS to do more work on casual creators and open source software. (We talked to Carlos Maltzan, the head of CROSS in 285: A Chicken Getting to the Other Side.)

Tracery is an open source story generator using a specific grammar. One example is at Kate’s BrightSpiral.com which creates a whole story every time you refresh.

You can use Tracery to make Twitter bots via CheapBotsDoneQuick.com. They are often text (@infinite_scream, @str_voyage, @DUNSONnDRAGGAN) or emoji based (@choochoobot, @infinitedeserts). However, Tracery and CBDQ  can be used to create SVG images (such as @softlandscapes).

Elecia’s text bot is @pajamaswithfeet. It tweets (usually) kind things you can (sometimes) say to other people (or yourself).


285: A Chicken Getting to the Other Side

Carlos Maltzahn joined us to talk about graduate studies in open source software, research incubators, and how software development tools can be used to aid the reproduction of scientific results.

Carlos is the founder and director of the Center for Research in Open Source Software (CROSS). He is also an adjunct professor of computer science and engineering at UC Santa Cruz.

Some projects we spoke about:

  • Jeff LeFevre — Skyhook: using programmable storage in Ceph to make Postgres and other databases more scalable and elastic (skyhookdm.com)

  • Ivo Jimenez — Black Swan: using DevOps techniques and strategies to speed up the systems research delivery life cycle (falsifiable.us)

  • Kate Compton — Tracery2 and Chancery: using open source software to support artists and poets (tracery.io)

Carlos mentioned the wonderful notion of “being productively lost”.  He picked up the idea at a POSSE (Professors Open Source Software Experience).