Why Does Coding Matter?

In December 2014, I wrote a special edition article for the “Teaching & Learning” blog at Head-Royce. It was a reflection on why Coding & CS are so important for the next generation. I think it is still very relevant one year later. Check it out by clicking below:

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Art Technology + Apprenticeship (Group Exhibition Spring 2012)


CLICK HERE >> Art Technology + Apprenticeship (Group Exhibition Spring 2012)

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The slideshow linked above highlights some photos from a group exhibition that I co-facilitated & co-coordinated while a grad student at the School of Arts Media + Engineering.

Pachube Research, Pt. 1 – Exploration, Discovery, Arduino Tests

So I’m also working on another Demo about Pachube. Before we get into that, watch this movie about “The Internet of Things” (Wikipedia Description Here)

Internet of Things Model
Internet of Things Model

On their About page, their Vision Statement: “Pachube (“patch-bay”) connects people to devices, applications, and the Internet of Things. As a web-based service built to manage the world’s real-time data, Pachube gives people the power to share, collaborate, and make use of information generated from the world around them.”

It 2008 Haque made released a framework that set up a way to “handle real-time data from sensors in interactive environments for his design practice.” This is another piece of the crowdsourcing movement, and the ability to track this much data and run it through this Pachube hub is very awesome. I guess in July 2011, LogMeIn acquired Pachube.

Anyway, Pachube used to be a paid service, but they recently (this month) made the service completely free for all users. An Overview of the Pachube API Documentation gives you a sense of how things work. There is also an API Quickstart that is useful if you know curl or hurl, command-line communication for scraping and posting data.


Auduino (Arduino Synth w/ 5 knobs)


It’s so simple but so delicious. Let’s make one… NOW!


Schematic for this Auduino
Schematic for this Auduino

Any analog sensor can control it, Heat, Sound, Wind, Brainwaves, Light, Skin Conductance, motion, etc. etc. etc.


Arduino + GE Color Changing Lights + new Library + printing PCB, please!

I found something at the bottom of the comments on link that Daragh sent us; you know, the one with the tutorial on hacking GE lights + Arduino

After viewing the this Arduino+GELights hack Post, a guy created a GE ‘Color Effects’ library for Arduino software:  http://www.digitalmisery.com/2011/11/ge-color-effects-arduino-library/ . This is hot off the presses kids, and was posted in Nov 2011. Here is the Direct Link to the Library Zip File.

If you don’t remember how to add a library in Arduino software, here is Arduino’s Documentation on Libraries:

Scott Harris’s ARDUINO CODE that inspired above library: http://scottrharris.blogspot.com/2010/12/controlling-ge-color-effects-lights.html

Futhermore, here is a close-up of a single 3-led light in all its glory from Scott@MentalFest: http://mentalfest.blogspot.com/2011/01/hacking-santas-best-ge-35-christmas.html

I found a rather odd demonstration of the potential of these lights. Music and setting aside, I can see how these can totally define the piece.

Ok, Ok, back to business. Most important thing here:

(1) Actual GE Lights

(2) Light Hack Page + (and/or Useful Multi String How To )

(3) GE Color Lights Arduino Library (w/ example sketch)

(4) Hack the RemoteControl or build PDB > ColorNode Board  to replace the regular controller. Here is the schematic blueprint (can we print this board with our new machine?):, can we print this board with our new machine?

This could be a very fun (& USEFUL) project. Let’s do this!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Epilogue ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PS – OK, now further down the initial GE lights hack page, a comment from “Steve” on Oct 3 goes like this: “Thanks for the info on the protocol it sure made hacking easer. My approach is to put a node in each of the controller boxes and link them together on RS485. I’m able to fit all the parts in the existing controller using DIPs if I switch to surface mount I’ll have all kinds of room. I’m using a PIC16F688 micro, I2C EEPROM (1 or 2), and a RS485 transceiver. The only mod is to drill a hole for the RS485 cable. I built a test setup to check my programming and powered it with a USB to TTL serial interface (I was able to power 2 of the LEDs from the USB port for testing). So far I’ve written code to do the following. 1. – Address and change individual LEDs in the string 2. – Load a lighting sequence into the EEPROM 3. – Run a sequence in the EEPROM (I have room for at least 16 different sequences).

The next step is to change over to RS485 and do line testing.

For the screws on the controller just get a set of jeweler’s screwdriver from the dollar store, one of the flat blade work perfectly to remove the screws.”

I’m not sure what this means, So I figured some info on RS 545 ports might come in handy? Ahh it goes on and on… 😛