I attended a meetup last April (April 2016) that featured using a Particle Photon to communicate with a simple temp sensor. I was primarily interested in meeting new people in the scene and to finally use my photon that I purchased a few months prior.
The meeting spot was selected to be at a location in Midtown, hosted by CO+HOOTS. The shared space turned out to be pretty awesome. CO+HOOTS provides a common area for like-minded individuals and companies to call their place home. For only $350/month, this seems tempting to sign up for, but I have no reason to do so at this time since I already work full-time. Maybe later in the future….
An associate from CO+HOOTS showed a few of us a quick tour of their nice facility. They also provided some snacks. There were about 20 of us and mostly hobbyists. I expected most people to be versed in programming and electronics, but to my surprise this wasn’t really the case here as about 40% were first-time learners. Drew Alden is the “hackster Ambassador”, which is a liaison between the company HQ in San Francisco and his/her local “hackers”. I think their main task is to organize events and distribute sponsored material.
Drew gave a short presentation on what Hackster.io is all about and how we can get involved. He urged us to push any projects that we do over to their website to win prizes and such. I didn’t have this intention, only to get my photon up and running. After following along with the instructions, I was able to get the photon connected to the wifi and have it update its firmware. I was then able to write some simple “Arduino-esque” code and have it blink an external LED using a GPIO pin. Having an IDE in the cloud was pretty neat and it contained some user submitted libraries to easily get common hardware working such as an RTC. Microchip Technology has recently begun rolling out their cloud-based IDE called MPLAB Xpress. It seems to be a common move now - cloud-based IDEs.
I made exactly one friend at the end of things and had my photon working…so mission accomplished! I guess I parked in the wrong spot because I had a hand-written note on my car explaining that I could have been towed. Another reason why I don’t like living in a big city. The meetup group puts on another event that I was unable to attend, but then the events stop all together. It’s been almost 1 year now and no new events have shown up, yet membership keeps increasing! I wonder if hackster.io will hire another ambassador? Maybe I should look into being one? I’m not sure about the time commitment it takes to be one, however.
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