Crazy Metalsmith Plays With Electricity!

And manages to *not* blow anything up! Take that, Crazy Harry!*

I recently got the chance to play with an Arduino kit. The workshop, Making Things Smart taught by Robert Gallup was at the Devsigner Conference here in Portland. Local start up Metal Toad (aka the most awesome name in start ups- I want to work with them just so I can say that I’m a metalsmith who works at Metal Toad) sponsored the workshop to make it cheap enough that poor, unemployed folks like myself could take it. I’ve now got $25 worth of electronics to play with & I only had to shell out $5 for the kit. How awesome is that? Thanks, guys!

It’s got one of Adafruit’s tiny little Trinket boards & all the parts fit into an Altoids tin. It was a blast! I made lights flash! Yay!

And then Maud (my laptop) decided she didn’t want to talk to the board any more. *sigh*. It’s things like this that make me seriously consider getting a Mac. Then I remember just how many of my expensive design programs are specifically for Windows. (read: Adobe CS6 & Lightroom- all of which I picked up when still in grad school so they were *way* cheaper). It also makes me wonder when Microsoft went so wrong. After all, it used to be easy to do tech-related stuff with a PC & Macs were considered the devil because it was almost impossible to get them to talk to each other, let alone anything else. I remember my Dad coming home one day after trying to hook a Mac up to the college’s network & declaring, “Apples are only good for eating!” Then Apple decided to base OSX on Linux. And Windows had already been frustrating anyone who knew what they were doing with a computer for years, ever since the advent of Windows Explorer. It was supposed to make it easier to find files & folders but instead just hides where those folders are by making everything look as if they’re all in the same directory. It makes using command line for anything a pain in the ass, too, because everything ends up at least 5 levels deep in the directory tree, too.

Despite all that, I’m sure I’ll get it working once I have time to really play with it. And the Adafruit people make boards specifically for wearables. I wonder if I could make voice-activated pins for politicians that shock them every time they say something stupid… For example, any time someone in the GOP says the word “rape”.

*For those who don’t get the reference,  Crazy Harry was a Muppet who was constantly blowing things up in the Muppet Show & in the movies. Remember the end of the Muppet movie where suddenly all the sets & everything start collapsing? That was Crazy Harry. His main (& possibly only) line is, “Crazy Harry plays with electricity!” And a hyena laugh.  (Because, as insane as it sounds, there are people in the world who haven’t seen the Muppets. It’s true!)

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