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All right!

We’ve been talking about Arduino for quite some time, now. If you’ve been to a Geek Gathering at some point during the last two years, you’ve probably glimpsed one without knowing. The Arduino is a micro-controller, or a tiny computer that is capable of reacting to the real world in physical ways. Using a micro-controller, you can take various inputs (things like light, heat, motion or distance), make a decision as to how to react to them, then actually cause something in the real world to happen. A motor turns, a sound plays, or, most likely, a light blinks.

In the past, you had to visit a few specific sites on the Internet to get things like these to play with, but all that is changing. MicroCenter, an early adopter and then abandoner of Linux software, is now carrying Arduinos, Arduino clones, and a ton of stuff to hook them up to. The problem is that there isn’t a lot of information accompanying the items, and your average patron is going to cruise right by them like they were an old pile of DB-9 to DB-25 serial adapters. MicroCenter is hoping to change all this by offering an Arduino Workshop this Saturday at their Houston store at 610 near San Felipe.

Things get started at two PM this Saturday, April 28th at two PM. Pre-registration in the store is required, as seating is limited, and participants must bring the following:

An Arduino starter kit or Arduino module with the components needed in class *and* a notebook computer with OS X or Windows.

The following will be provided:

Informational handouts and project details, A CD containing the Arduino IDE for Mac and Windows, Arduino sketch files used in the workshop, Code samples from “SparkFun Inventors Guide”, Code samples from O’Reilly “Getting Started with Arduino” as well as the “Arduino Cookbook.”

Not to be left out, the Houston Area Apple Users Group, aka HAAUG, is putting on their own micro-controller presentation the morning after the Geek Gathering.

They’ve also picked Saturday the 28th to give their talk on Microcontrollers. And while not a hands-on workshop, I’m sure that there is information to be gleaned there. Since the Special Interest Group meetings start at nine AM with the main micro-controller presentation happening at eleven, you could conceivably take in both events, transforming you into a micro-programming machine.

Hit www.microcenter.com and www.haaug.org for details and directions. I’ll also have both links on the Geek Radio website before the show wraps.

And if you can’t make either one of these, we’ll be sure to bring some Arduino out to the Geek Gathering in May.

That’s it for your MicroController MicroRevolution and that’s that for BarretTime.

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