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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:59 pm 
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mac_d wrote:
In a decade of so total at Uni I've never used a naked flame (though a few people in the labs did) but at school we used them all the time. I remember using 22 mol/litre Sulphuric Acid that someone dropped and it was starting to dissolve the concrete floor. I wonder if they still let silly 17/18 year olds have access to that stuff or if Health and Safety have stopped it (and that would not be a case of H&S gone mad imo).


We use 98% Sulphuric, which is I think 19M, for making esters, but it still makes me uneasy about it. Making esters is a GCSE practical now, not an A Level one like it was when I was at school.

When I first started as a lab tech 5-6 years ago, my head tech used to do an experiment to show hydrogen production and gas pressure, by putting aluminium foil/HCl in a coke bottle and screwing the lid on and waiting for it to explode. Absolutely terrifying in retrospect, and amazing that no one ever got hurt. The concussive blast used to rattle all of the windows in the entire school.

Also, the thing that scares me the most is still the Van der Graaf generator. I know the science behind it, but still the shock of static lightning effectively when you discharge it gets me every time.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:05 pm 
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huggybear wrote:
mac_d wrote:
In a decade of so total at Uni I've never used a naked flame (though a few people in the labs did) but at school we used them all the time. I remember using 22 mol/litre Sulphuric Acid that someone dropped and it was starting to dissolve the concrete floor. I wonder if they still let silly 17/18 year olds have access to that stuff or if Health and Safety have stopped it (and that would not be a case of H&S gone mad imo).


We use 98% Sulphuric, which is I think 19M, for making esters, but it still makes me uneasy about it. Making esters is a GCSE practical now, not an A Level one like it was when I was at school.

When I first started as a lab tech 5-6 years ago, my head tech used to do an experiment to show hydrogen production and gas pressure, by putting aluminium foil/HCl in a coke bottle and screwing the lid on and waiting for it to explode. Absolutely terrifying in retrospect, and amazing that no one ever got hurt. The concussive blast used to rattle all of the windows in the entire school.

Also, the thing that scares me the most is still the Van der Graaf generator. I know the science behind it, but still the shock of static lightning effectively when you discharge it gets me every time.



I went to school in the dark ages, and labs were fun. For instance, we all share a gas supply down the middle of 2 benches, and if you take a deep breath and blow down you tube, all the other burners would go out :twisted:


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:35 pm 
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Life in the school laboratory used to be fun (and dangerous) before they decided to wrap everyone in cotton wool. I can't imagine what students get to do these days, if anything. Or is it just watching demos while a lab assistant in a sterile, fireproof, space-suit does the actual stuff behind a shatter-proof glass wall?


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:09 pm 
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chetan_rao wrote:
Life in the school laboratory used to be fun (and dangerous) before they decided to wrap everyone in cotton wool. I can't imagine what students get to do these days, if anything. Or is it just watching demos while a lab assistant in a sterile, fireproof, space-suit does the actual stuff behind a shatter-proof glass wall?


We get to do some things, but because the technicians are legally responsible for the safety, even if they aren't in the room while the experiment is going on, we tend to shut down anything too dangerous because the teachers (moreso than the kids in my experience) have absolutely no clue what they are doing.
You don't have to have a higher qualification than a GCSE in science to teach it to GCSE students once you have your degree, so you can get a Biology degree and not start teaching until you are 30 and teach kids chemistry without having studied it for 15 years. And most of them haven't. Subject knowledge is generally atrocious among teachers, as is their understanding of basic lab safety, and it gets worse the older and more 'experienced' they get, because they don't like to be told they are doing things wrong like a new teacher will.
My head of department who's been teaching for a decade only learnt that current is a flow of negatively charged electrons in June at some training we went to, and it hurt my brain to see it unfold.
So, with that level of subject knowledge holding our careers in their hands, we tend to shut down everything except the most simple experiments unless we are there to figuratively hold their hands.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:18 pm 
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huggybear wrote:
chetan_rao wrote:
Life in the school laboratory used to be fun (and dangerous) before they decided to wrap everyone in cotton wool. I can't imagine what students get to do these days, if anything. Or is it just watching demos while a lab assistant in a sterile, fireproof, space-suit does the actual stuff behind a shatter-proof glass wall?


We get to do some things, but because the technicians are legally responsible for the safety, even if they aren't in the room while the experiment is going on, we tend to shut down anything too dangerous because the teachers (moreso than the kids in my experience) have absolutely no clue what they are doing.
You don't have to have a higher qualification than a GCSE in science to teach it to GCSE students once you have your degree, so you can get a Biology degree and not start teaching until you are 30 and teach kids chemistry without having studied it for 15 years. And most of them haven't. Subject knowledge is generally atrocious among teachers, as is their understanding of basic lab safety, and it gets worse the older and more 'experienced' they get, because they don't like to be told they are doing things wrong like a new teacher will.
My head of department who's been teaching for a decade only learnt that current is a flow of negatively charged electrons in June at some training we went to, and it hurt my brain to see it unfold.
So, with that level of subject knowledge holding our careers in their hands, we tend to shut down everything except the most simple experiments unless we are there to figuratively hold their hands.





as in - "He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches." GBS


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:52 pm 
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moby wrote:


as in - "He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches." GBS


I personally think of it as those who can, do; those who can't, teach; those who can't teach, teach PE.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:58 pm 
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huggybear wrote:
moby wrote:


as in - "He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches." GBS


I personally think of it as those who can, do; those who can't, teach; those who can't teach, teach PE.


More often those who can, do; those who can't, teach, those who cant teach tell the teachers what to do. :twisted:


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:26 pm 
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Didn't have the time or weather configuration (was drizzling sporadically in Glasgow this morning) to show my nephews the science stuff I wanted to show them.

Did take them out into my parents back garden and found some bugs with their bug jars. Wood lice (3 year old telling me they are cute made me laugh), spiders, snails, slugs, a daddy longlegs, worms (apparently scary to the 3 year old) and, the awesome bit imo - a millipede. Brought that millipede and looked at it in the big bug jar with the magnifying glasses at the top and underneath. Hard to count sections against legs but I'm fairly sure it was a millipede rather than a centipede. Bug hunt got cut short as we had a restaurant booking at a restaurant at 13:30. Still, oddly pleased at the millipede, that's relatively rare compared to the other ones.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 7:11 pm 
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mac_d wrote:
Didn't have the time or weather configuration (was drizzling sporadically in Glasgow this morning) to show my nephews the science stuff I wanted to show them.

Did take them out into my parents back garden and found some bugs with their bug jars. Wood lice (3 year old telling me they are cute made me laugh), spiders, snails, slugs, a daddy longlegs, worms (apparently scary to the 3 year old) and, the awesome bit imo - a millipede. Brought that millipede and looked at it in the big bug jar with the magnifying glasses at the top and underneath. Hard to count sections against legs but I'm fairly sure it was a millipede rather than a centipede. Bug hunt got cut short as we had a restaurant booking at a restaurant at 13:30. Still, oddly pleased at the millipede, that's relatively rare compared to the other ones.



You can get "endoscopes" to fit on to your phone or tab from Ali express for about £6, if the kids like that sort of thing wou can slip th e5mm end right into their home and watch ants and bugs. They come with an angle head and adjustable light

peep behind the boulder or stone wall and see what is there. You can even record it. I have one they are marvelous fun.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:12 pm 
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moby wrote:
You can get "endoscopes" to fit on to your phone or tab from Ali express for about £6, if the kids like that sort of thing wou can slip th e5mm end right into their home and watch ants and bugs. They come with an angle head and adjustable light

peep behind the boulder or stone wall and see what is there. You can even record it. I have one they are marvelous fun.


That, sir, I think I will do. I award you 2 light bulbs for a good idea, and a thumbs up too. :idea: :idea: :thumbup:

Edit: Ordered one earlier. Water proof (I took my nephews to the beach recently), adjustable LED lights and all that gubbins. My dad has a spare tablet compatible with it (probably). Think the wee ones will enjoy this a lot. If not, I'm fairly sure I will.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:39 pm 
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mac_d wrote:
moby wrote:
You can get "endoscopes" to fit on to your phone or tab from Ali express for about £6, if the kids like that sort of thing wou can slip th e5mm end right into their home and watch ants and bugs. They come with an angle head and adjustable light

peep behind the boulder or stone wall and see what is there. You can even record it. I have one they are marvelous fun.


That, sir, I think I will do. I award you 2 light bulbs for a good idea, and a thumbs up too. :idea: :idea: :thumbup:

Edit: Ordered one earlier. Water proof (I took my nephews to the beach recently), adjustable LED lights and all that gubbins. My dad has a spare tablet compatible with it (probably). Think the wee ones will enjoy this a lot. If not, I'm fairly sure I will.


:thumbup: :D


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:09 am 
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Completed a half-marathon hours after staggering home after celebrating a friend's 50th. I'd fortunately had the foresight to pack my running gear ready but did not wake as early as planned, and ended up walking to the venue in the same gear I'd collapsed onto the bed in.
I think it took me all of 9 miles to sober up, at which point my body rejected the notion of what I was trying to do to it. The last few miles were a bit of a grind but I made it to the finish. Strangely, I've barely moved since...

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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:17 pm 
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Had to give a talk in front of all my colleagues, despite having a huge fear of public speaking. Apparently I crushed it, and everyone's told me I did a good job. Which is nice.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:11 pm 
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huggybear wrote:
Had to give a talk in front of all my colleagues, despite having a huge fear of public speaking. Apparently I crushed it, and everyone's told me I did a good job. Which is nice.


:thumbup: Always hated public speaking, but it never goes as badly as everyone seems to think I find. Not that that stops me worrying.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:10 pm 
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Won a signed Ken Block poster on Tuesday

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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 5:44 pm 
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Probably showing how boring I am, but I bought some new slippers at Tesco this morning and they are smashing.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 7:16 pm 
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mac_d wrote:
Probably showing how boring I am, but I bought some new slippers at Tesco this morning and they are smashing.

:thumbup: Good for you, nothing better than some comfy slippers and a warm dressing gown :nod:

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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 7:56 pm 
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minchy wrote:
mac_d wrote:
Probably showing how boring I am, but I bought some new slippers at Tesco this morning and they are smashing.

:thumbup: Good for you, nothing better than some comfy slippers and a warm dressing gown :nod:


I have my dressing gown on over my clothes at the moment as my flat is a little chilly but not cold enough to merit the heating going on. Love a thick fluffy dressing gown too.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:17 pm 
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mac_d wrote:
mac_d wrote:
Probably showing how boring I am, but I bought some new slippers at Tesco this morning and they are smashing.

Good for you, nothing better than some comfy slippers and a warm dressing gown


Why not? - It worked for Hugh Heffner


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:29 pm 
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Bought a broken PS4 off Ebay for £80, planning to fix it and get a cheap(ish) PS4. It's turned up, and works perfectly. So my fixing budget went on Uncharted 4 instead.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:41 am 
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reply numero 500 #awesum


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:00 pm 
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My nephew turned 7 this week. Family lunch today to celebrate. I got him NERF-style guns (the foamy bullet shooty ones). My nephew, me (age 28) and my big brother (33) then had a pretty epic shootout at my folks house.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:32 pm 
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Anyone on here use Arduino?

Bought one for my nephew and started fiddling with it to start him off, then sent for one for myself :D

They are brilliant. I wish they had them when I was younger


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:52 pm 
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moby wrote:
Anyone on here use Arduino?

Bought one for my nephew and started fiddling with it to start him off, then sent for one for myself :D

They are brilliant. I wish they had them when I was younger

I've been tempted a few times since they came out. Looks like your imagination is the limit with what you can do with them without having to have a lot existing knowledge.

I've written some code and a designed a few simple circuits in my time but both were more than 10 years ago, but I think I could have a lot of fun with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:21 pm 
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RaggedMan wrote:
moby wrote:
Anyone on here use Arduino?

Bought one for my nephew and started fiddling with it to start him off, then sent for one for myself :D

They are brilliant. I wish they had them when I was younger

I've been tempted a few times since they came out. Looks like your imagination is the limit with what you can do with them without having to have a lot existing knowledge.

I've written some code and a designed a few simple circuits in my time but both were more than 10 years ago, but I think I could have a lot of fun with it.



If you are considering it, I urge you to go for it. You can get a "kit" quite cheap if you shop around, and software is free.
Infact, if you go to arduino.cc you can download the software and look / play with that. T also got the For Dummies book which is good.

I have just sent for this (below), which should go with all the stuff I already have, but it is a month delivery so I ordered the tiny one, just the board and it came in 4 days.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ultimate-Starter-Learning-Kit-for-Arduino-UNO-R3-1602-LCD-Servo-Motor-Breadboard-/171641062962?hash=item27f69ac632:g:o6YAAOSw9IpXz5DE


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:08 pm 
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moby wrote:
Anyone on here use Arduino?

Bought one for my nephew and started fiddling with it to start him off, then sent for one for myself :D

They are brilliant. I wish they had them when I was younger


Semi-related. I want to buy a wee raspberry Pi and an N64. Take the N64 apart and stick the Pi into it. Hook up the USB port to the controller port so I can plug an xbox controller in. Make myself a nice little handsome emulator suite. I can't use my N64 because that sucker still works and I'm not trashing it. I do love the kick donkey, cheap little computer gubbins that are on sale these days. I've seen Adam Savage from Mythbusters use arduino's on some of the cool things he makes. Pretty sure he used arduino in his Captain Kirk chair so that all the buttons did specific things. (N64 because it's probably my favourite looking console and the nostalgia from it being my first real gaming system).

Am I right in understanding the Pi is more of a ready made little computer and Arduino is more of a "you probably want to know some coding" type device? I only know a very little amount of BASIC and I'm not sure I want to commit the time to getting stuck into learning to code "properly".

I'd be interested to hear more of your experiences with the arduino or the like if you do anything cool.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:26 am 
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mac_d wrote:
moby wrote:
Anyone on here use Arduino?

Bought one for my nephew and started fiddling with it to start him off, then sent for one for myself :D

They are brilliant. I wish they had them when I was younger


Semi-related. I want to buy a wee raspberry Pi and an N64. Take the N64 apart and stick the Pi into it. Hook up the USB port to the controller port so I can plug an xbox controller in. Make myself a nice little handsome emulator suite. I can't use my N64 because that sucker still works and I'm not trashing it. I do love the kick donkey, cheap little computer gubbins that are on sale these days. I've seen Adam Savage from Mythbusters use arduino's on some of the cool things he makes. Pretty sure he used arduino in his Captain Kirk chair so that all the buttons did specific things. (N64 because it's probably my favourite looking console and the nostalgia from it being my first real gaming system).

Am I right in understanding the Pi is more of a ready made little computer and Arduino is more of a "you probably want to know some coding" type device? I only know a very little amount of BASIC and I'm not sure I want to commit the time to getting stuck into learning to code "properly".

I'd be interested to hear more of your experiences with the arduino or the like if you do anything cool.


Yeh, more or less. Th Pi is a software thing, the Uno is just a micro controller with a small onboad chip that holds the program. It is for moving machine parts rather than processing. TBH I know nothing about the Pi, but from what I have read it is the difference between a computer with just DOS and a windows computer.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:26 pm 
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mac_d wrote:
moby wrote:
Anyone on here use Arduino?

Bought one for my nephew and started fiddling with it to start him off, then sent for one for myself :D

They are brilliant. I wish they had them when I was younger


Semi-related. I want to buy a wee raspberry Pi and an N64. Take the N64 apart and stick the Pi into it. Hook up the USB port to the controller port so I can plug an xbox controller in. Make myself a nice little handsome emulator suite. I can't use my N64 because that sucker still works and I'm not trashing it. I do love the kick donkey, cheap little computer gubbins that are on sale these days. I've seen Adam Savage from Mythbusters use arduino's on some of the cool things he makes. Pretty sure he used arduino in his Captain Kirk chair so that all the buttons did specific things. (N64 because it's probably my favourite looking console and the nostalgia from it being my first real gaming system).

Am I right in understanding the Pi is more of a ready made little computer and Arduino is more of a "you probably want to know some coding" type device? I only know a very little amount of BASIC and I'm not sure I want to commit the time to getting stuck into learning to code "properly".

I'd be interested to hear more of your experiences with the arduino or the like if you do anything cool.


Arduinos are microcontrollers for electrical components. Basically they receive a signal from an input pin, and then transfer it to an output pin defined by the code on it to drive whatever component is hooked up. They're more for electronics projects where you kinda know what you are doing, or are experimenting and so don't mind if things go wrong as you learn. Coding for them is very very simple if you have an understanding of how coding works because the commands won't be doing anything too clever.
The issue comes with hooking up things to the correct pins. Some are analog pins for motors and such so you can vary the output value, and some are digital pins so are just on/off pins. Some projects require you to add in extra resistors and stuff, so that's also something you need to be hot on.

A nice middle ground is the BBC Microbit. They're arduinos, but are super beginner friendly, and you can code them using a simple python blocks editor (similar to Scratch), and have inbuilt leds and buttons to program. Also allows you to hook up things to the GPIO pins like an arduino with a small breakout board.
They also, which is fun, have a voice synthesizer on the chip, so you can get them to 'speak'. When I was testing them for my school, I got one to rap Notorious BIG songs.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:26 pm 
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huggybear wrote:
mac_d wrote:
moby wrote:
Anyone on here use Arduino?

Bought one for my nephew and started fiddling with it to start him off, then sent for one for myself :D

They are brilliant. I wish they had them when I was younger


Semi-related. I want to buy a wee raspberry Pi and an N64. Take the N64 apart and stick the Pi into it. Hook up the USB port to the controller port so I can plug an xbox controller in. Make myself a nice little handsome emulator suite. I can't use my N64 because that sucker still works and I'm not trashing it. I do love the kick donkey, cheap little computer gubbins that are on sale these days. I've seen Adam Savage from Mythbusters use arduino's on some of the cool things he makes. Pretty sure he used arduino in his Captain Kirk chair so that all the buttons did specific things. (N64 because it's probably my favourite looking console and the nostalgia from it being my first real gaming system).

Am I right in understanding the Pi is more of a ready made little computer and Arduino is more of a "you probably want to know some coding" type device? I only know a very little amount of BASIC and I'm not sure I want to commit the time to getting stuck into learning to code "properly".

I'd be interested to hear more of your experiences with the arduino or the like if you do anything cool.


Arduinos are microcontrollers for electrical components. Basically they receive a signal from an input pin, and then transfer it to an output pin defined by the code on it to drive whatever component is hooked up. They're more for electronics projects where you kinda know what you are doing, or are experimenting and so don't mind if things go wrong as you learn. Coding for them is very very simple if you have an understanding of how coding works because the commands won't be doing anything too clever.
The issue comes with hooking up things to the correct pins. Some are analog pins for motors and such so you can vary the output value, and some are digital pins so are just on/off pins. Some projects require you to add in extra resistors and stuff, so that's also something you need to be hot on.

A nice middle ground is the BBC Microbit. They're arduinos, but are super beginner friendly, and you can code them using a simple python blocks editor (similar to Scratch), and have inbuilt leds and buttons to program. Also allows you to hook up things to the GPIO pins like an arduino with a small breakout board.
They also, which is fun, have a voice synthesizer on the chip, so you can get them to 'speak'. When I was testing them for my school, I got one to rap Notorious BIG songs.



They cover the whole spectrum form very very simple to very complicated and everything in between.

As you say, it is a microcontroler, not a micro processor, but it has a simple processor onboard to handle a small program called a sketch. The pinouts are all digital, but you learn to use pulse width modulation on some pins to emulate analogue.

You can also get lots of add ons called shields, which plug in and extend the capabilities. I have one thet handles a sim oe SD card to use a bigger program.

The best comparison I can make is it is electronic LEGGO for tinkering adults. That said, some of the best instruction vids for it on youtube are done by kids :D

The advantage the Arduino has, appart from cost, is that there are so many different modules of so many different sizes and powers that it covers everything.

Also as you say though, it is not big on software bashing. The program language for it is very good (and C++) but it is very low level and has to be compiled.

I am hooked, and I am a retired test engineer who used to build our own test equipment.


Edit, should have added that there are extensive libraries if you dont want to write your own or you can mod any that are for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:03 pm 
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Just spent all morning programming in the sounder to play " whiskey in the jar " and the lcd to scroll the lyrics with it.

Yes, I could have done it on my computer in 15 min, but Boy am I chuffed :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 8:58 am 
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I just turned on F3 BRDC racing in Rockingham and first thing that happened was a driver hit not one, but two cars in one go. His name? Maldonado, cousin of Pastor!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Awesomeness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:20 pm 
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Met Linford Christie today, by chance because the school I work at had their sports day at his local track while he was running drills with the athletes he coaches. Nice guy, and still in decent shape for 57.


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