Category Archives: Meeting

Next Event: 3/14, Raspberry Pi Demo with Raspberry Pie

raspberry_pi_logoOur next RTC event will be on March 14th, from 1-3PM, in the Fox Room at the Rutland Free Library.

Steve Waite and Chad Merkert will present an introduction and demonstrations of the “Raspberry Pi” from the Raspberry Pi Foundation in Britain.  The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer, for about $35, that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse.  With the Raspberry Pi, you can browse the internet, play HD video, make spreadsheets, word-processing docs, and play games.  According to Wikipedia article:

“The Raspberry Pi is a series of credit card-sized single-board computers developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools.”

If you want, you can also use the Raspberry Pi to learn coding, or learn about the Linux operating system.  You can also make your own projects by connecting the Pi to sensors (inputs) and other devices (outputs).  Steve and Chad will demonstrate some of their projects that they built.

There is a video that answers the question, “What is a Raspberry Pi?

At our last RTC event (Hour of Code), Steve brought his Raspberry Pi.  He hooked it up to the monitor and keyboard of the “Google Hangout” station, which is the large screen on wheels in the Fox Room at the Library.  So we were able to get a quick preview of what a Raspberry Pi is.  We got thinking that this would be a good topic for our next event.

As we looked for an open day for the Fox Room, we chose March 14th.  Later we realized that March 14 (or 3.14) is a perfect day to talk about the Raspberry Pi (3.141592654…).  We then later discovered that March 14 is actually “Pi Day in the USA”, according to the online forum at RaspberryPi.org.  That forum post suggests that your Pi Day event can get bonus points if you celebrate the Pi moment of 3/14/15 at 9:26:54.

pieHowever, since our event is in the afternoon, we will celebrate the Pi moment at around 3/14 1:59PM.  That is about midway through our event, and a good time for a quick break and indulge in some Raspberry Pie.  Thanks to Steve and his wife who offered to make us some Raspberry Pie for this event.

If you are planning on coming to our next event, it would really help us if you could please RSVP by email to rutlandtechclub@gmail.com, or call 802-775-8861, and let us know how many will attend.  That will help us determine how many folks are coming, and “how much” Raspberry Pie we will need for 3/14 @ 1:59PM.

We look forward to seeing you at our next Rutland Tech Club event about the amazing Raspberry Pi computer!

Ron, Steve and Chad

Next Event: October 25, Learn Scratch Programming

The next event is on Saturday, October 25, 1-3PM, again at the Rutland Free Library.  We are going to do another hands-on event.  This time we are going to start working with a programming tool called “Scratch” from MIT.  For those who were unable to attend our first Scratch event back in April, this is your chance.  October 25 is also the date of the annual Rutland Halloween Parade (in the evening), so our Scratch programming activities will have a “Halloween” theme, as far as ready-to-go sprites for your Scratch program or animation.

Scratch is another visual programming tool / language.  For those of you who participated in an Code.org “Hour of Code event, you will notice that Scratch has some similarities to the visual programming approach of “Hour of Code”.  But Scratch has many more programming features, and introduces you to many more programming concepts and ideas.

http://scratch.mit.edu/

Scratch enables you to program your own interactive stories, games, sounds and animations.  You can also share your creations with others in the Scratch online community.  According to MIT’s website, “Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.”

At hour “Hour of Code” event back in February, one person had a question about “sprites”.  Scratch does allow you to have one or more sprites (visual graphics to represent people, animals, characters, things), that can be animated.

For each sprite, you can tell Scratch to do different things based on different “events”.  This is called event-driven programming.  For example, you could play a sound, or have a character say something in a cartoon bubble, if the user clicks on something, moves their mouse or presses a key on keyboard.  These mouse/keyboard events drive the action on the screen.

This blog also has some earlier posts regarding Scratch Programming.  Scratch is a very nice tool and way to learn and develop programs.

Hope to see you on October 25th to start to learn Scratch programming.

Ron and Steve

Upcoming events for Fall 2014

Just a quick update on this fall’s events that are being planned.  These events will again take place at the Rutland Free Library in the upstairs Fox Room, from 1-3PM on Saturdays:

September 13: Guest presenter is Chad Merkert, who will do one of these topics (still TBD): A) Tips on PC / data security and passwords, or B) using Linux in the context of an older computer, like a Windows XP (now unsupported), and how you can still make use of an older computer.

BTW, Chad also runs a local Meetup Group (VermontDev):

October 25: Scratch Programming.  If you did not attend our April event, here is another chance to get started with Scratch.  If you did attend in April, we can help you get started on other aspects and features of Scratch.

http://scratch.mit.edu/

https://rutlandtechclub.wordpress.com/?s=scratch

November 29: TBD, although I am thinking about an introduction to Arduino.  I went to SolarFest this weekend in Tinmouth, and there was a workshop on Arduino, which was very interesting.  The presenter at SolarFest was Jeff Molson from Ottawa, Canada.

http://www.arduino.cc/

http://www.solarfest.org/program/solarfest-2014-mini-maker-faire-workshops/

Have a nice summer, and I look forward to seeing you later in Fall 2014.

Ron

Next Event: April 26, Learn Scratch Programming

The next event is on Saturday, April 26, 1-3PM, again at the Rutland Free Library.  We are going to do another hands-on event.  This time we are going to start working with a programming tool called “Scratch” from MIT.  Scratch is another visual programming tool / language.  For those of you who participated in the Code.org Hour of Code event, you will notice that Scratch has some similarities to the visual programming approach of Hour of Code.  But Scratch has many more programming features, and introduces you to many more programming concepts and ideas.

http://scratch.mit.edu/

Scratch enables you to program your own interactive stories, games, sounds and animations.  You can also share your creations with others in the Scratch online community.  According to MIT’s website, “Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.”

In February, one person had a question about “sprites”.  Scratch does allow you to have one or more sprites (visual graphics to represent people, animals, characters, things), that can be animated.

For each sprite, you can tell Scratch to do different things based on different “events”.  This is called event-driven programming.  For example, you could play a sound, or have a character say something in a cartoon bubble, if the user clicks on something, moves their mouse or presses a key on keyboard.  These mouse/keyboard events drive the action on the screen.

I have only started to use Scratch myself, but it is a very nice tool and way to learn and develop programs.  I will send out more information later on.

Hope to see you on April 26th to start to learn Scratch programming.

Next Meeting: March 22, Video and Discussion

Saturday, March 22, 2014, 1-3PM
Rutland Free Library, Fox Room (upstairs)
10 Court Street, Rutland, VT

We will show a video presentation by author Douglas Rushkoff, followed by a discussion.  The presentation is based on Rushkoff’s book “Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age“.

I just finished reading this interesting book.  You don’t need to read his book beforehand (unless you want to).   Just come and enjoy the video.  But if you are interested, the book’s ISBN# is 978-1593764265 (152 pages).

Many of us use smartphones, tablet computers and laptops.  There is more to “computer literacy” than knowing which buttons to press, where to click, or an app’s features.  Mr. Rushkoff is not advocating that we all become computer programmers.  We certainly don’t need to be mechanics to drive a car.  Instead, Mr. Rushkoff makes the distinction between “driving the car” versus merely being a “passenger”.  That analogy can be applied to our use of technology.

Mr. Rushkoff also compares our advancements in technology to past inventions like the written word and the printing press.  He points out how the larger population seems to be one “version” behind in how we use and adapt these advancements.  In other words, we don’t always use them to their full potential.

Rushkoff’s final command and chapter title is “Program or Be Programmed”.  The word “command” (instead of Commandment), is a play on the word used by computer programmers, as in submitting commands to run our computers (as some of you did in the recent “Hour of Code” event).

All ages welcome.  Hope to see you on March 22nd.

Next meeting, February 8: HOUR of CODE Challenge

Saturday, February 8, 2014, 1-3PM
Rutland Free Library, Fox Room (upstairs)
10 Court Street, Rutland, VT

All ages welcome.  Bring your laptops.  We will do the Code.org HOUR of CODE” challenge.

Learn the basic concepts of computer programming, using a fun visual approach. Using video-game maze theme, build short computer programs to make Angry Bird catch Bad Piggie, by snapping together Lego-like program code blocks on your screen. Later on you can make the Zombie find the Sun Flower in the corn maze.

In between the exercises you can view video messages from Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Black Eyed Peas founder will.i.am and NBA star Chris Bosh (he studied computer science in college).

Then print out your Certificate of Completion.  Proudly pose for a picture with your certificate. We will also create webpage slideshow of your HOUR of CODE photos.  We will start to talk about webpages and HTML, including the <image> tag (where the photos are displayed).

Others can choose to go “Beyond the Hour of Code“, or try out the Codecademy.com free tutorials.

Tell your friends and family about the new Rutland Tech Club.

Event also posted on Rutland Herald inViTe Calendar!

Social Media Surgery event in Rutland, January 15th

I would like to pass along some information that I received from a volunteer organizer for Burlington NetSquared.  This org is hosting an event highlighting different ways in which tech is being used for social good in Vermont, with the goal of building networks between nonprofits and the tech community, and increasing the capacity of nonprofits to use social media and tech in their work.

Burlington NetSquared has been partnering with the Vermont Digital Economy Project to do a series of “Social Media Surgeries” for nonprofits around the state.  These are casual, drop-in workshops pairing nonprofits with “surgeons” (people who are knowledgeable about social media) for a couple of hours so they can ask questions about their Facebook page, Twitter, etc.

There will be a Social Media Surgery next Wednesday in Rutland.  The Burlington NetSquared group is looking for a few “surgeons” for this event.  If you are interested, please consider attending.  If you know someone who might be interested, please pass along this information.

Rutland – Social Media Surgery
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 – 5:00-7:00 PM
College of Saint Josephs, Rutland, VT

Here is more information about this event from VT Small Business Development Center calendar.