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Jay Graves
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Jay Graves

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playing with my new ESP8266 module 
(http://rayshobby.net/introducing-esptoy-1-2-with-lua-firmware/)

grabbed the first cable that came to hand in the drawer.  Initial demo worked,  but extended play using Esplorer didn't work because a COM port could not be found.

after some poking around in Device Manager in windows, I took a closer look at the cable.  crap.

I'm either going to throw that cable away or I'm going to take a red sharpie to both plugs so I'm not fooled again.
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Jay Graves

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+Blockly is pretty fun.

Background:
Today we went to an indoor trampoline park and one of the other activities was a maze of rooms.  Each wall of every room had multiple strips of opaque material hung so they overlapped.  This was so you could not tell at first glance which were doors and which were walls.  Once you pushed through a door you were in an identical looking room and you had to choose again.  Some doors lead to dead ends so it was a bit confusing the first time through.

My daughter has been through the maze multiple times and knows it by heart. Today she asked to borrow my notebook so she could write the steps to solve the maze.
I ended up with this string of letters in my notebook.
RFFLRLLRFFLFFLLRRLLRRF
We talked briefly about how you could make a map for the maze just by having these instructions and then she went to play on something else.

So tonight after dinner I opened up the Turtle Graphics demo of Blockly and wrote a simple version that just moved the turtle to a better starting point and then ran the steps in order to draw a line for the maze solution.  I called her in to show her and I walked through how procedures work and when I equated them to recipes, it clicked for her.
It was still hard to her to visualize so together we added the 'marker' procedure so she could see where each room was.  That helped but a grid of the rooms would be better.  She had to get ready for bed but I kept playing with it and ended up with this:
https://blockly-demo.appspot.com/static/apps/turtle/index.html#3zxi55

I can't wait to show her to see if she comes up with more suggestions/features.

Kudos to +Neil Fraser and team
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+Robin Laurén, we think Scratch looks great, so no offense taken.
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Jay Graves

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How to get a 10 year old interested in electronics:

Take:
1 Arduino
1 Adafruit Wave Shield
1 Wingshield
1 PIR Motion Sensor from SeeedStudio
1 9 volt battery

Instructions:
Download WAV files of bodily functions and load onto SD card
Cut-n-Paste example code from Wave Shield and PIR Sensor and mix carefully

Usage:
Plug into home stereo.
Invent pretext to invite your sister and mother into the line of fire.
Laugh uncontrollably.

Advanced Usage:
Invite your friend from next door over. Laugh.
Invite your friend's siblings over. Laugh.
Invite your friend's mom over. Laugh.

Colophon:
We put a delay loop of ten seconds after playing a fart sound because the PIR module is very sensitive. It could also be improved with a Green LED to indicate that it is in 'ready' mode. (after the 10 seconds are up)
We were going to tape it under the kitchen table but it proved to be too unwieldy and I didn't have a good speaker to hook to it.
All in all, really easy and good for a laugh.
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Jay Graves

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Stop motion videos are fun.
We tried a few of years ago and the Android software wasn't very good so we had to use a regular camera and then stitch together on the PC.

My daughter wanted to try again. We tried a couple of apps and ended up buying the version we liked best. We made a couple of videos with improvised holders for the tablet with limited success. Then I went to the garage and made better version that would fit on my garage sale tripod. Great success! I also made a smaller one for my kids android mp3 players.

To make it I just took a piece of scrap pine and used multiple passes on the table saw to carve out a channel. Chopped a bit off the end and nailed it to the top. Drilled an undersized hole in the bottom and hammered a 1/4 nut in with a bit of super glue.
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Jay Graves

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Some good detail here about the hardware but I'd love to see a similar post on the software side.

edit:
The author replied to my request in the comments.
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First play test of 'Space Miner', a board game that Jacob has been designing for the past week.  We spent about 2 hours this morning making the game board and all the required cards.
Lego pieces are standing in for tokens and there are still a few game mechanics to work out.  He won the inaugural game.
Once he gets it fine tuned he wants to find/make good artwork and order a 'real' copy from https://www.thegamecrafter.com/  
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Have him in circles
387 people
Tim Lesher's profile photo
Edval Aparecido Bernard's profile photo
Bryan Fuselier's profile photo
Analyn De Jesus's profile photo
Gregory Loscombe's profile photo
Rodrigo Moraes's profile photo
Andrew Scott's profile photo
Lexi Fore's profile photo
Divakar Jandhyala's profile photo
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Python and Go Programmer (along with a litany of other semi-dead languages)
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I consider all social media postings as ephemeral and I actively delete older content (anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 month).  Apologies in advance if this doesn't match your expectations.
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