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Jim Thompson
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Here's a re-post of something I posted to Facebook earlier tonight:

I have a great announcement to make... and it has nothing to do with the Google code challenge, which I started a year ago today (I made it to level 5 before the puzzles became too difficult for me to solve in the time alloted).

Starting tomorrow I will work for the Harris County Public Library as the Maker Space Specialist at the iMaker Space in the Evelyn Meador branch library in Seabrook!

You might recall that I visited the library on a Saturday in early December to attend the grand opening of the iMaker Space. What I didn't know then was that the library had yet to hire someone to run the space. They advertised the opening about a week later, and I immediately applied. I interviewed, got a contingent offer, got a firm offer, and I've done all the pre-employment paperwork. All that remains is to actually start the job, which will happen tomorrow, Jan 23, 2017.


My most significant early duty will be to teach people to use the library's PolyPrinter 229 3D Printer. I'll probably also teach soldering from the start. I also want to teach Arduino and Raspberry Pi programming and use. The library has some tools I'll have to learn, so I can help people to use them: a VCR-to-DVD machine, a sewing machine, a die press, and a laminator.

My overall ambition is to make the iMaker Space as awesome as the Innovation Lab that Patrick Ferrell runs at the Freeman branch of the HCPL. That's a tall order, because the Innovation Lab is an amazing space. (I plan to lean heavily on Patrick in my early days.)

I've been making lists since they day they made the contingent offer. Lists of things to do. Lists of things to buy (mostly tools and storage). Lists of things I need to learn. Lists of books the space should have. Lists of personal items to take in. Lists of posters to hang. Lists of projects I want to undertake. All told, I have 138 items on 10 different lists. Some of them are simple things, and some are more ambitious. I'll be doing good if I can tackle half of them in my first year.

Seriously... I'm psyched!

I had always imagined that I'd end up in a library. But not like this. In my imagination, I was about 15 years older, a volunteer, and probably doing nothing more demanding than re-shelving books. This new gig is something else indeed.

It feels like something I've been preparing for my entire life. My favorite book from the Childcraft books was Make and Do. I learned to solder when I was ten. In my high school years I spent almost all of my money on electronics at Radio Shack and other electronics stores around town. (Later on I did spend some money on girls, but that's a whole other story.) Even in my career as a software engineer, I'd tell people that "I make software".

I'll be posting more about the job as things progress. I'm planning to document the whole experience on a new weblog - I'll be announcing that in the next few days. So wish me luck, please. Although I feel well prepared for this job, a little luck never hurts.

Did I mention that I'm psyched? Because I am SO psyched.

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Google survey of makers. (Haven't gone through it yet, or I'd post a summary.):

Updated: It's a very short, very simple survey. Questions like: Do you consider yourself a maker? What is your age group? How often do you work on projects with a hardware (or software) component? Which of the following technologies do you want to use in a project within the next year? Etc.

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Anybody here tried Cayenne and care to offer an opinion?

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Progress on project X: the 3D printed frame with PC boards installed and wires attached.

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Photos from random other projects...

Be sure to click View Album to see them all.
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First light! This was easy - there's a "TST" pin on the serial connector. The spec says "FACTOR TEST ONL, leave this open." So naturally, I decided to hook it up and see what happens, and it's not much - but it's something. It says ** Test Mode *, FIRMWARE: V3.33, BOOT: 3.41, and then it cycles through a list of the fonts installed. Next step: talking to it from an arduino. So at least I've proved that the module works.
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