DNN To Rule The 3rd Dimension!
Catchy title, right? Thursday's DNN User Group meeting was an exciting session of exploration where we took DNN in a new direction!
We'll often learn about new modules or functions within DNN, and occasionally will be introduced to a new language or library that's on the rise, but it's not often we cross over from the digital and on-screen world over to physical tech. It's a session like this that gets you excited about new possibilities and reminds me why I loved computers and technology as a kid. That sense of wonder about something, some piece of tech "from the future" or from science fiction that suddenly was in your hands, ready to command and build with. It's exhilarating!
Meeting Opening & Sponsor TekSystems
The meeting began with socializing and introductions as we had some new faces attending the meeting at the Microsoft campus as well as online. Our long-time sponsor, TekSystems had a new rep for us to meet and we enjoyed meeting with him and the sponsored food for the evening. Promotion and sponsor standing aside, TekSystems has helped several of us find new talent and had helped one SoFri member find a position recently. Reach out to them if you're looking for jobs or talent in the Charlotte area in the ASP.NET and DNN field!
Presenter Clint Patterson, Particle & [Clint's Invention]
This was an exciting session where Clint Patterson, formerly of DNN Corp and now with Arrow Consulting, presented two things that are close to his Southern heart... hunting and DNN. Those two mixed as he started to get introduced to the idea of the Internet of Things (IOT) and an ability to create new inventions. Clint walked us through his steps of learning as an introduction to IOT building from Arduino to Particle. And like getting to glimpse Frankenstein's monster, but with tech, and as a good invention of Southern pride, Clint introduced us to [Clint's Invention].
Those of you with us that night got to see [Clint's Invention] in person or by video and towards the end of the night were even able to control it online through his DNN site. But, here on the website, since it's a bit of a secret for the moment, I'll simply refer to it in mystery as [Clint's Invention]. Catch one of us at a next meeting or user conference and we'll be glad to describe it : )
Since this was a session that walked through so much introduction and shared info for a new topic, the best thing to do will be to watch the video that we're posting of the session. [Clint's Invention] will be stripped from the video, however the teaching topics and content will all be there.
For the purpose of this session recap, I'll run through a few of the points of the session as bullet points and will provide links to the technology and equipment described. Again, this will be a poor substitue to watching the video we have, but it will help you follow along with the points and more importantly, the links to materials ; )
- Clint started by talking about Arduino, one of the cores of the maker movement / IOT area that you might have heard of before.
- He gave a link to his presentation that we went through on screen
- Mentioned the introductory Arduino book as a good introduction that he goes back to for concepts, even when dealing with Particle work
- Talked about Arduino, combination with the Arduino Shield to make it speak to the web
- Introduction to breadboards and how they work together
- Introduction to Particle as the new wave of chips and hardware... just out of Kickstarter, the current one is WIFI communication based, the newer one coming out will be CELLULAR
- Clint described his journey with them from Kickstarter through to platform. Most of his journey of discovery was tweeted! It's fun to watch the progress as he first signs up, then gets equipment then starts to make things work. Check it out on his Twitter feed, CBPSC...
- We next talked about motors and servos with a shout out to servocity.com for helping Clint out. Notes on servos (motors) and relays and mossfets and the learning process while soldering, melting things, and making successes along the way.
- We then jumped in to some starter work with IO and Particle, with references found in http://docs.particle.io
- Our first test with "blinky" and first look at Particle's code that's jQuery like when you look at it... We moved then to "Blinky Blinky 2" that showed commands going from the code over the Internet/cloud down to the breadboard and Particle in the room. Pretty cool!
- We then moved from seeing the click commands in a webpage loaded on your phone or laptop to then control the particle blink rate. So we moved from hard-coded commands in action to ones we could control from a page within DNN!
- We talked a little about that purpose where DNN could be involved for people in the IOT community to have a quick and easy way to allow review/control of an IOT device through a DNN web page that is restricted with user login, tracking and more. That ability to have web functionality controlled and organized in a way that we're familiar with doing is something that a person from the hardware/maker community side of things might not be comfortable with. DNN can make that easy!
- Next we got moving! Clint showed the see stepper motors that are magnet driven just like high-end fans. They make no noise but are heavier and run hot...
- He then switched gears and did an IFFT (IF THIS THEN THAT) integration with Particle and Clint sent out a tweet from the Particle when it went status settings showed that the blink rate was going fast
- At the end of the presentation, Clint ventured further into the physical world to talk a little about 3D printing and the things that he's gone through to prepare [Clint's Invention]. We need to give a shout out to http://www.3dhubs.com which helped out... they're like the shared printing world... the UBER for 3D printing ; )
- Clint talked about prototyping in wood and making things for [Clint's Invention] and the difficulties of scale, so he connected to shared online 3d printing to make custom parts. As a novice, Clint quickly learned about CAD and 3D structure and got loads of great help from Richard Litrell so shout out there too!
- Though we met Dan at the beginning of the meeting, I forgot to ask him to speak up while in the session, so we had Dan Thyer with Logical Advantage (past sponsor of SoFri DNN events and DNN heavyweight in the Charlotte area!) speak briefly about the Charlot IOT group. Check them out to learn more about all of this!
Particle - Photon
I know this is the bottom of the chip, but MAN it looks so cool!
Photon Getting Started
Clint's List of Resources:
The meeting wrapped up with some quick sound bytes about a potential DNN community user conference that may happen early in 2016 and our possibility to help sponsor, support and put on the conference with the hosts... more info on that as we learn more.
We grumbled a bit about the exciting DNN 8 module competition and the need for some finalized, much talked about templates to work within... we'll check in on those again next session!
We wrapped up and as the cameras and recorders were off, got to take a close-up peek at [Clint's Invention] as it was dismantled for travel, getting a chance to see the parts in action. Exciting stuff Clint!
Next Meeting December 15 - SoFri Christmas Party
Our next meeting is our annual Christmas party. We'll be dining at the Melting Pot in Huntersville and a good time will be had by all! Annual tradition of "worst client story ever" wins SoFri cred for the night. We'll see everyone again at our next standard meeting, January 21st.
Update On [Clint's Invention] - Tech Turkey - Internet Controlled Decoy !
We were thrilled to see Clint's passions come together in his idea to create a more realistic, remote-controlled turkey decoy - robo - creation of awesomeness! During the DNN user group meeting, we were able to see the device both with and without his covering and were able to see the combination of the 3D-printed body structure, combination of motors and counter weights and were able to send control commands to the DNN website and watch them call the robo-turkey to action real-time. When we passed the information to the people online, it was fun watch it move and rotate while we were continuing through the meeting and presentation points.
My favorite thing about the combination of Particle controls and DNN site building together is that it reignites the passion that we all felt when we first started working with DNN... the idea that we could build anything and create any online funcitonality for sites and client projects... the ability to think of an idea and code, create, build... all now brought into the physical world of things. It's an exciting time to be a tech-head!
Clint has released a few videos and a blog post about the creation and I'm glad to share them with everyone to check out. Congrats Clint!
Clint's We Hunt SC website Tech Turkey introduction: http://wehuntsc.com/Blog/PostId/468/introducing-the-tech-turkey-internet-controlled-decoys
Tech Turkey - Internet Controlled Decoy - YouTube Video
"I’ve been hacking on decoys lately. Check out the first creation, the turkey decoy that you can control from your smart phone, tablet, or anywhere"
SouthernFriedDNN November Meeting - IOT + DNN Presentation
For everyone who missed the meeting, here's the gotomeeting session that's been edited and posted to youtube.