Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Life and Times of an Open Source Hardware Newbie

Hi! I’m Chris (Chris #2 it seems), and it’s been months since I’ve gotten to hang out with Matt. We live in different cities but met through mutual friends who are into DIY electronics and used to hang out all the time. During the past few months or so I accepted that he was just incredibly busy with whatever it was he was doing. Well, as it turns out, he’s become better friends with someone/something by the name of Arduino. :-)

After looking deeper into the details of Matt's hobby, I realized that I didn’t understand a word that was coming out of his mouth, so I tried to figure out whether my incomprehension was a result of stupidity, or sheer, bent up, jealous rage. It was both. At any rate, I found myself wanting to fit in and decided to sort out what the hurdles of adopting this new hobby would be. I also found myself facing a challenge, not having any kind of engineering background, or any experience dealing with electronics (you know, besides iPods and every other trendy consumer electronic device that 99% of the world owns).


Matt was curious as to whether or not someone so inexperienced, incompetent, and pedestrian (remember when we were friends?) could crawl their way into open source hardware and start understanding his passion. So I asked him how I could get started. Before I finished this sentence he blurted out, "Arduino Duemilanove", which I made him spell of course. I was told that they were about $30 and he was nice enough to tell me that I could get one here...

He left me with these two steps to begin with:

1) Buy an Arduino

2) Explore the official Arduino website here

In the mean time, I’m going to do some research on what an Arduino is, does, and what the community is talking about. I’m curious as to how many other people are interested in this hobby and how long it takes someone with no such background to become accustomed to the Arduino and the entire open source hardware community. That’s a perfect fit for me, because I have absolutely 0 background in computer programming, engineering, or anything related to Arduino stuff!

I’m excited and can’t wait to report my progress. I know that when I was an undergrad the best way I picked up new subjects and topics was to learn them in parallel with my friends taking the same courses. If anyone wants to tag along and has any questions for me, or Matt, or the other experts out there, please let me know so we can struggle together and feel sorry for each other when things don’t work - ha!

Thanks guys,

Chris D, #2, etc.

1 comment:

Zach said...

I am excited to see where this leads. I just purchased an Arduino starter kit and when i get back from deployment i have some fun projects i wish to begin. Keep us updated!