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 Post subject: 8 bit seminars/workshops
PostPosted: 17 Jan 2016 21:27 
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Joined: 19 Jan 2013 22:22
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Hi furries!

To go with this year's LSF theme "Pixelfurs" I'm considering holding one or two seminars/workshops on the subject of 8-bit-processors, home computers and the like, if anyone is interested in such things. As a computer scientist and once-proud owner of a C64 30 years ago possible topics are:

- The Home Computer: a brief history of the time when the 8 bit machines started to appear in private households. An overview of available systems from manufacturers like Commodore, Apple (yes, the iPhone company!) and others, what could one do with them and how did they influence the way we use computers.

- Inside an 8 Bit System: These systems are so simple they can still teach us a lot about computers even today without exploding our poor heads. Taking the the C64 as an example, we will see how the hard- and firmware are laid out, what compromises were necessary and how one could do something useful with it.

- They're Not Dead Yet: 8 bit systems can be found everywhere today, as microcontrollers with a wide range of applications. How does one wirte software for these, and why is it useful (and fun!) to know about them? The Atmel AVR/Arduino will be our platform here, but we may also cover cross-compilers for old Commodores.

- A Modern Operating System: The C64 comes with its operating system and BASIC interpreter in ROM. But of course, you can replace this by something new to teach an old horse new tricks. Learn how the system boots, what things are necessary to initialize hardware etc. And maybe replace the BASIC shell with something more Unix-like? Even bring the poor thing to the internet?

- Emulators: If you don't have any working hardware from days past, any modern CPU can do a full-system emulation of a home computer. While it's not so much fun than the real thing, they are are great way to learn something – both on the "guest" and the "host" side of the virtualization.

Of course, I will not have time for all of these, so maybe I'll hold a poll here which one you like.
Also, if you have other suggestions or would like to cooperate with me, I'll be very happy :)

[asc]

P.S. As my original hardware from the days past is all dead, any working specimen would be very much appreciated!


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PostPosted: 20 Jan 2016 13:55 
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Joined: 23 Apr 2012 22:53
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This sounds very interesting. I think that would fit perfect. Maybe we can talk about when and where we can hold the sigs.


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PostPosted: 20 May 2016 14:33 
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Joined: 24 Apr 2016 01:44
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
I'm happy to contribute a discussion on Arduinos and related microcontrollers (including the new ESP8266 wireless LAN enabled microcontrollers) and how they can be used in sensor driven lighting and animation for fursuits ... to give you some idea, I've attached a picture of my outfit for the Fur the More 2016 convention. :-)


Attachments:
File comment: SincX at Fur the More 2016
photo_2016-04-26_07-46-09-small.jpg
photo_2016-04-26_07-46-09-small.jpg [ 16.04 KiB | Viewed 7825 times ]
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PostPosted: 20 May 2016 17:21 
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Joined: 23 Apr 2012 22:53
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Oh Microcontrollers for/on Fursuits can be a really intersting Topic for this con. Maybe this would be the best Topic :)

Hm, what would you Need for the discussion/Workshop?


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PostPosted: 21 May 2016 12:22 
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Joined: 24 Apr 2016 01:44
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I'm glad you like the idea!

If it is just a discussion, maybe all I need is a projector so I can show some code. Depending on how much time we have though, if people wish to try and build something I'm happy to recommend a list of parts to purchase (primarily Arduinos, WS2811 LED strips and a few simple sensors). And of course those wishing to try and program things will also need a laptop and an internet connection (although I can also bring some programs on USB sticks if the internet availability there is unknown). I can also bring some equipment although as I am coming from Australia, and already have to bring some equipment for my meetings, I will be limited in what I can supply.


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PostPosted: 24 May 2016 12:19 
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A projector will be no Problem. But huw much programmer-skills will be needed for the code? As I think that there will be many Furs who don't have any skills in programming this might be a bit too complicated.
But If you can show some examples for the use of microcontrollers this could be vers interesting even for beginners.


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PostPosted: 26 May 2016 14:01 
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Joined: 24 Apr 2016 01:44
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For programming I plan on having some existing code ... for complete beginners they may do something as simple as just changing some numbers in an array to change colour patterns, something like that. So I think it will be possible for a wide variety of skill levels to participate.

I think the bigger problem may be that those wishing to experiment will need their own Arduinos, WS2811 LED strips, sensors (if desired) and laptop computer to program with. I am of course happy to provide details of places to purchase and specifications.

I'm thinking maybe the focus is on a demonstration and then for a (possibly smaller) group of people we do some practical development on the sidelines of the event?


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PostPosted: 28 May 2016 19:44 
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Joined: 23 Apr 2012 22:53
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I'm not ure if that many People would be interested in lening a programmer code. And for a sig that could be too complex to show.
I guess it would be better if you show (on small videos or pictures) what can be possible with these chips ans´d tell something about it.
Programming or Showing a Programm code I guess would be better for some small exercises in small groups, who is really interested in it.


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PostPosted: 13 Jun 2016 17:45 
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Joined: 19 Jan 2013 22:22
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SincX wrote:
I'm thinking maybe the focus is on a demonstration and then for a (possibly smaller) group of people we do some practical development on the sidelines of the event?


I think it's a good idea to split the presentation/demonstration from the coding session. So inexperienced furs can get some idea of what is possible without being bored by the inevitable delays during the practical part. I once hat to sit through a multi-hour workshop where some but not all (including me) had an Arduino. I had to wait for what seemed hours :) before everyone hat their device set up before the relevant information for me came along.

Anyway, a microcontroller workshop would be great, thank you for the offer!

-- [asc]


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PostPosted: 18 Jun 2016 00:35 
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Joined: 24 Apr 2016 01:44
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I agree, I think splitting the workshop into "Here are the kinds of things we can do and the rough outline of how we do them" that's suitable for everyone, then a more focused "OK let's do this" would be best. Actually two weeks ago I ran this class for another camp group in this manner and it seemed to work out quite well, with about half of the attendees remaining for the second half.

Is anyone interested in taking part and bringing their own parts so they can take their creations home? :-) I can write up a basic parts list if you like.


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