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April 09, 2009
by wayward
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I asked for forums in an e-mail the day after I got my NerdKit, and lo and behold, here it is! :) I don't imagine Mike & Humberto made this just because I asked; I am just celebrating the opening :)

Zoran

April 09, 2009
by mrobbins
(NerdKits Staff)

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Hi Zoran,

Actually, I've been staring at your e-mail in my inbox for a while now... it definitely helped kick us along toward finishing this. Do you mind if I post your entire e-mail here? :-)

Mike

April 09, 2009
by wayward
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Mike,

I certainly do not mind, if you think that it has any value over and above being a slightly more boring read than the ubiquitious "lorem ipsum..." :)

Zoran

April 09, 2009
by mrobbins
(NerdKits Staff)

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From: Zoran

To: NerdKits Support


Hi digital nerds,

I got my NerdKit in the mail yesterday morning and went through the tutorial during the day. I've built the temperature sensor design, read a little through the MCU datasheet, tinkered with the code, and I must say I am satisfied on the whole. I consider myself a "power newbie": I played with electronics since I was a little kid (disassembling battery-powered cars and like was the bane of my family, who finally decided it was wiser to buy me an electronics starter kit than to waste money on playthings which end up in pieces) up until I was 13 or so. I had books, components, diagrams, tools, wires, what have you. What was lacking was a systematic approach. It was excruciating to build a blinker or a radio receiver that worked perfectly, but I couldn't for the life of me figure why. Books were of no help to a 13-year-old: at that point we haven't yet covered Kirchhoff's laws in school; that came only later; and books I had were either too simple ("connect this to that") or too complex for my understanding (solid state physics, semiconductors, etc.). Anyhow, I still have a ton of components back home in Serbia, and I hope to give them a new life with the NerdKit.

The big thing happened when I was 13 -- we bought an IBM XT compatible. That turned me into a programmer. Some 17 years later, I am able to skim the code you provided and generously commented, and figure out what it does at a glance. What I do need at this stage are two things: - a comprehensive tutorial on electronics, starting from the basic stuff (I'll check out the 6.002 on OCW, and there should be a plethora of books online anyhow); - a place to bother people who actually do have experience in practical electronics. How do I use my multimeter to determine the characteristics of a transistor? Can someone help me hook up this LCD display from an old Palm Pilot to the MCU? Are components bearing the same name, but of different manufacturers, supposed to behave exactly the same? Etc. etc. So instead of abusing your offer to ask you directly for help, how about setting up some forums/IRC channels for the newbies and willing gurus to congregate? There should be lots of free forum hosts around, and freenode.net provides IRC channels as well.

While setting forums and an IRC channel may be a matter of a few minutes, I understand that actually moderating those is a time-consuming task, and I would naturally understand if you did think about this and rejected it for the same (or some other) reason. However, forums have a way of letting a product live a life of its own; users can whine, boast, post their designs, leave feedback, vote on polls and write tutorials and explanations that would otherwise be difficult to find online. (Also, a vibrant community means more initiates.)

Well, that's enough from me. Thank you for putting this thing together. It combines really nicely with my software/hardware experience and, actually, has already provided me with a few of those "Aha!" moments -- which will, of that I'm sure, continue to happen for the foreseeable future.

Keep it up,

best, Zoran

April 09, 2009
by wayward
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Chuck Norris Approves Chuck Norris approves This Post

April 09, 2009
by Kevin
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this forum is a great idea......

now others can benefit from my questions & mistakes. ;-)

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