TL;DR - It was a lot of fun.
This month’s PyLadies Pune meetup was held in
reserved-bit, the new hackerspace in Pune. The
microbits were sent by Ntoll, without his help this
workshop was not possible.
Anwesha left home earlier so that she can join in from
the beginning. I came in late, as I had to get Py (our 2 years old daughter)
ready for the day. By the time I reached in the
hackerspace, the rest of the participants were
discussing PyCon Pune, and how are they going to
represent PyLadies in the conference.
After having a large round of coffee, I started with setting up the laptops for
Microbit development. That involved getting the latest Mu
editor. I precached the binaries on my laptop and shared
over the local network for faster access. We also had 3 people with Windows on
the laptops, so we downloaded the device driver as explained in the Mu
documentation. By this time we had 10 participants in the meetup.
Just when I started handing over the devices to each participant, I figured
that I left the main pack of the devices back at home.
Sayan ran back to our house and brought us
the packet of Microbits. Meanwhile, all participants wrote a script to find out
the groups of the current user in the Linux systems. We shared a group file for
the Windows users.
Programming with Microbit
I spoke about the hardware and backstory for few minutes. Then we dived into
the world of MicroPython. Everyone started scrolling their favorite message
into the display. People also opened up the official documentation of the
project. They started exploring the API of their own. After a few fun trial and
errors, we moved into the world of music, and speech. I never tried these two
modules before. Everyone plugged their earphones into the microbits using the
alligator-chip cables. We also learned about handling button presses, and
people were experimenting all the things together.
In the last part of the workshop, I demoed the radio module. I think that was
the most fun part of the whole day. People started sending out various messages
and seeing them live on each other's devices. Siddhesh and Nisha went outside
of the hackerspace to find till how far they can receive the messages. It seems
these small devices can cover a large area. People had enough time to
experiment on their own. Looking at the enjoyment at their faces, we could
understand how much fun they were having. We are going to see more of this
during the PyCon Pune devsprints.