Kushal Das

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PyLadies Pune meetup, February 2017

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.

The morning

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 microbit-micropython 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.

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