Dorkbot DC March Meeting

Tuesday, 25 March 2008
7 PM – 9 PM (ET)
Smith Hall of Art, Room 114
George Washington University
801 22nd St NW
Washington, DC 20037

Tom Lee : Cheaper Arduino Wifi

Lady Ada's XPort-based Arduino shield.Bringing ethernet connectivity to the Arduino for around fifty dollars, Lady Ada’s XPort Shield has gotten people understandably excited. But with a little elbow grease and a custom firmware, you can do even better: a $10 component can bring Ethernet, wifi and a full Linux environment to your microcontroller project. Not bad, right? Tom Lee will explain how, and show a simple Arduino-based ambient display that uses the approach to show Metro schedule information.

Tom Lee is a DC web developer and technologist who contributes to DCist, Techdirt and whatever other blogs will have him.

Gareth Branwyn : Jack Parsons: The Original Burning Man

Photo of Jack Parsons with a solid-fuel engine prototype.

Gareth will present a “Maker Profile” on under- appreciated American rocketry pioneer Jack Parsons, based on “Darkside Rocketeer,” his piece on Parsons running in MAKE Volume 13.

Jack Parsons is one of the most important figures in the history of American rocketry and space development. He invented the JATO (jet-assisted take-off) motor– America’s first rocket program, co-founded the Jet Propulsion Laborartory and Aerotech Corporation, and created the formulations for solid rocket motors still in use today. Unfortunately, Parsons’ controversial private life — as a practitioner of ceremonial magick, a follower of infamous British occultist Aleister Crowley, and as a devout hedonist — has caused many of his technical achievements to be shoved into the closet of history. Parsons’ untimely death in a mysterious home lab explosion, has only added to the sordid nature of his story.

Gareth will talk not only of Parsons, but the group of fellow amateurs and CalTech students he worked with, known as The Suicide Squad, and the amazing intellectual backdrop of Pasadena and CalTech in the 1920s and ’30s.

Gareth Branwyn is a writer on technology and fringe culture. He is a contributing editor to MAKE, writes for the Make: Blog, and is an editor for O’Reilly’s Make: Books imprint.

Welcome to Dorkbot DC!