Talks

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This page is here to capture any talks that people either want to see at our meetings or talks that people want to volunteer to do. Please edit this page and add either of these to the list.

Current Plan for Talks

Talks will generally be held on the 4th Thursday of each month.

  • Thursday 28th July - Frank will be giving us an overview on the use of git and github

Talks we would like to see

Please add any talks or topics that you would like to see covered at a future meeting. This is a wish list so don't worry who is going to talk about this

  • Building a multirotor
    some sort of introduction into the various parts, options and capabilities.
  • Hardening a LAMP server
    How to harden an internet facing LAMP server such that it is sufficiently secure to put live on a home network
  • Surface-mount soldering
    Even for those familiar with traditional through-hole soldering, the techniques required to attach the newer, smaller, surface-mount components can be a scary prospect.
  • Making project enclosures
    It's easy enough to make a simple electronic or electro-mechanical project which just about works. However, making it robust enough to use again and again, and good-looking enough to show to people who don'r care so much about how it works is a completely different set of skills. I'm sure some of the Makerspace crowd can manage this, but for the rest of us it's baffling.
  • Getting started with low-cost 3D design software
    While you can get a fairly long way with a 3D printer using other people's models, it becomes much more useful when you can design your own. Getting started with 3D design software is not at all obvious, though. It would be great to learn from those who have managed to find and work out how to use some low-cost 3D design software.
  • PID and control theory for robotics
    On the surface it seems easy to make a robot. Just connect some sensors, motors and servos to a microcontroller. The tricky bit comes when you try to make use of the sensor information to adjust the motors and servos. It's easy to move things too much or too little, too fast or too slow. This is where control theory comes in. It does involve some maths, but once you get a basic understanding, it makes it much easier to work out and fix what's wrong with your robot, and why it never seems to do what you want.

Talks volunteered

Please add any talks that you would like to volunteer to give (please include your name). These can be about any topic. There are two types of talks. Full length talks can be any duration. Lightning talks are lightweight 5 minute talks, it is likely that several of these would be grouped together.

Full length talks

  • PHP part 2 - Vince
    This time Vince will cover, Form field authentication (using jQuery), Contact form with email output, Flat File Manipulation
  • Introduction to Linux (for Windows users) - Tim/Jon
    Tim and Jon will present Linux in a two-part harmonious counterpoint.
    Part 1, by Tim, aims to present Linux in its context - what it means,why you might want it, and invites you to try it on your machine (no laptops will be harmed during this section of the course).
    Part 2, Jon will present the behind the scenes fundamentals of Linux showing you the power of the terminal with its short sharp tools and why in the age of graphics so many IT professionals still choose to use the command line.
  • Getting started with Arduino (the quick and easy way) - Frank Carver
    Arduino is a microcontroller system and software based(*) on Atmel ATMEGA chips and is a great choice for anyone who wants to add a bit of electronic brains to a project. When people ask me about Arduino, I usually say that it's best to get started with an official Arduino board (usually an Arduino Uno) as it connects easily to pretty much any computer and you can get started and see things happening very quickly. This talk will cover unpacking and plugging in the board, installing the Arduino IDE, loading and running some of the provided example programs, modifying and saving your own programs to work on later. This might theoretically be quick enough for a lightning talk when I do it at home, but whether that will still be true with public demo pressure, questions from the audience and my rambling answers...
    (*) OK, there are also "Arduinos" with other microcontroller chips, but that is way beyond the scope of this talk.
  • Getting started with Arduino (the cheapest way) - Frank Carver
    Arduino is a microcontroller system and software based(*) on Atmel ATMEGA chips and is a great choice for anyone who wants to add a bit of electronic brains to a project. Sometimes, however, an official Arduino board such as an Arduino Uno is too big, expensive and complicated for the project you have in mind, and a home made one is laborious and (surprisingly) not the cheapest way. With a bit of shopping around and buying in quantity (ten or twenty, say) you can get a small, pre-built, useful Arduino clone for less than a couple of pounds. This talk will cover finding and buying good Arduino deals, connecting a USB/FTDI adapter so your computer can talk to the 'Arduino', installing the Arduino IDE, loading and running some of the provided example programs, modifying and saving your own programs to work on later.
    (*) OK, there are also "Arduinos" with other microcontroller chips, but that is somewhat beyond the scope of this talk.
  • Next steps with Arduino - Frank Carver
    Arduino is a microcontroller system and software based(*) on Atmel ATMEGA chips and is a great choice for anyone who wants to add a bit of electronic brains to a project. Once you have an Arduino and have had fun with blinking LEDs, you might be stumped for what to do next. This talk is intended to provide both skills and inspiration. I will cover adding extra hardware to your projects (including adding drivers and libraries to the Arduino IDE) and extending the simple examples with more interesting programming techniques.
    (*) OK, there are also "Arduinos" with other microcontroller chips, but that is somewhat beyond the scope of this talk.

Interactive Workshops

Note that some of these suggestions may require payment of a fee for parts and materials, or that participants bring their own equipment.

  • Getting started with Arduino (the do it yourself way) - Frank Carver
    Arduino is a microcontroller system and software based(*) on Atmel ATMEGA chips and is a great choice for anyone who wants to add a bit of electronic brains to a project. Sometimes, however, an official Arduino board such as an Arduino Uno is too big, expensive and complicated for the project you have in mind. Luckily you can still use the Arduino software and community, even if you build your own simple microcontroller circuit. This talk will cover building a very simple Arduino 'clone' on a breadboard, connecting a USB/FTDI adapter so your computer can talk to the 'Arduino', installing the Arduino IDE, loading and running some of the provided example programs, modifying and saving your own programs to work on later.
    (*) OK, there are also "Arduinos" with other microcontroller chips, but that is somewhat beyond the scope of this talk.
  • Building a LED matrix and controlling it from Raspberry Pi or Arduino - Frank Carver
    8x8 LED arrays are available from most electronics suppliers, and especially low cost when ordered in bulk from China. They can serve as a fun way of displaying information and patterns from a microcontroller. For an example, see a simple video I made last year. Sourcing and wiring the components to drive the LED display can be a bit tricky, but luckily there are some nice kits available for about the same price as the LED matrix on its own. I have enough of these kits to run a workshop where participants work right through from soldering a kit together to controlling it with some software on a Raspberry Pi or Arduino. At the end of the session participants can take home the constructed display for their own projects.
  • Programming in C - Frank Carver
    The underlying 'language' of every computer or microcontroller is "Assembly language". Such "Low level" programming has its benefits, but it is not always the best language choice. Assembly is very hard to move from one kind of processor to another, can be very clumsy for large programs, and is particularly hard to understand when you have not been working on it for a while. In practice, most embedded programming is done using the language C. Invented in the 1970s as a tool in which to write the Unix operating system, C had to be both understandable and closely-tied to assembly language. Expensive commercial "minicomputers" of the day were roughly equivalent to an Arduino (32K of memory and a 16MHz clock, for example.) Ever since then C has been a vital language to learn; I have been using C on and off since about 1983, and people still pay me to do it!
    If anyone is interested, I am happy to run one or more interactive workshops to get people up to speed on C programming.
  • Programming in Java - Frank Carver
    Java is a very popular programming language, used in a huge range of contexts, and is also a good language to learn. It does not have the same ability to "shoot yourself in the foot" as assembly language, C or C++, and also does not have the same layout finickiness as Python. Although Java is common in business and web software, it was originally designed as a language for what we might now refer to as "the internet of things", and runs well on Raspberry Pi and other small systems.
    If anyone is interested, I am happy to run one or more interactive workshops to get people up to speed on C programming.
  • Github overview - Frank Carver
    Manage your projects in git repositories.

Lightning talks

  • Kossel Mini - Jon L
    a short talk about my 3D printer and my experience building and using it

Talks presented

  • Node-RED - Jon L (presented 26th February 2015)
    Node-RED is a tool for wiring together the internet of things and can be used to connect pretty much anything with an API to anything else with an API. This can create some powerful workflows and do some cool things.
  • SQL for beginners - Part One - Tim (presented 23rd April 2015)
    The first of a three part series into the basis of creating, using and managing SQL databases
  • SQL for beginners - Part Two - Tim (presented 28th May 2015)
    The second of a three part series into the basis of creating, using and managing SQL databases
  • PHP for beginners - Part 1 - Vince (presented 25th June 2015)
    This was a basic introduction to PHP, it went down very well, so there is likely to be a part 2 at some point. PHP
  • Introduction to through hole soldering - Keith Ellis (presented 24th September 2015)
    Moving an electronic design from breadboard to proto-board, or assembling a typical electronic kit, usually requires the ability to solder components into pre-drilled holes. This can be daunting for anyone new to soldering. A quick overview of through hole soldering, followed by a practical exercise, the tutorial can be seen here
  • Oscilloscopes 101 - Ben (presented 26th November 2015)
    A talk through what oscilloscopes are, what they do and how they can be used to fault find projects
  • Programming Arduino and Raspberry Pi on Windows with Visual Studio (presented 28th April 2016)
    A great talk by Alan Hume on using Microsoft Visual Studio to program both Arduino's and Raspberry Pi's
  • CakePHP - Tim (presented 26th May 2016)
    Demonstration of development framework CakePHP, Tim will demonstrate how CakePHP can create a dynamic, highly-functional website in minutes from the SQL definition of its database.
  • AutoDesk Fusion 360 walk through - Keith Ellis (presented 23rd June 2016)
    Fusion 360 is a free (to Makers/Students) 3D CAD/CAM design software which is easy to get into but with very advanced features. It can be used for produce simple 3D models to fully functioning mechanisms with joints and defined movement ranges. It has very good rendering abilities and can easily output files for 3D printers and laser cutters. This will be a very quick walk through to demonstrate some of the essential techniques to 3D modeling generally and also some of the Fusion specifics such as the Time Line. Link to presentation