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Sparkfun National Tour Visits Maui October 2013

Sparkfun National Tour Visits Maui October 2013

Sparkfun Electronics has been running a National Tour – driving an RV around the mainland USA giving workshops. We arranged for them to come over to Maui for a workshop on October19 2013, alas without the RV. Maui County Office of Economic Development agreed to help defray the cost. Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) agreed to host the workshop at their Malcolm Center for free.

Brian, Jim and Ben at start of hike - still dry.

Brian, Jim and Ben at start of hike – still dry.

Sparkfun sent a team of three terrific trainers – Brian Huang, Jim Lindblom and Ben Leduc-Mills. They arrived late Tuesday evening, after a weekend on Oahu. They taught a class for the Oahu Makerspace on the weekend and visited some schools at the start of the week. I met them wednesday morning for breakfast at Market Fresh Bistro in Makawao, my favorite dining spot. Then we went for a hike out in the Bamboo Forest. This is a decent short hike with nice water falls. The guys were quite happy to get out into the jungle.

Sparkfun Team

Sparkfun Team and Jerry Isdale at upper end of Bamboo Forest Hike

Redboard arduino clone undergoing environmental testing

Redboard arduino clone undergoing environmental testing

Did I say Hike? Ya gotta swim part of this hike.

Did I say Hike? Ya gotta swim part of this hike.

Thursday we had our regular Maui Makers public night meeting, hosted by The UHMC IEEE Student Chapter. Brian gave a nice presentation about Sparkfun, open hardware, etc. This is the auditorium in the new Science Building at U. of Hawaii, Maui College. It is a terrific venue.

Brian giving talk at Maui Makers Public Meeting.

Brian giving talk at Maui Makers Public Meeting.

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Friday we met up at the Makawao 3rd Friday street fair. I didnt get any pictures of this unfortunately, but the guys had a good time. Soulyx (with guitarists brother/makers Devin and Brendan Sylva) were playing some great Funk/Soul.

Saturday was The Workshop. We had 28/30 registrants attending, including 4 middle/high/college teachers and 9 students. Brian gave the talk, which gave some background on the arduino, then dove into making a couple sketches. Surfside Deli brought in a great lunch around noon. After lunch break, we got back into programming a bit and then Brian had people team up and Make Something. We provided some basic tools, cardboard, etc and the teams went at it. I was quite impressed to see what they came up with in the short time available.

Brian H teaching Arduino workshop

Brian H teaching Arduino workshop

Six students from Maui High and JD Armstrong from UH Institute for Astronomy

Six students from Maui High and JD Armstrong from UH Institute for Astronomy

Happy Kihei Charter Middle School student

Happy Kihei Charter Middle School student

Evelyn Zayas, teacher at Kihei Charter HS, working with middle school student

Evelyn Zayas, teacher at Kihei Charter HS, working with middle school student

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After the workshop, the team and I went back to my place in Haiku for a meet&greet with bon fire.

Meet the Sparks party after workshop

Meet the Sparks party after workshop

On Sunday, JD Armstrong gave the Sparkfun team and myself a tour of the Faulkes telescope up on top of Haleakala. If you ever get a chance to go up and see it – do NOT miss the opportunity.

Sparkfun at IFAHaleakala2
Haleakala
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All pics from the visit are on the Maui Makers Flickr site.

About Jerry

Founder of MauiMakers. Previously 30+ yrs as software engineer in bleeding edge tech such as UNIX(1978+), Computer Animation, Multimedia, Virtual Reality, Games, Location Based Entertainment, Military C4I, DARPA Research, etc. Thought FabLab was great new thing, so learned machine shop tech and moved to Maui to start one.

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