Arduino Miniconf at LCA2010

Tue, Jan 19 2010

Posted by Jonathan Oxer

Wow, it's all over! The Arduino Miniconf at LCA2010 was a blur of craziness but I had an absolute blast. It was the most fun conference event I've been to in, well, ever. It started with a hardware assembly session to give all the software geeks a chance to use a soldering iron (some for the very first time) and build their own Pebble shield.

By lunchtime about 30 people had finished assembling their boards, and there were a lot of happy hackers around when they powered up their Arduino and got messages up on the LCD.

Both Vik Olliver and Patrick Herd brought along RepRaps to entertain the crowd. The morning assembly session and the early-afternoon "Introduction to the Pebble" sessions were run by Andy Gelme (seen in the white T-shirt and blue cap with his back to the camera above) who did an awesome job, and he was followed by a great line-up of speakers. A big thankyou to those who spoke at the miniconf:

  • Andy Gelme
  • Justin Mclean
  • Philip Lindsay
  • Peter Chubb
  • Nathan Seidle
  • Vik Olliver
  • Marcus Schappi

Truly a 5-star line-up, and with a great range of interesting topics that sparked lively discussion.

Thanks also to all the helpers: the reason the hardware session worked out so well was that we had about 16 experienced people willing and able to give their own time to help out those with less experience. We ended up with a helper:participant ratio of about 1:2 and paired up participants, so every pair had at least one helper and nobody was left floundering around on their own.

Two participants got minor solder burns (not enough to need proper first aid, more of the "ow, that hurt!" variety) so to make it up to them they both received prizes.

Speaking of which, we were lucky enough to have Apress provide a few copies of Practical Arduino and Nice Gear provide vouchers for two Duemilanoves and a pair of XBee modules, which we then distributed to participants. There are a bunch of other people who contributed to the success of the Miniconf including many members of Connected Community Hackerspace in Melbourne who pre-assembled many of the hardware packs. Mitch Davis, in particular, chased down cheap deals on parts so we could make it as cheap as possible for everyone to take part.

Finally, but perhaps most importantly of all, a big thankyou to Luke Weston who put in so much work preparing the Pebble hardware and then didn't even get to attend the Miniconf. The Pebble PCB is his design, and while everyone at the Miniconf in Wellington was having fun assembling his creation he was sitting in Melbourne watching it on a live stream and wishing he was there. Luke, your efforts are greatly appreciated by a lot of people.

I'll follow up later with links to slides and other resources for the various talks delivered during the Miniconf.