What we're about

A group where retired folks who had technical careers or have technical interests can get together to extend and/or enhance their knowledge in technical areas, and chat with people of similar interests. The target participant is a retired person with a technical background living in the close-in western suburbs of Philadelphia. However all those who can comfortably attend activities at Main Line venues (e.g., Ardmore Library) are welcome. Technical focus will be engineering and computer topics, but other scientific/technical topics are welcome, based on participant interests.

Participants can learn by attending and/or preparing to lead group meetups with an announced topic or objective. We will meet at a public venue along the Main Line where we can get an appropriate meeting room for free or a modest fee, such as a public library meeting room. Meetings will likely be daytime on weekdays, but early evening and weekend meetups will be considered depending on participant interest and the availability of an appropriate meeting location. Participation for a specific event will be capped at a maximum number of participants, based on meeting room size and the nature of that session.

Illustrative topics for events would include:
- The Raspberry Pi single-board computer
- Linux variant pros and cons
- Linux as the basis for a practical home computer
- How close are we to a practical plug-in electric car?
- The hyped G5 cellular technology
- What does developing smartphone apps entail?
- The Python programming language
- Home automation (e.g., Z-Wave technology)
- Options for Securing and Backing Up Your PC
- Online Courses (MOOCs)

This group is intended as a learning experience for both the participants and topic leaders, and an opportunity to dialog with folks on topics of common interest. Event leaders should prepare a presentation or background material and aim to facilitate an interesting discussion. However, each attendee should participate in the exchange of ideas and knowledge, and assess for themselves the value and correctness of what is discussed. While commercial products and services will inevitably be addressed, neither leaders nor participants should sell or market products or services for commercial purposes during group events. All leaders and participants should act in a respectful way to other members.

Upcoming events (2)

Arduino UNO Hardware plus Online Courses

Ardmore Library, Small Meeting Room

This will be the group's second meeting. Our learning/discussion agenda will focus on two topic areas: - Eric will talk about the hardware aspects of the Arduino microcontroller used for control, monitoring and signaling applications. This series of single-board microcontrollers provide an inexpensive platform that hobbyists and pros can use to create devices that interact with the physical world using sensors and actuators. Typical applications are: very basic robots, motion detectors and thermostats. The focus at this meeting will be on the platform hardware, including variants of Arduino, the Uno layout (the most common variant), breadboards/shields, sensors, lights and motors. [The plan is to address software and programming aspects at a future meeting.] - Sherry will talk about a significant development in education -- MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). Rich will add his two cents on his experience with online learning thus far (i.e., EdX). During and following each topic introduction, participants are encouraged to question, comment, and share their related knowledge/experience. The goal is an interesting shared learning experience for all attendees. And, as always, if you have a technology-related topic for which you would like to provide an introduction as the basis for a group discussion at an upcoming meeting, please message the Organizer for this group (Rich R.) with your proposal.

Software Control of Arduino Microcontroller

Ardmore Library, Small Meeting Room

The learning/discussion agenda for this meeting will focus on software control of an Arduino microcontroller. Specifically, Alan will review how the Arduino is programmed, and the protocol (Firmata) for using a programming language on a PC to program/control this single-board microcontroller and the hardware input/output pins that it uses to interact with the physical world. He will describe and demo the "Scratch" visual editor used to simplify programming, and the Python project he developed (s2aio) which translates between the Scratch editor and the Arduino. [Note that a hardware introduction to the Arduino microcontroller family is/was a topic for the preceding Aug. 30 group meeting.] As always, if you have a technology-related topic for which you would like to provide an introduction as the basis for a group discussion at an upcoming meeting, please message the Organizer for this group (Rich R.) with your proposal.

Past events (1)

Group Kickoff & Intro to the Raspberry Pi Single Board PC

Ardmore Library, Small Meeting Room

Photos (8)