Tasty Treats and New Treats, Too

Dave Hrynkiw
August 19, 2011

A couple of weeks back we held an open house for Calgary's Protospace group. Many BBQ'd items were consumed, many objects were lazored, and many people seemed to be walking around in a stupor of admiration for all the nifty bits and pieces of equipment we have on hand. We had a good time visiting with each other, and it was a nice chance to meet some great people and fellow hackers. They're currently in the middle of a bit of reorganization, but if any of you reading this are based in the city and looking for some good company and an equipped work area, we recommend you check out Calgary Protospace's site.

Why do we bring this up? Shortly after said open house,  Protospace and Solarbotics teamed up to with Calgarians (Calgaryers? Calgarizers? Calgaryonians?) Claudia and Vlad to run the "Illuminated Landscapes" project. It was based on the neat idea to plaster a neglected area of town with tiny LEDs (attached to a coincell battery, kinda like throwies), making the landscape look all sorts of alive and magical. It turned out pretty well, and it looked like all the participants had a fantastic time. There was even a follow-up event this past Wednesday. Anyways, we just thought it was a cool idea that was a lot of fun to implement. You can check out the official site here, that has some additional photos.

Anyways, on to the delicious meat of the weekly new product post:

Carbon Monoxide Sensor - MQ-7 Bus Pirate CableBus Pirate
IC Hook with PigtailArduino Mega ADK for Android DevicesiPhone to Serial Cable

  • Carbon Monoxide Sensor - MQ-7 - Suitable for sensing CO concentrations in the air. The MQ-7 can detect CO concentrations anywhere from 20 to 2000ppm.
  • Bus Pirate Cable - Here is a 10-pin breakout cable for the Bus Pirate or use it for other things like a colorful collar for your pet or a 10-pin ISP header breakout, you know....whatever you want!
  • Bus Pirate - Created by Ian Lesnet and featured on Hack a Day, this is a troubleshooting tool that communicates between a PC and any embedded device over most standard serial protocols and a range of 0-5.5VDC.
  • IC Hook with Pigtail - These are good quality IC test hooks with a male connection wire. Instead of a single hook, these have two hooks that are capable of grabbing very small points (like DIP IC legs).
  • Arduino Mega ADK for Android Devices - A combination of hardware and software designed to help people interested in designing accessories for Android based tablets & phones. On the flip side you could also using it to add a touch screen interface to your supporting hardware!
  • iPhone/iOS to Serial Cable - The Redpark Serial Cable connects iOS devices to RS-232 serial devices. It is designed for use with iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPod touch (fourth generation), iPad 2 and iPad.

Surprise CakeIn other, completely less-relevant news, it appears that some of our higher-ups have temporarily left town. We were left with explicit instructions that under absolutely zero circumstances were they to come back to any surprises of any sort. This particularly applied for Cheryl, our manager of general operations and whip wielder extraordinaire, who is out gallivanting around the countryside on some well-deserved vacation time. So to celebrate our eager-to-please productivity, we took a break from fanning controlling the flames to get us a cake. Just to clarify, it is part of strict company policy to purchase (and consume) cake for accomplishing anything of note. Released a new kit? Get a cake. Made the same-day shipping deadline for a big order? Get another cake. Finished sweeping the floor? Cake. Sharpened all the pencils? FECHEZ-VOUS LE GATEAU!

This put us into a bit of a conundrum, however. You see, we currently have two Russians on staff - one in RnD, one in Graphic Design. Our frequent intake of this moist and delicious treat, apparently, was viewed as rather alarming. Being that we strive to make all our staff feel at home, we asked ourselves the question, "What sort of tasty, refreshing summer frozen treat would Russians appreciate?" The answer was immediately obvious. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Hammer and Sickle-sicle. Ice cream center glazed in a tasty fruit syrup, with the slightest touch of 60W 300DPI laser engraving (two passes at 100% speed, and 40% power, if anyone is curious). Mmm, it even had the delicate aftertaste of Useless Machine residue. It was delicious (and, I kid you not, completely real).

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to the anti-flames duty. We're gunna get such an awesome cake once we're done putting out the fire...


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