Christopher Nies (Administrator) GreenSTEM Network Update #4

So Matt and I (Chris) worked on Solar Sunflower Saturday as a part of the AT&T EduTech Hackathon!

I was a little frustrated walking in, because I was reconstructing code that we'd lost after a computer-related accident. But Kevin and his eidetic memory saved the day, and we were able to remake the code and get our Arduino talking to the Ruby server!

This being the first time I'd ever worked with Ruby code (literally ever), I had to do a little bit of learning to get the whole thing working. Luckily, experience with Django helped quite a bit and it didn't take too much time.

There WERE 3 hours of trying to figure out problems that ultimately stemmed from our network connection. The Arduino couldn't register for Temple's guest network, so I was using Brian James Kirk's iPhone to tether (thanks Brian!) - unfortunately, something strange was going on and connections were being filtered for no reason. Once I switched to my phone for tethering it worked great!

Matt was working on getting our storage system up on another Arduino shield that he soldered himself! He also did the polish for the presentation, which we ended up ditching in favor of a live demo (we are brave, or stupid, or both).

I was also able to successfully get REAL values posted to the Ruby server, as opposed to the dummy data we were using. Coding for an Arduino (in Processing) is an interesting exercise in programming paradigms I'm less familiar with. Strong typing, for instance (I know Python is technically strongly typed, but the workarounds are so easy as to be practically intuitive).

At any rate - our team is one of five that were selected to be finalists for the $5,000 prize! We'll be presenting at an event during Philly Tech Week, by which time we hope to have the website polished, the waterproof housing complete, and an exposed API for the students to use!