Spring Festival to the New Generation, by Jun Peng

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Peng and his young son Yu Tsing

There are one million young people coming to Shenzhen every year from different parts of China. They graduated from their training center, college or university and they come to find a job here, to start a small business here, and to get married here. As one man of the one million people, I came here from Hunan in 2005 and I have spent 7 Spring Festivals here in Shenzhen. In the first three years, I worked in a computer market helping people to fix or upgrade their personal computers, networks, and printers. The business was small and I didn’t have so much money to pay expenses on travelling during Spring Festival or for the traditional red envelope gifts for my relatives, old people and small kids in the village who are looking forwards to get some extra money on Spring Festival.

Then I worked for an International school for two years, where I have about 2 weeks holiday on Christmas and one week on Spring Festival. So I went back to my hometown on Christmas instead of Spring Festival… there were too many people travelling, hurried during that time, too crowded a train to get sleep, and too tiring a trip to have some peaceful time. You know… it’s better just to stay in my Shenzhen home.

Then, starting in 2010, I started a small business called YourDuino.com with my friend Terry, getting Arduino stuff for people at good price. The business is running good, so now on Spring Festival, when shipping is stopped, I just stay in Shenzhen, packing orders for people. We stock most of the products before Spring Festival, and also I can work on new products, and contact and talk with factory guys who stay in Shenzhen for Spring Festival.

There are more and more young people born after the 80′s and 90′s who are criticized by the older people who say that they are staying away from the Chinese tradition. They stay away from their family and relatives, they don’t visit people so often, they don’t live with their family when they get married, and the biggest problem is, they don’t get back home on Spring Festival. It is a tradition in China: “Poor or rich, stay with family on Spring Festival.”

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Every small village street has a fireworks shop

But the young reformers think differently. We can go back and visit our family and relatives in other plentiful times, we can do some things differently than the Feast and Fireworks, we can take the good things from the tradition and improve the things we don’t agree with.

I really enjoy the fresh air in Shenzhen during the Spring Festival with 60% of people back to their hometown. When we go shopping in the supermarket, fly a kite in the park, take sport on the playground, hike on the mountain, travel by bus or metro in an unhurried way, it’s really great! I will stay here with my wife and young son, have a good rest, and get ready for the crowd and haste again.

MakerSpaces in Libraries? !

ALA_SeattleMWM2013_VERT_ColorMakerspaces in Libraries: An Idea Whose Time has Come  … by Mary Alice Osborne

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Terry at ALA Seattle

The American Library Association  Midwinter Conference was abuzz with ideas and energizing conversations about how libraries can highlight and support the DIY movement by installing a Makerspace with high-tech tools such as 3D printers, Arduinos and hands-on, creative activities.

In their presentation: “The New Stacks: the Maker Movement Comes to Libraries”, Dale Dougherty, founding editor of MAKE Magazine, and maker Travis Good, discussed the DIY culture and the return to the days when young people were often “making” things. Today, these activities are enabled by Makerspaces. This is a unique opportunity for libraries to reinvent their space in this era of rapid change.

Are Libraries Ready for the Transition to a Makerspace? Travis presented an overview of his cross-country tour, visiting libraries at different stages of creating Makerspaces within their facility. From his observations, he described the environmental issues that must be addressed for a Library to plan and implement a successful Makerspace. The Library’s culture must be comfortable with an environment that is somewhat different: Noisy vs. Quiet, On-going Programs vs. Single use, Making tools vs. Traditional tools, Multi-use vs. Dedicated space, and Dirty vs. Clean environment.

At ALA, YourDuino founder Terry King and I (his Librarian wife Mary Alice Osborne) met with vendors and librarians, promoting Arduino projects and the YourDuino Low-Cost Starter Set as a great resource for Makerspaces and for Arduino enthusiasts in general. Terry demonstrated an Arduino-controlled indoor/outdoor temperature sensor, that can be viewed by anyone online. He presented a talk about Arduino: What it is and how it is the “Erector Set” for future generations of Makers. His presentation follows.

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At the MAKE Magazine booth in the Vendor Hall

ALA Seattle was an excellent opportunity for Terry and I to learn about the Maker movement in Libraries. YourDuino.com wants to strongly support the Maker movement with kits and educational materials to help people learn how to use these uniquely creative devices!

Examples of Makespaces in Libraries:

The Detroit Public library has created a Makerspace. Steve Teeri is Makerspace conductor at Detroit Public Library’s HYPE (Helping Young People Excel) Teen Center. Here is his presentation that we saw at ALA:

Here is an article about one of the first Makerspaces in a Library: FabLab at Fayettville NY Public Library: http://www.libraryasincubatorproject.org/?p=3335

If you are involved with a school or library and want to promote the idea that Shared Resources can go beyond books and DVDs to Tools and Educational Kits, and Spaces for Makers to meet, learn and collaborate on projects, follow us here, or email maryalice@yourduino.com

Are the Pipes Freezing at Home?

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Our Log Cabin in the snow

Winter in Vermont

The cold winds are blowing here in Vermont and snow is blanketing the earth! Especially in the winter, it would be nice to know what the overnight lows were as compared to last year, the wind velocity and other weather information in an easy to access platform. Have you ever wished that you could keep track of weather data and conditions inside your home from remote locations, (like sunny Florida)? Well now you can. You can use Arduino connected sensors to create a home monitoring system that is part of the “internet of things” using a cool website created by Kirill Scherba.

Terry recently installed a YourDuinoRobo1 with an Ethernet shield connected to sensors to be able to monitor the outdoor temperature, light and humidity at our cabin in Vermont. You can see the data online at: http://ksduino.org/?devices&device_id=3330  .

We also added temperature sensors inside the cabin to be able to check if things are OK when we are travelling. Once the wood stove burned down, only a small backup propane heater was keeping pipes from freezing.

KSduino.org allows you to:

  • send any Parameters from your online system to their web server and monitor it in graphic and text mode in real time, see: as example
  • control your devices from the KSduino web site, see: code example
  • send information from one connected device to another, see: how to

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As you can see from this screenshot, it is pretty cold here right now!

If you would like to learn how to create a home monitoring system, accessible from anywhere on the web, we are creating a How-To page on the http://Arduino-Info.Info WIKI. We hope you will collaborate with  us in the discusssion that follows to make this an easy-to-use system. See the page here: http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/ksduino-tests1

These instructions are a work in progress.

Your ideas and comments are welcomed!