Boy Scouts was a huge part of my life when I was a kid. My dad was a scoutmaster for as long as I could remember. I am an Eagle Scout myself. I’ve recently made a return as an adult leader. Thing have change some what since I was a kid. But the values and principles are still the same. Just a few weeks ago I ran into an old scouting friend Ray Bartley (who has also made a return). Ray and I chatted up a storm about the days from when I was in scouting. Then the topic of the Patrol Champions board came up.
The Patrol Champions board was something that Ray and other scoutmasters came up with to encourage good clean competition among scout troops in our district. Each Fall and Spring our district held a camporee event. Usually the event would start on a Friday night and end on Sunday mornings. Saturday mornings and afternoons on those weekends were spent by scout patrols going from station to station, completing challenging objectives. Some of those challenges included knot tying, fire building, team problem solving, log pulling, etc. The challenges were scored based on time, how well patrol members worked together, and other criteria. It was a lot of fun.
After the day was over the host would tally all the scores from all the events. The patrol who scored best over all earned the right to paint a square on the board. Their troop would take the board home with them until the next camporee. This went on for years. Till activity and interest dropped. I lost track of the board once I was out of scouting. I often wondered what had happened to the board. My recent conversation with Ray yielded in an answer.
Ray had obtained the board after it was decommissioned. He kept it in storage for a number of years. Upond request, Ray sent me some pictures of the beloved board. I am very happy for Ray sharing this with me. This piece of plywood and paint represents many memories from my scout days. I was a member of Troop 822′s Cobra Patrol. You can see we were on the board a few times. We were the first back-to-back champs (lower left corner). That was the fall of 1993 and spring of 1993. That was my first full year as a scout. Ray I thank you again and I will share this with who ever I run into.
So I was bored today and I know how much Matt has enjoyed his Arduino board, so I decided I’d give it a go. The first project is just a little blinking LED. Well that got me thinking about all the fun possibilities you can use a blinking LED for, and I thought it would be cool to make it say SOS…everyone knows the Morse Code for SOS, a simple dot dot dot, dash dash dash, dot dot dot, so it’s easily recognizable. Well then once I figured out how to code that, I thought “How fun would it be to be able to say ANYTHING with my lovely little blinking LED?” And this fun little project was born!
I coded every letter and number in Morse code so that all you have to do is change the letters in the loop function to make it say whatever you want! This is the first thing I’ve ever coded, and if i do say so myself, I think it’s pretty awesome!
Feel free to download the code to use for yourself, and check out my YouTube video saying “Hello World”!
Last weekend I bought a new toy to play with. It’s called Arduino. Which is an open-source programmable electronics prototyping board. Basiclly it’s designed for people to play around with and develop interactive objects. For example you could create a simple device that flashes a light to building a advance device to post to Twitter when your coffee pot goes off. The possibilities are endless. There is a huge online community of people using these boards to create robots, automating their homes and all kinds of niffy other stuff.
I’m using it to gain a better understanding of electronics. I like that it’s simple to use. For example I built a basic little device that mimics what a stop light does. It lights red and then waits for a period of time. Then lights green and waits followed by a short flash of yellow before repeating. The electric circuit is very simple. I just hooked each LED with a resistor to a digital output on the board. I joined all the negative sides of the LEDs to a common ground. Then I wrote a file (which is called a sketch) that contains the instructions or code to make it all work. After uploading the file to the device via USB it began running! Magic!
If you’re interested in learning more about Arduino you can visit their website at http://www.arduino.cc/. The boards are very affordable. The basic board like the one above was only $35 bucks. I bought mine at Radio Shack. However you can find them on Amazon.com through our link below! Also attached below is a copy of the sketch I wrote for my stop light. As I get time I will try to post more of my Arduino projects.
Yes I know it’s been over a full day since the New Year started. But I thought I would post anyways. I had an exciting New Years/Birthday celebration with friends. Friday we hit the Kenwood Towne Center in Cincinnati, Ohio with our friends Catie and David. What better reason to go to the Kenwood Town Center than to hit the LEGO Store! We stocked up one some of the latest rare-sets. Just more for the pile of LEGO sets to build and display/play with. I also hit the Pick-a-Brick wall for some goodies. If I get time I’ll post pictures later of my score.
Saturday started off with a bang. We got up early and finished cleaning the apartment. We also ran out and got some last minute snacks for our New Years Eve Party. We were joined by our friends Josh and Beth. They came all the way up from my native land of Eastern Kentucky. Our friend Shawna came as well. We played Settlers of Catan. For some of us it was a new experience. But we all got through it. I was happy to share my favorite game with everyone. Not to mention we also shot cards at each other with UNO Attack. That was fun as well. Oh I almost forgot we played Mexican Train. ChooChoo!
Saturday night we all kinda simmer down a little bit and watched comedy specials. Including The Best of Who’s Line Is It and Gabriel Iglesias. Right before we switched over to watch Times Square’s Ball Drop we got to the part in Gabriel’s special where he talks about Gator Land. He talks about how excited the guy gets on the auto message you get when calling Gator Land. I just had to stop and call to see if it were true. Believe it or not it is true. Check it out for yourself the number is 407.855.5496. It’s worth the minutes if you call. You’ll see what Gabe’s talking about.
About 3:00am we decided it was time to go to bed. I made the mistake of getting up to early. But other than that it was a good day Sunday. We kinda just chilled. Josh and I played some Flatout Racing. Then we went and got something to eat, followed by a trip to the mall. Later Josh and Beth went home. We were already ready for bed. But there we have it. Happy New Year!