I am a Ph.D student in Systems Science. I live and teach in Portland Metro.
For dorkbotpdx last night, I made this little toy:
It's an 8x8 red+green LED Matrix, driven by two shift registers and a Bare Bones Board Freeduino by Modern Device Company.
Ok, I just realized I haven't sent anything out yet... but there WILL be a meeting tomorrow at the NW Lucky Lab. I'm too damn tired to think of anything witty to say, just show up, bring something interesting if you've got anything new to show off, or maybe bring a friend!
Anyway, here's the deal if you haven't been before. We meet at 7PM at the NW Lucky Lab (**NOT** the Hawthorne location). We should be easy to find -- just look for the geeks with all the crazy stuff lying on the table. If I remember, I'll even bring my DorkbotPDX banner. Anyway, come join us -- we don't bite.
You know you've been sitting there thinking "why don't those two weeks go by faster? I *NEED* my DorkbotPDX fix, now!"
Well, I'm here to tell you that your wait is nearly over. In just 4 days time you can satisfy that need to hang out and socialize (a frightening concent, I know) with other freaks and geeks. Of course, I know there's a lot of newcomers out there, so don't be afraid -- we don't bite (well, Don might, but I'll leave that one for you to find out).
Bring your toys, your ideas and most of all your ability to have fun. We take all kinds and we don't turn anyone away.
The Group Order is on hiatus. If you'd like to pick it back up, please let us know!
Order spreadsheet is Here Orders go out to: Mouser Digikey MiniCircuits please consult the Recommended Parts Page before ordering, the more commonly a part that performs a particular function is used, the more people will buy it. the more people buy a part the easier it is to get a bulk discount on a particular order.
Ok, sorry if this spiel sounds familiar... I'm going on fumes at the moment and just wanted to get this out:
It's time again to break out the breadboards, shine up the solder joints and light up the LEDs with your good friends in DorkbotPDX. We'll be meeting once again to mull over strange ideas (involving electricity, of course), hash out plans for world domination and, as always, drink beer. Come join us, bring along a project if you have one and can fit it in your preferred mode of transport, and make yourself known to your fellow Portland dorks.
When: Monday, April 14th, 7pm
Last weekend I built an RBBB board that I bought at DorkbotPDX 0x01. This is the cheapest way to get into an Arduino that I know of. And pretty much the cheapest microcontroller setup you can get. Thanks guys who put these kits together for us locally! I had never done anything with Arduino before (hardly even with microcontrollers) so this offered a low entry fee and great support.
I had some 2-line LCDs I had bought a few weeks ago from Electronics Goldmine for $1.79. They aren't backlit but they are so cheap it just seemed like a good thing to have. One painful thing about Hitachi 44780-based LCD displays is that they use a LOT of IO pins to display stuff. 8bit mode uses all of the digital pins on the Arduino. 4bit mode still uses a lot. I saw some other solutions like using a shift register to bring it down to two pins. But the simplicity of of Serial LCDs was really appealing, so I thought I'd rig one up using the RBBB as a controller. Any future projects that need an LCD can then just talk serially to the Arduino LCD controller and very little is needed to make things work. 
Thanks to the wonderful efforts of Mark, Jason and Jared, we now have videos up of the proceedings from DorkbotPDX 0x01. Check them out here: http://www.vimeo.com/album/10961
Also, there's now a Vimeo channel for DorkbotPDX, too, which will be the place to see all sorts of videos from the various goings on of our fine group: http://www.vimeo.com/dorkbotpdx