Spark Core meets CRASH Space, gets stern upbraiding

Button press sends a text! Magic? Nay, science!

We had a really good turnout and raised $190. Matt led the charge, Metal kept things lively (and taught me how to deal with a broken strand in a Bukito), and I took it way too seriously for a while. Nevertheless we learned a lot about the Spark Core device and how to get them working.

Some are domed and some are flat

By the way, I can’t thank Barb enough for designing the two kinds of covers for the Cores with Internet Button shields: flat topped, and domed. Pimptastic!

Each of us found different ways to break the Cores, rarely trying to do so:

  1. Chris found that certain library functions are not quite supported by the firmware. He could nearly brick a Spark Core and it took a while to recover. Chris, would you mind sending me the commands that did this (or at least a link to the code, since it was one of the examples)?
  2. There are at least a couple sketches on the Spark web site that do not compile in the web IDE, let alone run on a Spark Core — the code is out of date.
  3. Of the 12 Spark Cores we received, 3 needed special attention before they could download and run a sketch. This hints at a serious quality control problem. This definitely does not bode well for what is supposed to be a plug-and-play tool, Arduino killer, or MCU board with as much space and power built into it (ARM Cortex M3 72 MHz, 128 kB flash, 20 kB RAM; an extra 2 MB storage off-die; and a TI CC3300 WiFi chip).
  4. The default instructions for getting a Spark Core running often fail. They cannot be used at all in an environment with more than one person trying to sync a new Core: the phone app will just grab any broadcasting Core it finds.
  5. We worked through several syncs, so we now have a clearer set of steps for getting someone up and running without the vekakte phone app. I need to finish typing them, as there are different steps for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  6. Having to flash a sketch by typing it into a web site and sending it via WiFi is inefficient. The device’s WiFi features are more interesting during runtime, and we just scratched that surface. Flashing the sketch via USB.

On the positive side:

The gang's all here!

Flat cover, living color

I will submit docs to Instructables once I have everything in steps-and-pics order.

Nov 28th : Connecting All The Things with Spark.IO



What would you connect to the internet?  Tell @crashspaceLA your cool idea and win a kit for the #buildnight.
In theory makes it easy to connect devices to the internet with very little prior knowledge of electronics or code. Join us 2pm Black Friday (November 28th @crashspaceLA Culver City, CA). We’ll learn together and create some instructables.
We are hosting an Instructables #buildnight for, who make a development kit for connected products. Check out some of the projects created with the Spark Core here. We got a package that includes:

  • (10) Spark Cores
  • (10) Spark Buttons: a new shield for Spark with LEDs, 4-way clicking like a game controller, acceleration and temperature sensing. See photo of the new board below!
  • (2) Maker Kits
SEND YOU IDEAS to @crashspacela and you might be awarded a free kit to make your dreams come true!
BRING a laptop and your brain. we’ve got tools, supplies, and space to share. 


Twitter: @CrashspaceLA @Instructables @spark_io
Tag your posts: #BUILDNIGHT

Be inspired by crash member Gray Bright‘s #iot video


Learn to Code with Us @ CRASH Space Holiday Hours

Quick announcement, everyone! Holidays are coming up, so our regular Wednesday night Learn to Code with Us events at Crashspace will be slightly more sporadic.


Here are the dates when we will not be meeting:

Our normal schedule will resume on Jan 7th.

See you soon!
Michelle Leonhart
Founder, Learn to Code with Us
VP, Crashspace

CRASH Space @ STEAM Nation 2014-10-18

CRASH Space was at STEAM Nation this past Saturday

CRASH Space at STEAM Nation 2014

STEAM Nation is put on by our friends at Star Education, and they invite students from LAUSD to participate in different education activities.

We helped the kids take apart printers, scanners, VCRs, CD players, and a XBox.

And the organizers gave us a nice certificate:




Entrepreneurial Meetup: Education Bubble – 2pm Saturday October 18th

Trent Newsom will be running another meetup event on Saturday October 18th, from 2pm-4pm, on the subject of Education Bubbles.

The summary:

Bubbles show the best and worst of human optimism. In theory bubbles are not very unique or complicated but they always seem to prevail in the end. Throughout history we have seen this in the rise and sudden crash of different prices. In Holland from 1634 -1638 the rise of tulip prices rose considerably before a lack of consumer confidence crashed the market. The dot-com bubble of 1997 – 2000 resulted from over investment in internet companies. And most recently the housing market in 2006 -2007 crashed after the banks lent too much money to the public to purchase homes. These and many other examples usually grow out of control because many people believe they are on the verge of great wealth but in reality they are at the tail end of a sinking ship. Is this the same picture we see in higher education today? Currently students have accumulated over $1,000,000,000,000 of debt with little hope of repayment. With employment levels decreasing and wages stagnant can we expect the investments in higher education are going to pay off for the class of 2015? Assuming the worst or best depending how you look at it, what will the remains look like if a bubble does burst?

Attendance is free, and open to the public.