Friday, August 22, 2008

Pre:Unofficial Propeller Expo 2008

I haven't added to my blog in quite a while. I've been busy with work. ( It has been a very busy summer for spyware and I've removed my share of it this year. I've also spent the last six months preparing The Unofficial Propeller Expo 2008.

If you think I'm might be talking about aeronautics or deep sea fishing, read the other posts in this blog. In short, the Propeller is one of the most advanced microcontrollers on the market.

Around the end of last year I started to daydream about what it might be like to get 20-30 Propeller enthusiasts together in one place and spend a day comparing notes, eating pizza, and in general meeting one another in the flesh. Many Propeller users from around the world talk daily on the Parallax forums, so why not get together? Living in Ohio, I figured that we could pull a few people from some of the surrounding states and make a day of it.

The first thing I did look for a location. Sandusky, OH is about an hour or so from me and has a reputation for being a hot tourist area. They have several water parks, and of course Cedar Point. My evil plan was to provide the geeks a good way to convince wives and family members that making a trip to Ohio the weekend before school started was a good idea. The other side of my evil plan was the name of the Expo. Since Parallax is one of my favorite companies, I didn't want to upset them by creating something that appeared Parallax sanctioned without their permission. Many times I use the concept of "do something" and apologize later", instead of begging for permission. (This once got me into some interesting hot water with the school system in Florida, but that's another good story for later.) So with best of intention I dubbed this the "Unofficial Propeller Expo North East" or UPENE for short. Hey, if I could get 15 guys together for a good Saturday of soldering and Propellers why not??

One of the first things you need to understand about putting together any formal get together, outside of a barbecue in your back yard is the amount of work and energy required to get everything together. I'm writing this the day before the Expo, and I'll tell you that this has been a huge learning curve for me. Not to say it is not worth it! But be ready for about a dozen unexpected expenses as well as mental exhaustion.

Did I mention that this is the day before? Let me bring you up to speed on just where we stand for our little 15 person get together. First of all, Ken Gracey of Parallax found my post about this idea on his forums and announced that everyone who attends will receive around $100 in door prizes just for showing up! That doesn't include the big prizes for ticket drawings. A few days later he added an official guest from Parallax, as well as springing for lunch! Did I also mention that we now have around 75 people signed up for this little get together?

In addition to several very interesting demos lined up, it looks like we'll have a live video/audio feed from the Expo. ( as well as a dozen other prizes to be given away as well. Oh, and there's another surprise, but I'm sworn to secrecy on that one.

So, it's around 20 hours until showtime in Norwalk, OH. My nerves are a mess, (in a good way) but it looks like it's going to be a serious geek party in Norwalk, OH.

See you at the Expo!

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