This month we'd like you to meet element14 Community's  Member of the Month for April: Violet

element14: First of all, congrats on being named element14 Community’s Member of the Month for April.

Violet: Thank you! It was a great surprise, I was like “Wow! This is amazing!”. There are so many talented members at element14, it really was a shock and something that I'm very proud about. I've been telling all of my friends!


element14: I see that you have been a member since April of 2014, what originally brought you to the Community?

Violet: I'd visited element14  many times before in the past, but being relatively shy about social networking, forums etc.. I'd never delved too deeply and signed up or realized what it had to offer.

Eventually I took the plunge and signed up when I was looking for information regarding the BeagleBone Black  and found a section devoted entirely to it, including projects that others had done and were fun reading about.


element14: Tell me a little bit about how you got interested in electronics?

Violet: Electronics as well as magnetism has always fascinated me and captured my attention, they're two things in the world that seem to make things happen by magic. Being naturally curious (bordering on downright nosey!) I just can't help learning as much as I can about them and finding out about all of the new and captivating possibilities that they inspire.


element14: What do you do professionally?

Violet: To date, I've worked in software development, systems administration/ integration, graphic design, diagnostics / repair and embedded systems development.


element14:  I enjoyed your blog series using the Gizmo2 ; can you talk a little bit about your experiences with the product, and the inspiration around the blog?

Violet:  Of course. As the Gizmo2 RoadTest was announced, I was helping a friend install some emulators to play games from days gone by and thought “Hey, wouldn't it be great to have a system that can operate as a standalone games emulator!”. The idea progressed from there, and having a small footprint, the Gizmo2 is the perfect size to have in a living room.

It has definitely been a pleasure using Gizmo2 and for the most part easy to use and get going, a simple media centre can be realized simply by plugging in the included microSD card and power cable. However, being a new product to the market, there has a few hurdles to get over in order to get the most out of the hardware, like finding and compiling drivers to access GPIO ports; but this is all part of the fun of the RoadTest process and a great opportunity to give something back and share how to do it so others can get the most out of their Gizmo2!


element14:  Tell to me more about your experience with the RoadTest program?

Violet: The RoadTest area is a great place to keep up to date with new technology and products on the market. Even if I don't apply for them, I always check out the information, videos etc..

Forever up for a challenge, RoadTesting is something that I'm naturally drawn to, I enjoy seeing what I can make something do and is a great way to share my experiences and expand my knowledge.


Working with RoadTests doesn't have to stop with the final review either, being able to keep the products has let me expand the prototyping tools at my disposal. Recently, I was involved in setting up an atmospheric logging system for a collection of greenhouses, I used the Espruino from my very first RoadTest to create the very first of many testbeds. This gave me the opportunity to write a module for the Espruino which is now available for download from the Espruino website.

Speaking with Gordon from Espruino, he said that he had a great response from the RoadTest at element14 which made me happy to be part of something that has a real impact on the products we are testing.


element14: Walk me through your routine on the site, what spaces do you check? Who do you follow?

Violet: I have a bookmark in my web browser that takes me straight to 'my stuff' from there, I can refresh my memory on the content I posted last and see if anybody else has found it interesting. My next stop is my inbox where there is updates from all of the topics and discussions I'm following.


Right now, I'm eagerly following both the Enchanted Objects and the Sci Fi Your Pi Design Challenges. There are a lot of very interesting projects going on and so much new content I'm finding it hard to keep up..


I also like to check out the Ben Heck show and quite often check the activity, questions etc.. associated with it.


element14: What advice would you give someone new to the element14 Community?

Violet: There is so much to offer on the element14 website, take your time setting up your profile. Of course it can be changed later and spend time over a week or two casually browsing about and adding areas of interest to your connection streams.


Eventually you'll find that you're involved in quite a lot, it kind of just crept up on me... One day, I didn't really seem to be following or contributing and then all of a sudden there's activity going on all of the time but focused on what I'm interested in at the time.


Also don't be afraid to contribute. Starting off by 'liking' topics or comments is a good way to get involved from the beginning until you feel comfortable enough to start adding comments of your own.


element14: Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions, any parting words?

Violet: Sure I'm never stuck for a word or two!! Seriously though, element14 has become a part of my everyday life. It's a place for me to relax and be entertained by other people and other projects and at the time a place for me to share and be involved in the things that interest me. Thank you for providing a great resource and support for my endeavors!