Earlier last month the city of Dallas was kept awake on a Friday night from 11:40PM until 1:20AM Saturday morning, with a constant flood of siren sounds emanating from the city’s emergency alert system – what amounted to 156 sirens going off simultaneously, for nearly two hours! What’s really fascinating about the incident is that the system was triggered using radio control, explained in this segment of the Rachel Maddow Show where she interviews Boing Boing co-editor Xeni Jardin. For various reasons a lot of news outlets aren’t reporting that intriguing feature of the system used in Dallas, but Xeni does a good job of relating the Dallas radio hack to DTMF technology that anyone over 30 should have some vague (if not acute) familiarity with. (Aside: if you’ve watched a recent episode of Ask an Engineer you know we have our own payphones!)
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.