TucsonJS: IoT Workshop with Losant

I had recently tweeted about my completing a Lynda.com course on JavaScript and this got a like from a group called TucsonJS. They describe themselves on Twitter as, “A recurring meetup for all things JavaScript in Tucson, Arizona.” Given how uncomfortable I am with my understanding of JavaScript, due to my lack of experience with it, I felt that joining one of their meetups could only be a good thing. Exposing myself to people who spoke fluent JavaScript can only help me become a better developer.


Tonight, however, was not so much about JavaScript as it was an IoT workshop using hardware on loan to the group by a company called Losant. This company’s mission seems to be to create a development platform for the still budding Internet of Things and make IoT solutions affordable for their customers. The hardware that Losant sent us was twenty of their Builder Kits which retail for $24.95. Admittedly, what little I saw today sparked my imagination over what I could do with this little board but it’ll have to wait until the funds are available.


The goal of the workshop was to accomplish a series of tasks using this builder kit. Unfortunately, I was unable to get my code to compile and install itself on the board for it to work. At this point, I found myself chatting with Eric McCarthy, one of the events co-organizers, and we chatted briefly about our backgrounds and jobs. I made one final attempt at trying to get the code to install on the board after which I left to deal with a potential parking issue that was brought to my attention.

Before the meetup had started, I had gone through the adventure of finding a place to park in downtown Tucson and from there locating the venue of the meetup itself. I had followed the instructions of my Google Maps app and after failing to find a parking space after circling the block twice, I opted to park in the parking garage nearby. Coming from Ajo, a town which doesn’t have any large parking lots much less parking garages, I wasn’t sure exactly how the payment system work.

I inserted my bank card into the machine at the entrance and, while the machine gave me my card back and raised the gate, I was expecting some sort of ticket to indicate I was allowed to park inside. When nothing happened, I decided to continue driving forward and find a place to park since the gate was raised anyway. It was only after I left the meetup and exited the parking garage that I discovered that your card gets swiped as you leave and effectively acts as a checkout and charges you.


Apart from my bumbling around downtown Tucson like a complete moron, I really enjoyed myself at the meetup and look forward to returning next month! Additionally, I found myself being preached to by this drunk guy about how great driverless cars would be as I waited at a crosswalk. All-in-all, tonight proved to be an excellent evening!