The Trouble with Rovers

Lan and Roger will be giving a preview of our SCaLE 17x talk about the SGVHAK Rover. Any feedback will be extremely helpful. We'll also be talking about SCaLE, volunteering for SCaLE, and plans for our booth at SCaLE.

Dinner begins around 7pm and the presentation will start after most people have received their food or 8pm, whichever comes first. Buying dinner is optional.

The Trouble with Rovers

The JPL Open Source Rover is a relatively inexpensive and accessible project for high school and college classes to exercise mechanical and electronics and software engineering using parts that could be easily sourced from hobbyist stores.

JPL beta-tested their build instructions at a few schools and with the SGVHAK maker group. The ultimate goal was to refine the build instructions and grow a community of experienced builders to help provide support once the rover documentation and code were open sourced.

We will go over the experience of the SGVHAK maker group in building the SGVHAK rover and being inspired to build rovers of our own design. The SGVHAK maker group built the rover over the period of 3 months while giving JPL significant feedback and build photos. We diverged from the original design most significantly in the wheel design, motor selection, and software.

We were able to exhibit the SGVHAK rover at SCALE, the Caltech Science for March, and the DTLA Mini Maker Faire. We were recently interviewed for the Command_Line Heroes podcast. Building rovers is a never-ending process. The SGVHAK rover itself is always under construction. We have plans to add a robot arm, pan-tilt webcam, and maybe even lidar. Our members have already started coming up with their own rover designs and builds. All the code and 3D printer files are on GitHub. Come join us in our rover-building adventures.

About Lan

Lan Dang is an Operations Engineer with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, specializing in science data systems operations and large scale data processing. Her contributions to open source focus on community-building and evangelism. In her spare time, she is active in the San Gabriel Valley tech community as a leader of the SGVLUG and its sister group, the SGVHAK hardware hacking group, mentors new hires at work as well as local high school and college students, and volunteers with various STEAM groups and events. She is the volunteer coordinator for the SCALE A/V team.

About Roger

An active member of the San Gabriel Valley Hardware Hackers group (SGVHAK) and member of Linux User's Group (SGVLUG) Roger is interested in many topics around the intersection of mechanical hardware and intelligent software.

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Mini Talks on Open Source Licenses and Markdown

Bring tech books and leftover conference swag to exchange with other members, or put towards a swag pile for our SCaLE booth, if we have one. Anything that nobody wants could be brought to Repair Cafe this weekend.

We also have a double-feature for this month's presentation, both given by new member Sean Marquez.

How (and Why) to Choose an Open Source License

There is a common misconception that just because your code is public on GitHub that it is open source, but unless there is a license in your codebase, then it is by default copyrighted. This talk will cover an introduction to copyright, open source, the types of open source licenses, how to go about choosing an open source license for your project, and why should you choose to open source your project.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Markdown

Markdown is the most commonly used lightweight markup language on the internet. However, lately it has been adopted by the technical writing community as a solution for writing documentation. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.


Sean Marquez graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in design of dynamic systems, from UC Irvine. During his undergrad, he project managed a CubeSat program where he developed a passion for space exploration. He worked for an OEM aerospace consulting firm for over a year as an associate mechanical design engineer. In 2015, he joined and collaborated with an online team, performing numerical simulations & control systems design, for rLoop – a non-profit global think tank that won the innovation award for the first SpaceX hyperloop pod competition. Sean is currently a worker-owner at Space Cooperative Inc., involved with development and testing of smart contracts to be utilized by the Space Decentral network, collaborating on Coral - an open source robotic space mission to mine lunar regolith for in-situ resource utilization, and leading efforts on the adoption of the Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) methodology.

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Everyone is an Inventor

Bin Feng, the co-founder and CEO of Microduino, will talk about lowering the barrier of entry and inspiring creativity for STEAM education.

"I was monitoring a server room's temperature, but getting tired of going to the room every, single, time. I used Arduino to create a device that would do the job for me. However, it involved messy wiring, dangerous soldering, and complicated coding. And so an idea was born. I wanted to create something that anyone could use to imagine a product and immediately just build it. The very first set of Microduino modules was designed to lower the barriers to creativity for everyone. We're giving people the freedom to give shape to their ideas."

The company creates the world's smallest Arduino-compatible smart modules. These modules are flexible, stackable and powerful, and can be used to create a limitless amount of DIY projects for all ages.

To date, Bin has raised over $500,000 across four Microduino crowdfunding projects and built up Microduino's community from 0 to 1,000,000+ members and students. Bin is dedicated to making Microduino a significant international success by creating an educational platform that fits seamlessly into the global STEM/STEAM education discipline.


Bin Feng is the Co-Founder and CEO of Microduino, an international company of makers and creators aimed at bringing easy-to- use electronics hardware to makers, designers, engineers, students and curious tinkerers of all ages and levels. Microduino presents the world's smallest series of Arduino-compatible smart modules that are small, flexible, stackable and powerful, and can be used to create a limitless amount of DIY projects.

With over 15 years' experience in technology and business, Bin has a passion for Microduino and is highly motivated to make the Microduino a huge success.

Bin holds Bachelor's degree in Electronics Materials from Fudan Univ. , and Master's degree in ECE from UCSD. His graduate research was in semiconductor device design, fabrication, and characterization.

Bin resides in Los Angeles, California.

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SGVHAK & Repair Cafe & JPL Open Source Rover @ DTLA Mini Maker Faire

SGVHAK, Repair Cafe, and the JPL Open Source Rover will have collocated booths at the DTLA Mini Maker Faire. We will be located on the lawn of Maguire Garden close to library entrance.

It is shaping to be a huge event with nearly a hundred makers--many of them from the San Gabriel Valley--who will be exhibiting, doing workshops, giving talks, and even performing. There will be exhibits inside the beautiful Central Library and outside in Maguire Garden.

Please RSVP on Eventbrite for free tickets, whether you're coming as an attendee or to help us at our booth. They had a group registration option, so I made an SGVHAK group.

What to expect:

JPL Open Source Rover booth will feature

  • SGVHAK Rover
  • JPL Open Source Rover
  • Santa Susana HS rover
  • Roger Cheng's Sawppy.

Additionally, there will be talks on the JPL Open Source Rover and Sawppy from 2:30 to 3:30pm at the KLOS's Children's Theater (Children's Literature, 2nd floor) .

Also, JPL will have STEM activities and swag, and IPAC has a 4-minute Trappist-1 VR experience on the Oculus Rift. There will be a demonstration of the science behind the OCO-2 mission.

SGVHAK and Repair Cafe hands-on activities

  • hard drive disassembly with platters repurposed for art projects or Christmas ornaments
  • paper circuits with copper tape and LEDs

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Javascript Sucks and So Do You

Join us for a humorous conversation about JavaScript sins and how to write better code. If you enjoy these types of talks, please see Michael and Carlos afterwards about more meetups on good software design.


JavaScript, like all computer languages, has its flaws. It at times subtly encourages programmers to commit unabsolvable crimes against the computing world. It drags new programmers into the abyss of bad practice with the madness of Lisp and the folly of QuickBasic. Together we shall journey into the darkness surrounding JavaScript and shine our light into it.

Attendees should expect to learn a bit about the downside to JavaScript and some of the bad practices that arise. We will then improve our JavaScript code by establishing good patterns using modern JavaScript and an understanding of software design principles. If nothing else attendees shall be thoroughly entertained, and all will rag on JavaScript just a wee bit.


Michael Starch in an Engineer. He has used JavaScript professionally for many years, and has committed every sin in JavaScript's tomb of Evil. He has often searched for order amongst the chaotic statements of JavaScript, and brings his methods for your consideration. He is by no means an authority on JavaScript, but he will step up and speak with authority anyway. You shall be entertained.

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SGVTech Open House - Connect Week 2018

Please join us at our Open House and find out more about our individual groups, our regular meetings and upcoming projects. This is part of Connect Week Oct 20-28.


Pizza is sponsored by Goldstar. Drinks and venue provided by Corporate Center Pasadena.


This is your chance to satisfy your curiosity about all our Meetups.

It's also a great opportunity to:

  • Learn more about the Southern California Linux Expo -- participate, volunteer, speak. Reminder that the Call for Papers ends Oct 31st!

  • Learn more about the SCALE A/V team and check out our custom computers. We are recruiting.

  • Get a demo of the recently upgraded SGVHAK rover.

  • Get free t-shirts from previous SCALEs


We are an umbrella Meetup group that includes:

You can join us on Slack using this invitation:

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