Hacker-in-Residence: Java-powered Media Player

Roberto Marquez is joining us for three weeks to work on polishing and beefing up his DIY MP3 player!

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Now that we're getting settled into our rad new headquarters (where is the Millenium Falcon conference room again?), we figured it was time to throw a new hacker into the mix to keep everyone on their toes. Welcome Roberto - we can't wait to see what you come up with while we solve the case of the capricious motion-sensing office lights.

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Roberto, maker at heart

Can you share your background, interests, and some favorite past projects? What and where is your current position/company?

My technical background is in software development. I have interest in the Java platform and its strength in deploying to embedded, mobile, and enterprise environments, as well as to traditional PCs.

More recently, I have become interested in the maker movement and creating things. It is thrilling to control hardware with software. It gives a sort of nerd-high to drive electronics with software, whether it is one LED controlled by an Arduino, or an LED matrix controlled by a Java PC app.

Some of my favorite past projects include:

T.I.A. E.L.A. - The Interactive Art Exhibit for Light Admirers (GitHub here)

Lizard Enclosure (GitHub here)

Roller, which uses the Sparkfun multi-chassis tank (GitHub here)

Photorama (GitHub here)

I also have lots of interest in being a good father to my son; he's a second-grader.

Currently, I am with a (really) large travel company, in the role of Systems Analyst.

How and why did you get involved in SparkFun's Hacker-in-Residence program? Why do you think programs like this are valuable?

I heard about the HIR program on the SparkFun site. Motivation came from wanting to get some time to just make. Three weeks at SparkFun should help with that.

Sparkfun’s HIR program is far out! For me, value comes from being able to work with the smarty-pantses that are pumping out all this open-source software and hardware.

What is the project you'll be working on at SparkFun? Why did you choose this project?

I will be working on an embedded, Java-powered media player. I already have a web-enabled MP3 player, but it was meant for desktop PCs. It lacks GPIO interaction altogether.

For this project, I want to add a visual element (VU meter) to the existing app, as well as create/cut an professional-looking enclosure. In addition to this, I would like to add hardware to control the media player, pots for volume control, buttons for next and previous tracks, and some controls for light modes.

If there is time, I would like to add some elements from the BBB radio project.

Another idea I have is to include a IOIO OTG in the mix where it makes sense.

The PC version of the media player app is one that I have had around for a while. I selected to upgrade that project, because I feel it deserves a proper enclosure/hardware and to (hopefully) inspire others to build it too.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and what is your favorite snack?

Fly by night and day is definitely my superpower of choice. Even in this recurring dream, I fly to the water tower in my neighborhood, and have a party at the "moon tower." It tickles my belly when I fly in my dreams.

Lately, I have enjoyed horned melon and dragon fruit as a snack. They have lots of electrolytes. Although, if I could have a bottomless pouch of coconut shrimp, then that would be great!


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