Too little, too late... but great fun!

As a long-retired electrical engineer, I’m really wishing I’d had benefit of the technology and, frankly, the excellent teaching that I’m following in Paul McWhorter’s online classes in RaspberryPi/Python and RPiPicoW/microPython.

Just this evening, I watched what I thought would be a simple “controlling a dimmable LED” (using Pi Pico and microPython) class that really for the first time showed me how a real professional engineer (not sure that’s his actual professional title) would precisely control that LED. Where I was looking for a scale/map function built-in to the language, Paul walked through the actual math in a very logical way to help me see the difference between linear, exponential, or even arbitrary control of the brightness of a simple LED. Wish I’d known stuff like that way back when…

And in his RPi/Python classes, we’re playing with OpenCV and, having plowed through the similar “simple stuff”, we’re now tracking objects by color, contour, faces, eyes, etc… and I’m recalling/revisiting those early days in my career in the defense sector when we were tracking and guiding stuff. Oh my, how I wish I’d known some of this stuff then.

If, like me, you’d like a change of pace… and would like to maybe learn a bit more about some of these neat little devices we’re playing with, like the Raspberry Pi… or maybe learn a new programming language, like Python… I can’t say enough about Paul McWhorter’s classes. You guys (like Jeffe), who are real pro’s already probably won’t get as much enjoyment out of it as I do… but I’m finding it a very relaxing way to spend an evening. He suggests pouring a glass of iced coffee (I prefer stronger…) and settling into a pleasant evening’s learning experience… and it’s working for me. I think… :crazy_face:

Check him out if this sounds familiar.

– David


Well David,

I have a problem with maths of any kind, actual or imagined and I am just at the point with things electronic where I (mostly) understand the difference between “ON” and “OFF” yet, I watched right into 7 minutes of the first video and learned a lot more than I’d ever forgotten.

I am not sure where the time is going to come from to explore this rabbit hole, but I will certainly be giving it a go!


Oh buddy, he has lessons for everything! I have been really really wanting to learn some python, this might be the nudge I needed. Thanks David.

OpenCV has been a long term goal of mine that I was not even sure how to approach the starting line. I was also feeling pretty fancy when I mapped an LED to a sine function a while back, so this guy sounds like the best professor to teach me stuff.


Micropython seems amazing to me. I really like playing with it. I like messing with this little 2d array of leds too (shameless link to my model to make it cuter):

It isn’t complete python. And it is significantly slower than C/C++ in microcontrollers. But it is an excellent prototype and learning tool.

I haven’t watched the videos (but I will, there is always something to learn). But I find this stuff super fascinating in any context. Almost as much fun as something like a puzzle video game.



Having written such a glowing endorsement, and seeing your responses, I started “googling” Paul McWhorter to make sure I wasn’t pointing everybody to a professional “high school teacher” with no industrial experience. Wow! Not to worry…

– from IEEE Xplore

Paul J. McWhorter is one of the pioneering researchers in the field of micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS). In 1992, he initiated Sandia’s MEMS Program and grew the program to one of the largest in the country. In October of 2000, he left Sandia to form MEMX, a start-up company focused on revolutionary telecommunications products based on MEMS and he is presently serving as CTO. Dr. McWhorter’s work has been recognized with five IEEE best paper awards, two R&D 100 awards, Industry Week’s “Top Technology of the Year” Award, and Science News’ Top Development of the Year Award. He was named 1998 New Mexico Inventor of the year and Sandia’s Outstanding Corporate Inventor…

In addition to a Masters and PhD from Stanford and such impressive credentials in industry… get this: within six months of retiring from MEMX he got “tired of being retired”… and started teaching high school! And, not really surprisingly, he says that he liked teaching high school better than any job he’s ever done…

I suspect that’s why I’m liking his YouTube classes so much… he’s teaching pretty complex stuff on a level I can relate to. And, the retired engineer in me is satisfied he knows what he’s talking about and is worth listening to.

My $0.02.

– David


For coding opencv with python Chat GPT is quite performant, from what i’d already tested it can generate up to 95% of valid code.


I can certainly second all your comments about McWhorter. He’s been one of my “go to” sources for this sort of stuff for a couple of years. I haven’t watched anything recently, but, will, no doubt, do so soon.

(And, I agree… sometimes, coffee is not the drink of choice… :slight_smile: )