AMRoC Fab Lab is able to provide a broad range of programming and resources because of our amazing collaborative partners, all anchored in the common ground of enthusiasm and passion for their trades,   an amazing range of professional expertise and a generous spirit in sharing their knowledge.  One of our longest running partners is Sumo Software, headed up by Mark Lauter and Scott Ertz, who are hosting the ASCII Warriors project-based coding program, which meets at AMRoC every other Wednesday, starting at 4:30 pm.

Sumo Software was founded in 2002 as One Lauter, Inc. The company is a software services provider, located in Clearwater, creating custom software solutions for small and medium sized businesses. Their work has ranged from an IRS integration to help lenders approve mortgages for home buyers to a GPS tracking system for cars, trucks, and cargo containers. Scott is also FIRST robotics alum who splits his time between software development at Sumo Software and podcasting, with his company PLuGHiTz Live.

PLuGHiTz Corporation, founded by Scott in 2007 and based in Largo, provides multimedia services throughout the Tampa Bay area and nationwide. Under the PLuGHiTz Live brand, the company hosts and produces eight shows about science, technology, and pop culture, as well as news, reviews, and previews. Under the PLuGHiTz Productions brand, the company helps produce FCDI’s ROBOTICON Tampa Bay, including livestreaming the event and producing the jumbotron video. PLuGHiTz Corporation is also working on the AMRoC Fab Lab media lab, allowing members to produce audio and video content without having to have their own dedicated space.

ASCII Warriors is a program that Scott and Mark started a few years ago to give students involved in our FIRST team an opportunity to expand their programming skills through project based coding competitions. The team uses real-world challenges to help students learn both the theory and the intricacies of programming. The group’s initial project was a challenge for the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition, which evolved into an app for the Pasco County Library System. After a hiatus, they’ve relaunched ASCII Warriors for those aged 14 and up, at AMRoC Fab Lab. No experience is necessary, just a curiosity and interest in learning to code.  Scott and Mark will start with the basics and then move on to a competition entry chosen by the team itself to exercise their new skills on.

Our first session kicked off during our Open House week and continues this Wednesday, June 26.  It’s not too late to get involved if you’re interested in learning to code!