1: What does it mean to program the board?

These boards use an Arduino microprocessor board to control the LEDs. All of the animations for the colors of the LEDs are controlled by code that can be changed and uploaded to the Arduino. You can take the code and download the Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment – think of it as an application that combines a text editor for the code, a compiler, and an interface to upload the code to the board) and upload your own creation to do whatever you want to the lights. Tons of sample code is in the original program, you can simply rearrange what’s there, or make it only do one pattern, or create your own new patterns.

The Arduino ecosystem works as a series of simple microprocessors that can interpret a very low-level language. We program these microprocessors via the IDE, using a much higher-level C-like language called that is relatively easy to read, and the IDE compiles this code and converts it into a language that the board can understand. The IDE then uploads that code to the board. Because of this, we can’t really get the code that is currently running on an Arduino, so it’s important to keep a copy of the code that we develop.

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