Friday, April 28, 2006

Maker Faire part 1

Well another week gone by... It's been a bit hectic to get back into my normal "grove" after my brief weekend vacation to CA to go to the Maker Faire. Work has been busy (which is good). Last night I had my weekly painting class, which I almost did not go to! Due to the fact that I woke up late and I rushed out the door and forgot my brushes! Doh! I didn't have time to stop home before class to pick them up, but I knew I had some really cheapy brushes in my bag (made from pony hair of all things). Well, I decided to go anyway, and to see what I could paint with my cheap brushes. As usual, I'm glad I went. It was an interesting class in that the teacher set up a still-life of glass bottles and water. It was challenging but I enjoyed it. The one brush I chose was horrible (might better be used to spread peanut butter!), but I thought 'hmmm, I'm in an art class... I wonder what the odds are that someone forgot a brush?' So I looked around the sink, and sure enough, found a brush. Not the best, but way better than the one I had. So I dove in. It turned out pretty good, but I still have a lot to learn about technique, and how to "see" a still life.

I'll start my Maker Faire post here too... From the beginning :)
I wasn't sure what to expect with this fair. I had it in my mind that it would be small, and that we would probably see the entire show in about an hour maybe two. I also think that Make Magazine did a poor job telling it's readers exactly what would be at the fair. I wish there had been an online map, and a listing of who would be where and at what times. But since this was the first ever maker fair, I will cut them some slack. We pulled up... (I should clarify that by "we" I mean myself, my sister, brother, and nephew) at about 10:05am on Saturday morning. We left a tad late, but made good time on getting there. There was a line of maybe 100 people waiting to get in. We made a mental note where we were parked (next to the Toyota, and one row over from the big yellow school bus). We got in line and were slowly pushing forward. The first thing I saw was a giant (10 feet?) diameter 8-ball floating about 30 feet off the ground. As we were waiting someone made an announcement that if you already had tickets you could skip to a new line, well, about 60% of the line started to shift. We made good time and were in the gates in less than 5 minutes. We approached the main hall, and saw that there were some three wheeled electric cars out front, and one guy zipping around on a "scooter" like device that looked like a small version of a Segway. We entered the hall, and were greeted by a bunch of Oreilly books, and a bunch of T-shirts on sale. (I thought this was a bad sign, as it would set the tone for the rest of the day - I was wrong!). We then moved into the hall, and I was amazed at how big it was, and how many tables there were. The first thing that caught my eye were the tables of robots from Parallax, and then my eyes noticed the LARGE White metal Giraffe robot! As I was looking at the robots (and one guy was doing a small demo that the remote control for the robot on the table was "tilt sensitive" as you tilted the board forward, the robot would move forward, tilt it left, and the robot would turn left. Very cool). Then I heard some techno-electronica music coming from the giraffe... It was starting up, and awkwardly 'walking' forward towards us, with a man dressed in a giraffe T-shirt riding on top of the 'machine'. It was something that was both cool and comical at the same time. He slowed the machine to a stop and started giving a talk about his machine to a bunch of people who were gathered in a semi-circle. The gentleman appeared nervous and perhaps this was the first time he gave this speech in front of a group like this. (My sister brought up the fact that we may have been lucky to hear the first speech rather than the speech towards the end of the day which may have been much shorter). He talked about his machine, what inspired it, a few techincal details that went over my head, and his original reason for building this machine was to show at the Burning Man event. (That explained a lot actually ;) From this point, I knew I was going to have a great day!
I'll stop here, as this is a LONG post (for me anyway) and that perhaps I should stretch this out over a few posts.

One more thing quickly not related to the Maker Faire... I went to my "geek meeting" tonight, my Apple User Group meeting that is, and we had a really great presentation on using your Mac to create a home theatre or media center. The gentleman who gave the presentation was very good and knew a lot on getting all this stuff to work. At one point during the presentation when I was in awe of all the technology (and money) that he has put into this setup, it struck me that I still use a simple VHS machine which costs about $100, and about $1 per video tape ;) Still it was interesting to see this, and it shows a glimpse of what's ahead for computers and that they will eventually make their way into the living room rather than a machine usually stuck in the corner.

No comments: