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Archive for the ‘MAKE Playlist’ Category

postheadericon Noisebridge’s 3rd Birthday Party Ends in Surprise 30-Hour Trip to Singapore


I wasn’t able to attend the third birthday party for San Francisco hackerspace Noisebridge, but I think that their meeting notes summarize it well:

Concept came from Moxie. Everyone brings $10 and the theme of the party is what to do with the money. Visual computing voting system. Ended up choosing to send one member of the party to visit Singapore. Antonio was chosen by Rock Paper Scissors tournament, and went off the next day. He successfully visited the hackerspace in Singapore.

Antonio’s next 2½ days were split evenly between visiting hackerspaceSG and flying (30 hours each). Read his account here.

As you’d expect from a bunch of hackers, the “visual computing voting system” (shown above) was quicker than paper ballots and more precise than a show of hands. Using a camera aimed at the audience and custom software that counted bright dots, people instantly registered their votes by holding up a light source, such as a cell phone or a lighter.

See also A visit to Noisebridge and the Birthday party invitation.

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postheadericon A New York maker moves to China…

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A nice letter (and photos) from MAKE reader Evan –

Hi Phil – We’ve met a few times at MAKE meetings and at the FIRST competition at the Javits center – I taught at NYC public schools for seven years and mentored robotics teams around the city during that time. My wife and I decided to make a big lifestyle change and have been living for the past month in Hangzhou, China, where we are both teaching at an international school for two years.

Given the difficult task of moving across oceans (and the increased difficulty of shipping things TO China), I made the decision to bring primarily clothes, laptop computers, and whatever books and documents we thought might be necessary over here. This meant that I had to go through the very painful process of putting my electronics parts, tools, and projects into deep storage in a facility in the Bronx. While this will mean a lot of fun in a couple years when I get into those boxes again after forgetting what is inside, it was initially frustrating to think I would have to start my collection from scratch. I knew that I would probably find replacements for the tools while over here, but assumed that “browsing” to find parts would be difficult, and finding people that could help me even more so.

During an outing at a computer market (another story to share later), I met a guy that is good at building computers from scratch but that spoke only Chinese. I can count and tell people my name in Chinese, and am learning more daily, but it wasn’t even close to the point where we could communicate verbally. In a moment of brilliance, he set up adjacent windows with Google translate loaded, his translating into English and mine into Chinese – instantly the communication barrier was gone – and we were able to chat and joke. After a while of this, I thought to ask him about a local place to buy wires, LEDs, transistors, and circuit boards. He quickly looked something up and printed out an address in Chinese for me to show to a taxi driver. Last weekend I decided to take the trip to see what was there.

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postheadericon Noisebridge visit – Amazing hacker space in San Francisco, CA

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Here are some photos from my visit to Noisebridge, an amazing hacker space in San Francisco, CA.

Noisebridge is an educational non-profit corporation, 501(c)3 public charity status.

We provide infrastructure and collaboration opportunities for people interested in programming, hardware hacking, physics, chemistry, mathematics, photography, security, robotics, all kinds of art, and, of course, technology. Through talks, workshops, and projects we encourage knowledge exchange, learning, and mentoring.

As a space for artistic collaboration and experimentation, we are open to all types of art – with a special emphasis on the crossover of art and technology. From hardware labs to electronics, cooking, photography, and sound labs, anything that’s creative is welcome.

Many interesting things are happening at all times. Sharing is essential to making this work. We believe in starting from a point of respect and trust. We believe it builds a safe community and that this will foster innovation and creation. Our code of conduct is “Be excellent to each other”.

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postheadericon Identifying Wood: Accurate results with simple tools

Is that maple, spruce, pine? These two books look really helpful – Identifying Wood: Accurate Results with Simple Tools by Bruce Hoadley – [via] Link & also by the same author, Understanding Wood: A Craftsman’s Guide to Wood TechnologyLink.

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postheadericon Dangerous books

Mark has a short review and round of some dangerous books, some more than others, including my favorite he Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments… he writes –

Already a huge hit in the UK, The Dangerous Book for Boys, by Gon Iggulden and Hal Iggulden, is taking the US by storm. The first print run of 80,000 has been supplemented by a second order for 300,000 copies.
While the book is beautifully produced and entertaining, it really doesn’t contain any risky projects that the title and nostalgic design suggest. I can’t blame them — the authors and publisher would open themselves up to lawsuits if they included potentially dangerous projects in the book.

The trouble is, an awful lot of exciting projects carry an element of risk. Things that explode, burn, fly, and make loud noises are great fun. Safety precautions are necessary whenever you experiment with anything that is capable of quickly releasing a lot of energy. Because many people don’t bother with goggles, gloves, grounding, and other safety measures, today’s book publishers are reluctant to publish books that have potentially unsafe projects in them.

But “dangerous” books are available, if you want them. Some are reprints of old books now in the public domain, others can be picked up used or downloaded on P2P networks, and some are still being published today by brave authors and publishers.

Dangerous books – Link.

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