Smart tools are a key ingredient of the maker movement. 3D printers get more buzz than any other smart tool. It only makes sense then that makerspaces would be a big theme at 3D Printer World Expo. I had the pleasure of sharing my experiences with an audience in Burbank and finished by promising links they’d find useful. Here they are! Continue reading
Maker Faires cost money. Big or small, being able to fund your operation is very important and raising money doesn’t rank anywhere among the “fun to do activities” list of Maker Faire, unless perhaps last. Still, being able to pay your bills and emerging without debt makes this a critical undertaking. So what did we learn from our experience in San Diego? Continue reading
The tech scene in San Diego is relatively healthy I’m learning. However, I’m finding that software is the predominant theme: web services, mobile apps, etc. Open software is in good shape; open hardware not so much. With all the making talent in San Diego you’d think there’d be more hardware innovation taking place.
Enlightened San Diego Tech Week seems willing to give hardware a try. With urging and support from FabLab San Diego a Hardware Innovation session was slipped into the week’s agenda. Modeled after Pitches with Prototypes of MAKE Magazine’s Hardware Innovation Workshop we presented a hardware agenda to software folk at EvoNexus.
Acting as MC I kicked things off with the Open Hardware Revolution, providing context for what was coming and explaining why hardware innovation was something worthy of their attention. We followed with presentations from seven innovators and finished with a show-and-tell of a dozen hardware products.
The road is long but this was another step forward in San Diego.
When I can present my ideas to an audience which can make a difference, it’s worthwhile. Such was the case at ILEAD USA, a nine month-long program with 28 teams of library leaders from five states. My goal was to provide the background for modern making and then place it in the context of a library. I also spoke of participatory learning, models for implementation and proposed projects which could facilitate making in libraries.
As of this writing, one of five projects has been taken-on. An Illinois team is working with Instructables and the American Library Association to tailor a projects database to meet library needs. I can hardly wait to see what comes from the collaboration!
My speeches in their entirety can be seen here:
Of course, I can’t drive from Chicago to Springfield without soaking up Route 66.
This was the perfect blend of work and play!
Covering SxSW Interactive in one day is craziness. Frankly, not only is it impossible, it shouldn’t be tried because you end up making too many sacrifices. Even with the app they provided (see above) I couldn’t begin to discern a path through the vastness that would give me good coverage. At a certain point you just give in, do your best, and appreciate the richness of what SxSW offers.
Why one day? Continue reading
Every new makerspace is an adventure. For some it’s a good ride and for others it’s not. The difference can often be attributed to the skills and experience of team members. Some are better prepared to deal with a myriad of issues but most are not. It is this gap which we were trying to address at “How to Make a Makerspace“. Continue reading
The American Library Association holds two major conferences each year and this year the smaller of the two, Midwinter, was held in Seattle. A feature added this year was a track about making in libraries called “Maker Monday“. There were several presentations but the featured speeches involved Dale Dougherty and me in a session entitled “The Maker Movement Comes to Libraries“. We were very pleasantly surprised by the turnout.
I increasingly believe that making is in the future of libraries.
The “Hardware Innovation Workshop” is a finalist in two categories of the FAME Awards in the “best first-time event” & “best overall single event (business-to-business)” categories. This is a total surprise and a total delight for me as I’m quite proud of the work we did last year and am pleased to see it be recognized.
The American Library Association is serious about making. They had me present at last year’s Mapping Transformation conference then they asked me to follow up with an article for their American Libraries Magazine. I drove across the U.S. and visited ten libraries with makerspace ambitions out of which I sussed three successful models for implementation. My article was featured in their Manufacturing Makerspaces compilation; their editors did a wonderful job with the entire section.
It’s a wonderful thing to watch others discover making. One clue is when a group asks for a speaker which is out of their mainstream. For the Ohio Library Council to ask me to present at their Widen the Lens conference is a bold step out of their safe zone. When my speech ends up being so well attended, when people are so curious, when follow-on dialog shows a strong desire to embrace making, well, it’s just remarkably gratifying.