My First 5K … Swim!

Across two days there were four swim events: Clinic, 1 mile, 2 mile, and 5 kilometer. Hundreds of people participated and, again this year, I was one of them. Bravo!

Not a run nor a walk but a 5K swim. The equivalent of 3.1 miles this event was three times around a modified 1-mile circuit on Lake Audubon in Reston, VA where I live. While I have swum longer outdoor distances, it hasn’t been for a while so this felt big. However, in the end the water was perfect, the weather was great and the swim was quite manageable.

During this 25th anniversary of the Jim McDonnell Lake Swim almost the whole family played roles. Beth managed the registration area which required an evening of prep and two mornings of commitments that started at 6:00 AM. Kelsey was a life guard throughout the events; she watched over swimmers from her perch in a canoe. Courtney intended to come be a spectator but overslept … such is life post graduating from college.

For some insight on the event you can visit their website here.

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Bay Area Maker Faire 2012

Only at a Maker Faire could you find this combination of a dynamic trio. They are Edward, Bart and Brook who each has a claim to fame that I wrote about this year. Bart is the creator of MakerSlide, a structural rail system that's great for CNC prototyping. Edward incorporated MakerSlide into his Shapeoko CNC mill. Brook's fame comes from his novel 3D printer design which was a home run on Kickstarter. As I said, a dynamic trio!

After a 365 day odyssey I’m back to where it all started. One year ago I attended my first Maker Faire in the Bay Area after having visited business incubators across the country. That mind-expanding experience led me down a path I couldn’t have foreseen, and it’s been remarkably gratifying. Today I closed the loop back where it all started.

After feeling all the energy, experiencing all the joy, and seeing all the enthusiasm for making, I became convinced something special was going on. This motivated me to learn more which lead to many activities. Subsequent Maker Faires in Detroit and NYC saw me as an attendee. I wove visits to 49 different maker spaces into my many road trips. Also, I co-founded a maker space in Norther Virginia called Nova Labs.

I also started writing about the theme for Make Magazine. Along with Dale Dougherty of I co-chaired a conference to bring the principles of the maker movement to corporate America. In the process of setting up the Hardware Innovation Workshop I got to know many of the leaders in the movement and become familiar with what makes them tick. All remarkably gratifying.

And so it is that I found myself back where it all started.
The big question is, “What’s next?”
We shall see …

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Space Camp West Coast

This is “space” as in “makerspace” and is a federation focused on how to make them successful. Ongoing, makerspaces struggle with how to organize, how to find funding, how to get facilities, insurance, zoning, etc. Rarely are makerspace communities fully prepared to deal with such issues and they can inadvertently fall victims to violations, liabilities and organizational chaos. The Space Federation is organizing to address these issues and before Maker Faire they held a forum which I attended.

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Hardware Innovation Workshop

Among the many products innovations on display in our Showcase was the Ori foldable kayak. It's made of corrugated plastic, weighs less than 20 pounds. It folds to a tidy package for attaching to a backpack, carrying on a bike, or putting in your car's back seat. You can see above how light it is.

It was a thrill to be among the world’s most influential makers, delivering an important message to corporate America and doing so in an iconic setting: Xerox PARC. I was pleased to have had a role in pulling it off.

Our message was relatively simple: learn what’s happening and take advantage of it. The themes were: 1) open hardware is a powerful catalyst for innovation, 2) collaboration around design can yield tremendous results and 3) new fabrication technologies allow rapid and low cost prototyping. In addition we touched on new funding models (think Kickstarter and the Jobs ACT) and hardware incubation. Together these ingredients are fueling something we’ve almost forgotten about in the U.S.: hardware innovation.

Here are links to background and articles about the event.

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