Bay Area Maker Faire 2014: Maker Ed


My first visit to the Bay Area Maker Faire. The size of this was overwhelming, and two days would definitely be recommended to take it all in. After reading reports on the Maker Faire from such sites as Evil Mad Scientist, I realized how much I missed.  Unlike the smaller Detroit Maker Faire, there were five or so stages spread across the San Mateo fairgrounds with concurrent talks, so I chose a half dozen from the Maker Ed tent and a few from Make: Electronics to attend. I’ll start with a couple talks on Maker Ed.

The Exploratorium


On Friday, I had the opportunity to visit the Exploratorium, an amazing convergence of art, science and technology, in order to gather more information on their workshop on scientific inquiry. I went up early to browse the piers before the onslaught of the crowds, and while waiting for the meeting to start, I happened to walk next to an open door in the building next to the Exploratorium, only to find a seven foot tall Strandbeest facing me.

Maker Con Day 2 – PM Sessions


Programming Connected Devices, Michael McCool at Intel

The first session of the afternoon was a presentation of programming for the Internet of Things (IoT) using Javascript, Node.js and HTML5 for the user interface. More than half of the tech sessions on both Tuesday and Wednesday dealt with some aspect of IoT, so it would be interesting to explore how this concept could be applied to students.

Maker Con Day 2 – Lunch Interlude


During lunch we were entertained by Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz of Eepy Bird, AKA the Coke and Mentos guys. They presented what was called the 1/10/100 method to unlock creativity, with the notion that everyone is creative, it just takes hammering away at an idea over and over again to reach the point where you can unleash it on the world. Their message was don’t try to be brilliant – do it one step at a time, by the time you reach 100 you have something that appears brilliant. I heard some developers discussing this as it relates to their personal projects, and realizing they were trying to be brilliant right off the bat – it just doesn’t work that way.

Program or Be Programmed

Books, Technology

Program or Be Programmed was recommended by by a coworker who deals with technology much of his working day. It’s a quick, worthy read although like many of these books presented as possessing great insight into the Next Big Thing or What Society is Doing Wrong and How To Embrace It, I found elements of hyperbole or self-evident points among the thought-provoking ideas. It’s written by Douglas Rushkoff, a self-described media specialist who coined the terms “social currency” and “screenagers”, i.e. phrases I have never used.