Category Archives: hardware

Chris Anderson on how “parenting gone wrong” turned into a multi million dollar company.


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As the longtime editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, the author of The Long Tail, the proponent of the concept of “freemium,” to name just a few of the things that he’s known for, Chris Anderson is well-renowned for having his finger on the pulse of trends just as they’re starting to coalesce into movements.

So, inquiring minds want to know: What is he obsessed with right now?

The answer is “maker subculture,” which is where the latest in digital technology meets the classic do-it-yourself (DIY) world of crafting and small scale construction. Anderson is so engrossed in this world that he decided to write his latest book about it. Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, which hit shelves (and the world of e-books and e-booksellers) last week, makes the argument that what’s happening right now with makers is actually the third wave of…

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Montreal Mini Maker Faire

The best  thing I did at the inaugural Montreal Mini Maker Faire last weekend was solder my very own LED  pin.  Ben didn’t want to go anywhere near that soldering iron, and I’m glad I didn’t cajole him into it.  He has wonky fine motor skills and I burned myself at least once.  A simple little flashing pin took me half an hour, after I’d fixed up all the goopy metal.  And even then I kind of got it wrong (I slotted one of the conductors backwards). Still, getting a concrete sense of the labor that goes into making stuff we throw away without thinking, has really been an eye opener. As was  sitting around a table with a group of first world mothers and their daughters, and thinking of all the families around the world that actually do this all day for a living.

A sobering thought.  Good thing there was a bar right next to the soldering tent.

Kidding.  I don’t drink and solder.  But there was a bar.  Our Montreal Maker Faire was an afternoon event that preceded a music festival at the Olympic Stadium.  We overlapped by a couple of hours.

The main tent had some very cool exhibits. Videogames hacked in all kinds of bizarro ways, hooked up to playdough, skin sensors and voice sensors. There was the usual array of 3D printers, eggbots, steampunk, robots and innovative DIY toys. I liked tweletype, an old fashioned teletype machine hooked up to twitter.

On the upper level there were quadracopters, camera obscura, home made bikes,  and the Concordia women’s engineering department reconstructed a replica of the brooklyn bridge out of K’Nex.

But Ben’s favourite event was the Quidditch workshop, overseen by the McGill Quidditch team (current national champions!).  Here’s the golden snitch, giving the kids a pre game rundown:

The game ends when someone grabs the tennis ball from his tail.

Good times!

rasberry pi….I want some!

Just found out about this really cool UK project called rasberry pi.  This is a $25 computer, the size or a credit card. It’s basically just a minimalist linux platform with a USB port.  The purpose of it is to teach kids to program by stripping the computer down to its punk rock roots.  Look how cute it is: