Today was (hopefully the first) Brighton Mini Maker Faire.
Now, I may have aspirations to creativity myself, but the truth is that the artists and inventors who took (and deserved) an exhibition space at the Faire were all truly amazing people.
|From Brighton Mini Maker Faire 2011|
It was my intent to record a travelogue/podcast for Hacker Public Radio at the event, but as it happened, the background noise was not in my favour. I’ve shared a bunch of photos on Picasa instead. They were all taken with a phone (albeit one with a pretty decent camera) so I’m sure better images and videos will emerge around the interwebs.
Aside: it must be about 10 years since I’ve been to Brighton, and although it was a fantastic day to be by the coast, as a driver I found the city to be maddening… although part of that definitely comes down to the accuracy of TomTom and other maps in navigating the one-way systems.
So… a Maker Faire. What’s one of those? well, basically, the concept is that of an event showcasing the creative talents of “Makers” – inventors and craftspeople, innovators:
Started in San Mateo, California in 2006, and now expanding to Detroit and New York, Maker Faire is the premier event for grassroots innovation. Held annually in each of these locations, the event may expand elsewhere in the future. Maker Faire is supported by MAKE Magazine and O’Reilly Media.
There was a big Maker Faire in Newcastle last year, but the Brighton “mini” event was certainly easier for me to get to!
Hopefully the photo gallery tells more of a story than I’m able to do justice to here, but I’ll summarise. It was a really fantastic day, and I’m glad I went. Some of my highlights and comments, in no order whatsoever:
- I love seeing families and kids interacting with technology, or making things – and getting really excited. It was a delight to hear Simon Willison tell me how he’d helped youngsters typing BBC BASIC into a BBC Micro debug their code (such memories… ah…) at The National Museum of Computing display. It was brilliant to see youngsters make music with water, or play with wool, make gingerbread houses, or make mosaics, or draw new monsters to be the “bosses” in a fantastic new computer game.
- Richard, whose surname I didn’t catch, who ran the “how the brain works” games on the top floor. Not only was he a brilliant and engaging entertainer/speaker, but he had about 20 of us at a time pretend to be ganglions in the brain and play out Pop Goes the Weasel – great fun.
- The gyroboard, one-wheeled, self-balancing skateboard, controlled with a Wii Nunchuck (video). Awesome. I want one, and I want mine to HOVER, DAMMIT! :-)
- discovering new fun hacks – such as the Drawdio and the MiniStylophone that BUILD Brighton were showing and selling (yes… I had to acquire some stuff…)
- meeting friends old and new… in particular (!) @h4rrydog, @loudmouthman (complete with inspired daughter!), @natbat (sorry for talking shop at you (and for liking your product/company so much)), @simonw, @proactivepaul, @iamdanw, @monsonite, @folknology, @mikethebee, @dogsbodyorg, @jcrouchley (I need your stuff!), @TheArduinoGuy (great kit for Arduinos) and, for the first time in person since the Slorpedo triumph of Yahoo/BBC HackDay back in 2007, @jimpurbrick! It was far from a “usual crowd” collective though – great to see folks, looks like I missed a lot of people too, but it was very much a family and community event – I suspect the final numbers will be impressive.
- I should apologise both to the Sugru folks, and Ken and his team from London Hackspace on the Nanode stall, for evangelising their products for them to the people they were trying to talk to! I was not trying to get in the way, I just get excited by seeing these kinds of innovations… particularly knowing the backstories of the products, having tried them myself, and the fact that they are from the UK :-)
- I definitely need to apologise to Zsófi from Flattr – she handed me an invite code, and I then went back to point out that the URL printed on her flyer was presenting a 404 code… I’m sure not the most welcome revelation of the day, but they did fix it, and I now have a Flattr profile.
- the sheer JOY, fun and enjoyment that was the real buzz of the event.
Thanks to everyone involved in making the Brighton Mini Maker Faire happen (and apologies that I didn’t discover it in time to volunteer to help) – the sponsors, exhibitors, volunteers, and staff at the Brighton Dome. I had a great time.
Final note: if you were there and you’ve posted coverage of the event, don’t forget to add a link to the Lanyrd page – it is open to anyone (well, those with Twitter accounts) and it helps to link all the content together :-)
 Why Picasa all of a sudden, not Flickr? well, it is primarily down to the fact that I took all of the photos on my HTC Sensation today, and the Google+ app uploaded them automatically… making it fairly simple to create and share an album in Picasa. I’ve not posted about G+ here so far, but you may have noticed the link to my profile in the blog sidebar. I still far prefer Flickr, with all of the features and superior usability it offers, but in this case Google Photos/Picasa/Plus/Whatever just made it simpler.
- Lava Lamp Music at Brighton Mini Maker Faire (mt-soft.com.ar)