chebe: (Purple - DanceLikeNooneisWatching)
2017-04-14 10:54 pm

LovelaceSpace

Ahem. Hi. Yes, I'm still around. (Only four more years of posts to go through and relocate the images, and I'll be LJ free!) I was at MakerFaireUK a couple of weeks ago, helping some of the tog guys at their stand. It's always a great trip, to catch up with people from other spaces. (And this time I even got to drool over a laser cutter I really, really want.) But things were a bit different this time, I was wearing a different hoodie. This year I was representing for LovelaceSpace.

A while back I made a post about why I needed to leave tog. In the meantime, as I whined to anyone who would listen, people started making suggestions, and dropping hints. This coalesced into something. Something truly wonderful. A working group, of passionate, hard-working, truly kick-ass humans, to set up an intersectional feminist lgbtq+ inclusive secular space, for hackers, makers, educators, and feminists, in Dublin, Ireland. It's a massive undertaking, we know we're unlikely to get everything right, but we really, keenly, want to try.

Our first event was last month. A cross-stich event, held in a very congenial pub. We'd expected maybe 20 people, 30 people tops. Turnout was more like 65-75. Some people even dropped in just to pick up kits. We could barely cope with the volume. At the busiest we had taken over more than half the pub!

We can't take all the credit. The event was a charity fundraiser, a rather popular one, and it was just before International Women's Day, and the protests that were planned to coincide. We raised €360, which bowled us over. The money went to ARC, an organisation challenging the restrictive abortion laws in Ireland. They are just one of many groups campaigning for change, to Repeal the 8th Amendment.

Our event idea was simple, take the symbols of these organisations, this iconography of the movement, and create cross-stitch patterns that people could turn into pins/badges/anything they wanted. We just didn't realise it'd be so popular! We had people from the other ends of the country asking us to run the workshop down there too. We had people in England wanting in. The solidarity, the love, in these communities, is so strong, so raw. Especially coming from a mostly techie background, it was a surprise for me. It was beautiful.

Well, our next event is somewhat similar, but completely different. The Science Gallery have a 'Humans Need Not Apply' exhibition on at the moment. They have an AI, Hoopla, that designs embroidery patterns. They've asked us to run a workshop to show people how to turn these designs into actual physical objects. This event is free, but also much smaller. It should be fun.

From the organisational side, we have another meeting tomorrow. We're working on finalising our Code of Conduct, planning even more events, and trying to get our documentation in place so we can become a legal structure. And then, find a physical space so we can house this amazing community 24/7.

It's hard work. For a group of people who are already over-worked. But the need for this kind of space, the passion and dedication of the people we interact with. It's a tonic against so much going wrong all around us. It is my primary source of hope right now.
chebe: (Default)
2017-01-02 12:08 pm
Entry tags:

33C3

Congress is an experience. Having an Assembly to hang around is a major plus. Like other conventions, the main purpose seems to be meeting up with people you don't get to see every often. (And complaining about how tired you are.) There were enchanting displays all over the place. I'm sure I didn't even manage to see everything. It never really stopped either. There was dancing in the snowglobe at 6am. There was hanging out in the sci-fi console area of the purpose-built-technically-outside lounge at 7am. I still haven't quite got the hang of the toilet and elevator parties. I wish I'd been well enough to do more, see more. But I certainly have ideas for next time.



Congress; 8am Day 4
Photo by chebegeek

chebe: (Default)
2016-12-26 10:40 pm
Entry tags:

33C3; day zero

Agent chebe reporting from 33C3; day zero. Although I've been to hacker camps before, like OHM and EMF, this is my first Congress. Plus side; no tents. Negative; hotel is far away, and there's winter rain. We got our wristbands, set up the Assembly next to the lovely Scottish Consulate. Got on the wifi. You know, the essentials. Had a quick look around as people were setting up. It already looks amazing, I'm sure tomorrow will permanently warp my sense of reality. I am a bit worried about how crowded it will be. 13,000 people, one venue. But there is that feel in the air, the one of creative minds working away.

P.S. I am probably Patient Zero.
chebe: (Default)
2016-08-10 10:46 pm
Entry tags:

EMF 2016

EMF happened last weekend. I went, with some of the tog people, but not with tog. It was a really good weekend.

It's difficult for me to describe what EMF is. Because it is simply too big now. There was somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 people, camped in one large field. With five stages, several workshop tents, villages, bars, food vendors, and a giant beanbag-filled lounge tent. Every person attending will have had different experiences, some even seeming to be from completely different events. It's large. There's a lot on. And it's utterly surreal.

If you've been to any of the maker faires, then EMF can be described (as one of the other attendees said) as a large faire, only instead of explaining your ideas and projects to regular people you're showing them off to other makers and hackers. There's a level of engagement, of enthusiasm, of sheer energy, that is difficult to gather in other places. It's a bit like a temporary Never Never Land, full of grown-up techie toys, organised and run entirely by volunteers. Large inflated bunny filled with neopixel strips that you can change the colour of by tweeting it. Really tall LED tower game. Pong made physical, with giant paddles and fire. A podium that made fire dance to music beats. Bbqs, fire pits, self tending bar robot. Amazing micropython badges. An incredible wifi network with over 64 access points, a beautiful dashboard, and nearly two terabytes of data transmitted. Electricity to your tent. Hot sunny days, clear starry nights.

Reality is proving just how hard an act EMF is to follow.

You can check out photos, and watch the talks. It will give you a flavour, but it isn't the same as being there.

An aside )

It was a replenishing weekend. Fun, energising, and completely exhausting. I want to go back.
chebe: (Cyberish eyes)
2016-02-21 02:14 pm

Career Zoo, Coding Grace, and the magic that happened

Yesterday (Saturday 20th February) Career Zoo was once again held in the Convention Centre. It had a couple of themes, one of particular interest to myself; women in tech. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the powerhouse that is Coding Grace got in touch, organising a mini wearables hackathon in the middle of the whole thing. Uh, yes!

We spent the day in an indoors white-picket-fenced picnic area next to DAQRI, our generous sponsors. Playing with toys, battling software, sharing resources, talking to curious attendees, and having a great laugh.



Wearables mini hackathon picnic in progress
Photo by CareerZoo, source




Photo journey )


A huge thank you to my fellow subversive hackers; [twitter.com profile] whykay, [twitter.com profile] micktwomey, [twitter.com profile] saoili, [twitter.com profile] meaigs, [twitter.com profile] taraannosaur, [twitter.com profile] norette, [twitter.com profile] NaoimiGillis, and everyone I got to talk to during the day/night for keeping me so entertained! And Coding Grace, DAQRI, and Career Zoo, for making it happen.



Hack-ter Party
Photo by CodingGrace, source

chebe: (Default)
2014-11-19 09:34 am
Entry tags:

SciHackDay side project

Set the scene; it's midnight, I'm just back from (sci-fi) book club, SciHackDay kicks off in the morning, and I want a project; something sciencey. I decide I want a radio telescope. But, well, I don't have the parts. So I scale back my idea into something I can iterate up into a radio telescope.

I shifted my focus on the electro-magnetic spectrum up to visible light, hoping to use my new colour sensor. It will really only give me one reading from one point of space, like a single pixel. To scan an area I'll need something to move it along. But I don't have any servos, and I've never played with motors before. Luckily I have a robot arm handy. And then the rest should just be Arduinos.

That's the thing about poorly researched hacks, they're never as straight-forward as they seem.

Down the rabbit hole )

Also, photos are up!
chebe: (OnTheVergeOfSomethingWonderful)
2014-11-17 12:47 pm
Entry tags:

SciHackDay 2014

Science Hack Day is an all-day-all-night hackathon; covering software to hardware, but with a project emphasis on science. It's in its third year running in Dublin, but this is the first one I've been able to attend (November is a much more civilised month than March).

It started Saturday morning (15th Nov), and finished Sunday evening (16th Nov). In thirty-two hours of incredibly intense focus, I got a mere thirty minutes of sleep. But ate a lot of pizza! It was fantastic the way the SciHackDay crew set things up. Large quantities of food would just appear every so often, and there was a steady supply of snacks throughout. Eliminating one very common, and annoying, disruption to work; that of hunting, gathering, preparing food. Sleep as well! Although many people went home to rest, and some managed a few hours on sofas and floors, my brain was just getting settled into focusing on some software work in the wee small hours, and not being forced to leave and miss that period meant I was much more productive than I would have been otherwise. But I am very glad it wasn't any longer. As soon as I got home I fell asleep for sixteen straight hours.

There were some really great project ideas, and even more great project implementations. (A fantastic number of wearables and etextiles too.) But I was wary of the too-many-cooks problem, so I helped out where I wasn't in the way, and worked on my own small project.

Chording Glove project )
chebe: (StarryNight)
2014-10-17 11:40 am
Entry tags:

Prototype workshop prototype

I think that's right, yeah. There's a festival this weekend called Prototype, which focuses on play and interaction. There are some interesting talks and performances ranging from games, to analogue human interaction, and even some wearable tech. Niki and I are running a workshop tomorrow morning, teaching the basics of soft circuits.

We're going to be making pet stars. Now, we all know that stars like to shine, but they have to feel safe and loved (go watch/read Stardust). And pets like being petted and cuddled. So when you pet your pet star it shines brighter! If you poke too hard the lights go off. If you do a good job the star will purr! (Turns out a star purring is a lot like lights twinkling.)

Here's the prototype I did up. The real ones will be much nicer, have proper felt, and be more cushiony.

A blue felt star, with a silver star in the middle with a trail of white LEDs

Pet Star - prototype
Photo by chebe



insider details )

I'll take some photos of the proper finished pieces at the workshop. And if the workshop goes well I'll do up detailed instructions on how to make your own.
chebe: (Default)
2014-10-12 11:25 pm
Entry tags:

Busy, busy, lots of events

Things have just kept on keeping on.

My work with Niki is just finishing a run on display at a felting exhibition in Farmleigh called Common Ground. I was at the opening on the 25th September, feeling quite out of my depth amongst the very talented craftspeople. But the nibbles were delicious, and I got to see some beautiful pieces.

Kelp piece displayed on a square of clear perspex, with mine and Niki's name visible on a label next to it

Kelp piece on display at Farmleigh
Photo by chebe



The 4th October then saw newer versions of our work on display at RuaRed as part of Digital Week. I was unable to attend, but Niki tells me there was great interest, which is exactly what we're doing all this for! At least she wasn't alone, with plenty of company from toglodytes. (Photos; close-up of the kelp, and newer, larger version of the talking torque.)

Niki demoing the kelp piece

Niki demoing the kelp
Photo by Joseph Carr at Rua Red



Yesterday, 11th October was the UNs International Day of the Girl. Intel had an idea and got in touch with both tog and CoderDojo Girls and #GalileoGirls magic happened. 75 (or so) girls and teens crowded into the usual CoderDojo space, and got to play with some hardware. From getting started with the Galileo board, to then choosing to play with electronics, wearable electronics, or social media programming. It was a long, chaotic day, but fun seemed to be had, which is very important imho.

Some of the CoderDojo mentors early in the morning

Mentors on parade
Photo by Niambhs, source



Next Saturday, 18th October, Niki and I will be running a 'Playful Wearable Electronics' workshop. I'm looking forward to it as it's a slightly different demographic and I'm curious on what aspects they're interested in, and grasp the fastest.

It's also my last commitment for a while, so I'm looking forward to break afterwards. And I totally mean it this time.
chebe: (FlowerInHair)
2014-09-04 12:17 am
Entry tags:

August, you were supposed to be relaxing

Post Dublin Maker I haven't exactly had much of a chance to rest.

TOG had a stand at Dublin Comic Con (out near Swords), where we dazzled people with many, many LEDs. At least I think that's why people seemed confused that we weren't selling anything. I was impressed by the quality of the costumes; both the professional ones on display, and the ones worn by attendees. I attended a panel on Special FX, and was charmed by both Al Matthews and Virginia Hey at another. I may have acquired one or two (too many) books on art/design/costumes of various films.

Rob at our stand with all the blinky LEDs

Rob and the blinky LEDs
Photo by chebe



Two weeks later I attended Shamrokon (a literary con, and this years Eurocon), and was a talking head on three panels; 'Wearable Tech', 'Back to the Couture', and '3D Printers and Copyright Law'. (Name drop; two of which were with Charlie Stross, a delightfully contrary man.) I attended two long days of great panels, my favourite probably being 'Peaceful Science Fiction' and 'Genre Toys'. It was also good to catch up with some friends I hadn't seen in a while (who were mostly busy running the con), and to meet a few people I know mostly online (*waves at [personal profile] vatine*).

Bill Thomasson, @chebegeek, @ickle_tayto, @cstross, sitting at table before panel begins

The only proof that I was there at all
Photo by Joe Mansfield, source



The next week Tog Duck (and some tog members) migrated East to Bletchley for EMF Camp. It was camping. With internet. I made it through two nights this time (yay, improvement!). But it was still camping. The trip also included many hours of driving (omg the M6, the horror, the horror!) and a couple of ferries. So it was fairly exhausting overall. But a good time was still had. There were interesting talks (including the inner workings of Quasar, and Bletchley Park), and Saturday night had people out displaying their finest light-up wearables. There were hats with chasing RGB patterns, animated dot matrix displays, a green EL wire outfit (waistcoat, tie, and hat), and a superb EL wire dinosaur wire mask (with operational jaw). I ran around the motion sensitive LED-poles Grid, and generally marvelled at peoples' projects. But I missed chances to catch up with people, so hopefully there will be another chance at the next run of events (April seems so far away...).

pics )

Also took the opportunity to visit the National Museum of Computing and marvel at the old(est) computers still running (both original and resconstructed). And Chester as well, because it was on the way and contained hotels.

I'm running real low on reserves, so I'm trying to take it easy over the next while. If that happens there should be more blogging happening here. Should.
chebe: (Default)
2014-07-28 09:06 pm
Entry tags:

Dublin Maker 2014

If you follow me on twitter you may have noticed a rise in the number of barely sensical tweets lately. That is the effect a deadline has on me. Last Saturday, 26th July, was Dublin Maker 2014. It was the events first time as an independent entity (previously Dublin Mini-Maker Faire). And it was a fantastic day! I didn't get to see as much of the other makers as I had wanted to, but I loved what I did see, and from all the photos, videos, and write-ups coming in everyone had a great time.

This year along with the event getting bigger, the branding also got much better. Check out my beautiful ladies-fit tshirt, and badges.

Black tshirt with white Dublin Maker logo, white and blue laser-cut badge, and blue and white soldering kit badge

Swag
Photo by chebe



White rolled icing decorated cake with blue and yellow logo

Cake!
Photo by chebe



This year was also my first year not exhibiting with TOG. They still had a very large, very hectic stand, but this year I've been collaborating with Niki Collier on some felt wearable tech pieces. We went under the name Adore, Adorn, Play and ended up with three wonderful pieces to show;


I'll do up individual posts over the next few days about each piece (you are here for the minute techie details right?). For now I'll mention the unofficial fourth piece; my fascinator.

Purple petaled felt daffodil with green headband and leaf, with a white LED and fibre optics core

The best kind of daffodil
Photo by chebe



While I was debugging some problems at one of our sessions in the weeks before Dublin Maker Niki started working on felting me a headpiece to wear on the day. I love daffodils, and I love purple. So, with no small amount of magic, in short time, she turned a pile of fibre, soap, and water into this beautiful headpiece! The Friday night before DM, I actually managed to get home before midnight. But found myself wired, and in the wee small hours rigged my flower up with an LED (complete with hot glued fibre optics and rubber tubes) and a battery.

Purple petaled felt daffodil with green headband and leaf, with a white LED and fibre optics core

Daffodil power!
Photo by chebe



It's just done quickly by stabbing two holes for the LED legs through the middle of the flower, and connecting them to the battery terminals with conductive thread (and a hint of fabric paint to avoid shorts). I got many compliments on it during the day, and wore it all night! (At which point people actually began to notice that it lit up *harrumph*) It now has pride of place among my growing LED flower collection.

It was a great, if exhausting day. And I'm already looking forward to both next years DM, and to working with Niki on more projects.
chebe: (BeautyQueen)
2014-05-11 03:41 pm
Entry tags:

Artek Circle

This weekend I've been at Artek Circle. This has been an incredibly fun, and inspiring, event bringing together artists, scientists, engineers, and even philosophers! For a day and a half we have worked together on projects. It's been surprising how much has been achieved.

I kind of floated around, helping out with some debugging, busying myself with finishing up an RGB gauntlet (more details to come), and being a subject for some eeg experiments. Mostly it involved watching cat videos. For Science!

Me, holding up right arm with RGB gauntlet lit up in blue

Me, playing with RGB gauntlet
Photo by CreativeDynamix



The eeg project was Sinead's idea. A bunch of eager people gathered round, and magic happened. My involvement mostly involved me wearing one of the eeg sensors (as seen here) while watching cat videos. We were using the TrueSense Exploration Kit which is available for the really reasonable price of US$48. The cat videos was inspired by The Sympsychograph.

Want to hear the first pass of what my brain sounds like on cats? Later in the evening we retired to the hackerspace, and the recording of my brain on cats got printed on the 3D printer. This is my very own Cartesian Portrait.

A 3D print of the recording of my brain watching cat videos

My brain on cats, 3D printed
Photo by chebe



Such antics can lead to unexpected side effects however. Like having to pose for many photos. I'll keep you updated as the project evolves.

*edit*
Sinead's take on the weekend.
And I just heard my cat brain mapped onto Love Cats!
chebe: (WalkSign)
2014-01-20 09:00 pm
Entry tags:

TOG at the Exchange

Our hackerspace is currently showing off some projects at the Exchange. Among the projects are the constellation quilts we made for MakerFaire Dublin last year.

Always with the last minute )

View from street through window of the Exchange. The quilts are visible on the back wall, behind other LED projects from TOG.

Display at the Exchange, from street
Photo by chebe



So if you get a chance pop down to the Exchange and have a look. They're a great group and do some really cool stuff. You'll be glad you did.
chebe: (WalkSign)
2013-06-30 02:43 pm
Entry tags:

GaelHack, and Arduino digital real-time clock

The first GaelHack took place a couple of weeks ago, the weekend of Friday 7th to Sunday 9th of June. It was a nice way to start a new tradition, with about twenty people from all over Ireland attending. (I think all but two of the hackerspaces were represented.) It was held on a scorcher of a weekend, in a boarding-school-converted-into-Scouts-Centre, with the option of camping or boarding in the hostel like rooms.

We took over a large room with a bunch of tables and chairs, set up the projector, and got started. There were a few presentations, a couple of hands-on workshops, and a few excursions out-of-doors into the beautiful sunshine to play with aerials and satellites. And to get the occasional ice-cream. In some ways the location was ideal (sunshine, quiet, facilities), but it did lack in some respects (insufficient internet, barely any phone signal, children everywhere). It was definitely a good start though, and at the end there was a great discussion, with people from different hackerspaces volunteering to look around their own localities for alternatives. I'm looking forward to next years. (There's a very thorough write-up by another attendee on the way, I'll link to it here when it's live. *EDIT* link)

Throughout the activities, in spare cycles, we worked on our own projects. It struck me how awkward Ardunio can be when you don't have an awful lot of internet to go looking for, and downloading, documents, tutorials, and libraries. But I persevered, emboldened by fellow attendees reminding me that there is almost always a library out there already. I got started learning to use I2C, real-time-clocks, and seven-segment-displays. Obviously I built a clock. This is the first step towards something else, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Arduino Uno, (you can ignore the MicroSD-shield, it's not doing anything here,) Sparkfun Real Time Clock Module, Adafruit 4-digit 7-segment display. The display requires you to install two libraries details here, and even though I'm using the Sparkfun RTC it uses the same chip as the Adafruit one, and Adafruit provide a library here.

The only gotcha that I ran into is that the RTC time is not set, and it is not running when you get it. (It also needs to be hooked up to 5V, otherwise when you query it you get a nonsense response.) To set the time to the time on your computer there's a section in the Adafruit example setup().
  if (! RTC.isrunning()) {
    Serial.println("RTC is NOT running!");
    // following line sets the RTC to the date & time this sketch was compiled
    RTC.adjust(DateTime(__DATE__, __TIME__));
  }

By default it doesn't execute. I had to remove the not to get it to run, i.e.
  if (RTC.isrunning()) {


You only need dto do this whenever you want to change the time, so ideally just the once. After that I just played around with the display, and got the colon blinking like commercial digital clocks.

Photo and video )
chebe: (FlowerInHair)
2013-06-13 01:45 pm
Entry tags:

Hanami Kanzashi

One Saturday (the 6th) in April last I went to Anime Dublin (facebook twitter). I'm but a casual anime fan, and this was my first convention. I was blown away by the costumes! Big (some really really big), elaborate, detailed, high quality materials, utterly beautiful. It didn't matter that I didn't recognise most of them, they in themselves were wonderful. And I'm in awe of the dedication wearing most of them required. (I should tell you about how annoying I find wearing my fairy wings one day...) And everyone was so full of energy!

But I was there for a reason. To show people how to make LED flowers. There was a hanami (cherry blossom) theme to the event, so I stocked up on my pink and white fabrics and even acquired a few pink LEDs. I thought I'd do something even more special though, and set about learning kanzashi (folded fabric flowers). I found this tutorial to be really helpful. There are quite a few variations there that I might try out in future, but for this event I stuck with just this one.

In short, get two colours of fabric (polycotton in my case), starch the life out of it, cut into small squares (I think mine were too small, but I've hundreds now so I'm stuck with them), and then start folding. You make each petal individually, then string them together. Which is by far the trickest part. So tricky in fact that after the first couple of people attempted them at Anime Dublin I decided to abandon the design in favour of the basic flower design. ... which it appears I've never talked about here?! It's just this simple LED soft-circuit in a basic felt-flower design (that you can see here), but I should document it at some point. (In case you haven't noticed, I quite like LED flowers.)



For speed and ease on the day I used the conventional plastic battery holders (instead of the elastic holder), but it left the bottom of the design very bulky. Okay if you're wearing it in your hair and can conceal it, but not the most attractive result.



I'm not the worlds greatest lover of pink, but in these cherry blossoms I do think it works quite well. (I wore it in my hair to a wedding later that day, which just happened to have a cherry blossom theme! I was warned the bride might try to steal it :)



At MakerFaire UK I found a lady selling kits on how to make kanzashi. Her's seem to stick up out of the plane where mine were laying flat (which is the bit that gave me so much trouble). So needless to say I snatched up the kit, and hope to learn how to make these better.
chebe: (Default)
2013-03-12 09:01 pm
Entry tags:

Updates of stuff



Work has been keeping me busy so coherent ... speech stuff ... is little beyond me at the moment. (I'm going to a grammar workshop on Saturday, maybe that will help.) So this will be blessedly brief.

Those are crepe-paper cherry blossoms at the top. I roughly followed this tutorial, only I lack a tree branch.

I've taken to learning how to needle-felt. Here's my first attempt at a rectangle in green wool, and conductive stainless-steel fiber.



I've also been experimenting with fusible fibers (and sheets) together with conductive fibers as well.



In tangential news we got a 3D-printer. I haven't logged much time with it yet but am looking forward to some of the translucent and UV-reactive plastics.



Finally, to conclude, I'm going to be busy this year attending all the things.

April, Saturday 6th. Anime Dublin (facebook twitter) Showing people how to make LED-flowers.

April, Saturday 27th - Sunday 28th. MakerFaire UK (website twitter) Helping out at the TOG hackerspace table.

June, Friday 7th - Sunday 9th. GaelHack (website twitter) Doing... something.

July, Saturday 27th. MiniMakerFaire Dublin (website twitter) Again helping out TOG.

July, Wednesday 31st - August, Sunday 4th. O.H.M. (website twitter) Trying to forget that I dislike camping.

Now to find the energy required to do it all.
chebe: (Default)
2013-01-11 11:42 am
Entry tags:

Well, that went... well.

I try to keep this blog about things that have gone right (or at least experiences I can learn from). As such, I would be remiss if I did not mention the night of talks we had in TOG last night. The topic ended up being Computer Games and Development, and it's one of those rare times when everything just went right.

Back in December I said to the other members, I've a speaker lined up, let's have a night of talks! December being so busy it got pushed out to January. Which is good, because January is so quiet, and devoid of interesting events. But then a wondrous thing happened. Julie and Becky said, hey, I know someone who might like to talk, and suddenly we had a topic and more speakers than we could fit in one night!

It's one of those examples of just how a hackerspace should work. One person starts something, others join in, and a location is provided. Easy as pie, an event happens. And this one was spectacular (if I do say so myself)! One speaker presented from an iPad, controlled by a phone. Another provided my first real life experience of Windows 8. One was part of a team that won a BAFTA. And we had possibly the largest audience yet, including possibly the youngest yet. All on top of the genuinely interesting presentations!

But personally, the icing on the cake was that of the six (excellent) presenters, four were women. In the area of computer games. It happened without thinking, without specific effort. It was simply that when people thought of others involved with computer games, these were the people they thought of. It's a small thing, but it makes me happy.

Julie made the point that we reaped the fruits of past effort; of going to all those tech events and cons, of making a point of seeking out other women in tech, that made this possible. (And to be fair, in this case it was mostly Julie's graft.) So this, is not only a fine example of a hackerspace working well, but also a good reason why women-in-tech events are important. They lead to great events!

Moving on, people are already talking about a 'next one'. Guess we'll have to do something about that :)
chebe: (Default)
2012-07-18 08:04 pm

Dublin Mini Maker Faire 2012

Bear with me, this is going to be a long post.

This Saturday just gone, July 14th, was Dublin's first Mini Maker Faire! It was held in the Science Gallery and on the Physics Lawn of Trinity College. I was there as a part of TOG, the Dublin maker/hacker-space. It was a fantastic day. So many people showed up who already knew a lot and came up with interesting questions and ideas. Some people were just wandering through Trinity like they do every weekend and were a little confounded to find us there. Yet others showed up wearing ESOF lanyards! I'm sad I didn't get to see much of the other makers or exhibits, things were just so hectic! It certainly seemed like everyone was having a good time.

Maker Faire )

TOG's new tshirt )


Projects

Arduino IR receiver )

LED matrix top )

Constellation Quilts )

Well, I fairly collapsed with exhaustion about 4pm (missing the after-party and everything), but up until that point it was a great day and I'm already looking forward to next year!
chebe: (StormyThoughts)
2011-10-16 09:46 pm
Entry tags:

Post Octocon thoughts

This year was Octocons 21st. But it's the first that I have actually managed to attend. It's a Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror convention (with a great representation from the comics world) and I had a really good time. There was a wide range of things that I wanted to attend, even allowing for the inevitable problem of sometimes wanting to be in two places at once. (Why was there another panel on at the same time as the awards ceremony? That was just cruel. ... Can anyone tell me who won?*) And although I did actually run a workshop, for most of the time I got to sit back and enjoy as a regular attendee.

Something that was pointed out to me, was the almost complete lack of any actual science-fiction. I happily lapped up all the horror talks, was glad to see diverse topics like YA fiction, the issue of ebooks and piracy, and the rather meta panel on whether female-focused panels at cons are actually helping. But where was the sci-fi? I suspect this problem is far more wide-spread as I look around local and virtual bookshelves and see endless heaps of paranormal romance, but no new sci-fi. Where is it?

Also, this was a con at which the majority of the panelists were authors. Published, successful authors in a range of fiction, talking about what makes a gripping story, what makes a good character, what elements can be included and what pushes the suspension of belief too far. Yet none of the people I know who aspire to be published authors were there. Not one. Why?

Nonetheless, I had a great time. The staff and organisers were helpful, the event was well run, very organised, and only the last couple of time-slots on the last day ran over (because they wanted to squeeze in a couple of extra shorts, and some people have run-away, if entertaining, mouths). Speaking of which, I feel the film shorts (entrants for the Golden Blaster award), the Vault of Terror (commentated sections of a really bad film), and the Fandom Challenge (university challenge style quiz) were refreshing changes of pace that added to the roundness of the whole event. I made it all the way from Opening Ceremony to Closing Ceremony and am currently very tired, but in a happy way. I'm left with a head swimming with ideas, book recommendations, and a renewed interest in the entire range of speculative fiction. I'm even already looking forward to next year. Yep, definitely a good time.

*Oh twitter, you do fill in all the gaps: Blasters and script award winners.
chebe: (Default)
2011-08-22 06:15 pm
Entry tags:

*waves*

Em. Hi! So I haven't been around much, and I am terribly sorry, I just lacked the time and energy to make anything new, or write anything up (still have some three or four old projects to mention). But, I'm back now. And with news!

This week is Irish Hackerspaces Week. Check out the list and pop over if something catches your eye. I'll be at the Craft Night tomorrow (Tuesday) working on some project ideas.

September 3rd and 4th a bunch of us from tog will be running drop-in workshops at Electric Picnic! For those not in the know, it's a large outdoor music festival with a strong cultural focus and many non-music activities. We will be running soldering, origami, and electro-craft (yep, that one is me) workshops. Still sorting out the finer details, will let you know when I do.

October 15th and 16th I will hopefully be at Octocon, which is a sci-fi, fantasy, and horror convention! Running more electro-craft workshops, but I reckon this one could be more fun and I am on the look out for sufficiently sci-fi-themed project ideas.

On a more personal note, I've been getting back to skating, and have signed up for roller derby freshmeat training with the DRG. I just hope I don't break anything!

So yeah. Busy, but so much fun :) And simply because it seems all the cool kids have them, I'm getting moo mini-cards printed up; very nice, and good value little cards. I'll be back with the regular project updates soon. Thank you for sticking around.