In Summary

2013-May-23, Thursday 04:29 pm
chebe: (DearDiary)
Forgive me, I've been reading. I don't often do this, but sometimes books are just too inspiring and/or mind-expanding not to want to share.

The first is 'Hackers; heroes of the computer revolution' by Steven Levy (25th anniversary edition). It's interesting in the "where do many commonly held beliefs and arguments originate?" sense. It looks at the birth of the American computer culture from the 1950s to the 1980s, mostly through the viewpoint of computer games and their development. As a chronicle of the teething period of the field it might only be interesting to those deeply involved in computer culture, but I suspect it holds wider appeal. It also has the remarkable ability to make the reader want to just go out and do something.

The second is the classic 'The Rise of the Meritocracy' by Michael Young. (Yes, this book is what coined the word meritocracy.) It is a short, but complicated book. Written as if in the form of a retrospective by someone in the future it blends historical fact with fiction remarkably well. Imploring the use of an old-style satire (exaggeration without the comedy), it is challenging, offering insights, again, to commonly held beliefs and attitudes, but this time on the scale of Society. From inheritance, aristocracy, education, socialism, and class structure in general, this book brought to light many of the things I knew but had never been taught. I thoroughly recommend it to everyone.

The third is 'Networks Without a Cause; A Critique of Social Media' by Geert Lovink. The style of the writing took me a while to get used to, but I'm glad I did. Looking at more than just social networks with a critical eye this book explores most aspects of the new digital frontier and the role it plays in our lives. From Amsterdam based radio stations, to blogging in Germany, France, and Iraq, commenting, anonymity, the multiple self, and information overload; it is a thought provoking read on something most of us just fell into.

So now you know what's been keeping me from working on projects. We had a 'Meet the Maker' meetup for the Dublin Mini Maker Faire in the hackerspace last night. DMMF is just two months away. It emphasised to me the need to get moving on some projects. But first GaelHack, which is just two weeks away! Maybe I should put the books down for a bit.
chebe: (Spools of thread)
I attended the Knitting & Stitching Show in the RDS this weekend. Actually, in the very hall I had my first and second year college exams. *shiver* It was my first time going, and I went with a mission. One that I unfortunately failed to complete. See, I went looking for fabric, a kind of fabric that doesn't seem to be available in the retail sewing shops around here. And while there was lots of lovely fabric, it was mostly quilting weight cotton. I saw one or two stands with dressmaking fabrics, but sadly none had what I was looking for.

The rest of the hall was full of knitters, embroiderers, jewellery suppliers, machine retailers, and small designers showcasing. Now and again I'd stumble across a stand a little bit unusual, like Colourcraft. More of a general craft suppliers I was surprised to find that they stocked many items I had failed to locate anywhere within reasonable shipping rates. Things like standalone wax pots (originally made for beauty salons, sold for batiking purposes, but which I intend to use for candlemaking), foil transfers, fusible thread, and even Angelina fibre (what do you mean you've never heard of it? To google with you!). Needless to say, I shall be keeping myself busy for the next while. Which isn't hard, as I've been brimming with ideas lately. But powerful all-consuming ideas that have to be written down right now. Which tends to get in the way of actually doing any of them. But I hope to strike the right balance soon.

I got the 'WordPress 3 Complete' book earlier this week, and devoured it in a couple of evenings. Looking forward to setting up an environment to play around and write some things I've been meaning to get done. Ahh php, it's been a while.

Also, I don't think I've mentioned it here before but I'm starting up a reading group, book club kinda thing, very casual style, at tog. Primarily we'll be reading speculative fiction. Some classic sci-fi and cyberpunk books with a maker/hacker ethos, or that look at consequences of new tech. But it will be up to suggestions and majority vote of the group. First meeting is Friday 25th, and we'll be talking about “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick. It's my second time reading the book, and I still prefer it to 'Blade Runner' :)
chebe: (GirlDayDreaming)
Woah. Don't you hate it when time gets away from you, for weeks on end? After last you heard from me I was at Electric Picnic (running electro-craft workshops with the amazing Cat and tog), after which I found myself in Rome (for what I thought was a holiday but featured more walking than I'd anticipated). I attended my first Freshmeat training session (and then my second just yesterday *ouch*), and have come down with a head-cold/sinus-infection which I am attacking with a vast quantity of medicines. I had been holding off on posting here until I got some photos to add, but I kept forgetting to copy the Rome photos from J and the tog websites are in the process of moving hosts, so alas I have no pictures. (Maybe that's a good thing, I was indoctrinated at a young age in the ways of my parents holiday slides... carousel after carousel of slides...)

But, I figured I've been silent too long, so you get some waffle instead. At the moment I'm reading two books that I'm enjoying immensely.

Books )

In other news, my Colette patterns; Jasmine and Clover have arrived, and so enthused me that I think I've gotten the sewing bug back! But first things first; have to finish that Crepe! I've decided (inspired by the aforementioned two books) that I'm going to go with the last set of darts I'd tried (removing them didn't work out as well as I'd hoped) even though everything in all the sewing books say that darts shouldn't extend above the apex. It simply comes down to the fact that that's the shaping my body needs, so that's what I'm going to do. No more mock-ups, next stop, cutting the real fabric!

[Next steps: (1) Underlining & cutting out fabric, (2) Stabilising neck and arms, (3) Final pre-sew checklist. Check have enough underlining fabric is prewashed, and have fusible interfacing.]
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