Look what MAKERS can Accomplish in 1 Year!

I just received my latest email update from Nation of Makers, and, after stepping back, what the Movers and Shakers (or should I coin the phrase “Makers and Shakers”), in the Maker Movement Can Accomplish. Even the White House was amazed on how effective the maker community has been in bringing about this project.

Below is an excerpt from the Newsletter and I just needed to celebrate it with everyone else:

The end of the Summer also marks the passage of the one year anniversary of the White House Makerspace Summit. This exciting event held last year became the catalyst for the formation of our organization, and as such, it serves as a great marker to reflect on the past year – we have a lot to celebrate!

It has been an incredible year full of inspiring stories, new and exciting events, and a beautiful growth of our maker community. In this past year, Nation of Makers was able to:
Establish itself as a funded non-profit organization
Assemble a Board of Directors and Advisors
Establish representation from each state via our State Ambassadors
Hire an Executive Director
Lead and coordinate the 2017 National Week of Making
Collaborate with multiple public and private organizations to execute meaningful programming, including awarding eleven communities around the United States with funding to host Maker Town Halls
Participate in several regional NoM community meetings
Attend, participate in, and present at numerous external events including SxSWEdu, the Maker Ed Leadership Summit, Make for the Planet, InfoSys Crossroads, PVDFest, NDIA Manufacturing Division Meeting, MForesight, and the March for Science
Begin collating resources for our upcoming resource library
Begin work towards the growth of our organization via a number of active community working groups
Advocate for and provide guidance on maker legislation within the US Congress
Engage with the Congressional Maker Caucus and National Science and Technology Council Interagency Working Group on Making to encourage and support federal policies that support the maker community
Interact with and support maker organizations, rural and urban, large and small, non-profit and for-profit, throughout the United States and internationally

It is so exciting to think about what we will accomplish going forward together! Thanks to your participation and advocacy, Nation of Makers’ potential is unlimited. In the coming months, keep your eyes peeled for new and exciting ways that YOU can specifically get involved in growing our organization and our community – from setting up organizational profiles, re-activating and joining tiger teams (working groups), helping us set up and build our resource library, working with us to plan our annual convening, and advocating for making within your local community and nationally – there continues to be many ways that each one of you can contribute to growing the Nation of Makers. I look forward to working you in the days, weeks, months, and years to come to make our organization a resource for all!

Making the Retro 50’s Rack mount for PC Protection in the Hackerspace Shop

There needs to be a plan when you install a new piece of CNC machinery in the CT Hackerspace shop to make provisions to protect the adjoining PC. Electronics don’t usually like the metal flakes and sawdust flying be the circuit board while in use. Our latest CNC is going to also be placed in a full demonstration area for classroom instruction, so I was hoping for not only a protective setup, but a clutter free install. With the limited equipment on hand, one’s creativity and some hacking starts coming into play.

Continue reading “Making the Retro 50’s Rack mount for PC Protection in the Hackerspace Shop”

The Creation of the CT Hackerspace Rolling Whiteboard & Stack-able Chair Cart

 Whiteboard Chair Rack
Finished Project

Many Hackerspaces learn quickly that space is of a premium value. Besides the usual ideas of making items mobile for a more dynamic space, as well as embracing linear upward construction, one starts becoming more creative. In today’s case, the combination of these two ideas along with even more multipurpose came into play..

Continue reading “The Creation of the CT Hackerspace Rolling Whiteboard & Stack-able Chair Cart”

Launching Nation of Makers

I am happy to announce our efforts in creating the Nation of Makers.

Bill Saturno

President , Co-founder : CT Hackerspace
Transition team : Nation of Makers

Contact: Nation of Makers

More than 300 organizations come together to launch Nation of Makers
New non-profit organization will ensure that more Americans have access to the spaces, communities, and tools that enable them to make things, not just consume things.

Continue reading “Launching Nation of Makers”

Why Google really bought Agnilux.

If there is one thing that can be said of Google, it is that they play a great chess match. Many moves today are done for the greater chess board position later in the technology game. Some of Google’s pieces in play: Bandwidth at the ready, Google Video & Youtube, Open-Source Android, Voice recognition superiority, semiconductor purchasing. Pieces lost in this round: Cellular bandwidth purchase, and a stuck Google Voice piece. Result: Google repositions it’s mobile strategy with a more encompassed target of appliance-based technologies rather than a just a mobile phone based focus.

There is much speculation being posted recently looking for the reason why Google recently purchased Agnilux. a super secret early stage start-up in the semiconductor sector. Agnilux was founded by members of Palo Alto Semiconductor. These founders left after the purchase of that company by Apple for $278 million in the Spring of 2008. Steve Jobs stated to the New York Times that Apple made the purchase of Palo Alto Semiconductor to promote and manufacture system-on-chips for iPhones and iPods.

Many of the technology pundits say that Google is interested in the Agnilux purchase to assist in possibly creating a new generation of power friendly servers. (A company founded with experts in mobile friendly chips are now focused on making energy efficient server chips? Maybe, but I don’t buy it 100%.) I fail to see Google’s motivation to invest in these types of semiconductor companies to install these (lower powered, energy efficient) chips into their server farms for basically two reasons. Reason one – Efficiency: Isn’t it more efficient to power down a mutli core chip than to ramp up dozens of more energy efficient chips to handle the same job? Reason two – Long term viability: Even if today’s use is not maximizing out the server’s processing power, future data demands will be more, not less. You will have the processing headroom in place to handle the additional demands before you need to do a hardware upgrade. I fail to see the long term ROI being viable on building a server cluster with more underpowered processors in spite of their energy efficient appeal.There’s a reason we use a school bus to transport kids rather than fleets of Yugos.

Google’s recent purchase of Agnilux, along with their purchase of PeakStream (in 2007), starts to position Google with hooks into the real physical world of hardware needed to develop internet appliances. Using the energy efficient Angilux processors coupled with the PeakStream GPU Platform, gives Google a nice position on the technology chessboard. The forward thinking moves of Google will leave them with a nice checkmate position as we continue to play the mobile and set top appliance game, not greener servers.

Apple iPad iNitial iMpressions

I actually had a few emails and posts asking me about my thoughts on the new Apple iPad. After scouring tech information on the web tonight, here is my initial impression and thoughts:

The Apple iPad will be a new home appliance category that will be hammering out a new niche. It will be interesting to see if the iPad will stunt the growth of the recent explosion of Netbooks, Ebook readers, and Android devices starting to be released onto the public this year. In my home, I see an Apple iPad replacing my “casual laptop” – My older laptop who has a current “second life” of web browsing, email, and video watching while I am on the sofa with the feet up.

While reading the tech stories, here are my notes of interest:

  • The iPad has the Apple elegance and style as we have come to expect.
  • Apple’s Pricing is fairly Aggressive (by Apple Standards)
  • Although sleek and slick, the device is still significantly heavy for its form factor.
  • Screen looks great and smooth video at 1024 x 768. With the purchase of PA Semi last year, now Apple can hide more of it’s Magic in the hardware design. The new A4 chip is guessed to be of ARM architecture, and coupled closely with a nice graphics engine.
  • Even with the A4’s horsepower, Apple decides still to not allow multitasking. My question is: Was that for iPhone Application compatibility, or an overall Apple forward thinking decision that removing multitasking in a handheld is not really a showstopper. (Similar to thier decision in removing CD/DVD drives in the Mac Air)
  • E-book implementation is just as good as the competition that is out there. This had to be a category killer goal from the design stage.
  • No Camera – My guess on this feature omission is two fold: (1)Putting a camera in the device opens up the entire iPad project to include more than the original conceptual design. (2) Adding a camera might have proven to be too much load on the A4 processor to keep what Apple wanted with the user experience. (Adding a camera adds many new processing demands: iChat video conferencing, Live streaming wants, High demands on video capture etc..)
  • The On-Screen Keyboard is “good” but not has as responsive as people hoped. I have never been a fan of onscreen keyboards myself anyway.
  • No built in Flash player confirmed. This could be a disappointment on some people’s web browsing habits. I still have not confirmed if the iPad is HTML5 ready. If the iPad is HTML5 ready, then this flash omission is a forward thinking step anyway. Sorry Adobe!

Besides the Living Room Table Tablet, I see new niches already being carved out for the education market and various medical markets. Students win with a lower cost and lighter weight textbook, combined with an electronic note taking device. Add IM, Video, and Youtube distractions, and it becomes even more appealing to own one. The medical field is already implementing tablet devices, and it can step up to the next level the iPad offers. Apple again is pushing the game market as it did with the iTouch. I see the game interest nominal as best.

The iPad creates a new niche. When you don’t need a laptop, but when you are looking to do more than a smartphone can easily handle. It’s your large screen, high performance iPhone / iTouch with some Netbook horsepower.

Explaining the Rise of the Geek

The status of Geek has become generally accepted by the masses of today. Has the general public had a change in heart? Nope. What has happened so that the once negatively ridiculed class is now so widely adopted? What gives?

Its all in the perspective. It's not that geeks have become cooler, its that the cool kids are now a little "geekier". Welcome to the club, kids. Its not always this easy.

The persona of a geek is usually one who is technically savvy but has limited social skills. The geek lifestyle which many times revolves around more technical pursuits naturally creates a lack in social interaction. In today's information age, many more people have become exposed to and use computers as well as other new technology. Baby Boomers have learned how to use it, Gen Xers have adopted to it. Generation X-Box have had this technology as part of everyday living their whole lives.

As technology weaves in as part of our wired and always connected life, we are all becoming more technically savvy as well as a little more socially removed. We know more people virtually around the world than on our street. We isolate ourselves in our own homes from one another with our own interests and entertainment. We even text and twitter more than ever before. Welcome to the world of the geek.

I plan on looking at some deeper social impacts in future postings.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

The SIG Is The New ” Local”.

Page Two, Newspaper Decline.

For good or for bad, the declining popularity of the newspaper is falling below it's critical mass of viability. Readership levels are dropping and so goes the rest of the business. Beware that there is a larger issue than the newspaper being an irrelevant media for the dynamic, interactive, interconnected "Generation X-Box" (thanks to John C. For that label). There is a fundamental reorganization of our social makeup underway. Because the next generation is interconnected and wired on a worldwide scale, the concept and current definition of "community" is now evolving. The idea of "Local" is no longer as important (or as relevant) as it was in the past. Physical location plays less of a factor to the makeup of one's community.

I remember around the late 1970s and early 80s as BBS's were starting to loose my ("local") interest , I started logging into my Compuserve Account and joining "Special Interest Groups", or "SIGs". The idea was simple: Using the latest technology, connect with people with whom you had similar interests. Communicate to people and open dialogs with those whom you would have never engaged in conversation due to the lack of physical proximity. AOL also had similar SIG manifestations in the 1990s.

The SIG today is more than a return of an old concept . It is one of the first clear signs of how social interaction will be rearranged on a fundamental level. SIGS have always existed in one form or another (clubs, groups, organizations,etc). Most organizations were challenged to remain viable if there was a lack of their common interest in a certain physical proximity. The internet makes this proximity issue irrelevant. Locality no longer a factor . The Specialized Interest has usurped the local interest in today's world. Get ready for the change. Generation X-Box already has and has embraced it.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Attention: We are now passing Mile Marker IPTV

When there are changes in social habits within a culture, we often tend to look for a defining moment to describe that change. The particular moment we define may not be the singular event that caused the cultural change, but is usually an event that best captures the characteristics of that event. (i.e “years of the Ipod” will probably define overall MP3 Mania)

I believe we are on the cusp of such a defining moment in the area of television viewing. We are wrapping up the last days of the TV watching phenomenon known as time shifted viewing. Starting with VTRs and ending with TIVOs along with cable’s On-demand programming, we will now enter the next TV watching experience : IPTV. Since IPTV is still a concept, it has different meanings with different people. For discussion here, lets define it as on demand television viewing via internet protocol. As a merge of cable’s On demand service programming along video podcasting, I believe that IPTV is about to sky rocket.

You may ask me why it hasn’t happened already? Companies like Archos and Wifi TV have been offering their solutions already in this realm. Hasn’t this craze already begun? Yes it has – Just as satellite TV was used prior to the Direct TV / Dish Network craze, there are always pioneers and bleeding edge consumers who pave the way. I myself was involved in a venture company that was streaming IP content as early as 1998. I believe the key component is critical mass. There is a point in time where new technology is understood and is adapted by the mass consumer market. We are on the precipice of that IPTV mile marker.

What will be the genesis of IPTV? A couple of factors. First and foremost is Apple’s upcoming “iTV” set top box that is set to be announced soon. Steve Jobs eludes to his iTV box as being the Itunes for your living room. There is a trust level that consumers now have with Apple. Overall, customers have had positive experiences with the Ipod, and they will be open to new Apple technology. Additionally, the new level of high end game consoles permit for more than game play, allowing for movie watching on a disc locally or watching via IP. Tivo is also experimenting with the replay of IP based shows.

Podcasters who have been experimenting with this technology are just getting the hang of it themselves – And just in time! Podcastcasters that are catching early audiences have started to realize that they need more than solid programming. To take their shows to the next level, they have realized the value in product “branding”. Two examples that come to mind are Leo Laporte’s “TWiT” (This Week in Tech) and Kevin Rose’s “Rev3”. Both brands now have multiple popular shows and are now being put under their own “umbrella”. I think this is key in their marketing success as IPTV rolls out.

Other companies like CNET and Ziff Davis will probably soon follow suit with their podcasting projects, and put more energy into marketing and more emphasis into branding. Ziff Davis and it’s competitors may be gun shy after living through TechTV’s failure in cable. I remind them not to forget that the all the dynamics with podcasting are far different than with cable, and being reluctant now may put them behind in this new upcoming IPTV wave. Don’t worry guys, your audience is tech savvy and is out there. They will be early adopters.

I solute all of the early podcast pioneers working with the limited resources they have; and wish you the best in success for seeing the future. To help inspire you, I know and have seen a working profitable model using this technology. Rolling out programming now will hope further cash in on a growing audiences.

And a personal note to Podcasters: The pioneers always take the most arrows. The ones who follow you have it easy. Podcasters “get it”, and “get it now”. This is bleeding edge technology, but not for too much longer. Try to survive guys, the future is near! I have been waiting for a decade for this concept to come to fruition and I can’t wait for the great road ahead.