We here at Maker Media hope you had a fabulous Halloween and that you used it as an opportunity to express your creativity and love of making and crafting. Halloween has been firmly embraced here at MAKE, and many other quarters of the DIY community, as the
holiday for makers. It's not that Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, the Fourth, or any other holiday or celebration isn't a great "excuse" to make things, but Halloween is SO wide open, everything seems fair game. And what can we say, the slight air of mischief that hangs over the holiday appeals to us. Halloween seems to just invite risk-taking and trying out new things. And that's so much of what the maker movement is all about: overcoming those voices (whether internal or external) that say you can't, and just going for it. We love to hear stories from makers about stepping out of their comfort zones and trying out new forms of doing things for themselves. If you've recently had such a breakthrough, we'd love to hear from you. Please email me
your story. It may end up on Make: Online or in a future edition of this newsletter.
As usual, there is a lot going on at here at Maker Media. Here are a few things:
MAKE magazine Volume 20
, the "For Kids of All Ages" issue, is making its way to subscribers now (on newsstands Nov. 17). As you can see, it has Mythbuster Adam Savage on the cover, and featured inside. We're really excited. The issue contains lots of cool projects (hydrogen-oxygen bottle rocket, lunchbox laser, marble computer) and even hysterical pictures of Adam as a kid maker! While you're luxuriating over Volume 20, we're already nose-to-the-keyboard on Volume 21, the 3D fabrication/desktop manufacturing issue. We're pretty jazzed about that issue, too.
Maker Faire -- Mark your calendars! We've locked in the dates for next year's Maker Faire Bay Area. The World's Largest DIY Festival will return to the Bay Area on May 22 & 23, 2010. This will be our 5th Maker Faire in the Bay Area and will once again be held at the San Mateo Expo Center. See the Maker Faire site for more information. And we hope to see you at the Faire!
Makers Market -- The Makers Market
team has been hard at work setting up shop, building a curated marketplace of wonderful science, tech, and artistic creations, uncovered by the staffs of MAKE and Boing Boing. We'd originally hoped to have the market ready this past summer, but it looks like we're now in the home stretch of design (okay, redesign) and testing. We apologize for the delay, but we think the time spent getting it right will be worth it. If you'd like to receive Makers Market updates, or are interested in having a virtual storefront in the marketplace, please visit the site and register.
CRAFT -- Our CRAFT site staff and our design and web teams have been hard at work on a swanky new design for CRAFT. We can't wait for you to see it. That grand unveiling should take place in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.
Make: Online Holiday Gift Guides -- Starting the middle of this month, we'll start publishing our extremely popular online gift guides. This year, we'll include our usual shopping guides to Ardunio, Open Source Hardware, Robots, and Alternative Technology, but we're also bringing on guest authors like Bill Gurstelle of Backyard Ballistics, Diana Eng of Fashion Geek, Paul Overton of DudeCraft, and others, and will cover such unique gift areas as hobby radio, crafting gear for guys, retro-tech, and gifts for geeky kids.
As we clean up the pumpkin guts from our front lawns and try to stop eating all of the kids' candy, and head deeper into the hectic holidays, remember to take some time out for yourself to make something. If you don't set time aside, and abide by it, your pet projects aren't going to get done, especially this time of year. Here's a thought: how about making gifts this year? You'll save a lot of money, the gifts will have much deeper meaning for the recipients, and you'll have a great excuse to spend some quality time with yourself, lost in the joy of making. Everybody wins. Happy Fall!
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The Maker's Dictionary explores the world of DIY through its technical terms, jargon, and slang. We cover emerging terms you might hear floating around (but don't really know the meaning of), the tried and true argot of various technical disciplines (that all makers can benefit from knowing), and fun slang that helps paint a picture of DIY subcultures. If you have any terms or slang you want to share, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. --Gareth
BioBrick -- A standardized synthetic biological component that has a specific function and can be combined with other such standard parts to create living cells and new biological organisms. BioBricks are an attempt to bring engineering ideas of standardization and abstraction, and the open-source development approach, to biological systems. Here's a video of "biohacker" Mackenzie Cowell
showing how a BioBrick
Countersink -- A conical-shaped hole used to finish off a screw or bolt hole cut into a material such as metal or wood (usually with a special drill cutting head). The purpose of a countersink is to allow the bolt or screw to be flush (or below) the surface of the material.
Golden Third -- A term coined by Bill Gurstelle, in his book Absinthe & Flamethrowers
, to refer to those people who fall somewhere in the area to the right of the mean of risk-averse to risk-seeking people on a statistical curve of risk-taking. He argues that risk-averse people rarely create innovation/progress, and those who are too far to the right of the mean are reckless in their pursuit of extreme thrills (and don't likely change much either). It's those in this "golden third" (about 34% of the population) that drive the society forward.
PWM (pulse-width modulation) -- A method of controlling a motor by generating on and off pulses of electricity. By controlling the "on" time percentage (called the duty cycle), the speed of the motor can be controlled.
RTV (room-temperature vulcanization) -- A type of silicone rubber compound that hardens (at room-temperature) through a chemical process. RTV-1 cures when exposed to air. RTV-2 involves two chemical components that, when combined, trigger the curing process. RTV is frequently used in various crafts, model-making, sculpture, prototyping, and other situations requiring molds for short-run casting of objects.
Shield -- Term used with the Arduino open source microcontroller to refer to "daughter boards" (additional circuit boards) that plug into the main Arduino module, usually via header pins on the shield and header sockets on the Arduino. The connection not only mechanically attaches the shield to the module, but the pins carry power and data signals.
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Gems Unearthed from Deep Within the Datamines of Make: Online
After some five years of publishing Make: Online, we've built up a huge repository of content. Since most of it is in dated weblog format, older materials gets pushed deeper and deeper into the background. There's a lot of great content back there, material you've likely never seen. In this regular newsletter column, we'll dig some of these gems up and share them with you.
Voltage, current, and resistance - A Primer @ MAKE -- This piece includes a handy resistor code chart and links to the digital version of Joe Grand's excellent "Primer" article from MAKE. The post also includes links to many of our other Primer pieces from the magazine. You need access to the Digital Version of MAKE (free to subscribers) to view these articles.
Make your own vacuum tubes? -- This video, of French maker Claude Paillard fashioning his own vacuum tubes from scratch, is one of the most popular, beloved items we've ever posted on MAKE. If you haven't seen it, you must. If you have, watch it again. It inspires every time.
Mythbusters interview (part one, part two) -- With Adam featured in our latest issue of the magazine, we thought we'd point out this two-part, in-depth interview Make: Online did last year with Adam and Jamie.
The Maker File - Years ago, we did a brief series of audio podcasts called The Maker File. Here's a link to one with Burning Man artist Tim Black. The post also includes links to other Maker Files.
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You WANT This!
Only twice in my adult life has design innovation brought me close to tears -- the extra legroom and a footrest I encountered on a TransPacific flight was the first. And using the Open It! tool to get through the clamshell packaging of a calculator, then opening a new CD with the same tool, and the same ease, was the second. Seriously.
Opening packages, whether its a new gadget for yourself, or something you've got to set up in your role as Santa's helper, is a bear. Am I right? The plastic is tough and sharp! Those little wire tie-wraps are twisted into a mess and are always in those hard-to-reach places. Until now. Two women (naturally!) have come up with the Open It! tool, and suddenly, my holiday season is looking better already. The Open It! is actually five tools in one. These smart women even thought to include a little screwdriver to get into the battery bay of your toy/gadget/begging-to-be-hacked object. The clippers cut through nasty plastic with ease, and the bend in the clippers makes it easy to get to those wire wraps. There's a retractable blade that easily takes care of DVDs and CDs, and if these features haven't convinced you yet, there's even a bottle opener. Cheers!
Open It! tools are available online at Amazon and enjoyzibra.com/openit, and at Bed, Bath & Beyond for less than $15. --Shawn Connally
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