Do you believe that nerdy skills are superpowers? The folks over at Nerdkicks podcast sure do (and of course we do at The Hacktory, duh). Former volunteer at The Hacktory Mindy Holahan kindly invited me on her podcast this week to talk about The Hacktory, hackerspaces, making things, soft circuits, and lots more! Check out their website and sign up for their newsletter or listen to the podcast.
We’re very excited to announce the dates for an amazing collaboration we’ve been working on all summer. The Hacktory has been working with Carbon Dance Theatre, and students and faculty from UPenn’s Immersive Kinematics program on a dance performance that explores humans, robots and cyborgs. Yep, cyborgs, as in Donna Haraway’s manifesto about how all of us are incorporating technology into our bodies. At The Hacktory, we’ve been working on a portion of the performance that will use the XBox Kinect with Processing to sense motion and depth. Check out Carbon Dance’s facebook feed for video, photos, and commentary as the choreography continues to take shape. The performances will be at Christ Church Neighborhood House on October 25, 27, and 28, with a symposium about art, technology, cyborgs, and other relevant topics on the 27th. If you want a sneak peek you can stop by on Fridays for Brown Bag lunch events from 12-1 pm (aka bring your own lunch) on September 21st, October 5th, October 12th, or October 19th. There will also be a fundraiser for the performance on October 2 from 2-10 pm at TIME where you can meet the dancers and collaborators and learn more about this fantastic project.
Here’s a quick call for photo submissions from David Neff, who’s been making a coffee table book featuring photos of people with their Makerbots. (Makerbots are a brand of 3-D printers). David did a tour of hackerspaces and people’s workshops this spring to collect photos, but would still like more photos of individuals:
I would love to have a section in the book with user submitted photos to round out the volume. If you have a photograph of yourself in your workspace with your makerbot or wish to submit one, the variety a bonus.
It would be best if you send a file full res as it comes from the camera, we will color correct images and retouch anything that is needed. If there are permissions issues with an image, such as copyright by a photographer, we would need permission to publish the image from them before we could use it.
I look forward to seeing more of your faces! I put mine below so you can have some idea of what I am after…. Me with my Thing-O-Matic 3008 in Brooklyn NY!
Hey folks, just so you know, I (Georgia, Director of The Hacktory) have been invited to present at Nerd Nite Philly in October. In case you aren’t familiar with Nerd Nite, it’s a monthly event happening at Frankford Hall where a few speakers talk about a range of nerdy topics each time. If you’ve never been, swing by September’s Nerd Nite on the 19th, but for sure mark your calendar for October 10th when I’ll be talking about hackerspaces, what we do at The Hacktory, and a few ideas for ways you can start hacking (if you don’t already). Doors open at 7 pm, show starts at 8, and there’s a $5 cover. As they say at Nerd Nite, be there and be square, yo.
Have you ever been interested in programming but didn’t know where to start? Do you love robots like Wall-E, Johnny5 and Curiosity and wish you could make your own? Do you have an idea for a cool new tech tool but aren’t sure how to begin prototyping?
If you are drooling at your computer and nodding your head furiously then oh boy, **do we have just the thing for you**! Feast your eyes on the Arduino microprocessor and prototyping board!
The Hacktory will be offering a newly revamped Intro to Arduino course this month and we would love to see you there.
In this class you can expect a fun crash course on everything you will need to get busy creating with your Arduino. We’ll cover all the key concepts, from learning the fundamental aspects of programming with the Arduino language, to the different types of materials you can use in your projects and prototypes. Our aim for this course is to send you home with a cool project to show your friends, a whole bunch of new ideas and the knowledge and resources to produce some Arduino magic!
The class will be held on Wednesday evenings — Sept 19, Sept 26, and Oct 3 — from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The cost is $90 for all three sessions.
If you are coming to the class with some knowledge of microprocessors, basic circuitry and/or programming, you may attend just one or two sessions for $30 each. Email email@example.com for details.
The cost of the class does not include materials. We will have an assortment of sensors, buzzers, motors and more for you to experiment with in class. Stay tuned for more information on kits that will be available for purchase.
A friend of mine recently picked up this little treasure:
I’ve always had a thing for vintage educational kits, and this one is a real delight. Back in the days when RadioShack still cared about electronics that weren’t cell phones, it actually sold some pretty cool stuff. (Note the striking visual similarity between the Earth pictured on the cover above and my fushigi ball visible at the top of the photo. Coincidence???) (Also, aren’t there two earths in that universe?)
The manual has instructions for building 130 (COUNT ‘EM!) different circuits, from a strobe light to a square wave audio oscillator. Here I’ve wired up an electronic woodpecker.
The project lab includes 23 resistors, 12 capacitors, 3 diodes, 3 transistors, LEDs, ICs, a speaker, and a bunch of other components. It’s great for learning the basics and experimenting with different circuits. I’ll be sure to bring it to the next open house!
What are all these audio plugs and how do they work? How does my voice get from a microphone to speakers? How can I keep feedback from ruining my day, and why can I use headphones as a mic in a pinch? Most importantly, how do I avoid blowing out my roommate’s speakers?? Come learn the basic science of sound, how to wire up a mixer, and how to troubleshoot common audio problems.
We promise that by the end you’ll know an RCA cable from an XLR.
When? Saturday, September 8, 2pm-4pm
Where? University of the Arts, 211 South Broad Street, 5th Floor, room 511
Tickets are $20 and all materials will be provided.
I’m writing this post as Georgia, not the usual anonymous, generic blogger for The Hacktory. I want to personally say thanks for the recognition I received last Friday when I was named “Hacker of the Year” at the Philly Geek Awards, for my work at The Hacktory. The Geek Awards is like the Oscar’s for Philly Geeks – red carpet, black tie, the works. The other person nominated for the award was Stephanie Alarcón, a core volunteer at The Hacktory who also served on the board at Hive76. Steph and I agreed to share the award beforehand, regardless of who “won.” With her awesome technical knowledge, experience in the hacktivist community, and thoughtful event and organizational know-how, she deserves the same amount of recognition.
Although I did write a few comments on a notecard beforehand, when my name got called, I got so nervous in the moment that I just said a bunch of thank yous and ran off stage as soon as possible. Although the Geek Awards and Geekadelphia say it’s a silly event just to have fun, I do appreciate the recognition and want to share a few thoughts on it. Read More
Ok August 16 was a little too ambitious for us to plan this, so we’ve rescheduled. Take a trip to see Longwood Garden’s LED installations by Bruce Munro with us! Your ticket gets you a seat on our charter bus to the garden, covers the entry fee to Longwood, and a picnic dinner. Longwood Gardens has provided some excellent programming, including a discussion by Kristina Lynch, Ph.D., Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College, about the Northern Lights, and a StorySlam by First Person Arts on the theme “Everyday Magic.” Additional food and adult beverages are available to purchase at Longwood Gardens. We will leave Philly at 6:15 sharp to arrive at approximately 6:45 pm, and stay until 10:00 pm. That gives you over three hours to enjoy the fantastic installations and programs of the evening. Tickets are $50 for individuals, $80 for two, and you can get them right here.
Tomorrow, Monday 6 August, the Hacktory will be moving out of our 15th & Brandywine home. We’re grateful to Nonprofit Technology Resources for providing us space and support for the last 5 years. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to put on the great events and offer the exciting classes that we have. We’re very excited to be moving into the University City Science Center, (3711 Market St). NextFab Studio has invited us to set up shop there, and run classes to complement their membership services as they open their 2nd location at 20th and Washington. We will also be sharing the space with Breadboard and Public Workshop, and already have some great plans for engaging events and projects once we have the new space set up.
We expect to settle into the new space over the next few months. Watch this blog for further updates on our move. In particular, our Monday night Open House will not happen this week, or next week (13 August). We’re looking for a space in which to resume meeting after that, until we open our doors at 3711 Market.