Last Saturday we opened our doors for the latest in our series of Soft Circuit (Second) Saturdays. This was the first in our new home at 3711 Market, after a long hiatus. Fortunately, during that time, half a dozen of the Hacktory’s organizers were able to take classes on soft circuits, run by Yasmin Kafai’s group at Penn. So we’re back at it, with projects to finish and new skills to teach.
Before I talk about Open Hack, I want to note that we are having Soft Circuit Saturday tomorrow, Feb. 9 from 1-4pm at 3711 Market St. If you want to try out some wire-free ways of moving electrons around, come by and check it out!
Can you fold strips of fabric into hexaflexagons?
Last night’s Open Hack brought new and old faces to The Hacktory. Some came to chat, to see the space and the tools, and to get a sense of what’s going on here. Our friend NancyLee brought her education students over from Penn to build fast plant terrariums in the workshop. Far had ambitions to get one of the 3D printers running, but ran aground on a missing TTL cable; luckily he has extras at home, so we’ll try again next week. Steph shared her recent obsession with hexaflexagons, bringing examples in paper and fabric. They’re pretty mind-expanding! Read More
Hey everyone, we’re spiffing up our new home at 3711 Market at the Department of Making and Doing. We’re ready to start up our weekly open hack/open house again. The new time for Open Hacks will be Thursdays from 7-9 pm. Stop by and see our new space, see what we’re working on, or bring a project of your own to work on. Hope to see you soon!
Come out and celebrate the opening of NextFab’s new location at 2025 Washington Avenue this Thursday. As the invite says, “The NextFab community is barely 3 years old and already we’ve outgrown our original location. You deserve more, so NextFab is moving to a new home – 5 times larger, even more capable, and rededicated to helping you build your vision, build a business, and build a better economy! Please come and celebrate this exciting time and see this gorgeous new facility!” Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and there will be deals on memberships to those who come.
Local project Proceed raises questions about sousveillance, or “the recording of an activity by the participant in the activity, typically by way of small wearable or portable personal technologies.” Think surveillance, but you are choosing to record yourself. This project is the work of two talented multimedia artists, Kim Brickley and Sarah Zimmer, who are behind Create in Situ. Read More
Philly GiveCamp @ Microsoft, Malvern PA
Friday, Jan. 18 – Sunday, Jan. 20
Hackathon to lend IT support to local nonprofits, volunteer participants requested. Register online
Knight-Mozilla HTML/CSS facilitator training @ Drexel
Thursday, Jan. 24
Before EduCon, Mozilla is hosting a workshop on how to teach about modern web technologies. Register online
Hat tip to Christalee, who gave us a heads up on these Hacker-friendly upcoming events!
Courtesy of Le Méridien Philadelphia
Hey all, Brigid here!
Recently, local artist and friend of The Hacktory, Tim Eads, created his own artistic interpretation of the Christmas tree. Made of zigzagging white metal and blue LEDs, we here at The Hacktory think that the final product is nothing short of a Christmas miracle! (We like it and we want to put a bow on it!)
Since Tim’s schedule was tight he reached out to The Hacktory to see if any of Santa’s little hacking helpers could lend a hand with the electrical. I was lucky enough to answer the call, and since I had so much fun trimming this tree, I wanted to take a moment to spread the holiday cheer!
Keep us in mind for your future projects as we all love to help! Also, consider taking a break from your last minute shopping to go and visit Tim’s tree on display in the lobby of Le Méridien Hotel, 1421 Arch Street.
Happy holidays everyone!
Here’s an invitation to apply to Hacker School, a three-month program in NYC to become a better programmer. I’ve heard only good things about it from participants and mentors. The program itself is free to participants, and funded by startups who recruit from it. Hacker School aims for gender parity, and to that end they provide need-based stipends for living expenses to women. The application deadline is January 1, so if you’re interested in this “writers’ retreat for hackers”, get moving, and good luck!
From: Nicholas Bergson-Shilcock
Apply to Hacker School
Hacker School is a three-month, full-time school in New York for becoming a better programmer. It’s like a writers retreat for hackers. Tuition is free, and we provide space, a little structure, time to focus, and a friendly community of smart people dedicated to self-improvement.
We strive to make Hacker School the best environment to learn and grow as a programmer. Towards that end, we have explicit social rules (e.g., no “well, actuallys,” no “feigning surprise,” no “subtle sexism”), we aim for gender parity (our past two batches were 37-45% female), and we host amazing people as programmers in residence who work directly with students (last batch: Jessica McKellar, Peter Seibel, Alex Payne, Stefan Karpinski, and David Nolen).
Tuition is free, and we provide $5k, need-based grants to women for living expenses.
We value free software, beautiful code, and personal growth. Apply now to be part of our winter 2013 batch, which begins in February:
You can also learn about the type of people we look for and if we’d be a fit for you:
We had a great time this past Saturday helping about 70 Girl Scouts make some awesome jewelry with recycled electronics. We made sure to take lots of photos, which you can see on our flickr page here. Thanks again to our host, Girl Scouts at Penn, and our great volunteers Elise, Jacqui and Katie. We got a great response from a lot of folks who either participated in Girl Scouts growing up, or were interested in what we could offer that was a little different than the regular Girl Scouts programming. Needless to say, we now have tons of ideas of future programs we’d like to put together for them, and are looking forward to working with Girl Scouts at Penn in the future. We also got really interested in the current badges for Science and Technology for the Girl Scouts, which were completely redesigned not long ago. We’re going to be posting more thoughts on that soon, but do any of our readers have thoughts or comments on the science and tech activities offered now or in the past by the Girl Scouts?
Photo by Casey Hussein Bisson
An interest in education is one reason people get involved at The Hacktory. Some want to teach, some want to learn, some want to self-educate – we welcome them all. Recently I came across an article aimed at educators, talking about how hacking fits into the standard curriculum. “Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012: The Maker Movement” by Audrey Watters gives a quick but thorough overview of important developments in maker education this past year, including MAKE Magazine’s DARPA-funded initiative to build makerspaces in 1000 high schools. I’ve heard what science practitioners identify as the goals and obstacles for more STEM education and outreach; it’s interesting to see what people coming from a primarily educational direction have to say about it.
If you, like several Hacktory volunteers, have been bitten by the online learning bug, you might also find the next post in her series, “Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012: Learning to Code“, worth a read. In general, I recommend her blog, Hack Education, to anyone interested in current events reporting and user-focused analysis of education technology ventures. Read More