There is nothing more annoying about phones than upgrading them and finding that your battery is a different size and won’t fit in your old charger, even tho the contacts line up. OK, there is one thing more annoying – owning a phone that doesn’t let you take the battery out (*cough* iPhone).
So rather than put the old HTC Desire charger in the bin, I went at it with a Stanley knife and some Sugru. Pretty it ain’t, but my HTC Sensation battery now fits perfectly.
Maker Camp, sponsored by MAKE magazine, is a virtual summer camp for teens, with a focus on creating, building, and discovering. We’ll be making 30 awesome projects in 30 days on Google+. Maker Camp is free and open to all, and runs from July 16th through August 24th.
I’m already badgering our bored eldest to get involved. We actually got the magazine that a lot of the projects are based on, a few weeks back.
UPDATE: Yup, the youngfella is interested. If nothing else, he now has a Google+ account. Of course the way I told him about it was to send him a PM on Facebook.
UPDATE 2: Alex Leonard correctly pointed out a terrible oversight in the original version of this post. I somehow managed to mention Google+ without complaining about the lack of a Write API. Come on Google, hurry up. Fixed
UPDATE 3: Fair comment from our 13 y/o – he was surprised by the low-quality of the video. He assumed, given the companies involved, that it’d be at least 720p. Very hard to make things out at 480p. Hopefully video quality of upcoming days will improve as they won’t be doing off-site.
I have a bunch of blogposts bouncing around in my head which I’ll hopefully start writing on my holliers, from Friday. Stuff around the tactile nature of hardware, Makers, having a Masters in Electronics I never really used, low volume production, crowd-sourcing solutions to problems instead of relying on guv’ment, moving production back to the first world, education, Kickstarter, doing vs learning etc etc etc.
There are a ton of companies supplying the Maker market and electronics people in general. Two of my favourite are Sparkfun and Adafruit. I just watched this video by the CEO of Sparkfun and I like them even more now. He has concerns about every project going into Kickstarter and why other models may be more appropriate in many cases.
Just spotted this oldtweets project which is collecting all the Tweets from the first year of Twitter. I did the usual vanity search and spotted something very interesting – we hadn’t quite mastered the use of @ in March 2007.
I’ll always remember the months I spent building a data graphing application for the ZX Spectrum for a schools programming competition back in the 80s. You ain’t seen a piechart until you’ve seen a Spectrum colour-clash pie-chart like that. Of course I didn’t even get a mention, let alone win the thing. Bitter? Me? Never.
So pass this on to your kids. Given the damned weather, it’s not like they can go outside anyway. I think I’ll try and get our eldest to do the RPi part of our doorbell project.
If you don’t have an RPi yet, you can use an emulator.
We run summer camps for girls! Curious Jane is a dynamic after-school and day camp program for elementary school aged girls. We offer highly-creative, project-based activities that encourage open-ended problem-solving. Our programs give girls the opportunity to explore design, building, and science in a positive, gender affirming environment. Girls attend for single or multiple weeks, and each week they choose their favorite “theme” — popular options include: Toy Design, Story Arts, Life Science, DIY Fashion, ‘Zine Scene, Building Workshop and Wired 101.
Our Sibéal, aged 8, would lovvvvvvveeeee to do something like that.
Actually, a quick search discovered that, within the purely science sphere and not specifically for girls, the brilliant Mad About Science people have arranged Summer Camps in Cork for kids. Their site seems to be a bit borked at the moment but it looks like they are happening in July in Carrigaline. They will be doing bottlerockets, chemistry, forensics, computers, electronics, green energy, robots etc. Unfortunately we’ll be away on holidays.
I really think there is a big opening for more stuff like this. For example, the people who run kids birthday parties where they make pottery are proving very successful. Art Summer Schools always tend to do well too. So something with all of this combined would surely be interesting for kids and their parents?
Update: Great link from MissionV on Twitter to Whizzkids who do a lot of tech summer camps and other sessions around Ireland. Well worth a look.
I’ve just been to their Blackpool Cork store and their infamous excessive prices still managed to shock me.
In the old days when they might be the only game in town for electornics, they could get away with this messing, but with this internet thingy that we all use now, it’s ridiculous. Not only that but they are even doing the old lets-screw-the-paddies-on-the-exchange-rate-trick.
The kids and I have a silly idea for an Arduino project involving doorbells. So I ordered some parts from Sparkfun in the US (love that site so much) and they arrived quickly:
Then I lashed together the bare basics to make sure what we want to do will work. Press the button:
Press it again:
Amazing to see the reaction from the kids, even teenage friends of theirs. I think it’s the tactility and physicality of the whole thing. If it was a piece of code running on a PC or phone, I’m sure the response would have been “whatevah”
Next steps are to add all the other buttons and then start on the Raspberry Pi part of the project.
Off we go to Maplins now to get a few more little things for it and my other far more serious project (if you can figure out what one of the parts in the first pic is, you may be able to guess)
Cross Dominant is Stephen Fry proof thanks to caching by WP Super Cache