Awesome day, as always, with Miles at Maker Faire yesterday. Arrived early and glad we did – heard that by early afternoon the traffic and lines were so bad that people were turning around on the highway and returning home. This was our third year at the show, and somehow things didn’t click as well as they have in the past – didn’t manage to catch any of the scheduled events (giant mousetrap, Eepybird’s Diet Coke and Mentos display, floating R/C battleship war…) And starting to realize there’s a lot of carry-over from year to year, so didn’t get the delight of surprise from a lot of stuff. Crowds larger than ever, and the presence of Disney at a DIY fair kind of gave me the willies (though Miles loved their toy Wall-E bot).
Still, Maker Faire is one of the most inspirational things going – a wonderland of unpackaged, under-funded, can-do creativity. Cyclecide had their full range of human/bike-powered rides and attractions, the giant mousetrap was fully operational. A glass-blowing artist displayed his Prozac-eating chicken, an electronic calliope and a chariot pulled by an Arnold Schwarzenegger bot wandered the grounds, blending in with the Extra Action marching band as Total Annihalation jammed on stage near a 40-ft goddess made of welded steel cable, spewing great balls of flame from her heart chakra. Battlebots battled and hovercraft hummed and dudes roasted pickles near a giant Tesla coil. Steampunk ruled the day, its centerpiece Neverwas Haul alive and well (and until you’ve heard a steam gizmo concerto, your ears ain’t lived). People ground bags of flour from raw wheat with a bicycle, affixed Legos to a Jeep, 4′ cupcakes drove around, kids blasted model rockets 200 yards into the air, a man knitted and drummed at the same time (with the same sticks).
In other words, Maker Faire is Burning Man Lite — and that’s OK. If you can’t take off a week to hang out in the desert, or don’t want to usher your kids into a psychedelic love den, Maker Faire brings much of the same creative juice, with a more scientific bent and none of the drugs. It’s one of those things that makes you feel blessed to live in the Bay Area.
Dylan Tweney: Maker Faire and DIY culture
Wired.com: From Welding to Weddings
Here’s my Flickr Set from the day, which also includes five short videos – using Flickr’s new video upload capability for the first time, with 30fps videos taken with my new PowerShot SD1100s – amazing to see how far the video quality has come in consumer still cams.
Other public Flickr shots tagged makerfaire2008.