I’m not a fan of the fantasy genre, and the word ‘guild’ usually makes me cringe. It reminds me of online gaming, or people at a Renaissance fair that refuse to break character and only speak in old English. And that’s a shame, because it’s a bad-ass word. So, I was both excited and disappointed to see an email at work that someone was starting up a ‘Maker’s Guild’. I love technology and tinkering with things, but I’m engulfed in the software world. Other than slamming on a keyboard, I don’t get a lot of ‘hands-on’ experience. And since I live in a small apartment, I don’t have access to a lot of equipment for tinkering. I’m pretty much limited to a tool box, a can of some WD-40 and a roll of duct-tape. Everything I should need, according to them movie Gran Tourino. So these builder’s clubs are perfect for me.
The first meeting discussed the Internet of Things; the idea that we can integrate network accessible computer equipment into almost anything. I read about an electronic yoga mat that will provide feedback on your poses. Go figure. But hey, I started doing yoga because they offered it at my local brewery (Funky Buddha) so as a techie guy I might be their target customer. Feel free to send me one to test out and review. The point is, they will find a way to put these device is everything. They can record data, then send it off for analysis. We went around the room coming up with ideas. The first suggestion was a bathroom sensor to idicate when restrooms in the office were available or occupied. Phenomenal idea, and apparently we aren’t the only ones desiring a bathroom control feature in the corporate world- there is already a how-to video on youtube describing the programming and setup of a Bathroom sensor. This one uses a red light/green light system. When it was my turn I shared a fitness-related idea. Actually, I had 2. The first one was a massive vision, the second could fit in your pocket. So I am making a prototype now. It’s just a little hack and just requires a little sewing, something I need help with. I’d like to make a video of it, if’ it turns out to be entertaining. So check it out, I’m on my way to learing sewing and video editing now. Even if it does well, the patent application process looks intimidating.
So this particular guild at work will be focused on technology gadgets and software. One member showed off an RSS reader that he’s developing on a mobile app. It works on Widows 8 technology and I almost vomited upon seeing it. I’m not dissing his programming project, I’m dissing the Windows 8 layout. It looks like it’s designed to feed advertisements to the user. I looked around and a lot of people had some form of Windows on their phone and laptops. I tried not to puke and managed to ask a question to the group, “Do you guys run linux?”
Surely a member of the Guild would proudly chime with an affirmative response. Instead, the response was “not since I was in school.”
I never got to learn Linux in school. Heck,we barely even mentioned it in Operating Systems, and certainly never logged into a Linux server. It wasn’t until I graduated that I started tinkering with it. I mangled a lot of installs and I loved every minute of it.
The reason I bring this up is because I’ve decided to completely abandon Windows. The Windows 8 and 2012 releases haven’t been easy to learn. Even if they were to have a classic mode, it’s too late for me. I still have to support Windows at work, and I’m forced to use them, but at home I’m running Ubuntu Linux as a desktop and I couldn’t be happier. It’s still a struggle. I just noticed 2012 has the habit of forcing a reboot when updates are available unless you tell it otherwise. I learned a lot running through the setup of a LAMP server (Linux, Apach, MySQL and PHP) so I decided to go through a LAMP build myself to re-familiarize myself. I decided to search the Ubuntu software manager for LAMP and sure enough there is an all-in-one package for it. I decided to install the 4 components manually instead, but it’s good to know the convenience is there.
The other reason why I like these maker’s meetings is that it brings together a group of minds that bounce ideas off each other. And you meet people highly skilled in certain crafts that you might wish to learn. I’d love to learn wood working. Build myself a slick desk to do my writing at. It’s also good to get feedback and share ideas with some really bright people. People have different levels of experience of production. Sometimes I have an idea but feel stifled so these meetings are a blessing in that they will help bring the project into a reality.