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September 2013

Maker Faire

September 24, 2013 | Niki | Comments (1)

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“I smell something burning.”

“Don’t worry it’s just my hair” I say as I reach for the wrong end of the soldering iron...

 

 

Well, that was awesome was the title of Maker Faire post on Monday and it really was!  Over 4000 people packed Wychwood Barns Sept 21 & 22 for Toronto Mini Maker Faire 2013.  The Faire is “where people show what they are making, share what they are learning, and come play with robots, 3D printing, laser cutting and more,” reads the Toronto event’s website

Icecream1It was great fun just to wander around. I learned how to solder a circuit and made my official soldering badge despite a minor mishap with the iron.  In order to soothe my pain (and pride) I dashed to the Ice Volcano ice cream makers and bought a delicious, cold, steamy cup of coffee ice cream  to wrap my hand around.   Wandering through the 3D printers I pondered the plethora of Yoda busts that were on display.  Are all 3D printer owners required to make Yoda in lime green? 

 

Angellamackey_SS12_swift_lights_grande-200x300One of my favorite stops was the Vega X Bike Lights.   Social Body Lab has come up with  chic, wearable bicycle lights for the fashionista in us.  The Social Body Lab is an OCAD research group that incorporates technology into clothing on a meaningful level and are at the centre of the wearables movement in Toronto.

 

Fashion at the low-tech end was evident in the number of T-shirts available.  I particularly adored the Kitchen Library T-shirt.   The Tool Library crowd-sourced funding for a second spot aNew_logond makerspace on the Danforth combined with a new Kitchen Library.  The Tool Library loans tools for your personal use like a book library. They do Holds but they charge $5.00 if the tools  are not picked up! Both are projects of the Institute for a Resource Based-Economy IFRE that promotes the  Sharing Economy, also known as Collaborative Consumption.  They aim to reduce consumption by sharing resources (examples include sharing cars (Zipcar / Car2Go), holiday accommodation (Air BnB / Couchsurfing) and office spaces such as the Centre for Social Innovation.) 

 

Many big and small projects were on display:  the Twitter Typewriter, MakerKids toy hacking booth, lock-picking methods, etc.  Ray Feraday, a teacher of autistic children, wanted to give functionally non-verbal children a voice.  He was inspired by a Makey Makey video of a man playing music on his dogs to develop a programmable taking board.

 

 

 

_Finally the talks.   Making and 3D  printing is often  called the New Industrial RevolutionHod Lipson,  the Director of Cornell's Creative Machines Lab, talked convincingly on the new directions 3D printing will take us.  Hod has worked  on self-aware and self-replicating robots, food printing, and bio-printing.  His new book  Fabricated : the new world of 3D printing is available at the library. 

 

For a slightly more techy view of the Maker Faire check out Greg Astill's blog at the Digital Design Studio.

 

And my soldering badge:

I want you to be honest.  Isn't mine (left side) better than Greg's (right side)? 

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Wanting to Find Product Reviews? Try Consumer Reports Database

September 16, 2013 | Mary-Beth | Comments (0)

Consumer reportsWhether shopping for a new car or a new laptop, Consumer Reports offers trusted advice on consumer products and services.  It includes ratings, articles, buying guides and recommendations on thousands of products.   It also has videos talking about the strengths and weaknesses of products as well as free newsletter subscriptions on topics like cars, safety alert, greener choices and more. 

Find ratings for cars, appliances, electronics, home & garden, babies & kids, money, shopping and health.  Consumer Report also allows you to select specific models and compare them to others in the same category.  1354562423_consumer-reports-january-2013-1

Read the latest issue of the magazine online and once there browse through back issues dating back to 2009. 

Consumer news offers the most recent research CR has carried out from topics like food processors or high-performance tires.  There is also a list of recalls and safety. 

To access Consumer Reports start at www.torontopubliclibrary.ca, and type “consumer reports” in the search box.  Click on Access Online, enter your library card and PIN numbers, click on Continue and explore this useful database.

 

 

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