The aftermath....

Well it's all over and done... The event on Sunday didn't really go off with a bang. More a slow movement of people. Attendance was fairly good. People moving around the displays - most people stayed for most of the day. Taking the opportunity to sit around and talk in groups about their topics of interest.

The RepRap was impressive. The other exhibitors looked on at a large crowd around the RepRap while the RepRap made it's droning noise and generally looked all sparkly.

I ended up with all my hair - the promise to cut off in quarters only enough to get a few people to actively seek out my little jar sitting next to a set of clippers. The suggestion was made that perhaps I could cut it off in the percentage that we had in the jar (1.5%)... okay - so that was a flop.

Instead, I ended up talking to some really interesting people. People who are passionate about Open Source Software, it's practical applications and how people can generally benefit, approaches to advocacy etc. Piratical suggestions for POINTS and how we can proceed. I'll be putting a blog up on the POINTS site soon (points.org.nz) - watch for this. I realised that I've only gotten started. I mean, I was sort of looking for SFD to be a great time to open it and it was a step - but it's a single step. So it looks like I'm going to continue to be busy....

But that can wait just a couple of days - I'm exhausted. I didn't realise just how much I was pushing myself until I got home last night. I had a beer, fell on the couch and slept.... I need to work smarter.

Anyway, back to the title - the aftermath...

There is now a lot of discussion on how we can do this better for next year. A few ideas bouncing around - So next year we should be more organised, working smarter, concentrating our energies in the right areas and generally having a more rounded event!

On an unrelated note:
This is probably going to be my last post here. I've actually kind of enjoyed blogging despite my aversion to it previously.


The night after (and before)

Well.... The ASHS (Albany Senior High School) event was last night.

Wasn't a single presentation to be seen. Instead it was a much more personal chat about our respective subjects.

Meanwhile, there were probably around 30? (at a guess) students indulged a Nexuix tournament (It was the quiet ones who won - always watch the quiet ones). I was tempted to ask for a login myself (though I don't really get along with games based on the Quake 2 engine). The pizza went quick (I just about lost an arm), the coke quicker.

Meanwhile, 'tis the night before SFD, and all through the house, my network is being deconstructed. I swear, this is bad for my health. While demo machines are handled with care, a network switch just fell on the floor.

Yep - I'm excited. I've finally finished writing my presentation though I'm wondering if maybe the personal approach may be a little better. i.e. run the presentation on a loop and talk to anyone interested. We'll see how I go.

Really looking forward to having a play with the OPLC and Sugar, having another look at the RepRap - this might be very cool for schools. Come up with a design for something and be able to actually see a prototype... Arduino's - I had my first play the night before the Albany Event. They're just so incredibly cool... You would not believe. The programming behind them is so incredibly simple and the flexibilty of them... Brilliant introduction to electronics (being able to isolate components and learn about them rather than having to build a full circuit and then trying to figure out what the individual bits are doing).

So much to look forward to....


Fund Raising for POINTS


I came to a decision regarding my efforts to raise the $300 I need to raise to keep the POINTS website for the year.

For every $75 we raise on Sunday, I'm going to cut off a quarter of my hair. This means I may be walking around half the day with odd bits of hair cut off. The quarters are made up by my head (2 parts) and my beard (another 2 parts).

So I'm looking for a lovely assistant who will do the cutting - I'll bring the gear. And what's more, I don't have to pay for a hair cut!

Time draws closer...

Well, it's just a few hours until tonight's event. The Albany event is shaping up to be an informal event which suits me a little better.

Anyway, about the arduino's - I've got 10 to sell tonight. I've opened one of them to come up with a demo - they're really amazing little units. It's a great way to get enthusiastic about robotics and electronics.

Even better, I think their educational application is going to be invaluable. They're fairly easy to get going with and get instant results so getting people enthused about them shouldn't be too much of an issue. Add to that the fact that it brings a whole lot of skills together - Maths (Ohms law), electronics - understanding resistors and other components, physics - when doing more robotics, programming etc.

So a bit more about tonight's event.

It's a LAN party (and we've been promised pizza). I've been told we don't have to do presentations - instead be on hand for informal chats.

Vik's going to be there with the RepRap and Graham's going to be showing off a LTSP implementation and talking about OpenOffice.

I'll be there from about 4 this afternoon.

I look forward to seeing who turns up.




Hi :)

I figured it'd be prudent to put my poster up - which shows both events. I've focused on the education sector so the wording probably needs to change. If you want to distribute this yourself, I've put the files up at points.org.nz/SFD.
And yes - I realise the Black and White appearance looks a little bland, but it's cheaper to print...

Poster for September 20 Event


Here's our try at making a poster, although this one's specifically for the September 20th event.

More Details....

Hi Everyone!

Okay, so we have some pretty cool presentations which are going to be happening and I thought this a good place to provide links to more information on them. So....

* RepRap - Awesome 3d printer that's able to replicate a good portion of it's own parts (around 70% I think?) It's Free in that you can get one, make alterations to the design. This is already happening to some extent. Some people are after the Rolls Royce of these things. Others want to make it as accessible as humanly possible (bamboo can even be used for parts).
Speaker: Vik Olliver

* POINTS - This has kept me busy the last month or so. Basically we're trying to bring the open source philosophy to schools. Share information and build on it. It's a fairly natural link I think. Computer people are about information and how that information is managed and stored which leads us to psychology to some extent and then of course, kids are probably the most interesting of subjects. SFD will mark the launch of this although most of the work has already been done.
Speaker: Nevyn Hira

* OpenOffice.org - Most people will probably know what this is. It has some very exciting aspects to it. Being an office suite that is free, you're no longer relying on hoping that people have a copy of a proprietary office suite. I find this very exciting for education. Instead of having to submit in a proprietary format, students should be encouraged to take a copy (and share) of the office suite and use it for their assignments and the like. The reason I find this so exciting is that we're also teaching people to go down a more... legal road. Use this legal to use software which anyone can afford (given that it's free as in beer as well as Freedom), or pay for a proprietary solution which may find you locked into a particular product or pirate that same proprietary product.
Speaker: Graham Lauder

* One Laptop Per Child (OPLC) - this is an innovative project which started out with a tagline "the sub-$100 laptop!". The tagline was soon dropped (you can imagine why). The OPLC was aimed at bringing computers to developing nations and was designed with their needs in mind. From the rubber keyboard, different charging options (including a crank handle!), high contrast screen etc. It made huge waves in the computing world. Netbooks (those dinky little computers which are small enough to fit in most handbags) were kind of an offspin of these.
Speaker: Vik Olliver

* Arduino - Proving that Free approach isn't just restricted to software, but can be used for hardware as well. The Arduino is a fairly simple processor which can be hooked up to sensors and other devices (I've seen screens and control pads and other such things hooked up to these things). It provides a great entry into the world of robotics and electronics. Given that you can see instant results with very little wiring up, this would be a great way to have a play. It's also used in the RepRap.
Speaker Tim from Mindkits (sorry don't have a surname)
They'll also have a stand at the University of Auckland event so you'll be able to buy and play with some of these great little devices!

Well - those are the ones I'm excited about. There may be a couple more though I can't remember them off the top of my head. I hope to see you all there. This is going to be awe [wait for it] some!