cyberspice: (South Park Cyber)
This blog is mainly private. I use it for communicating with friends. I occasionally cross post articles from my public blog when I think people on here may be interested by them. But if you want to see what geekery I've been up to; where I've gone to visit; events I have attended; and wot not you probably what to read my other blog.

http://www.cyberspice.org.uk/blog
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Yes this year has been mad. My last post here was at the end of March. Makerfaire was over and I was preparing for The Embedded Linux Conference in San Francisco. Well I did come back from the US. Eventually. The intention was to go out for a couple of weeks but I ended up staying until May thanks to the Volcano with the unpronounceable name. I ended up working for two weeks from a Coffee shop in the Bay and I missed Whitby Goth Weekend.

When I arrived back in the UK it was head down to prepare for my tutorial talk at DPC in Amsterdam which was in June. The talk was okay but the tutorial went down really well. It was scary but a fun experience. Since then I've been working on a nightmare project but I'm finally feeling I can raise my head above the parapet again.

Anyway I will write long posts about my adventures over the next few days but the news that some of you might want to hear is I will be at Infest.
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Shortly after I was interviewed for the Beeb I was filmed by RainyCat, a BBC producer, for her personal project. Here's the video she published to you tube. I look fat in it :-( but you can see some of my stuff.

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I know it seems as though I've dropped off the face of the earth lately. I've been very quiet on LJ and not been frequenting as many club nights as I normally do. Its because I've been working hard for this year's Makerfaire.



Makerfaire

For those who don't know what Makerfaire is, its a chance for Makers (technologists, crafters, etc.) to show off what they do and for us all to network. Makerfaires are organised by O'Reilly publishers of Make Magazine and Craft Magazine. Makerfaires started off in the US in, unsurprisingly, San Francisco, New York, Austin and Oakland. Last year was the first Makerfaire in Europe. This year we returned to Newcastle-upon-Tyne for Makerfaire UK 2010.



So when the organisers put out the request for projects last year I madly submitted with a list of projects and ideas I've been working on. They even more madly accepted me and since then I've been working on my projects for the faire. My projects were:


  • Ethernet adapter for a BBC Micro Computer.

  • Electronic programmable earrings.

  • A knitted Cthulhu with embedded electronics.

  • Temperature sensing hat.

  • iPod handbag


Unfortunately I didn't get it all finished. I did however get the ethernet adapter, earrings and cthulhu completed.


BeebthernetProgrammable earringsCthulhu

Makerfaire was completely awesome with musical tesla coils, hexapods, safe cracking with a sausage, all sorts. Last year it was basically just a tent in the court yard. This year it was far far bigger. I met some old friends and made some new ones. There was a great community atmosphere and a lot of sharing going on. Newcastle's Life Centre did us proud and looked after us very well with tea and coffee on tap all day and very nice food at lunch and for dinner.


I was amazed at the number who came to visit. I think we matched last year's numbers by about half way through the first day.The BBC ethernet, earrings and cthulhu all seemed to go down very well. Some visitors were interested in the geek aspect and others in the craft aspect. Mixing seems to work. I had spoken so much on the first day that my jaw hurt by the end of it. I even ended up being interviewed by BBC Radio 5 for their Pods and Blogs programme. You can hear my dulcet tones on the podcast. I even managed to get out from behind the desk on occasion to see the faire for myself and photograph it. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] hippiegunnut and [livejournal.com profile] krysnys for taking over when I needed breaks.

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I'm back in the US in April as I'm speaking in a Conference in San Francisco (This one. I'm also attending this).

I'd like to come over for more than just the conference so I can meet up with everyone. I was thinking of coming over a few days before and leaving a few days after but since the previous weekend is a holiday over here I'm wondering about coming over just before that and leaving after the conference.

Anyway I just thought I should warn dear friends in the Bay. I'm really excited!
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Fuck Gentrification!


This has been painted on the wood fence that surrounds a vacant plot next to my current office. The plot did have some old stone mills on it but the were torn down. Then the economy crashed and the site's been a hole in the ground since then.

I've been a bit remiss at posting my daily photos to LiveJournal. So here's a recent one and you can find them all on Flickr.
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So I've been sucked in to the world of Azaeroth. I've not been this engrossed in a game since playing Elite almost non stop when I was young.

I currently have three characters I play so I thought I would introduce them.

Cyberfire

Cyberfire worked on a farm Rather than marry a man she despised she ran off to be all those things her farm society saw as bad. She's a rogue. a thief and an assassin. For a decent fee she'll despatch anyone who'd like her too. She's loyal to SI-7 and to the Alliance but it takes time and effort to win her friendship and trust.



Coerderwydd

As a child Coerderwydd (literally Wood Druid)'s natural magical abilities caused havoc. It made her somewhat of an outcast amongst the other children and drew the anger of her parents. So naturally she became a loner. She will play with others but doesn't play well. But at heart she's kind and thoughtful.



Young Fyresegunda was only a child when she left Draenor and she has never known true peace. Now she's old enough she's learning the skills of the hunter. The hunter's relationship with the animals of the world of Azaeroth and her place in it.



Fyresegunda

They all exist in the realm of the Scarlet Crusade and their professions are varied. Cyberfire, because of her background, is a Herbalist and Alchemist. Caederwydd is also a herbalist but she makes enchantments. Fyresegunda is a skinner and leatherworker. She respects animals and can work with them but has no issue with killing and skinning them to make useful items.

So if you happen to be on the US server of Scarlet Crusade look for them.

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I cleaned the snakes' vivariums out. Although I check for poo regularly they're very good at hiding it. So I regularly change all the bedding material. It can smell quite horrible.

Apophis checks out his clean viv
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The sign outside of Baa Ram Ewe, an awesome knit shop in Headlingly, which holds a knitting group each Thursday. Lots of fun.

Learn to knit
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This is the Bradford Alhambra, a theatre in the centre of the city. Its covered in lights. I love lots of lights at night.

Bradford Alhambra
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This is my Starbuck's mug. It was a gift.

Starbuck's mug
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This is part of the building in which I current work as seen from the window by my desk. Although only 20 years old and recently refurbished at a cost of millions to the tax payer it will not survive beyond a few more months. Yorkshire Forward, the QUANGO who own it, are selling it to property developers who, in a public/private partnership, are building new student accomodation for the university. All the tech companies that work in the building are going elsewhere as are the jobs. Incidentally Yorkshire Forward also own the old Bradford Odeon and want to pull that down too.

Part of the Velocity building
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This circuit is going to be made up as one of a pair of earrings. Between the red and black wires goes a small button cell. The whole lot will be light and small enough to hang from an ear. The Mark II version will be made using surface mount parts and be even smaller.

Circuit for an earring
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You have to do something when you're in bed ill. I finished knitting my legwarmers. I love the multi-colour yarns you get these days. This project was chosen so that I could learn using double pointed needles and knitting in the round.

Legwarmers


PS. Notice there's no Jan 15 photograph. Basically I was too poorly to take one.
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I'm still not well so this is my desk at home. The large monitor is connected to a Linux PC and my MacBook (Pro-lite). When using the Mac I use the Mac's screen for IM, Skype, IRC and Twitter clients; and the main screen for 'work'. The monitor also supports composite and S-Video connections suitable for older games consoles. It's also a USB hub so I just plug everything in to the monitor. I can see the sceen from my bed making it ideal for watching TV and movies in bed!

My desk at home
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This is basically a clone of Adafruit's BoArduino except made on stripboard. There are pins soldered on the bottom so that it can plug straight in to a breadboard. Unlike the 'proper' BoArduino it doesn't have the power jack (you connect using the two pins bottom left) or the 6 way ISP connector. The latter is only needed if you intend reprogramming the bootloader on the AVR chip.

StripBoArduino
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I'm feeling somewhat poorly today so today's photo is of the friends I share my bed with.

I don't sleep alone
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While I'm announcing appearances I am excited to announce that I am presenting an Arduino workshop at Manchester Geek Girl Afternoon Tea this month at Madlab, Manchester's Hackspace in the Northern Quarter.

I will be bringing a long several Arduino-a-likes together with a variety of components and CDs of the IDE so that we can get together in groups, code and play.

Originally posted in Spice World
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I am delighted to announce that I have been selected to exhibit at Newcastle Maker Faire. The theme of my display will be crafty geekery.

I am intending to take along items which are a mix of traditional crafts such as knitting and jewellery making combined with tech. For example programmable earrings, a temperature sensing hat and a bag that has a proximity detector and RFID tag so it can detect its owner.

I am also going to show off a couple of my other projects like an ethernet adapter for a BBC microcomputer and a "Mood Wall" (It analyses twitter tweets for the mood of the content displaying patterns and colours which reflect the prevailing mood).

Hopefully I will see you there!

Originally posted in Spice World
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