I’ve been a long-time cheerleader for Brenthaven bags**, so much so that, years ago, they put one of my breathless reviews on their hangtags. (At least I think they did. They asked permission. I never saw one.) Anyhoo… as our President likes to remind us: 9/11 changed everything. Traveling has become a hassle at best and air travel frequently veers into something out of a dystopian novel. Planes are getting crammed with more seats and more passengers, the aisles growing so narrow, soon you’ll have to grease your luggage to get it through. My beloved Brenthaven Expandable Topload and my old small suitcase just didn’t fly in a 21st century world. I’d replaced the suitcase a few trips back, and needed to get the right gadget bag to go with it. I found it in the Belkin Sling Bag ($49).
Hey, elephants and chimps (and children) can do a pretty good job of abstract painting, so why not bugs? Artist Steven R. Kutcher dips the creepy crawlers in (watercolor) paint, or has them traipse through it, and then he lets them scurry across the canvas (watercolor paper).
Kutcher influences the… ah… artists by manipulating light sources, as most insects move toward or from a light source. Kutcher paints the backgrounds beforehand and obviously chooses the color palette, so it’s really collaborative man/bug art. He carefully cleans the little critters off afterwards and says that there’s no apparent harm done. When not painting with arthropods, Kutcher is a bug consultant to the film industry.
This Thursday is our last Dorkbot DC gathering for ’07. It’ll be held at Smith Hall of Art, Room 114, George Washington University, 801 22nd St NW, Washington, DC 20037. See our (newly designed) website for more info/directions. Here’s the event flier:
Schedule for Next Meeting (last one in 2007)
Gareth Branwyn: Maker Faire: A World of Difference Gareth Branwyn is a contributing editor at MAKE and part of the MAKE: Blog team. He also recently became an editor at Make: Books. His first title in that role is The Best of MAKE, a collection of 75 favorite projects from the first ten volumes. Gareth is also “Cyborg-in-Chief” of the personal-tech website Street Tech and a contributor to Wired.com.
Gareth will talk about (and show pics of) his recent trip to Maker Faire Austin and share his thoughts on the current DIY movement/”handy heyday” and what it means in the greater scheme of things (at least as far as he’s concerned). [Photo by Scott Beale]
Philip Kohn: Real-time processing of live video images Interactive video artist Philip Kohn will discuss some of his latest work that combines live video feeds with software that places the subjects in virtual worlds.
Alberto Gaitán: Remembrancer (Part 2 of 2: The Software) Alberto Gaitán is a composer/programmer/artist who creates a wide range of new media work. “Remembrancer” deals with transformation, memory, and the spacial, temporal and cultural resonance of events through automated robotic painters responding in real-time to news data flowing in over the Internet.
One of the coolest things to happen in deep geekery in the last few years has been the emergence of lots of mom and pop electronic kitmakers. The latest are Jared Boone and Jenny Marx and their company ShareBrained Technology. Their first offering is an awesome, and very buildable, clock kit called The Chronulator ($49).
Inspired by other cool kitmakers of record, such as Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories and Lady Ada at Adafruit Industries, ShareBrained have gone out of their way to make a really sweet kit that’s very easy to build, with well-designed, well-written instructions, an equally well-designed circuit board, and tiny components thoughtfully sorted and bundled in little envelopes.
It seems like every holiday season there’s some new toy music character thingy, some strange looking robo-alien-critter that plugs into your PC or iPod and dances to the music, or flashes lights, or allows you to play it for sound effects. I’ve always seen these as the kind of present parents blow decent bread on and the kids find exciting on Christmas day at least, but it’s long forgotten by the time the National disco ball lands on the New Year.If this sort of electronic noisemaker is your idea of a good time, here’s one that just might not suck (and might teach your kids a thing or two about analog synthesizers and electronic music).
If you’re looking to give your favorite aetherweb navigator something truly unique and beautiful for the holidays, how about a custom-made steampunk keyboard? You can have a one-of-a-kind board made that is surprisingly functional and work-a-day, while looking like an elegant antique from some alternate retro-future.
Unless you’ve been living under a stump, you’ve likely noticed a significant 2007 spike of blog and mainstream media interest in all things steampunk/Victorian tech. Computer modders, cosplayers (costume players), artists, and others, have all become enamored with Jules Verne-scented anything.
I am contributing to Federated Media’s Holiday Gadget Guide. It features an awesome line-up of gadget reviewers, including Mark Frauenfelder and Joel Johnson of Boing Boing, Phil Torrone of MAKE, David Ponce of Oh Gizmo!, John Biggs of CrunchGear, and many more. My reviews go live every Tuesday. The Guide is already up and running and will go well into January. Last year, the FM Gadget Guide was one of the most popular such guides in cyberspace. So far this year, it’s the number one holiday gadget guide on Google. This year’s festivities are sponsored by Microsoft Mobile. Check it out.
While on his site, make sure to take a look at the gas-powered R/C helicopter he outfitted with four model rocket missiles. A pyromaniacal kid’s wet dream!