Tuesday Jul 31, 2012

Manchester Mini Maker Faire

Attended the Manchester Mini Maker Faire last weekend (28 and 28-July-2012). It was fun! My first time in Manchester too, and what a great location for the event: the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI). I will definitely be back. Soon.

Learning to solder at the Manchester Mini Maker Faire

Learning to solder at the Manchester Mini Maker Faire

I didn't present or demonstrate at the event this time, my justification for attendance being research into the maker community and how we could reach out to individual, younger, and more innovative makers, as well as understanding their needs and wants.

From the UX tech perspective, I see the Maker Faire crowd as a ripe resource for usability research into younger users and learners, and fitting in somewhere into the Oracle Applications User Experience simplification roadmap. We should look closely at three Maker Faire fave technologies in particular, and how they could be used in the enterprise space to solve real business problems:

Even small devices and apps, as I was reminded by a MOSI exhibit, offer tremendous scope of use and lots of power to users of all sortd, depending on the context of use.

Comparing the power for today's tablets with the behemot computers of yore

Comparing the power for today's tablets with the behemot computers of yore.

This is fast moving space, exploding with creativity, and we need to keep current. Stay tuned.

I encourage you to attend the next Manchester Mini Maker Faire and watch, learn, and make too with some very interesting, varied, and helpful people.

You can find more reporting and thoughts about the Manchester Mini Maker Faire, including pictures, in my Twitter stream.

Sunday Jul 15, 2012

Dublin Mini Maker Faire

Volunteered at the first Dublin Mini Maker Faire held in Trinity College Dublin (TCD).

Fionn advertising in the Science Gallery

My son, Fionn, advertising the event in the Science Gallery

A great fun and free platform for ideation, innovation, inspiration, and learning for creatives, hackers, hobbyists, innovators, techies, thinkers, and generally makers of all ages and types.

I was blown away by the energy of the participants and volunteers, reminding me of the mega Maker Faire in San Mateo earlier this year. I guess five thousand plus (but don't take my word for "Garda estimate") eager kids and adults turned up at stands and sessions on the TCD Physics Lawn and in the Science Gallery. Kudos to the Dublin Mini Maker folks and the Science Gallery magic makers. All the more astounding as three weeks ago I didn't even know about the event, they managed to make the sun come out too!

After a bit of pre-event online video content curation, on the day I had one of the volunteer assignments of helping signage the event around the college and channelling folks to the right end of the campus, reminding me of working in TCD ENTS crews at the Trinity Ball years ago. A lot of fun, when done with volunteering I went to fetch my young son and show him around what all the makers were up to.

We were especially engaged by the 3D printers, the Fuinneamh ("energy" in Irish) big drum, Kinect2Scratch software interaction (reminded me of the Java Zone at the San Mateo Maker Faire), the Underwater ROV, PCB layout sessions and the Scalexercise.

Ultimaker 3D Printer

Ultimaker 3D Printer

Fuinneamh Big Drum

The Fuinneamh Big Drum

Printer Circuit Board Layout Activity

Printer Circuit Board Layout Activity

Kinnect2Scratch

Kinnect2Scratch

Oracle didn't have an official presence at the Dublin event this time, but I would love to get something going there if (if? when) it happens again, something interactive, and for kids, for sure.

From a learning perspective, I was there not only a maker wanting to help out but to observe and learn more about how we might organize smaller, more nimble innovation and dev jam events aimed at makers of apps of all sorts on all devices, how such communities work, what motivates attendees, and to build some new local relationships local for future events. Definitely worthwhile!

Stay tuned. Many thanks to the Dublin Mini Maker and Science Gallery peeps for bringing this one to life for so many people.

On to the Manchester Mini Maker Faire in two weeks time...

About

Oracle applications user experience (UX) assistance. UX and development outreach of all sorts to the apps community, helping to design and deliver usable apps.

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Ultan Ó Broin. Director, Global Applications User Experience, Oracle Corporation. On Twitter: @ultan

See my other Oracle blog about product globalization too: Not Lost in Translation

Interests: User experience (UX), user centered design, design patterns, tailoring, BYOD, dev relations, language quality, mobile apps, Oracle FMW and ADF, and a lot more.

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