In a special episode of Looking Sideways, I talk with inventor, hackspace evangelist and all-round legend, Mitch Altman, about how he became a maker, the origins of the pioneering Noisebridge hackerspace in San Francisco, the enduring appeal of the soldering iron, how to start your own hackerspace … and of course, the importance of doing what you love. Continue reading
How do humans create order out of chaos? Why are we always tidying up? And why doesn’t nature bother? What can we learn from natural systems about creating meaning in the physical world, and what’s this got to do with the internet of things? Continue reading
In this episode, I talk to Christian Hambly, and we explore that territory seemingly always on the geek horizon: Coffee.
From espresso machines to domestic brew methods, denaturation to decaffeination, John Gruber to George Clooney, we map out pretty much the whole domain in 55 minutes. If you’re a long-standing coffee nut (‘bean’?), my ill-informed questions will infuriate you, but if, like me, you’re just setting out on this voyage, Christian’s expertise and enthusiasm will guide you to the promised land. Continue reading
Sarah Angliss is a composer and performer, writer and historian, roboticist and maker of musical instruments and automata. I caught up with her in the basement of Bom-Banes café in Brighton’s Kemp Town to find out what lies behind her eerie performances and historically-influenced music. We talked about the discomfort of new technology, and nostalgia for old; performance, magic and jeopardy; and the value of physical things in a world being eaten by software. Continue reading
Emma Rose Metcalfe is the co-founder of How.Do, an app and platform that lets you share how to do things.
We spoke about the user experience of sharing. How does sharing projects stop us from doing projects? How can we share collaborative experiences? Who holds the camera? How do constraints improve the sharing experience? And how do sharing platforms create new kinds of narrative?
We also talked about value in a sharing system? How does a social network or sharing platform make money? Why do people share, and what do they get out of it? When can advertising be valuable?
And how can tools like How.Do work in other contexts, such as education? What happens when you let people find their own uses for technology? Continue reading
It’s episode 6! We’re officially into the high single digits. In this episode, I speak to writer, publisher, producer, maker and all round difficult-to-pigeonhole person, Leila Johnston. We talk about play, and making for the sake of it; that bit in the venn diagram where geeks and sci-fi cross over; the future, and what it means without the past; grassroots movements and the consumer experience; coding because you have to, and experts vs ignorance. Continue reading
I met up with Ivan Pope at his new makespace, Fabrivan, tucked away behind London Road, a low-rent shopping street on the edges of Brighton city centre. Fabrivan is Ivan’s latest experiment in future technology – a makespace designed to be accessible and welcoming, and to support experimentation. We spoke about making makespaces accessible, developing business models, and the importance of diving into things before you’re ready.
Links for this episode
In episode 4, I caught up with Chris Thorpe from Flexiscale, a small UK startup making 3D models of the great steam engines of the first industrial revolution. He filled me in on how they’re testing new ways of manufacturing, how they laser scan an entire locomotive, and what we can learn from the Victorians about making, modifying and improving the stuff around us. Continue reading
For Episode 3, I interviewed the designer and maker Brendan Dawes. Brendan’s known for early interactive web projects like Psycho Studio, that allows users to remix Hitchcock’s famous shower scene themselves. He’s also known for his physical projects, such as the Moviepeg and Popa phone accessories, and devices that cross the digital/physical divide, such as the Happiness machine, an internet-connected printer that prints random happy thoughts from people across the web.
We talk about making digital stuff tangible, design, art and simplicity, remixes and supercuts, and how makers can get their work out into the world for people to see. Continue reading
And so we come to episode 2 of the podcast. Two episodes. That makes it officially a thing.
On this episode, I talk with Jude Pullen, a product design engineer, and also the creator of the Design Modelling website, a series of tutorials, techniques and project ideas for working with low cost prototyping materials, mostly cardboard. Jude also runs live workshops where he shows people how to make models to express and share ideas. Continue reading