World Maker Faire 2013 NYC
Instructables did not represent. Autodesk did not represent Instructables. @carlbass The assimilation is complete. #SADROBOT #NOSHIRT.
We went to Maker Faire today, I took along Caitlin and her two school buddies. I knew to input the GPS the coordinates of the offsite parking lot entrance where you get the shuttle bus to the actual Faire entrance. 10 clams at the door. Driving around the park is like GTA. They seemed to have the parking lot better organized with more people to direct cars to open spots and the efficient school bus lady who counted off groups of people to load the buses as soon as they pulled in. I suggest more speed bumps/potholes and sharper turns for the bus drivers to negotiate. Entry was quick and simple with preprinted tickets - still that extra surcharge for getting them online though. It was a pleasant surprise that there were some vendors giving out free food samples today. An applesauce in a resealable space-food pouch and an iced tea drink. On the return trip, the shuttle bus driver begged you not to leave behind litter like those green applesauce pouches and kids. Which by the way, all in good to set up recycling stations to throw out trash, but why not mark the one for trash, trash, soiled paper cups were thrown in the paper because the one I think for trash had a big list of other things and not trash. Food vendors seem to have been spread out on the periphery of the grounds so they don't create that big logjam in the center to impede flow to the rest of the areas of the fairground. Prices were still at tourist levels considering the captive audience. Not too many posted prices and if you have to ask, you can't afford it. They did have some vendor kids throughout hawking cold drinks. The Beer Garden seemed to be the centerpiece of the Faire.
The play/activity area geared for the younger/toddler set seemed to be expanded and set more apart from the more advanced maker stuff. We did the inside tour first since it was nice weather to spend the rest of the day outside. There was the esoteric mix of individual projects. Art and game machines from mounds of electronic discards. Projects and kits looking to launch on kickstarter. And the always hidden in the back room e-textile projects. The upper floor gallery room is always the best because it contains the light up projects, usually from NYU ITP. Jeri Ellsworth had a prototype of her augmented reality glasses. An interesting project was having cross polarized glasses to see the image on a matched LCD display which no one else can see without the special glasses. One project used the light output from the laptop display to "burn" the secret message image onto one of those glow-in-the dark phosphor sheets. I'm not sure if the pancake-bot made it to the Faire this year. The performance space was closed off. I guess they couldn't book Arc Attack which was there first two years of World Maker Faire. No real Burning Man kind of stuff or major steampunkery.
Outside, 3-D printers galore, everyone has one, way too crowded. Hackerspaces showing off their stuff. Giant tent if you want to line up to learn to solder. Coke/Mentos show late in the afternoon. Giant mousetrap show and circus aerial acrobat training rig going on. Giant tent if you want to make a stomp rocket that they shoot off with a compressor.Giant line too. Didn't the Disney imagineers tell them a zigzag snaking line is better for crowd control and keep the customers happy? Didn't see any quadcopters in the air. Maybe all flights grounded with the recent local fatal accident with an R/C helicopter. Some kind of go-kart racetrack. Usual stalls of handmade jewelry, t-shirts, soaps, candles, someone had a more detailed ugly doll. Guy with his found object stringed instruments played them well. Maker Shed shop was the usual. Dark and expensive. No real discount there.
But it brings us back to this. After what seemed like miles of walking around back and forth. I had to ask information if Autodesk had a booth presence at Maker Faire. They said yes, back by the 3-D printer village tent. I think we missed them going through the tent and found them on the outside end. The plywood hut sponsored by Sketchup didn't seem like where the Instructables people were. I was looking for the orange Instructable banner. Looking to see there were no Robot shirts around, I asked the Autodesk people there, any Instructables people around? No, confused, do you work for Instructables? No, they are not part of my group. Jessy and Camille are not here and will be back soon. Well, okay, maybe they sent Jessyratfink out as part of her Autodesk peer-recognition award. that would be cool to meet her, Caitlin thought the same, they sent Jessyratfink to Maker Faire? We wander around to check out the other stuff and come back. Still no sign of Robot shirts. I ask again and I get sent to a guy who I think is named Jesse. I think he just happens to be in the Consumer Group who says the other guy Andy is more familiar with Instructables. They thought they had a box of some instructables stuff, who knows what happened to it. He did thank us for wearing our Robot shirts though. Gee, I was hoping there would be some Robot shirts for Caitlin and her friends, at least Robot stickers. We came to Maker Faire this year as redemption for last year when that Autodesk henchman kicked the crate of shirts under the table when he saw us get close to the booth. Caitlin uses that as an example of "Not nice, Mr. Moustache-man." It disheartens me Instructables seems like some corporate step-child. I can feel the that vibe going on. I don't think Robot carries brand recognition anymore. No one asked about our Robot shirts as we walked around. Some hackerspace also uses a yellow robot as their logo. We may pass on Maker Faire next year if there is no need to see any real Instructables staff. Doesn't Randy need to go visit his mom or something?