As the Assembly digital arts and demoscene party in Finland draws to a close, it seems to me that both retro and modern tech is still high in many people’s minds. Long may that continue, even if I chose to scream at our Olympic gold-medal-winning athletes rather than watch the compos last night.
The goings on at the Mini Maker Faire in Manchester have been grabbing some serious headlines too, it seems.
Firstly, there was the revelation of the giant games which were unveiled there. A 2 metre high model of Kerplunk!, a foam Connect-4 game and a lifesize version of Operation were all on show.
The BBC then followed up a few days later with a full report from Mark Ward including several young hackers explaining their exhibits, plus a serious plug for the power of the Raspberry Pi. No doubt Eben and Liz Upton took it in their stride, but I continue to be amazed by the popularity and ability of this simple little machine, often powered by Scratch programming code. Recently my contacts in the digital arts scene were able to premiere a demo produced using a RasPi, and it seems as if this will not be the last either, as the simplicity and retro feel lend themselves to the kind of work produced at digital arts parties.
Another currently popular device often found in innovative technological environments is the Arduino micro-controller. Recently I’ve seen it in use with a Speccy, and at the Mini Maker Faire it formed the basis for a young Maker’s volcano model. This innovative object was originally the result of her school project assignment, but it had been further modified to play music as it ran through its program.
Despite this, it still appears as if girls don’t want to be geeks. I’m sure the new Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer and her compatriots named in this Forbes article will have something to say about that, as will the fiery and determined Dr Sue Black of UCL.
And with that thought, I’ll go back to updating my blog, which is as close as I’m likely to get to coding geekery for now.