Archive for the ‘event’ Category

Liverpool Meeting – 20th October 2009

October 29, 2009

A fairly low turnout at the last meeting, mainly due to it only being announced the day before the event, it clashing with GeekUp Chester, and having to switch venues on the day.

We ended up in the bar upstairs at FACT, looking slightly out-of-place with the ebb and flow of cinema-goers. Still, Dominic managed to find us for his first visit to one of the meetings, and he even lugged this rather impressive battery box from his electric bike project along with him.

He accidentally connected the charging circuit up the wrong way a while back, and fears that he’s released some of the magic smoke that makes it all work. He was hoping that we might be able to shed some light on how to check if the MosFETs are still okay, but all we managed was some commiserating and general poking around at the circuit. One for the future I think…

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Next Liverpool Meeting – 20th October 2009

October 19, 2009

STOP PRESS — change of venue —

FACT bar, Wood Street, 7pm – then down to Pier Head to see off the Queen Mary.

That’s right, the next Liverpool hackspace meeting is tomorrow night. We’ll be at the Bad Format Social Club on Trueman street from 7pm till around 9pm. I’ll be bringing one of the Oomlout beginner’s Arduino kits to have a play with shift registers, and in case anyone wants to have a look at what you get with it.

More details over on the Upcoming event page.

Liverpool Meeting – 6th October 2009

October 19, 2009

Liverpool Hackspace meeting at the Bad Format Social Club
These fortnights seem much shorter than I ever expect. And once again the next meeting is looming and I still haven’t written up the report from the last one. So this report will serve more to confirm that we did actually meet up, and there was some hacking done and things discussed.

We had a couple of new attendees along, which is always good to see. I think we were pretty easy to find as we had the venue to ourselves, and as you can see in the photo, there was also a table full of electronics if further evidence were required.

Ross Jones and I showed off the Auduino and IR guitar, respectively, that we’d built at/for Interface Amnesty, and Scott, who runs the bar, showed us the blank area of wall on the way into the venue that he wants to populate with spinning fans and other techno-junk. And that led to a variety of ideas and discussions about how you’d connect them up to spin based on how many people were inside, or using something like the spoke-POV to make things more colourful, and wondering if we should have a hackday down in the club sometime to get something up and running.

Interface Amnesty at Static

September 27, 2009

Yesterday a few of us from the Liverpool Hackspace group went down to Static for a day of playing around with electronics to make music noises. It was an event called Interface Amnesty, organised by Sound Network as a fringe event for the Abandon Normal Devices Festival. Is that enough links?

The day was split into two parts. First off was a Maker Faire-style show-and-tell where people were demonstrating what they’d made, and then in the evening the space was cleared of trestle tables and a few of the artists present gave performances of their work.

The Hackday

Most of the rest of the people with stalls at the event were just showing off what they’d already made. We were embracing the hackspace mentality, and were building stuff as well as showing things that were finished.

It took us about three-quarters of an hour to get an Auduino up and running, which was pretty good given that it was my mate Andrew doing the building, and he hadn’t even touched an Arduino before yesterday morning. So that build time includes him downloading the Arduino IDE and getting it installed on his laptop.

Here’s a short video of it just after we got it working

I hadn’t heard the Audino before, but was impressed with how good it sounds, and it’s just five potentiometers and an Arduino. You could build one for much less than £30. Plenty of the other musicians there were really impressed with what a lovely noise it makes.

Our “already made” contribution came from Ross. At the past couple of hackspace meetings he’s been playing around with infra-red distance sensors, an Arduino and some python MIDI code and had got his IR Guitar ready just in time for the event.

And here’s a video of Ross demonstrating it.

I think the next step is getting the distance from the sensor to control something, such as different notes or different volume, but waving your hands about in mid-air is a fun way to play an instrument.

I had hoped to build some of the Chiptune Orchestra instruments too, but although I’d made sure I’d bought all the parts I needed from their partslist, I didn’t spot that there isn’t a circuit diagram available yet. We did start playing around building an oscillator circuit with the chips I’d bought, but there was too much going on to really get stuck into it. Maybe at the next hackspace meeting…

The Gigs

The music in the evening was a great way to round off a fun day. If I remember correctly, the line up was…

PixelH8, playing songs on his Nintendo DS synth.

Then Mike Blow played a couple of pieces, including this atmospheric one built up from a field recording in a tunnel under the river Elbe. I’m still not quite sure how he managed to get the cathedral bells outside to start up at such a perfect time in the dying moments of the work.

Stretta was up next. I can’t find anything that shows what his stuff was like to experience live, but this video and about 3 minutes into this video give you an idea of the sorts of thing he was playing with and using to create his music. The Monone interfaces he was using are beautifully designed and made.

And the night finished with The Amazing Rolo playing stuff through his Wiimote software and his musical jam jars. You can get an idea of what it was like by watching this, but there’s more music on his website.