Crafting

I've been thinking a lot about crafting - making things, both in tech and in the real world.

I went to Node Interactive here in Portland last month and was really inspired by the Internet of Things talks. I've begun to play with an Arduino Uno starter kit, which has given me all kinds of ideas. I've already made my silly little spaceship interface that makes lights blink, which, as I understand it, is the "Hello world" of the hardware hacking world. It feels good to make little circuits. It reminds me of all my endless hacking on legos when I was a kid, except that I get to use electricity and code with my creations.

But my interest in crafting doesn't stop with tech. I recently joined ADX, a community where people can come together and share tools, space, knowledge, and experience to make really cool things in a variety of mediums. I'm taking a woodworking class in February. I also discovered Trackers Portland, a place that teaches classes on all kinds of skills. I've somehow managed to convince three friends to take blacksmithing classes with me (and I'm taking a Wilderness Survival class in a couple of weeks - just because it sounds awesome). I'm basically planning on living at ADX and Trackers during 2016 in order to learn and create as much as possible.

Then I discovered this playlist of Ted talks about craftsmanship and a bunch of lights went on for me. In particular, the video from the creator of the Makey Makey totally inspired me. The Makey Makey is basically a microcontroller with alligator leads that detect electric signal from whatever their clipped too and pass them as input to a computer. This board has connectors to control both the keyboard and the mouse. Then it occurred to me how beautifully this would pair with reactive programming and its "everything is a stream" philosophy. With the Makey Makey, we could use ordinary objects to control fairly sophisticated web applications, whether for the purposes of art or the pragmatic. I've ordered my kit and I can't wait to experiment, especially with making music.

This marriage of old world skills with technology completely enchants me. I'm not sure why I've had this recent burst of desire to create. I've always been very tactile; it's probably why I'm a percussionist, why I love my MS-20 analog synthesizer, why I love weight lifting, why I recently (and frustratingly) have become entangled with rock climbing.

I just think about the dizzying applications of this world, especially in the realms of music and social justice, let alone business (and coupled with crytocurrency, the possibilities are endless).

So here's to 2016: year of Creating, year of Crafting.

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