I spent today in Manchester in order to get myself along to two Geeky events happening in the city.
The first was the Mini Maker fair being held at Manchester MOSI in their 1830 Warehouse; which as a listed building has no air-con and not much in the way of ventilation either on this the hottest day of the year!
I started on the top floor which transported me back a few years looking at train sets and massive, powered, Meccano structures to rival anything Lego have produced. Between these and the many, MANY, 3D printers churning out plastic toys, it could have been Santa’s Grotto.
Middle floor was taken over by the various Hacker/Maker groups which had come from all over the country to show off their Pi/Beagle/Arduino/x86 powered gadgets, which included a MAME cabinet, various Space exploration ideas, a household environmental controller and an Open Source hydroponic / fish-farm controller.
At this point I bumped into 3 shifty looking types with peculiar accents; Les Pounder, Simon Walters and Chris Dell who had also ventured over the border into Greater Manchester to take a look at what was going on. We had a goodly chat with Amy Mather whilst Si played on a rather frustrating 64×64 multi coloured light box game. As the boys were on their way up, and I down, we parted company with Les in search of interviewees and articles (the work of a freelance journo is never done!)…as well as a long cold drink.
Bottom floor was a plethora of crafty stalls showing off everything from crochet to balsa wood walking robots; cue more Arduino/Pi/Beagle discussions and the merits of specific programming languages for specific tasks, versus ‘just do everything in C++’. I retreated to safer ground before soldering irons could be used in anger 🙂