May 19th, 2007


Maker Faire

The second time I do something, I always want to review it by comparing it to the first time. This isn't helpful except to people who were also there for the first time, but it seems to be the way my brain works.

This year's fair was a bit different from last year's. Many of the same people/groups/displays were there, but there were also some new ones and some we remembered from last year that were missing. On the whole, I think there were fewer presenters this time; certainly there were fewer vendors of interesting clothing and plush toys and the like. That may have been a deliberate choice on the part of the organizers, to encourage people to buy from their entire building full of merchandise, or it may have been a result of vendors choosing to go to other venues this weekend (when we went out for dinner afterwards, we discovered that the Mountain View "A la Carte and Art" Festival was this weekend, too). In general, this year seemed to have a lot more direct influence from the magazines ("Make" and "Craft") and fewer individuals with their one random cool toy.

Now, some of this impression of fewer displays may have been the result of the overlap between this year and last year; instead of running around going "Cool! Neat! Spiffy!" we were ignoring what we'd seen already, so we were thinking "[saw that already, no reaction]. Neat! [saw that already, no reaction]". Less concentrated brand-new awesomeness. Also, I preferred the outdoor booths last year to the everyone-inside-the-building layout this year.

That said, there was still some very cool stuff. Off the top of my head:
* The robotic giraffe is now walking (and playing music).
* Marbling paper is apparently significantly easier than I'd thought, and I may need to acquire materials to play with it some on my own.
* Andres won a prize for his entry in the Faker Faire science fair (actually, I think they were giving everyone who made an entry a prize, but it is cute).
* Tesla coils are so awesome. Purple lightning just makes me happy.
* The catapult contest looked really cute. The reaction of the crowd when one managed to hit the inflatable clown targets with the water balloons was excellent.
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