As you might have guessed from the long absence of blogging activity here and of new features at todayimade.co, the last months didn’t allow us to spend as much time on improving todayimade and on being as attentiven to you, our community, as we’d have liked to. Developing todayimade.co with and for you inspired us to pursue real-life maker projects like Makerhood St. Pauli and Zweimeilenladen – and they proved as time-consuming as they were successful and fulfilling.
As all software developers among you know, not being able to maintain and upgrade one’s online platform regularly means risking its working properly, especially when it partly depends on external services like Twitter and Facebook.
So, after long discussions about how to deal with this situation, we decided to be honest to you (and ourselves) and draw the consequences.
Therefore, as of today, todayimade will turn into an online museum of all the stuff you made and shared: We turned off the features for posting, editing and loving stuff, for signing up and logging in, and for browsing multiple images of posted items. This allowed us to turn todayimade into a simple static website without external technological dependencies.
That way, we are able to keep the stuff you all posted visible to you and to everyone interested in making and learning to make stuff, even if we don’t have the time to maintain a complete software stack.
You will still be able to browse all the stuff people made and comment on it. If you wish to get backups of the images you shared or to change the information available about you, please contact us at email@example.com – we will be glad to help!
It was a great year for us – thanks for all the ideas you shared and for all the inspiration you gave us! We will keep making maker-oriented stuff, so look out for new projects from us – we’ll keep you posted on our facebook page!
And for all of you who want to keep on sharing the stuff they made, there are great alternatives to todayimade by now, anyway:
So if you want to share the stuff you make and inspire others, head over to these sites and say hello to them!
All the best from us – and keep on making!
Nick, Bernd & Wolfgang
When we started todayimade.co, we tried to cut down on every effort we could in order to be able to bootstrap the platform. Among other things, that meant providing you only with Facebook and Twitter as ways to sign up to todayimade.co – and you could even only use one of these accounts at a time instead of connecting both of them to todayimade.
This, dear makers, is changing!
First of all, as of yesterday you can connect Twitter and Facebook to your todayimade account – and you can change your displayed name and add an email address so we can update you on changes directly.
But there will be more:
So, for now: Do test what’s new, give us feedback on it, and stay tuned for what’s coming next!
We just missed the deadline we set ourselves due to some technical foobar, but one day later it’s finally ready: Tagging!
You can now tag your postings, browse through items by topic, and generally marvel at the diversity of stuff you and other makers posted on todayimade.
We tagged all of the existing items ourselves (phew!), but of course that’s only a start – go tag, retag and tell us how you would categorize your stuff!
And of course: Do tell us what you think about what we built!
P.S.: Next week’s focus will be to rework some stuff on the technical side, but there will be some interface beautifying going on, too – so stay tuned!
Long time no write…
… but we’ll make up for it!
The main reason we were so silent over the last weeks was that were busy decompressing, post-processing the #makertour and deriving priorities and features from the feedback you all gave us.
And now, we have plans!
So – stay tuned for what will happen next, and give us loads of feedback!
P.S.: Yes, the Higgs Boson. Just because. (And because we’re part time science nerds.) Image © CERN, and unlike elsewhere not rotated or otherwise altered.
… be sure to bring enough time. We didn’t, and accordingly we couldn’t meet everyone we’d have liked to meet – but the people we met and the places we visited were AWESOME. “Awesome” as in “unexpectedly brilliant”, “incredibly inspiring” or simply “a blast”.
As far as a few paragraphs can sum up what we experienced, here’s our account of San Francisco:
Our visit started with meeting a bunch of Etsy SF members in Katy Atchison’s cozy apartment in Inner Richmond – of, as it turned out, exceptionally friendly, smart and creative people. Having a Show-and-Tell of cute and beautiful handmade stuff also involve discussions about the history of copyright, words like “heteronormative” and ourselves learning a lot about the attribution of creative works – that was a bit more than we had expected. Completed with great food by Andrew, it was an afternoon as inspiring and exhilarating as we could have ever imagined. If this is SF, we thought: Yay for that city! (And as it turned out, we were right.)
Next morning, we visited Andrew at the Randall Museum, where he supervises the ceramics workshop and teaches pottery to children and adults. The Randall is a 60 years old institution dedicated to educating children in science and – yes – making stuff, sitting tucked away on top of a hill and not known to all SF residents. And it is an amazing place: Science exhibits, rescued birds, model train rooms, all kinds of workshops, and a stunning view of the city – all dedicated to educating and empowering children. Summer school had just started the day we were there, and our chat with Andrew provided us with an important perspective: Teaching kids about making is one of the best things we can do – on the one hand, children are so natural with making and being creative that it would be a shame to let that potential go unrealized. On the other hand, exactly this naturalness is what’s so often lost with adults, all too often leaving them without a sense of meaning and accomplishment. We left Andrew’s workshop with a a lot of new ideas – and with two extraordinarily beautiful mugs of his making, now proudly sitting on our kitchen table. Artistry and artisanship, empowerment and education: what an inspiring morning!
Sensored Meetup @ Lemnos Labs
Late Breakfast at Cove on Castro, following up stuff on teh interwebs, a relaxed and inspiring meeting with Sören Stamer, Mexican dinner – then we were off to Lemnos Labs near Mission Bay to attend the Sensored Meetup #4. A well-equipped floor functioning as a hardware startup incubator, the labs were host to a bunch of hardware nerds talking about bio sensors ranging from ingestible chips to robot-controlling goggles. Apart from being amazed by the brilliance of the projects presented and the openness of discussion, we were overwhelmed by the connections that almost immediately opened up for us: Talking to robot controlling Andy who had invited us, we met robot controlling Alex who promised to give us a tour of TechShop, Chris who is a community evangelist for LeapMotion, and Bilal who has not only finished a superior #makertour of 55 US hackerspaces and is pursuing projects like building Open Hardware landmine detection, but also invited us to the Instructables HQ for the next morning, where he’s fittingly listed as a Catalyst. Wow. What. An. Evening.
An evening that ended with Alex’s tour of the TechShop. There were two things people had told us about TechShop: 1. “It’s like a Maker Space, but run by greedy capitalists.” 2. “I really want to go there – they have things I’ve only seen in movies.” And what can we say: Both are kinda right. TechShop is a professional multi-workshop for rent, complete with the largest number of laser cutters we’ve seen in one room so far (five), and a water jet cutter that evidentially makes MIT Media Lab researchers envious. On the other hand, it’s just this: a place for rent. Nothing much of a community there – which can be interpreted either way. For us, at the end of such a day (and evening), that was quite alright.
Speaking of communities, Instructables arguably has one of the most comitted: People spending hours documenting stuff they already spent hours building. So that was already a “Wow!” before we got there, but starting with the signature robot sprayed on an open door on 2nd street, their office went on to underline everything we suspected about Instructables: A room full of gear, tools, robots, stuff, people walking on treadmills while programming, people open to talk about their and our work, people completing a DIY project each month – and performance charts complementing artworks as wall decoration. We briefly talked to a bunch of their people, including Eric, Instructables’ founder and mastermind, each and everyone of whom was exceptionally friendly and kind. All along, Bilal was not only a supportive host, but the person you always wanted to know – kind, enthusiastic, inspiring, making tea & breakfast – and open to all things to come. One of which will be meeting him again in Berlin in a few weeks! (So looking forward to that!)
nReduce Weekly Dinner
After talking to Kosta about ahumanright.org and his disappointment with the, as he said, self-centered and overselling startup and maker scenes of SF, and after having Sushi dinner in East Mission (yes, lots of startup people there), we attended the opening evening of nReduce, the self-proclaimed open/crowd source alternative to yCombinator. And the first impression was: Yeah, self-centered and overselling it is, along with not-so-well-organized and open-to-everyone-that-wanted-to-get-into-YC-but-couldn’t. But that impression was soon qualified by talking to one of the organizers and a few fellow startups, and we quickly discovered that we had a simple and effective framework for iterating on todayimade on our hands – and some like-minded people around us. We’ll use nReduce’s framework to help ourselves keep up the pace of developing our platform, we’ll give honest feedback to our fellow startups – and we’ll see what else will come out of it!
On our last morning in SF, we met Zach Klein of Vimeo fame for breakfast. He’s now working on DIY.org, a community of kids that make things, together with a bunch of highly creative people from a small office in the Mission district, complete with a built-in tree house, a small workshop and cozy backyard. There, they are building a beautiful online platform that has already attracted a few thousand kids, based on similar ideas of inspiration sharing as todayimade. Their challenge, though, is a tough one – building something for an audience with virtually zero patience is different than working with users who will give feedback and enable you to iteratively make the product something they like: You have to be right the first time they use it. But not only that, they also working on a project around and above that – we can’t talk about it yet, but it will be AWESOME. Awesome, even more beautiful and, in a very real sense, world changing. Stay tuned! Talking to Zach was a great pleasure and a real inspiration – we’re looking forward to seeing how DIY.org will grow and evolve!
Our last and final stop before going on our 15 hours journey back was Noisebridge, SF’s large, famous and AMAZING hacker space. Located a few blocks from DIY.org, Noisebridge occupies a spacious flat filled with tools from soldering guns and sewing machines to an armada of MakerBots and a laser cutter, materials from scrapped mainboards to practically any bolt and screw you could ever need, non-3-laws-compliant robots and mushroom cultures that glow in the dark. They have a dark room, a kitchen and two class rooms, weekly events with over a hundred attendants, and an extraordinarily open and friendly atmosphere – like a hacker version of SF itself. We didn’t have much time there, but we’re taking away not only some ideas of how making and hacking in a way really are the same, but also its one written rule: “Be excellent to each other, dudes!” – advice we’ll closely follow!
That was as much of the Maker’s San Francisco as we could cram into three days – we didn’t make it to the Workshop, could have attended even more meetups and probably missed a lot of other unexpected and equally inspiring connections. But the fraction of it we experienced convinced us that there probably is no other place right now that compares to SF’s density of knowledge and ideas – and to its culture of never stopping to develop them further (even if that sometimes means having to oversell).
San Francisco was as good as a conclusion to our little #makertour as there could ever be – we’re still exhausted (and a little jet-lagged), but we took away incredible inspiration, many brilliant ideas and great new friends. We’ll be post-processing for quite a while, gradually working into the platform what we learned – and continue to be amazed about maker culture. We’ll keep sharing that here!
And if you’re a maker yourself and like to meet us: Tell us! The next makertour is coming.
makerbot heaven #2 #makertour http://instagr.am/p/LnUXLRCE8_/
runs over people: non-asimov robot @ noisebridge #makertour http://instagr.am/p/LnUDh6CE85/
parts towers @ noisebridge #makertour http://instagr.am/p/LnTvxViE82/
scavenge rack/weird stuff @ noisebridge http://instagr.am/p/LnTcpxiE8x/
inhouse treehouse @ DIY HQ #awesomeplaces #makertour http://instagr.am/p/LnTMLriE8u/
simple robots @ instructables HQ #makertour http://instagr.am/p/LnS88ZCE8n/
door sign @ instructables HQ #awesomeplaces #makertour http://instagr.am/p/LnStZDCE8h/
main workshop @ techshop SF #makertour http://instagr.am/p/LnSftpCE8e/
textile workshop @ techshop SF #makertour http://instagr.am/p/LnR_jOCE8N/
@glowascii’s battle robot in action #makertour http://instagr.am/p/LnRcT6iE7_/