Last year, i3 Detroit did so well in all 3 phases of the Red Bull Creation challenge (the puzzle board, the Chronotune, and the final 72-hour build in New York City), that we automatically prequalified for the finals this year. But unlike last year’s 4-person teams, this year anyone can — and should — participate!
So who’s going to New York?
Nobody! This year, the Creation takes place at individual spaces across the country. Red Bull sent us some video equipment to stream our build. That means that anyone who walks into i3 Detroit this weekend is part of it!
What are we making?
We don’t know yet! The theme will be revealed at 9:00 tonight. Then the clock starts, and we have 72 hours to conceive and create … whatever!
What should I expect if I drop in?
Expect to be involved! Whatever skills you have, they might be useful, and the only way to find out is to show up and dive in..
Also, expect a bit of paperwork! In addition to i3′s guest waiver, Red Bull’s production company has a release/waiver form that must be signed by anyone who might appear in our video stream. Please review it before dropping in. Regardless, expect around-the-clock activity, as we design and build and scramble for parts. There may be food, there may be news crews, it’s anyone’s guess!
Guts, glory, and cash: The prize purse is $10,000. And for the same reason we do anything else — because it’s just plain fun!
What do you get when you mix an old 10/100 NIC, a handful of components, and a home server that goes off into the weeds once in a while? A network-connected reset button, and the ability to recover from the majority of mishaps! The concept is simple: Use a standalone NIC’s Wake-on-LAN capability to poke a different signal, specifically, the PC’s reset line. Best yet, the whole thing costs less than $3, and goes together in under an hour. Not too shabby, when you consider that comparable network-aware remote-reboot devices go for about $200!
The important realization behind the project is that a WoL-capable NIC can run standalone, given nothing but power. It seems so obvious in retrospect! This same concept could be easily used to drive an SSR for true cold-boot capability, interface with a UPS for output-disable, or other functions.
Lots and lots of detail after the break…
I got my isostick today! This is a cool project that I saw on Kickstarter and contributed to back in July. After months of development (and waiting!), the early-adopter beta-test units went in the mail Thursday, and because Elegant Invention is based in Indiana, shipping to Michigan was nice and quick. It’s now here at i3 Detroit, for anyone to tinker with (and file bug reports — it’s a beta unit, after all!).
So what’s an isostick? It’s a USB flash drive with a mind of its own. Or, it’s a USB CD drive without the CD part. Basically, it’s a mass-storage device that you drop an iso9660-image file onto. The stick then pretends to be a USB optical drive, and serves up the contents of that image as if a real CD had been burned and placed in the drive.
The idea isn’t a new one — the CNS iodd, later refreshed as the Zalman VE-200, does this with a laptop hard drive as the storage medium. Both of those products had a cool OLED or LCD screen on the unit, to select the active ISO. (The isostick uses a different method.) But it takes a lot of current to spin up a drive, and some USB ports were unhappy with that. CNS once mentioned a flash-based version, but it never came to fruition. And regardless of the hardware, firmware bugs took a long time to get fixed.
Since isostick is a kickstarter project, contacting the developer is easy — I’m on IRC with him right now. The beta-test period is a deliberate “shakedown cruise” before the product actually goes to market. And since the project was mostly funded by other techies, you can bet there’ll be plenty of edge-cases tested and fixed! Oh, and even cooler? The actual storage inside the isostick is a MicroSD card, so as flash prices continue to fall, the number of isos that can be stored on the unit only increases.
(Members: The isostick is currently in the electronics room, under the window, in the bin labeled “flash memory and adapters”. Preliminary docs and the support email address are in the kickstarter update. Discussion in the forum.)
That’s Open Shop Friday, the day each week when Metro Detroit’s oldest hackerspace explicitly invites non-members to come visit. (The rest of the time, it’s implicit, but some folks like a direct invitation. This is that.) We’re at 1481 Wordsworth, in Ferndale. Ring the doorbell if it’s not already open!
I hear talk of welding, and Power Wheels bodywork, and who knows what else. — there’s always something unexpected! Any time after 6-ish is probably good, or just wait for that box at the upper right to say “the space is open for guests”.
Also, did you see the photo essay over at MetroMode this week? It’s called “Where Metro Detroit Invents”, and features photos and members of OCD, TechShop, and i3 Detroit. A tip of the hat to our colleagues! (Look closely, and you’ll see that the majority of photos in the series were taken at i3.)
Two bits of Maker Faire news to share. First, it looks like i3 Detroit will be hosting the official Maker Faire afterparty. Details to follow, but the murmurs I hear from the planning team are interesting indeed.
Second, an email went out from Maker Faire yesterday:
The Maker Faire Detroit Call for Makers has been extended to accommodate the tremendous response we have received from groups and individual Makers! You now have until Friday, June 15th to complete your application or start the process.
Thanks to all the Makers that have already completed their applications, we have been accepting applications weekly. We will be sending the Maker Manual with all the information you need as well as the agreement in the next couple of weeks. Once you sign and return that agreement to us, we will place you in the Faire.
All applications must be submitted no later than 5 pm Friday, June 15, 2012. http://www.makerfairedetroit.com/call-for-makers/
Thanks and we’ll see you soon!
The Maker Faire Detroit Team
So if you were previously unaware (as I was) of the closing date, there you have it! Another week to put the finishing touches on the project…
phone: (248) 906-8473
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