Maker Faire 2007 Report

Well Maker Faire 2007 ( http://makerfaire.com ) for Firewire and I is done and what a show it was! There were tons of phenomenal projects and hacks on display. I really like old school computers and hacks, and there were a bunch of them! One of my favorites was the “Retro gaming hacks” booth with the guys who hacked the Atari 2600 into a windows driven arcade emulator. They had their Atari case mod along with an Atari Flashback 2 modded to accept old Atari game cartridges and Ultra SCSIcide, a homebrew game for the 2600 written back in 2001. There is a really large base of homebrew console hackers out there, if you want some more information check out http://www.atariage.com/index.html . Another retro DIY project on display was the Magic-1 Homebrew CPU computer. This computer is made from over 200 mostly wire-wrapped 74LS and 74F TTL chips! Not only is the computer system TTL but the CPU is all TTL, no 8080 or 8088 I was blown away! http://homebrewcpu.com has info on the Magic-1 and if you feel like playing with a TTL computer, when Magic-1 gets home you can telnet into http://magic-1.org and play games directly on it!

Along with personal projects, a bunch of companies had booths at the Faire. Of course Microsoft was there showing people how easy VB is (wo-hoo!). One company we ran into was SparkFun electronics http://www.sparkfun.com . For my senior design lab at school we used the SparkFun BlueSMiRF serial Bluetooth adapter to add wireless serial to a mobile robot retriever. I highly recommend the BlueSMiRF if you want a quick replacement for serial for Bluetooth. Anyway, SparkFun had a really cool NES controller, it was about 5ft long and 3ft wide and required two people to play. It was really entertaining watching people coordinate playing Mario 3 :-P. Along with some pics of the controller and wall mounted Tetris game, we got some free shirts, w00t loot!

Firewire and I also got some cool loot from an area computer recycling group who had tons of cables and electronic machines in a “U-Pull-It” pile. There’s nothing like dozens of people sifting through a pile-o-junk looking for a useable cable/part. Firewire also got to see the steam powered RC tank he was going on about in the last post.

The biggest surprise of the Faire was the talk by Steve Wozniak. I’ve always held Woz in the highest regard, and it was great hearing his talk. A brilliant computer engineer Woz designed the original Apple computer and was one of the main keys to Apple’s initial success. Check out Woz’s Wikipedia entry for more on this amazing engineer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Wozniak

I have pictures from the Faire however they are stranded on my camera until I get home tomorrow so look for an update!

1 Comments:
Max on Feb 28th, 2008 2:07pm
Looking back on 2007, Maker Faire was definitely the highlight of the entire year. I managed to be sitting in the front row during the Woz talk and afterward I talked to him for a couple minutes and got a photo with him! Talk about a dream come true.. getting to meet the greatest engineer ever! I can't believe I missed the Magic-1! I've always admired it online and it would have been awesome to see it in person!