Archive for the ‘Class/Workshop’Category

PS:One and SSH present: Business Planning for Hackers, Creatives, and Other Out of the Box Types

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PS:One & SSH present: Business Planning for Hackers, Creatives, and Other Out of the Box Types

Facilitated by A. Catherine Noon of Writer Zen Garden.

Taking an idea from concept to execution poses unique challenges. One way is to just do it, throwing enough mud at the wall that eventually some will stick. This is time-intensive and may not yield much more than a mud-covered wall.

There’s a better way. Businesses have been around since the time of Babylon; why not experiment with some tools that have made others successful? A business plan can yield benefits not just from the process of clarifying your goals but as a funding tool. If you can crystallize your passion onto the page then chances are, you’ll have a shot at inspiring others as well.

After all, mud on a wall is mud on a wall.

Over twelve weeks, we will explore our own ideas using tools from right-brained artistic games to classic business school (like SWOT and budgets). You will need a copy of the book, The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real by Lisa Sonora Beam, available from Amazon, the Chicago Public Library, and other booksellers.

You will also need a blank journal book, at least 8.5” x 11”. I like the Strathmore 400 Series journals, available from retailers or Mister Art.com; their 12” x 9” is my favorite.

These will be held alternating Thursdays at Pumping Station: One (PS:1) and Southside Hackerspace Chicago (SSH:C). Addresses and links are below the schedule.

Our first four sessions have been well attended and productive. We work in a collaborative fashion, alternating between roundtable discussion and work/play time on our individual projects.

If you’re curious about the process or want to get clear about your own ideas for a business, please check us out.

Week 1: What To Hack… (Thursday, 06/05/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: Intro, Why Plan?
  • Exercise: Mandala 1 & 2

Week 2: Exercise: Mandalagain (Thursday, 06/12/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Exercise: Mandala 3 & 4

Week 3: Discussion (Thursday, 06/19/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Discussion: Completed Mandala share. Synthesize, answer questions in group. Guides.

Week 4: Exercise: Map Your Brain (Thursday, 06/26/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

Exercise: Left Brain/Right Brain Map.

Week 5: Exercise: Map Your Modes and Remedies (Thursday, 07/03/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: Modes, Part I: Modes of Functioning: Sensing, Thinking, Feeling, Acting. Constructive & Destructive.
  • Exercise: Mapping Your Modes. Mapping Your Remedies.

Week 6: Exercise: Recipe Cards (Thursday, 07/10/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Topics: Modes, Part II: Recipe Cards – Mastering Your Modes; Self-Inquiry Portraits
  • Exercise: Recipe Cards

Week 7: Exercise: SWAT THE SWOT (Thursday, 07/17/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: The Art of Strategy: SWOT
  • Exercise: Create a SWOT; Research Punch List

Week 8: Exercise/Discussion: Be SMART! (Thursday, 07/24/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Topics: Be SMART – Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics.
  • Exercise: Prioritized Task Lists, Not To-Do List. Group Exercise – Synergy
  • Discussion: Brainstorm Objectives, Strategies and Tactics.

Week 9: Exercise: Envision it! (Thursday, 07/31/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: SMART Framework
  • Exercise: Vision Cards – Personal Strategic Plan

Week 10: Exercise: Promote it! (Thursday, 08/07/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

Topics: Promotion, Part I: Define Target Audience

  • Exercise: Customer Persona Collage, Competitive Analysis

Week 11: Branding (Thursday, 08/14/2014 @ PS:1)

  • Topics: Promotion, Part II: Customer Needs; Features vs. Benefits; Branding Basics

Week 12: Exercise/Discussion: Make It and Break It (Out)! (Thursday, 08/21/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Topics: Promotional Tactics
  • Exercise: DIY Mini-Journal & Greeting Card Cover
  • Discussion: Wrap – Roundtable – Share Completed Plans

Pumping Station: One

3519 N. Elston
Chicago, IL 60618
http://pumpingstationone.org/

Southside Hackerspace Chicago

2233 South Throop St, Unit 214
Chicago, IL 60608
http://sshchicago.org/

 

27

06 2014

Basic Electronics – DC Circuits Class – Sunday June 29th @ 2pm

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Well, I finally got around to finishing the curriculum for a beginning Electronics class.  This class will cover a lot of the fundamentals that should be known when designing any type of electronic circuit.  DC circuits will be covered here, so no frequency dependent (AC) topics will be touched.  Hopefully in the future, I’ll have time to eventually write a followup Intermediate Electronics class that will cover AC circuits.

It will be broken up into two parts, a lecture-ish part with lots of fun whiteboard time and a lab (hands-on) portion:

Lecture Topics:

  1. Electricity, conductors, and insulators
  2. Ohm’s Law
  3. KVL & KCL: Series and Parallel circuits
  4. Voltage Dividers
  5. Traditional Circuit Analysis: Mesh Currents & Node Voltage
  6. Better Analysis Tools: Superposition & Thevenin’s Theorem
  7. Silicon Diodes and LEDs

Lab Topics:

  1. DC Circuit Simulation with LTspice (the best analysis tool)
  2. Learn how to use solderless breadboards
  3. Build simple circuits using resistors and LEDs

I will be giving away one small electronics “starter kit” consisting of a solderless breadboard, bags of resistors and capacitors, a bunch of jumper wires, and a digital multimeter.  I’ll most likely dish this kit out by asking a bonus question and giving it away to the first person with the correct answer.  Anyway, hope to see you there!

The Details:

  • Who: Anyone who knows basic Algebra (Open to the Public)
  • When: Sunday, June 29th – 2:00pm to 4:00pm…..or 5pm or 6pm or however long you wanna stay and learn
  • Where: 3519 N. Elston – 2nd Floor in the Electronics Lab
  • Cost: FREE

 

26

06 2014

Special CNC Build Club – Linux CNC on Beaglebone

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Charles Steinkuehle, the guy behind the Machinekit port of Linux CNC to the Beaglebone microcontroller is going to be in town Thursday 6/26/2014, so we are going to have a special edition of the CNC build club.  Special features on the Beaglebone make it the first general use microcontroller to be able to effectively run Linux CNC.

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He will be showing off his new CRAMPS (Cape RAMPS) board.  This is a cape for the Beaglebone that all all the periferals you would need for a CNC machine or 3D printer

 

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We have featured LinuxCNC on Beaglebone at a few other CNC Build Club events, so it is great to have Charles stop by:

When: Thursday, June 26th 2014 at 7:00pm

Where: Pumping Station One, Electronics Lab

Who Can Come: Members and Non-Members….Please RSVP Here

 

16

06 2014

Demo Day: Ancona Edition

Soldering kidHello everyone! You know those demonstration days we did for the library a month or so back? Well, Elizabeth and I thought it’d be a good idea to reach out to the school where we teach the after school Maker class and do the same. We thought that having an open demonstration for parents, kids, and faculty would be a great idea to cultivate our image as a valuable educational resource for kids and adults alike.

We want to showcase the value of Maker culture and skills in the development of kids in gradeschool. We want to be entertaining, so we plan on doing the Learn to Solder kits, Laser cutter demo, possibly some 3D printing demos, and the like. If anyone has any demonstrations that would be appropriate for kids, and would like to help out by hosting that demonstration, please come.  And if you just want to be there and mingle with the parents, maybe bring your own kids, show them what our community means, and what it means to your kids, please come.
The event is Sunday, June 8th, from 2-4pm, at Pumping Station: One.

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05 2014

Intro to Programmable Logic & FPGAs – April 27

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I’ve been bugged to death lately about doing another FPGA intro class…and after a full year, it’s finally here.  We’ll be going over some theory & concepts first before we hit the real stuff.  Familiarity with digital logic circuits is highly recommended, but you will still learn something regardless.  A basic overview of what will be covered:

  1. Combinational Logic – Basic Logic Gates
  2. Sequential Logic – Flips Flops
  3. CPLD – Complex Programmable Logic Device
  4. FPGA – Field Programmable Gate Array
  5. Nintendo DS ReView – An Example of What FPGAs Can Do
  6. Xilinx ISE & Verilog – Synthesizing the First Project
  7. Using Clocks – Blink that LED!
  8. State Machines – Alternate between blinking different LEDs!
  9. Video Example – Making an 8-bit VGA controller

I’ll be using the Elbert FPGA development board for most of the examples we’ll be doing.  Having the board is not required to attend.  I will bring a disc with the software tools in case anyone would like to install them.  We will be using Verilog as the HDL (hardware description language) in this class, since that is what I am familiar with.

The Details:

  • Who: Anyone (Open to the Public)
  • When: Sunday, April 27th – 2:00pm to 4:00pm….but we can chill until 5:00pm.
  • Where: 3519 N. Elston – 2nd Floor in the Electronics Lab
  • Cost: FREE

 

19

04 2014

A Good Egg or, What Happens When Hackers Celebrate Pysanky Day

Okay, so first of all, Pysanky Day is a very special day celebrating the thousands-of-years-old art of Ukrainian egg decorating (a “pysanka” is one such egg, “pysanky” is multiples of them).  Now, there’s not an actual Pysanky Day; folks decorate the eggs traditionally around Easter time.  In my household, however, we celebrate several different holidays around Spring:  Passover, Easter, and Ostara.  Each year we decorate eggs and it’s grown from just Paas dyes to pysanky.

When I asked one of my fellow hackers if they’d like to learn the art, they got totally excited about using the Egg Bot.

The what?

The Egg Bot!

Of course, there’s a bot for eggs.  Why?  Because Hackerspace.

And thus, Pysanky Day was born.

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A celebration of the ancient:  the plain egg is drawn on with melted beeswax using a tool called a “kistka.”  Based on technology that’s about four thousand years old, it just consists of a stick or dowel with a hole drilled in one end, into which is inserted a metal funnel.  The funnel is held in place with copper wire.

After heating the tip of the kistka in a candle flame, a small amount of wax is scooped into the fat part of the funnel.  It takes some practice to get the wax to flow smoothly without making drops of wax on the egg.

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One of my favorite designs, this is from one of the series of five Ukrainian Design Books available from the Ukrainian Gift Shop in Roseville, Minnesota. Part of the design was done with a traditional kistka, and part was done with an electric kistka.

In principle, the electric one works the same as the manual one; I like it better because the flow of wax is much more even.

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We got to playing with the Egg Bot, which brings us up to present day technology. Using a pen, it writes on the egg. The writing is completely programmable.

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And finally, in true hacker style, we used the 3-D printer to print an egg holder in the shape of a bunny rabbit. One of our members, walking through the space toward the end of Pysanky Day, commented, “Oh! Rabbit Pants!”

Yup. Hackerspace.

 

All egg images used by permission, copyright: CC-BY-SA Everett C. Wilson ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/).

Image of the Egg Bot from the Egg Bot site, (http://egg-bot.com/)

05

04 2014

Special Circuit Bending eSymposium this Sunday

Sunday, April 6

12 PM – 4 PM, FREE

Hacking upstairs in Electronics, open jam session downstairs in the Lounge.

Hosted by Patrick McCarthy of the circuit-bending act Roth Mobot.

Bring something to hack, something to drink, and whatever tools you think you’ll need. PS:One has an excellent assortment of tools but they are finite. Components are available, but please donate some cash to help cover whatever you use.

Radio WFMT will be on location recording a documentary about the eSymposium.

31

03 2014

Bike Night – Fixing bikes in February

Hello everyone!  It’s been cold.  It’s been snowy.  But some of you people are still riding your bicycles.  Being cold and snowy doesn’t stop the need for maintenance.  Every other week is Bike Night at PS:1, and we’ve got our doors open for you.

Sometimes we bring in things to show off.  Sometimes we teach.  Usually we work on interesting bike projects.  (Learning how to wrap bars, building a bike from the frame up, etc) Last night was playing bike doctor more than “here’s fun stuff to work on.”  We had two patients last night.

Bike maintenance at PumpingStation

Bike maintenance at PumpingStation: One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patient #1 received a new chain and sprockets to replace a stretched set.  And, the rider discovered the magic of clipless pedals last year, so replaced his platforms with some SPD pedals.

Patient #2 had some cheesy short term replacement pedals replaced with some very nice platforms, and had it’s headset rebuilt.

Does your bike need a tuneup?  Do you have questions about picking a new bike this spring?  Do you want to learn a new bicycle related skill?  Come visit us, we’ll be gathering in the shop March 5 at 7PM.

-Nerobro

20

02 2014

New Year, New Beer, Beer Church is Here

Don’t let the polar vortex’s return prevent you from standing around a boiling cauldron of delicious smelling beer wort as we prepare to create what’s bound to be a unique beer. We usually base our recipes on existing ones, but tweak them in interesting ways.

To start off, we’ll have a beer tasting featuring any homebrew you bring, a Gingerbread Brown Ale that we brewed in December, and the aged return of 14 month old “I Didn’t Mead It That Way”, a session mead made with hops and fermented with wine yeast for a very unique and floral flavor. Tiny beer steins will be provided – please bring a bottle of something if you can. We might even pull some mystery bottles from our homebrew cellar and see if we can remember what it is!

Once we’ve had a taste, met each other, and talked over the basics of brewing in the process, we’ll move on to shopping for ingredients (Brew & Grow is right around the corner, and you’ll get to learn how to weigh and grind ingredients) & of course brewing the beer. This is just the first day of a weeks long journey that a beer takes from the boil kettle to your mouth, but it’s the most labor intensive and the most interesting to see, so we like to show people this step. Watching a bucket ferment isn’t as fun. Since we’re going for something relatively straightforward (recipe to be a surprise), we’ll probably be done brewing in around 3.5 hours. We’ll get into the brew by around 3PM. The steps include mashing, sparging, boiling, chilling, and pitching. You can lend a hand with most of them if you like, and learn a lot in the process.

mmmm, beer

Nitty Gritty

When: Sunday January 19th 2014, 1PM
Where: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston, Chicago
What: Beer tasting and brewing hands-on
Who: Anyone 21 or over, Pumping Station: One members or not!
Why: Because beer is a fun way to spend for your Sunday afternoon

18

01 2014

Prompts with the Writer Zen Garden

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Tonight the Writer Zen Garden met in the lounge for another Prompt Circle.  Using various kinds of writing prompts, we write for between 10 and 20 minutes at a time, experimenting with lots of little new ideas or linking each of the ideas together. This is a great, low pressure way to get onto the page, whether you’ve always wanted to write and haven’t taken the plunge or if you’re a seasoned writer but need some new inspiration.

We started with a freewriting exercise to “prime the pump.”  Freewriting is just like it sounds:  start with where you are right now and just write.  We set the timer for ten minutes but if you’re trying this on your own, use whatever time works for you.  Write whatever is in your mind, and let it flow out of your pen.  Freewriting exercises are better done with a pen and paper because it more intimately connects you to your thoughts than the keyboard (working on a keyboard involves both hands and therefore a cross-hemispheric operation on the brain).

We then experimented with some prompts from Ursula K. LeGuin’s book, Steering the Craft.  The first was to write a scene with no punctuation whatsoever.  A good scene to write is something that has a lot of action; she suggests the opening of a revolution or a one-day sale.  I have found that when we read what we wrote out loud, it naturally develops its own syntax and is much easier to understand.

Next we wrote a scene with sentences of seven or fewer words.  This forces the writer to focus on the words used to get the story across and trims the fat, so-to-speak.  After that we experimented with one from Josip Novakovich’s book, Fiction Writer’s Workshop.  Describe a scene with a party or gathering that you observed, and see if you can fatten it up with imagined details.  We then switched gears to play with a dream; writing a scene from one of our own dreams and peppering it with fantastical elements.

The final prompt was a light one: write a scene of a space opera (think Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy).  While no one at the table self-identified as a science-fiction writer, it seemed to be the most fun prompt of the evening.

If you’ve been tempted to write before but don’t know where to start, or you’ve always wished you were more creative, then join us for a couple hours of fun, conviviality, and writing prompts.  All you need to do is bring a pen and notebook or, if you prefer, a laptop.  We’ll do the rest.

How does it work?  That’s easy!  We bring an assortment of writing prompts (a “prompt” is something that gets you started with a story, scene, or description), and we write for short bursts of ten to twenty minutes.  You’d be surprised at how much you produce and how fast the time flies.

Why not give it a shot?

The next one is Saturday, 01/11/2014, 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. in the Lounge.  Hosted by PS:One members Amanda Clothier (writing as A. Catherine Noon) and Lyn Cole.

Hope to see you there!

For more information about Writer Zen Garden, please check out our Meetup page.  We are an online and in-person creative community with a forum, blog, and supportive members.  You have nothing to lose but your skepticism.

Write on!

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12 2013