Katie Covington: Making fun with Open Source for Makers

Katie Covington at the 2013 South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin Texas

DIY API open source

For Makers. #futureDIY

Katie Covington quit her job and started Open Source for Makers (http://www.opensourcemakerlabs.com/ ), where makers gave designs away for free. She explained how those interested in developing the project figured out how to share their designs for physical things, while still generating revenue.

By sharing ideas for projects, she generated a demand for source materials through sharing the knowledge. She realized that makers wanted to create and, once inspired, they want good sources of raw materials for their creations.

Covington explained how the makers jumped in with suggestions on new projects and products – and then they bought materials through the website from advertisers to use in the making.

Open Source for Makers works with suppliers, such as companies in the New York fashion district, offering materials that makers can order online. Her “tribe” helped her build the Open Source for Makers brand. And she connected them with unique materials that can’t be found at more traditional suppliers, such as Hobby Lobby or Michaels.

She described the way the website “takes away the friction” of hunting for materials by offering materials online in a way that is pleasing and useful for her website makers.

Covington’s advice for how to start your own company:

  • Go where your customers are (for her, this was Instagram and Pinterest)
  • Create content for that medium
  • Keep it fresh
  • Go offline
  • Work with users and test quality of tutorials, materials, etc.

Links

More images from 2013 South by Southwest Interactive
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clairwiloh/sets/72157632980772104/

http://eventifier.co/event/sxsw13/clairwil

2013 SxSW Interactive Presentations on Soundcloud 

https://soundcloud.com/officialsxsw/sets/sxsw-interactive-2013

Find out more about the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin Texas

http://sxsw.com/interactive

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Shut up and take my money: John Biehler and 3D printing

What John Biehler said when he saw Pre Pettis and MakerBot on The Daily Show

How 3D Printing Changed John Biegher’s Life

John Biehler bought a 3D printer as soon as he saw one demonstrated on The Daily Show. He’s been experimenting with it and extending what can be done with it ever since. Biehler formed a forum for 3D printers – 3D604.org (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/3d604 ) – and the forum is burgeoning with inventors and interesting conversations about the endless possibilities these devices present.

John Biehler at the 2013 South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin Texas

He brought a 3D printer to the 3D Printer Village in Vancouver at the 2013 Maker Faire (http://www.vancouvermakerfoundation.org/events-and-programs/vancouver-mini-maker-faire/ ) and particularly enjoyed the reaction children have to the device.

“They see it and realize it can make toys and parts to build with. Then they basically say ‘get out of the way’ start they start using the printer. They want one now.”

It turns out that an Xbox with Xbox Connect can be turned into a 3D scanner. This is a good thing. Connect a 3D scanner device to a 3D printer device and what is the first thing you do with it? Apparently, you make people; that’s what Biehler did.

“We scanned people and printed their faces and heads.”

Dita Von Teese in a 3D printed, fully articulated printed dress. 

 

Links

3D604.org group  https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/3d604

More images from 2013 South by Southwest Interactive
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clairwiloh/sets/72157632980772104/

http://eventifier.co/event/sxsw13/clairwil

2013 SxSW Interactive Presentations on Soundcloud 

https://soundcloud.com/officialsxsw/sets/sxsw-interactive-2013

Find out more about the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin Texas

http://sxsw.com/interactive

It’s alive! (responsible journalism). But newspapers are history.

“Craigslist” Craig Newmark, Poynter Kelly McBride on responsible journalism, at the 2013 South by Southwest Interactive 2013 in Austin Texas

“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh – or they may kill you – Oscar Wilde. (Quoted by Craig Newmark at SxSW interactive 2013)

New standards of journalism in a new age (of journalism)  

Someone from Poynter went through the crowd, handing out a small pamphlet titled “100 Ideas to Make Your Journalism Better” to the large audience who had come to hear Craig “Craigslist” Newmark and Poynter’s faculty member Kelly McBride talk about what has gone wrong – and what’s right—in modern journalism.

“Journalism should be the immune system of democracy,” Craig told the crowd. “Without information, how can we vote responsibly?”

Excited, maybe a little bit nervous, but with a strong edge of humility, the well-known founder of Craigslist described himself as “a nerd” who became a customer service professional.

He and Kelly McBride summarized the recent woes of journalism. More than one-fourth of all journalists have been laid off since 2007, in part due to economic disruptors such as Craigslist, which took away a valuable source of revenue for newspapers (the classified).

It’s not that people aren’t consuming news content. But spite of the growth of digital news delivery, for every dollar of digital revenue $7 in print revenue has been lost.

You can tell the organization is eating itself when a bastion of supposedly solid journalism like CNN chooses to eliminate its own investigative news journalism department.

In addition to the economic struggles of the news industry, the journalism food chain has changed. Once the pecking order was local reporters, then mid-size newspapers, and finally national news outlets. Nowadays, entertainment news and social media is at the top of the pile, with mid-size news, national news, and national magazines in the middle and local news at the bottom. This topsy-turvy situation has encouraged gossipy, sensationalist news and the viral spread of misinformation.

It’s hard to judge the quality of the content being served in a business forced to put journalists on a “hamster wheel” where writers pump out content on constant deadline. Effective investigative journalism  takes time to produce.

In contrast, the Poynter Institute is supporting a journalistic environment where there is sufficient time to think—and it’s building a new framework for ethical, community journalism.

This means turning away from the current farce of “balanced” news, where manifestly absurd, offensive ideas are given a voice to counter sanity, in order to pay lip service to “fair” reporting.

McBride derided the cliché of presenting a news story in the “two viewpoints” pretense of objectivity.  This artificial creation of false balance – reporters giving equal weight to opposing views even though one viewpoint is demonstrably false or irrelevant, is a big part of what’s wrong with the craft of reporting.

So, how should a responsible journalist write a story? According to McBride, good journalists get smart (informed)—and then speak with authority about what’s going on.

Journalism and ethical reporting

One of Craig’s pet peeves is broadcast  journalists interviewing talking heads that sit atop PR hacks and lobbyists—“ A responsible journalist shouldn’t interview people who are paid to lie.”

He says being a news reporter is one of the most difficult careers to pursue but it is only a worthy calling if you deliver information that others can trust. We are in a bizarre situation right now, where we might feel more “truthiness” from watching an  “entertainment” show like The Daily Show, and find it surreal to discover news “actors” (as opposed to anchors) on global news networks, whose only involvement in a story is reading the words off a teleprompter.

Integrating journalism into communities

Social media has been a disruption to traditional journalism. The product has been the article, photo, or Vine/Youtube post as content. That social news product enhances, and helps to build, community. Citizens can inform themselves with the right tools: consider Politifact, a great combination of news and nerds.  (http://www.politifact.com/ )

But news gathering by community journalists, according to Newmark and McBride, are not rivals to professional journalism, although they augment and help to redefine its purpose and methods.

Consider the news opportunity created during the Huffington Post Obama fundraiser when the phrase, “clinging to guns and religion,” was released by the media. Consider how the recorded and shared  “48 percent” quote during a Romney fundraiser may have altered political outcomes.

Journalism is also a business. But it should differ from other industries, where the product is perceived as a means to an end. With responsible journalism, community should be the end product of the reporting of truth.

Traditional journalists saw community as a resource to create something else. McBride says that we should rethink this and recognize that community is an end in itself.

Newmark says that citizen journalism is good, but we need trained editors, content curators, fact checkers, professional writers and professionalism in every area in order to have responsible, quality journalism.

McBride and Newmark shared two lists of journalism values for the audience to consider. One was time-honored, from Mother Jones; the other is suggested by The Poynter Institute  for journalism in a new era of community.

Mother Jones: journalism values

  1. Seek the truth and report it.
  2. Be independent.
  3. Minimize harm.
  4. Be accountable.

New set of journalism values suggested by Poynter

  1. Seek truth and report it.
  2. Be transparent (about what you know and what you don’t know).
  3. Engage the community as an end.

Poynter has a book out if you are interested in finding out more about their ideas of what journalism could become. http://about.poynter.org/about-us/press-room/poynter-publishes-definitive-new-journalism-ethics-book

And Craig Newmark is out there, talking at events like SxSW Interactive about responsible journalism, trying to help, supporting groups like Poynter: “A nerd’s gotta do what a nerd’s gotta do. Nerds are always outsiders.”

Responsible journalism is the immune system of democracy – Craig “Craigslist” Newmark

  

Listen to the presentation on Soundcloud

More images from 2013 South by Southwest Interactive

2013 SxSW Interactive Presentations on Soundcloud 

Find out more about the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin Texas

Change is as good as a holiday

South by Southwest Interactive (SxSW) 2013, a five-day free flight of imagination and creativity, just ended in downtown Austin, Texas. Each year, creative minds gather to share dreams and nightmares about technological changes, inventions, and twists in the road that takes the rest of us to the future.

Who was the most interesting guy at Southby Interactive this year? Whose prophesy, whose new hardware gadget, 3D print imager (lasers!!), or change-the-world idea will be the one left standing when 2014 rolls around?

Will it turn out to be this guy that said the most important thing at SxSW Interactive in 2013? He’s Nobel Fellow and UT Austin professor Dr. Steve Weinberg, who discussed new physics discoveries that are turning the world on end over end, and his urging that we concentrate on funding and building a mammoth particle accelerator.

Or will it be this guy? This is Takahito Iguchi, the CEO of Telepathy, whose interactive glasses from Japan might beat out Google Glass for style and features.

And how much longer do we have to wait to climb into our own spaceships???

The answer might be: not long at all, if we are willing to work our way across the universe, according to Richard Garriott, who is busy building rocket ships with his friends.

Get ready for some interviews and articles about the Smarties who came, who spoke, and who beguiled our fancy this year at SxSW Interactive.

Your faithful reporter, and fellow enthusiastic Tech Kool-aid drinker,
Clair LaVaye

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