Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Geeky creative things to do in London

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I rewrote a version of this section in another later post and so have cross-posted an updated version here as it's better than what I originally had. This could go on forever ;)

Geeky London places / events
BarCamp London
"a free-to-attend weekend unconference for designers, developers and geeks of all types." or

Bletchley Park
(see also TNMOC below)
~1/2hr train journey from London Euston to Bletchley, entrance to the park is clearly marked outside the station and is only about two mins away.

I don't know if they're based in London but they have often had workshops / exhibitions at Kinetica and worked with OpenLabs. 

London-based company which has short (one-day) courses that give people an overview of coding. As spotted in this Observer piece "How I built my first app (with a little help)

Dorkbot Website | Mailing list
is more of a show and tell for projects that you've been working on but you'll always find someone in the crowd who can help you but the monthly-ish events aren't workshops. They do usually have an annual event in which workshops feature though.

Geeks of London
Many flavours of geek are covered here:
"We organise meetups for all different types of geeks, like movie geeks, comic book geeks, scifi geeks, and many more."

Hackspace Website | Mailing list
I've not been to these yet but you can find more details here

Ian Helliwell's Analogue sound course - if and when it runs again it will probably appear here but also see here (in Brighton, not London). and

Kinetica Art Fair
2011's event has been and gone (early Feb) but also look out for Cybersonica and things that Musion are doing.

London Geek Dinners

London Girl Geek Dinners

MzTEK (for women) Website | Facebook group
("An Arts Collective for Women in New Media and Arts Computing") hosts workshops for women only on a variety of electronics and other things like laser cutting.

TNMOC (The National Museum of Computing)
located in the Bletchley Park compound (see above).

OSHUG (Open Source Hardware User Group) - I went to OSHUG 7 and really enjoyed it.

OpenLabs - I attended a circuit creating workshop (making some noise too) at the Kinetica Art Fair and Evan Raskob from OpenLabs was teaching it. Lots of fun but against a backdrop of the Kinetica fair it was quite hard to hear what was going on with my own battery operated mini speaker. Given the squealy noises I was making, perhaps not a bad thing ;)

Technology will save us - I spotted a sign-up sheet for this at the Kinetica Art Fair and signed up, haven't investigated it yet but looks full of potential for classes although they might be a little beyond my budget. and

Tinker It Website
I am not sure if they are still running courses but they have run Arduino workshops in the past (Arduino is a circuit board whose chip is controlled by a computer programme). and

For people who like non-electronic technical crafts but like sewing then these people might have a class for you: The Make Lounge, in Islington as might Fashion Antidote

I bet someone's reading this and thinking "but she's forgotten X" if so, do let me know, thanks!

You might also like:

This rest of this post was originally written in 2009
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Recently I discovered that MAKE magazine comes with a video podcast and one of them is all about diodes. This is a lovely little seven and a half minute exploration of their history and how they work (I learned something) and it reminded me of another of my favourite films, Alchemists of Sound (I also recommend searching my blog for Alchemists...), all about the history of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Last year a friend and I attended Analogue Sound Workshop, a one day course run by Ian Helliwell in Brighton. It was basically magic :) A cold, drizzly November day, a workshop with an effective heater, tape loops to play with and things to solder - we enjoyed the tinkering immensely. I heard about this course, and the "Tone Generation" a radio show on the history of electronic music that Ian created, thanks to Ben Goldacre who posted information about it on his website's miniblog.
Watching the diode film, and being aware of the recent-ish Makerfaire in Newcastle - which I missed - made me wonder what there might be in London for someone like me, interested but with little idea where to start - so I asked some people on Twitter, and googled a bit, and this is what I've found.

If you're reading this and want to suggest an addition, please do - @jobrodie
**September 2009 - Cybersonica**
According to their email...
CYBERSONICA: FORTHCOMING EVENTS OF INTEREST - generic (redirects to whatever the current website is)

a. Cybersonica @ Musion Academy - 23rd September - 35 Portland Place
On Wednesday 23rd September, the Musion Academy will be co-hosting a special Cybersonica event featuring Jens Heinen of VisionLabz and the Cologne based Lichtfaktor "light-writing" crew and Simon Blackmore of the Manchester based Owl Project who will each present their own unique artistic explorations into the use of light as a medium.

Members of the public welcome - "Musion has always been keen to foster relationships with academia and the general public."

b. i-Design 09 - 24th September - 309 Regent Street
i-Design 09 is a unique one-day conference at the London Design Festival.

It aims to inspire, entertain and explore how our digital future is shaping up, and what role interactive design will take in our cultural and social life.

c. Expo - 25th-29th September - Leedsd. m-Log Workshop - 25th and 26th September - Space Studios
- involves actual log :)
A two day workshop to build your own music controller out of a log.

More details at:
1. Tinker It! - despite an Italian looking web address it's London. They're a design consultancy looking at the 'creative potential of new technologies' but they also do workshops and courses, and have a newsletter and tutorials.

Recent workshop
>>12.07.09! took part in the free Music Hackday

Upcoming workshop>>02.09.09 Matt Biddulph, Nick Weldin and Daniel Soltis running Internet of Things master class as part of dConstruct09, £345-395

2. Takeaway festival at Dana centre and
h/t @arlloyd

3. Apple Store on Regent Street has its own mini workshops for people wanting to get involved in iPhone stuff, and other Apple things too

4. London College of Communications - wondering if they might do short courses but their website suggests only full-length academic courses and

5. Dorkbot 'people doing strange things with electricity' - sounds great fun, seems to involve a sort of camping geekend away in the country and also has its own mailing list.
h/t @iansimmons

6. London Hack Space hosts regular hack evenings for people to make stuff. It has a discussion list and is on Twitter.

7. Sinful machines workshop
Weekend 25/26 July, 11-5pm, Hackney
"Sinful machines is a workshop which is part of a project exploring the delicate relationship between man, machines and sins. How is a sin defined? In the original sense of the word, to sin means to ‘err’ or miss the mark, but modern definitions associate it with violations of a morality. What happens when 7 deadly sins and social sins manifest themselves within machines?"
Gosh! :)
8. OpenLab London: Openlab Summer workshops
28 July, 6.00-10.30pm, nr London Bridge
"This summer, Openlab, the London-based open source art and technology collective, presents a series of in-depth summer workshops exploring creating and hacking media using free software and tools. Workshops will include both beginner and advanced instruction in such software as PureData, Processing, and SuperCollider, as well as using the microcontroller Arduino, general sound hardware hacking, and more. For less than the cost of the cinema, you can gain some valuable skills using free software!"
Cost: £15 for the entire night, or per workshop -
1) Introduction to Arduino: Microcontrollers, LEDs, sensors, and you! with Daniel Hirschmann - £10
2) Processing for Visual Artists with Evan Raskob - £10
9. The Make Lounge - for creative crafts, not techy - in Islington.
10. Women of Bletchley Park - Sunday 26 July 2009, 11.30am to 3.30pm
Other stuff
This post powered by Ulrich Schnauss's "Crazy for you" which sounds like a slightly warped but still lovely record. First heard it on Ray Mears' Sweden episode (the TV, not DVD version - sound track differs) - now there's a man who can make stuff! Thanks to @digitonal who told me what it was, and why it was so familiar.
Edit 18 November 2009: That Ulrich Schnauss video's gone, but this one is musically identical
Edit 7 January 2010: The concept of embedding YouTube videos just bipped from being merely on my radar to getting onto my to do list...

Edits and acknowledgements
EDIT 19 January 2010: Just heard about OSHUG and their 7th event in London, on Learning.
"At the seventh OSHUG meeting we'll be hearing from ex-BBC employees that were intimately involved in the BBC's Computer Literacy Project, the creation of the BBC Micro and the Domesday project. First hand experiences from that heady time during the 1980s when the UK was at the forefront of microcomputer development will frame the opportunity that faces us once again. Whereas lessons learnt will help us to build on these experiences and to strive to ensure that pitfalls are avoided.
We will also be hearing from Tinker London about experiences of teaching open source technologies and how this differs from more traditional approaches to learning.
Kindly hosted by BBC Learning Development."
Went. It was brilliant.
EDIT 21 October 2010: A lot of people find this blog by searching for "Geeky things to do in London" so I suppose I ought to update this!

Keywords: "sound art", arduino, courses, electronics, events, fiddling about with shiny things, geek, hack, london, make, RFID, soldering, stuff, tinker, tweak, - ever since Blogger brought in its new version I've found that whenever I try and update a post the labels / tags that had been previously in use seem to trip off some warning note about ampersands (not a single ampersand among the tags). Bit odd. 

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