I think it was fourth or fifth grade when I got my first real look at a computer. It was a Commodore Pet, complete with cassette tape loading of programs, the tiniest Chicklet-style keyboard around, and a small monochrome screen. Five minutes after seeing it in action and getting to play a game of Snake, I was hooked. Continue reading
Apparently the folks at Sugru never sleep. Just a week after I shared their cable-wrangling solution that involved LEGO minifigs and Sugru, they’ve gone and released another fun video involving water guns. I won’t spoil it… just take a look below. And the video afterwards shows you the How-They-Did-It portion. Just in case, you know, you might want to try and duplicate it before July 4th weekend. Pro Tip: You’ll need a LOT of Sugru! Continue reading
With the Fourth of July holiday coming up, I wanted to give GeekDad readers a few book possibilities to entertain them before the fireworks and afterwards. These four are in no particular order — I enjoyed each and every one of them. Have a safe and fun Fourth of July to those celebrating this coming weekend! Continue reading
Last week I had the opportunity to conduct a camp titled Beginning Electronics and Robot Building (BERB) to a group of 21 kids, ages 8 to 12. It went great, and I’ll be holding the camp again for another group in late July. In addition to learning some basic electronics skills (such as soldering and breadboarding), the kids also got to build a full-fledged Arduino-based robot that they took home. It was a great week, and it also gave me an opportunity to introduce the kids to some other concepts and tools, including 3D printing. Continue reading
I’m not a paid spokesman, but I sometimes feel like it! Ever since discovering Sugru so many years ago, I’ve become a devoted fan of this great little product. If you’re not familiar with it, it starts out a bit like PlayDoh — you can mold it, roll it, and even mix its basic colors (black, red, blue, yellow, white) to make more colors. But what’s cool about it is that it begins to cure… but not harden. When the curing process is complete (about 24 hours, but you have a solid 30 minutes to mold it and experiment), it not only has a rubbery feel to it, but it also pretty much sticks to anything. This means that it can not only be used to attach different materials together, but it can also be used to mold unique parts, repair broken parts, and hundreds more solutions. Continue reading
If this post’s title doesn’t quite make sense, then you’re probably unfamiliar with the Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) book series that started a phenomenon back in the 80s for young readers. Other book series that follow its format exist (or have come and gone), but the CYOA brand, now over 30 years old, continues to find new young readers as parents discover not just reprints of the older titles on bookstore shelves but new titles as well. Continue reading
If you’re going to be in the Atlanta, Georgia area the weekend of June 27-29 and your children are fans of LEGO, then you absolutely must plan to attend LEGO KidsFest. Continue reading
For Father’s Day, I wanted to do a special project with my boys. We started but didn’t finish it on Sunday (paint sure dries slow in the Atlanta humidity), but the wait was worth it. For both my boys (and two nephews), we followed the instructions provided by author Scott Bedford in his new book, Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff, and this dad and two boys are quite happy with the final results. Continue reading
I’ve built a number of 3D printers over the last few years, and I’ve had a chance to sit down and actually use even more of them… all mix of brands and models. One of the questions I hear most often from friends and colleagues about 3D printers is “how hard are they to setup and use?”
The answer to that question depends on the printer, of course, but the amazing thing about 3D printers over the last few years is just how out-of-the-box simple some of these things have become. I thought it might be fun to actually document the unboxing and setup of a 3D printer for GeekDad readers, so that’s what I’m going to do here with the new Metal Simple from Printrbot. I’m going to shoot some photos as I unbox, unpack, setup and begin printing… and hopefully convince anyone nervous about purchasing a 3D printer (or at least the Simple) that they needn’t worry.
The El Grande graphic novel Kickstarter project is only $800 from funding… maybe even less by the time you’re reading this! If you’re interested in reading a unique science fiction story with some A-MAZ-ING artwork, check out some of the behind the scenes artwork that Joe and Elio have released since the KS began. Continue reading
My friend Rick Schertle is down to less than four days for his Kickstarter… and he is SO close to funding. He’s attempting to raise $25,000 and they’re nearing the $20k mark, but they sure could use your help.
Robogenesis, while a sequel, is both a retelling of the events in Robopocalypse as well as the fallout. The entire novel is broken into three parts, with each part focusing primarily on one of the major characters from the first book. I have to be careful here, because there’s a huge spoiler opportunity that looms… just know that the New War may be over, but there’s a True War that has also been raging in the background, with two parties vying for control of planet Earth. Continue reading
Cibola Burn, the fourth book (of six) in The Expanse series from James S.A. Corey (pen name for authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) is out.
Scale of 1 to 10? That dial needs to be upgraded to 11.
(Haven’t read the first trilogy? Congrats — you’ve now got four books, averaging about 600 pages each, to add to your reading list.)
One-more-chapter, nail biting tension.
Scoundrel heroes versus law-abiding villains.
Political intrigue that’s not annoying.
Space-travel discussions that don’t bog you down.
Technology that you’ll believe will be available (and needed) in a few hundred years. Continue reading
I met a lot of people and saw a lot of cool things a few weekends back while at Maker Faire in San Mateo, California. I also spent way more money than I should have on a lot of electronics components and books and gifts. But it was an enjoyable event, and I learned a lot of new skills. During the last few hours of the event, I was doing my final walktrough of the Expo Hall where the majority of vendors and booths are located and I found myself stopping at one particular booth (sewn up by his daughter, Meg, and based on the Bioshock Infinite game’s arcade design — cool!) where kids were having some real fun. Because I’m teaching a beginner’s electronics camp in just a few weeks, I was on the hunt for anything new and interesting to possibly add to electronics projects I want to share with the kids. And I found something… from Senseless Devices. Continue reading
I’m not an infinite bank of craft ideas for my son, however, so lately we’ve been working through his copy of Project Kid: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun by Amanda Kingloff. It’s 270+ pages of full-color steps for creating all sorts of wondrous things — Cotton Ball Sheep, Yarn Birdcage, Robot Bank (we’re almost done with this one, and it’s awesome!), Low-Tech LED Banner (no LEDs, but round stickers), Tube Train, the Bottle Rocket (seen on the cover), Newspaper Pirate Ship, Arrow Through Head (a classic accoutrement), Homemade clay (done, and he LOVED it!), and even Salad Spinner Art (you have to see it to believe it). And 90 more. Continue reading
I’ll keep this short and sweet. Bounce on over to fellow geek dad Erik Wecks’ new Kickstarter project, The Far Bank of the Rubicon. It’s Erik’s newest novel in his Pax Imperium universe, and it’s the first of a six book story arc. Erik is attempting to raise funds to cover both his editor and one seriously kick-ass cover by professional artist Andree Wallin. Continue reading