Countdown To Maker Faire 2014 — Get Prepared

Year of Maker

Just a few more days… and it’s Maker Faire Time! I know a lot of geek dads and moms make the trek each year to attend what is called The Greatest Show (And Tell) On Earth, and there’s are solid reasons for it. Two days of open-mouthed staring and double-takes. Two days of access to experts (self-taught and otherwise), makers, inventors, tinkerers, dreamers, builders, hackers, and hobbyists. Two days of sightseeing, hands-on activities, and pure surprises. Continue reading

Just Two Weeks Left to Enter MoonBots Robotic Competition

MOONBOTS_MAIN

Registration for the 2014 MoonBots competition is coming to a close. It’s a great way for kids to get involved in robotics… and it doesn’t cost anything. Sign up today! Continue reading

When the World Ends, You’ll Need The Knowledge

The Knowledge

I’m not a sky-is-falling kind of guy. I don’t have a bunker behind my house and a decade’s worth of food stocked away for my family (although I do sometimes think about it). Every generation has had its concerns about the world ending, but I’m one of those optimists that hopes we’ll be able to solve our problems — water shortages, global warming, pandemics — and not be despised by our great-great-grandkids.

But who really knows? Asteroids are flying around our universe with sufficient mass and speed. New and scarier viruses seem to pop up every few years. So many countries seem to want their own nuclear bombs these days. Experts seem to think a major financial collapse lurks around the corner. Just how prepared are we if the world we know it stopped functioning normally for an extended period of time? How long would we last without the modern conveniences of electricity, medicine, clothing, food, and clean water? Continue reading

Turning Off The Conair CD108 Infiniti Curling Iron Via Email

Problem - Solution

My wife sometimes leaves things plugged in and turned on. Dangerous things. Like her curling iron. It’s not unheard-of for her to be a couple miles down the road, heading out to run some errands with the boys in the back seat all buckled in. “Did I leave the curling iron on?” she wonders. This problem called for a drastic solution. A solution that would justify four years of engineering school. A problem that so many of us geek spouses wait 20, 30, or even 40 years of marriage to encounter… and then take down with extreme prejudice. Continue reading

The GeekDads Guide to SXSW 2014: 10 Must-see Events at the Nation’s Largest Interactive Festival

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 1.27.21 PM

I can’t tell you every session or event to be at, but I can recommend ten events that every geek dad should go to. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Drones: Parallax ELEV-8 & AR.Drone 2.0

[Parallax ELEV-8] [Parrot AR.Drone 2.0]

As we come out of a cold and bitter winter into spring, you may look towards the sky yourself and think of getting a UAV or drone of your own. There are lots of great smaller models of drone out there but in this article, I take a look at two of the heavier hitters, the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 and the Parallax ELEV-8. These are two very different commercial options, in a similar class, and both are outstanding for their different uses. Continue reading

The Martian — Mars Meets MacGyver

The Martian

Do you remember that scene in Apollo 13 when the engineer dumps a bunch of parts on the table and tells the other engineers in the room they need to create a carbon dioxide filter using nothing but that pile of parts? Did that scene totally make you smile? Yes? Then grab a copy of The Martian before anyone ruins it for you and read it. Seriously Read it. You won’t regret it. Continue reading

Perfect All-in-One Raspberry Pi Starter Kit (UK Only)

Deluxe Kit

I’ve been tinkering for some time with the Arduino family of micro controllers, but lately I’ve been wanting to start investigating the new Raspberry Pi credit card-sized computer. When the Pi first arrived, users simply purchased the small circuit board and provided their own add-ons like a keyboard, mouse, and display. But now, the Pi has arrived and is finally being bundled in kits that allow beginners to jump right in with a minimum of fuss. One of these is the U:Create Raspberry Pi Deluxe Starter Kit available in the UK for £99.99. Continue reading

Q&A with 101 Things I Learned Author Matt Frederick

101TILEngineeringBook-perspective

Matt Frederick’s 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School went on to become a bestseller. The book was such a success, Frederick decided to turn the 101 Things I Learned idea into a franchise, and it now has over 500,000 books in print. To date, he has coauthored, edited, and illustrated six additional books with Grand Central Publishing. The latest is 101 Things I Learned in Engineering School. We sit down with the author to ask him how he did it. And learn some stuff about engineers. Continue reading

What I Learned from Hour of Code (x12)

Image: Melissa Ford

Each day, when I returned to the school like the Pied Piper of Circuits to lead another round of workshops, more and more kids started gathering at the computer lab door. I think that’s a sign of how interested kids are to keep exploring STEM fields. I had a fifth grader who told me at the beginning of the workshop that she didn’t really like computers who informed me later that she’s now thinking about studying computer science. I think that’s an hour well spent. After all, there are going to be 1.2 million new jobs in STEM fields in 2018. Who is going to fill them if we don’t raise the next generation with that information? Continue reading