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Passover

The day after St. Patrick’s Day I helped a friend of mine with his booth at the annual Maker Faire NoVa that was held at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. I had attended previous STEM Maker events in Greenbelt, Silver Spring, and Washington, DC but it’s the first time I ever checked the Northern Virginia one. I have to admit that this event was the largest event of its kind that I had ever attended. To give you an idea as to how big it was, here’s a video I shot of this event.

And now it’s time for the still photos. I knew I had come to the right place when I saw this statue of George Mason (whom the university is named after) all dressed up for the occasion.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

These signs were further giveaways that I was at the right place.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

The reason why I was there was that I was helping a friend of mine with his table. His name is Phil Shapiro and he frequently hangs out on YouTube and Twitter. He wanted to demonstrate Inkscape, which is the free open source alternative to Adobe Illustrator. He brought a couple of Linux laptops that he made available for people to use. At the last minute he decided to have one of those laptops run Tux Paint, which is a free open source graphics program that is made for kids under 7, which turned out to be a good move because a lot of visitors were kids. The kids seemed to really like Tux Paint so it was all good. In any case, here is what the sign looked like.

Maker Faire NoVa

Here are a few shots of the table that I took before Maker Faire NoVa opened to the general public.

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Here’s Phil Shapiro at one of the laptops setting everything up before the show began.

Maker Faire NoVa

And here’s Phil showing off the two laptops with Inkscape and Tux Paint to the general public.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

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One of the many kids tried his hand at drawing with Tux Paint.

Maker Faire NoVa

Near our table was one that was manned by Bob Coggeshall, who’s famous in the Unix world for inventing the Unix command sudo.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

There were all kinds of projects that were run off of Raspberry Pi, such as this vintage teletype.

Maker Faire NoVa

There were also all kinds of 3D printed projects that looked amazing.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

There was a refurbished gumball machine that dispensed 3D printed charms for only 50 cents.

Maker Faire NoVa

It was at that gumball machine where I made my one and only purchase from Maker Faire NoVa: A tiny 1-inch printed 3D printed Darth Vader who’s seated like a Buddha. I only paid 50 cents for this cool item.

Maker Faire NoVa, March 18, 2018

There were also some vintage bikes that the public can ride.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

It was at Maker Faire NoVa where I got my first-ever real life glimpse of a Bitcoin mining machine.

Maker Faire NoVa

It was also at Maker Faire NoVa where I got my first glimpse of American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year doll. Her name is Luciana Vega, she’s into STEM and her big ambition is to be the first person to explore Mars.

Maker Faire NoVa

This boy was showing his work in progress on his latest project. He was in the process of building his own BB-8 robot from the Star Wars movies.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

There was just a variety of things I saw at Maker Faire NoVa that were simply astounding.

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George Mason University’s Fairfax campus is pretty big. In fact, I think it may be as big as my own alma mater (University of Maryland at College Park). I briefly went through the campus Barnes & Noble store, which had copies of Michael Wolff’s controversial bestseller about Donald Trump’s first year in the White House called Fire & Fury.

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I really had a blast at Maker Faire NoVa. It helped that the weather was in the 50’s that day so I was able to wear a light jacket instead of my heavy winter coat for a change. I even saw my first robin of the year while I was walking around outside going from building to building while checking out the event. (The entire event was spread over four buildings.) Sadly that warm weather was a short-lived thing because the weather turned really cold and rainy the next day followed by a snowstorm.

The only downside about that event is that for about a couple of days before that event I started to have stuffed sinuses. By the time of that event my throat felt more scratchy as I talked more and more with the general public while I worked at Phil’s booth. My legs had grown stiff and sore by the end of the day due to the huge amount of walking and standing I did throughout the day. The following day I felt extremely tired and sick. I ended up spending most of the next week sleeping (with the exception of the couple of times I went out in the snow where I did some shoveling two days after Maker Faire NoVa). I even ended up skipping the big March for Our Lives on the following Saturday due to being sick. But the video, photos, and fond memories from Maker Faire NoVa made it all worthwhile.

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For many months I’ve heard via Facebook and other websites about something called a Maker Faire where all sorts of cool DIY stuff is demonstrated. I envied cities like New York City and San Francisco for hosting large Maker Faires and I found myself wishing I could check those events out but I couldn’t due to tight finances.

But then I saw a notice in The Washington Post about a Mini Maker Faire that would be held for one day in Silver Spring so I decided to go for it since it was a fairly short drive from my home and it was free admission. The Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire billed itself as the first official Maker Faire in the DC area and, given the huge response to this, I’m sure there will be more events like this in the future.

For those who have never been to a Maker Faire, here is a brief description of what it was like. The Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire had agencies from the local universities, the federal government, and government contractors provide demonstrations of the latest in high technology like computers and robots. For those who aren’t hi-tech geeks, there were plenty of craft demonstrations of things like making your own wool felt and weaving strands of LED lights in clothes. There was even a cooking demonstration. Basically it was an event that had something for everyone no matter what your personal interests are.

The day was warm, but not too hot, with low humidity so it was the perfect day for an event like that. It was very crowded though. I wasn’t able to try any of the hands-on exhibits because of the throngs of eager kids who pushed their way to the front of the tables and were grabbing things to try. I only stayed an hour because it was very crowded. But it was a pretty good event nonetheless even if I saw some demonstrations given by both NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Maryland’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab that all reminded me of my ex-husband. (He works at NASA and a few years ago he made an ill-fated attempt at getting a Ph.D. through the University of Maryland’s HCI Lab until he decided to drop out.) Here are some photos I took with my smartphone of the event.

Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013
Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013

I only got one new thing at the Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire. One of the Mini Maker Faire’s sponsors, Google, gave away free recyclable shopping bags in a variety of colors. I got the green bag.

Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire, September 29, 2013

Felt Own Pin

While I was busy decluttering my home, I found this lying around. It’s a felt owl pin that I created while I attended Hello Craft’s 2009 Summit of Awesome in Washington, DC. One of the sponsoring craft vendors specialized in making handcrafted felt owl products and we all had an opportunity to create our own felt owl pins during our time af the Summit of Awesome.

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