I didn't even bother trying to take good pictures of the whole affair, because pictures and video just never seem to capture the tremendous scale and energy of the entire place. I did snap some quick iPod photos, but simply because by the end of four days (!) I knew I wasn't going to remember half the places I went or saw, or people I met.
Jaren Havell. He, Chris Gammell, and Jeff Keyzer rented a house in Berlingame, so I came as their fourth. Saving me from the 30 minute drive from the south bay was surprisingly helpful by the end of the weekend; I'm not sure I would have been able to get myself out of bed Sunday morning without my ride having to be there on time.
Dangerous Prototype's San Fran taco crawl. Ian had us all meet in the Mission district, and we promptly made our way from taco stand to taco stand. The tacos were amazing.
Friday started out with my salvage crawl, where everyone met at Halted at 10:30AM and we made the rounds of the south bay electronics stores. Attendance wasn't nearly as impressive as Ian's crawl, but we ended up with a reasonably-sized group.
I didn't take any particularly interesting pictures, since I can guarantee you that you can walk into Halted, Weird Stuff, or HRO any time you like and they'll still look pretty much the same. I came back from the trip with a few connectors and fuses I need, a pair of databooks I'll find useful, a $25 kiosk computer (with decent legs; P4 3.4GHz Cedar Mill with 1GB of DDR2 RAM), and ~100 D cell sealed lead-acid batteries.
Exploratorium booth, and had a once in a lifetime chance to play with the spinning table exhibit for a glorious 20 minutes of spinning harmonics without any small children forging paths of disc destruction through my experiments. Priceless experience number two. Once the gates opened, the crowds started to become difficult to navigate almost immediately. It's amazing how much of Maker Faire you can cover from 9:40AM-10AM when you can move between booths at a dead sprint.
I ran into Thomas Wilson, one of my friends from the UCD MechE dept, pretty early on in the day, so being able to spend the morning with a second person to pivot the crowds off of made the day much more enjoyable. This was his first MF, so to have someone there to drag him around until 2PM to give him a birds-eye view of what to go back and spend more time at was hopefully helpful for him.
best friend's parents Saturday during lunch, in addition to countless other people I knew either locally or from online. I can't express how much I enjoyed meeting all of you in person who came by and said hello.
43oh were also there.
Evil Mad Scientist Labs was there again with their amazing Digi-Comp pool ball ALU. Watching kids get excited about adding two numbers together was pretty precious.
Matt Richardson, of Beaglebone-powered Descriptive Camera fame, in person. I even tried to describe pictures before the MF network went into total congestive collapse (Internet inside the fair lasted all of about 45 minutes Saturday morning before going down for the rest of the weekend).
Over-all, this weekend was AWESOME. Many other blogs actually made an effort of trying to capture the sheer volume of creativity flying around (example), so I urge you to go read them as well, but if you're not already penciling out the weekends for May, 2013, you better get on it! Maker Faire is amazing, and easily worth the trip from WHEREVER you happen to be in the world.
A few post-op pointers in no particular order:
- If you show up on time, you're late. With how fast the crowds grow at MF, being there 30 minute early to be towards the front of the line lets you get done in the first hour what would take all afternoon.
- Bring business cards. Ian made of point of telling booths to bring hundreds of cards. I didn't appreciate that the same is true even when you're not in a booth. I grabbed an inch of business cards on my way out the door, and effectively ran out half way through Sunday. Get a whole box printed just for MF.
- Take breaks. MF is an overwhelming experience, and if you don't pace yourself, come 1:30PM you won't be having a good time. Bring water and fruit, and don't wait until you're starving to eat or exhausted to sit down.
- If it's your first time, you can easily spend all of both days working your way through booths, and you'll still miss stuff. MF isn't your average conference. The coolest and most interesting stuff will be squirreled away in the least expected places. Don't even limit yourself to the booths; attendees probably bring as much stuff to show off as the booths, so don't ignore the giant swarm of people as you wade your way through it.