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Image by Flickr user Andy Magee.

It was an interesting ride home from MAKE HQ yesterday, I’ll tell you. On my ride home down lovely Route 101, I was the lucky participant in a 6-car pileup that started with a pickup truck racing down the hill and not seeing that traffic had come to a stop, and ended with a chain-reaction of impacts that finished with my little Mini getting bumped hard. I’m okay, the car may need some minor work, but man, was that a lesson in kinetic energy. We were, for all intents and purposes, a one-way executive toy with chrome spheres knocking into one another and passing force along. Ouch!

Which makes me think about the fact that I’ll be driving a long way again this weekend to participate in a big bowling tournament with my family at the National Bowling Stadium up in Reno (any Makers in the area?). Yes, big spheres transferring kinetic energy around. I’m going to be thinking about crashes for a while, I fear.

But big things are afoot back at MAKE HQ this weekend as well. We are holding our second big 3D printer shoot-out this weekend. This is where we do all the testing for our big 3D printer guide, coming out this fall again, and it’s going to be a blast. We’ve got over 20 3D printers – all the new ones out just this year – and we’re going to put them through their paces so we can tell all of you which is the best for your many splendid purposes (and budgets).

Coincident with the shoot-out is the world-famous (at least in tech circles) Foo Camp; the un-conference for the “Friends of O’Reilly”. The idea is that a bunch of tech industry luminaries just come up for the weekend and mind-meld over good food, and good drinks, and where the participants make up the schedule:

We’ve invited about 250 Friends Of O’Reilly (aka Foo), people who’re doing interesting works in the new creative economy, mobile, big data, hardware hacking, open government, gaming, open source programming, computer security, geolocation, cognition, and all manner of emerging technologies to share their works-in-progress, show off the latest tech toys and hardware hacks, and tackle challenging problems together. We’ll have some planned activities, but much of the agenda will be determined by you. We’ll provide space, electricity, a wireless network, and a wiki. You bring your ideas, enthusiasms, and projects. We all get to know each other better, and hopefully come up with some cool ideas about how to change the world.

Which knocks me back into the announcement last week that we’re trying an experiment in crowdfunding called the MAKE Crowdfunding Fund. The basic idea being that we’re going to solicit hardware Kickstarter Campaigns (and eventually campaigns from other sites) and have you vote on them. Whichever one wins, we’ll support, and when they ship, we’ll test and review the finished product. I even put out a call for some nominations, and you came through with a few. So, along with a couple we’re already following, here’s a poll for you, the readers, to choose which project(s) we should back and review:

I’ll report back next week on the results and which project(s) are getting our backing. Until then, keep your kinetic energy to yourself, and have a great weekend!

Ken Denmead

Ken is the Grand Nagus of GeekDad.com. He’s a husband and father from the SF Bay Area, and has written three books filled with projects for geeky parents and kids to share.


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