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mz texttool2 Text Tool: Hack This! (Review and Book Giveaway)

Here at MAKE, I get the pleasure of working with some really talented and inspired people. One of them is John Baichtal. John came to us via GeekDad, where he still blogs, and he quickly gravitated to two areas of coverage here on Makezine: Lego and hackerspaces. He shows us the many colors of adult Lego fandom, and their amazing plastic brick masterpieces, in his recent The Cult of Lego book. And hot on the heels of that, he maps his travels, both real and virtual, through hackerdom in his highly-recommended Hack This! 24 Incredible Projects from the DIY Movement.

hackthiscover Text Tool: Hack This! (Review and Book Giveaway)

Hackerspaces are people! John Baichtal understands this and does a fine job of covering the 24 spaces featured in the book. You get a profile, details of the space, photos, and other fun and useful tidbits. But hackerspaces (and successful DIY books) are projects, too! John describes a project (or two) from each hackerspace, who worked on it, and what the outcome was. There are 24 main projects in all, from a sandwich making robot to a book scanner, to a blast furnace. There are also brief Build It details and links to more info online. There are also sidebars of the key tools used in hackerspaces, and supportive info (like glossaries and etymologies) in brief FAQs. There’s a lot of good stuff going on here. There’s even a sort of hackerspace playbook in the back, covering the basics of what you need to know to start your own hacker/makerspace.

If I had any criticism of the book, it would be that the projects aren’t really buildable solely with the information provided, but you’re at least given enough to whet your whistle and there are usually links to online project pages provided. All in all, this is a really fun book; a perfect introduction to community-based making. You will find no better Virgil to guide you through the realm of DIWO (Do It With Others) than John Baichtal.

To celebrate John’s great work, the book’s publisher, QUE, has graciously given us three copies to give away. To be eligible, please share a fun story about your local hackerspace in the comments below. Or if you don’t have a space, what would you like to see in a hackerspace if you had one? (And then you can win the book and use the info in it to create your space!) We’ll keep the comments open to eligible entries until this Sunday night, 11:59pm PST. And then we’ll announce the winners on Monday (Feb 20).

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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