Best of 2012: Google+ Hangouts on Air

Photography & Video
Best of 2012: Google+ Hangouts on Air


We dived into the world of Google+ hangouts on air this past summer with Maker Camp, six weeks of daily hangouts, live and online. If the web democratized publishing, G+ hangouts have democratized the video broadcast. They can be as low or high production as you like. All that’s required is a good Ethernet connection, interesting conversation, and you’re good to go. Since then, MAKE has explored use of the technology with regular programming three days a week. What we do with hangouts will continue to evolve. For now, here is our highlight reel from the year that was.

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Maker Camp: National Geographic and OpenROV

It makes sense to start with a few choice hangouts from Maker Camp. We called Fridays at the camp “Field Trip Fridays” because that was the day we (virtually) visited lots of interesting makers from all over. What’s so cool about this episode is what’s so cool about Google+ hangouts on air–the ability to connect with far flung folks, have an interesting conversation, and see some great stuff. The guys at National Geographic’s Remote Imaging Labs showed off some fascinating hardware, but the best part may have been the footage of one member of the team falling into the ocean at 12:47 after their little boat was head-butted by a great white shark they were trying to outfit with a camera. Don’t worry: no one died. The segment on Open ROV that followed was great, too.

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Maker Camp: Ford Innovation Lab and the Viper Team

I liked this episode because it juxtaposed the professional world of Ford’s Innovation Lab with the Viper Team, a bunch of smart kids who created a jet flight simulator. Both are equally impressive. Watch the garage flight simulator “take off” at the 25:00 mark.

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MAKE’s Halloween Costume Party

Most of MAKE’s hangouts have a back story about how they came together (or almost didn’t). For this one I circulated an email asking colleagues to come to work in costume and I solicited MAKE’s G+ audience to come in costume as well. The Batman mask I tried to make out of duct tape didn’t work out so I borrowed a mask from fellow senior editor Goli Mohammadi that she fished out of Shawn Thorsson’s reject pile. As cool as that helmet was, the EL wire-lit demon complete with voice satan-izer stole the show. But then assistant editor Nick Normal’s “mastermind” get-up was superb, too.


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MAKE’s First International Maker Meet-Up

There were some logistical challenges on this one, but the episode captured the excitement of our first Maker Meet-Up, an international gathering of 3D printing enthusiasts and all-around geeks. We chatted with scores of makers and hackerspace members from all over the U.S. Kudos for Gareth for hanging in there on the hot seat.

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Food Makers: Modern Cuisine and Technology

I host a weekly hangout on air called Food Makers about, well, food and the people who make it and grow it. This episode focused on modern cuisine, sous vide, and immersion circulators. A delicious conversation it was. Juggling time differences between China, New York, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles made this one a little tricky to produce.

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Food Makers: Edible Gifts

In this episode of Food Makers MAKE editor-in-chief Mark Frauenfelder joined me in the studio as a co-host. We were joined by guests who offered some great ideas for edible gifts. If you missed out on this one you can get a jump on homemade gifts for next year.

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3D Printers Holiday Buyers Guide

Coming on the heels of our Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing this hangout broke down the half dozen 3D printers the Maker Shed sells and the different categories of 3D printer users.  Beyond what we sell in the Shed, this episode offers a great primer on 3D printers. 

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MAKE: Believe with Shawn Thorsson

MAKE: Believe is the creation of MAKE Creative Director Jason Babler and his fondness for the makers who “turn fantasy into memorable reality.” This is the first episode Jason did and his guest is Shawn Thorsson, the costume wizard on the cover of MAKE’s vol. 32.

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Editors Hangout

Once a month MAKE editors gather in studio and virtually for a roundtable of sorts to discuss happenings in the maker movement. This one was particularly lively (if you leave aside the rather bumpy, how-do-we-work-this-thing start) as we waded into the controversy surrounding 3D Systems’ copyright infringement suit and the Arduino vs. smARtDUINO dust-up.

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Stett Holbrook is editor of the Bohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

View more articles by Stett Holbrook


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