This week – Hackers & Makers
When AT&T dropped the first business PC on my office desk (an IBM 8086 dual floppy system) I’d already been using a PC for a while. My father had purchased an Osborne 1 “luggable” PC (it had a built-in handle, keyboard serving as cover) and I’d gone to town happily learning ‘CP-M’ and BASIC.
I also quickly learned how to diddle around with the inside of the IBM (in those days changing “major” PC components was a simple matter of disconnecting data and power cables – no registry or other software impediments). Without realizing it, I was “hacking” in an unsophisticated manner.
Today, hacking has acquired a pretty negative reputation and the word “maker” has in many respects come to replace it as the positive (if quirky) term of choice. Yes, there are good hackers and those in the know understand that hacking is an action that can be put to good or ill use, but “makers” are folks who are having fun finding news ways to repurpose “stuff”. It’s the positive incarnation of the idea that just because a widget was made by someone else to serve a particular function, it doesn’t have to always be used that way.
People have been doing this for years (that brick over there isn’t a brick anymore, it’s a bookend) but some very creative individuals have upped the ante in both the physical and digital worlds and in doing so are addressing some of society’s problems in unique and creative ways.
WonderHowTo offers advice and guides on everything from making Candied Bacon (take notice John Scalzi) to how to construct a baseball cap that uses infrared to prevent cameras from getting a good image of your face.
WetwareHacker concerns itself with the hacking of the human nervous system – interfaces and enhancements that can be hooked up to our brains.
Maker Faire/Make Magazine Pretty much ground zero of the maker movement. These folks will take apart and repurpose anything.
GrindHouseWetWare A site created by those who are already hacking their bodies with electronics.