Let's Wrap This Up

I've started a final Maker Faire post a couple of times and it seems to be heading in a bad (too long and too boring) direction. Feel free not to read any further (you know who you are). My feelings will not be hurt.

Meet The Makers

The Arrival (Thursday)
Having decided to get some sleep, rather than drive through the night without any shut-eye, we arrived in San Mateo later than intended. Thursday was "Maker Day," complete with presentations by and for participating makers. We managed to catch some of the nighttime program and pick up our credentials. Luckily, the drive itself was uneventful. Due to the amount of gear we had to haul, and the fact that we'd be leaving E's car in our exhibit, we traveled separately in our own cars. After the programming winded down, we checked in to our hotel and searched the internet for late-night dining. We ended up at Heidi's Pies, which did the trick. The pumpkin pie slice we shared was excellent.

Maker Faire Fire Truck

Set Up Day (Friday)
We arrived nice and early for set up. Not too many other exhibitors were in our area yet and tables and chairs were still being delivered. It was a good thing though, as we had to negotiate and figure out our space a bit. We were able to get E's Scion xB in place and work out the rest of the layout. It took most of the day to get the three things we brought set up. Our neighbors started arriving later in the day. We were right near some cool folks from a program at NYU. Our friends from Machine Project were close by too. We shared tools and a few laughs while getting everything in order. E and I made a last minute dash to Radio Shack for some extension cords and PowerSquids®.

Initial Exhibit Set Up

After finalizing the exhibits, we hopped on a veggie oil powered bus that took us to a yoga retreat in Half Moon Bay. We had a very healthy dinner, took a walk down to the ocean, and hung out with other makers by fire pits. Even though it was pretty chilly, it was quite a treat.

Maker Faire, Day 1 (Saturday)
It turns out that our live 3D video display was quite popular! Our table stayed quite busy for much of the day. As I mentioned before, E and I didn't get out of the exhibit much to see anything. Somehow, it was still a lot of fun. One of the highlights for me was meeting Madretz in person. She has a great post, complete with photos, describing some of the fun things she saw at the event. You might even see someone you recognize!

Hey Look! We're 3D!

In spite of our exhaustion, we headed straight to Berkeley from the show for a MobMov drive-in. It ended up being a much later night than I anticpated as we got stuck in some gnarly traffic as we made our way back to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. We learned a lot about the local drivers and came to the conclusion that many seem to be quite aggressive. I suppose it could have been the traffic. For all of L.A.'s car congestion, I haven't experienced this kind of driving.

Maker Faire, Day 2 (Sunday)
The morning started with me making a trip out to my car and feeling something really uncomfortable in my boot. I definitely wore the wrong shoes on Saturday and had switched. So, I took it off, only to discover several bits of hamster chow in the bottom! Yeah. I tossed the seeds and nuggets to a squirrel who was sitting near the hotel door. He wasn't too interested though, as he'd found a slice of pizza which he proceeded to carry up a tree. And me without my camera. Anyway, back to the show.

We learned a bit about the crowd density at our booth on Saturday, primarily that it was much thinner early on. I think since there were so many things to see outdoors at the faire, including robots and fire, that it took a while for people to wander into the buildings. So, E went off to see what he could first thing. That way, we'd have fewer technical inquiries about the 3D displays that I couldn't answer. There were some hardcore nerds asking really tough, detailed questions! When E returned, I got to look around a bit. I was excited to see the Life Size Mousetrap game in action. I took some photos and spent a lot of time in the Bazaar Bizarre area, hemming and hawing over which tote bag to get. I bought one, but ended up with two. However, that is another story.


Our overall Maker Faire experience was wonderful. The staff of the event were really nice and helpful. They really put an effort into making it as fun for the makers as for the attendees. It was also really inspiring to be around so many smart and creative people. We're planning to go next year, whether or not we are exhibiting anything. Of course, E does have some ideas brewing so we shall see.

I did mention before that I was pretty astounded by the behavior of some members of the general public. I guess that is to be expected. It did inspire me to create a list of rules, which I'm sure none of my readers need, but definitely were not followed by all of our visitors.

Exhibit Hall Rules (For Asshats)
  • Do not leave your garbage or snack crumbs on exhibit tables.
  • Do not manhandle, drop, or throw down items that are on display.
  • Just because it is on display does not mean you can take it.
  • Do not knock over items and walk away, pretending you didn't.
  • Do not walk through the back of our booth, unplugging our equipment and causing computers to crash.
  • Do not repeatedly swing your full cup of beer (or any other liquid) over our expensive electronic equipment.
  • Supervise your damn children so they don't do any of the above.
  • When the show is over (you and I both know that you heard the announcement)...LEAVE!
I'm slowly posting some of the photos I took. There are also many blogs, photos, and videos about the 2007 Bay Area Maker Faire if you search.

The Departure
It took a few hours to pack up and load out Sunday night. We got some dinner and then watched Lost back in the hotel room. E had burned the week's episode onto a dvd and we projected it on the wall. We slept in on Monday and hit the road in the early afternoon. We took the longer route home (the 101). It added a couple of hours to trip, but had much less uphill than the 5, which we drove in on. Our cars, especially E's, were so loaded down that we wanted to minimize the climbing. On one stretch of the homeward bound drive, I got 42 mpg, which was pretty exciting. I do too much surface street driving to ever get that in L.A.

E has moved on to the next big geek activity as this weekend is the big 30th Anniversary Star Wars Celebration. I'm working tomorrow, but will probably check it out on Monday. If I finish unpacking.


Anonymous said...

Harcore Nerds is my new all girl pop band, btw. Come see us at Weenie Roast.

Oh and regarding your rules, if there are children swinging beer, you've got troubles, friend.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a worthwhile show ... glad it went so well for you both. Sad that those rules are needed at events like this. Makes you wonder what state their homes are in?

madretz said...

I'm so glad you guys made it out mostly unscathed.

I have to laugh about the aggressive drivers, too. When we first moved here 12 years ago I was so annoyed with the SLOW drivers compared to living in S. California. We've sped up a bit up here since then, but I'm still usually in the fast lane. We have our share of bad and oblivious drivers and they annoy me. Thus my aggressive part kicks in. Get outta my way, I'm comin' thru. BUT, I always signal, I'm always aware of what's going on around me, I slow down when someone else is in the car with me and don't tailgate unless someone is in the fast lane going slower than the traffic in the #2 lane. Oh, and I don't talk on the phone because seriously. I know I can't drive fast and talk on the phone at the same time.

Never been to Heidi's, always wondered, will have to try.

So, we have this friend. He lived with us for about 8 months when we lived in LA. He drank Sprite. He spilled sprite on the carpet. Didn't bother cleaning it up. His logic? "It's clear, like water. It just needs to dry." Seriously, some people shouldn't be let out in public. We still love him though. He lives up here, too.

We'll have to look into the local MobMov scene here. Sounds so cool!

Brenda Griffith said...

I am lucky that most of the shows I do do not allow children--in fact they don't allow the general public. However for those that do, I am swiping the sign from the local Gymboree: Unattended small children will be given double espresso and a free puppy.

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