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Meet the Story Makers: Scott & Nick with F5Live: Refreshing Technology

30 Mar

F5Live

Our third Tampa Bay maker festival is notable for many things, from being our first two day event, to the number and diversity of makers joining us this year, and for the refreshing presence of Scott Ertz and Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live,  who will be broadcasting live from Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014 on Saturday.

We asked them to tell us about F5 Live, what they do and why they do it.

GCMC: So – what do you do?

F5 Live: Hosted by Scott Ertz and Nicholas DiMeo, F5 Live: Refreshing Technology is a livecast covering the worlds of gadgets,  gaming, Internet and media. Each weekly show airs live on Sunday nights at 9p eastern time at http://www.f5live.tv/joinus, allowing the audience to chat with the hosts live on the air and ask questions about the topics discussed on the show. After each episode goes off the air, the audio and video are then uploaded and are available for download through any number of services by Monday morning.

The crew also travels the country to cover special events and conventions from the International CES to ROBOCON Tampa Bay and

nick and scott

F5 Live broadcasting from the 16th Annual Orlando FRC Regional in March.

Gulf Coast MakerCon. Special shows air throughout the week of the events. F5 Live: Refreshing Technology is a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network and is part of the PLuGHiTz Live Family. For more information, inquiries or if you’d like to have F5 Live appear, cover or produce content at your event, please visit http://www.f5live.tv or reach out to contact@plughitz.com.

GCMC: Great plug! We highly recommend people contact you.  But – why do you do it?
F5 Live: Because sleep is overrated. Like many of the people and companies exhibiting at the convention, we believe that our time is best used in the creation of things that others enjoy. In other words, we enjoy spending out time with cool things and sharing those cool things with others.

GCMC: How are you participating in GCMC?
F5 Live: We will be broadcasting live from the convention, helping to show off the maker culture as well as the really interesting things that our local makers have created. Our goal is to give everyone at the event a chance to show off their wares.

GCMC: What do you hope to bring to GCMC?
F5Live: Attention; loud, obnoxious attention. Through the broadcast, we really hope to be able to expose the uninitiated to the truly unique world that is the maker culture. Lots of people have passions that they don’t know can be fulfilled, and seeing others doing it might encourage them to try.

GCMC: What do you hope to take away from Gulf Coast MakerCon?
Someone’s 3D printer. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.

Okay – so watch your stuff if Nick and Scott come by, and watch F5 Live - you’ll find it refreshing!  Look for Scott and Nick at Gulf Coast Maker Con all day Saturday, as they help us tell the Maker Story in Tampa Bay!

 

Meet the Game Makers: Suncoast Skirmishers

27 Mar

suncoast skirmishers

One fun new element of this year’s Celebration of the DIY Inventive Spirit is the incorporation of International Tabletop Day into our event, made possible thanks to Suncoast Skirmishers.  We spoke with Dominick Trascritti, who heads up the RPG Gaming portion of the group, who told us a bit about the group and what it brings to Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014.

“Suncoast Skirmishers is a group that is associated with Historical Minature Gaming,” explained Dominick. ” It is really a loose group made from members who specialize in role playing, historical miniature players, fantasy/science fiction gamers, and board gamers. Most members are also members of the Pathfinder Society of Florida who play Paizo’s Pathfinder Living game, Historical Miniature Gaming Society South, Story gamers,thumbs_tabletopday2014_600x500 and smaller groups.

“In its essence all tabletop gaming is about imagination, and socialization. Players share something to explore, if it’s a fantasy world, a “what if” question from history, or even exploring game theory. Players play in the same room, and socialize before and after a game.

“Professional gamers are employed not only by militaries around the world, but “serious games” also allow business to help managers gain confidence, and urban planners practice for disasters or operations.

gaming

Tabletop gaming

“There are many skills that come from gaming in this manner. First are simple math skills, pattern recognition, strategy, and statistical theory. Softer skills such as persuasion, speaking, and confidence are also exercised.

“In role playing games teamwork, attention to detail, planning, and flexibility under pressure are exercised.
Many players also like to know the actual history then try new twists on the story, for example, “What would have happened if Cornwallis at Yorktown was able to break out and continue to fight the Revolutionary war?”

“In many parts of the hobby, the miniatures and tables must be designed, fabricated, painted, and repaired. All these are skills that are learned or taught.

“For Gulf Coast maker Conference, we hope to bring this hobby to light to others, show the players how games are played, and provide chances to play full scale events.”

Meet the Idea Makers: Tampa Bay Inventors Council

25 Mar

TBIC

The Tampa Bay Inventors Council (TBIC) is a long time friend and partner of LI4E, and we’re delighted to welcome them to Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014, where they’re hosting the Florida Inventors Showcase.  We talked to Wayne Rasanen, president of TBIC, to learn a bit more about his great organization and what they’re bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon.

GCMC: What do you do?

WR:  I help coordinate the Tampa Bay Inventors Council meetings and activities plus, plus, plus…

GCMC: Why do you do it?

WR: Inventors need guidance to avoid getting ripped-off by bad actors so TBIC provides a forum where inventors can meet to share their experience.

GCMC: Why do you think it’s important or valuable?

WR: America is great because of the ideas we generate and the businesses we build. Helping that process is vital.

GCMC: How long have you been part of TBIC?

WR: Although I first attended in 1996, I have been active with the board since 2003 and president for the past eight years.

GCMC: What do like best about TBIC?

WR: I like helping people learn and connect with opportunities. When an inventor makes it on the market I’m thrilled to have helped.

in10did

Wayne showing a Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire 2013 visitor his In10Did keyboard.

GCMC: What are you bringing for folks to see or do at Gulf Coast MakerCon?

WR: TBIC has been involved with Maker events for several years and know that it is a rewarding place to be. I will be bringing my keyboard innovation but several inventors will be showing what they are working on.

GCMC: What do you hope to get out of your Makercon experience?

WR: Feedback on product development is a big plus but it is great to see what others are doing to help fuel our creative minds.

GCMC: Anything else you’d like to add?

WR: Come hungry to learn and you will leave all filled up!

As you can see, Wayne’s a busy man of few words – but as you’ll be able to see at Gulf Coast MakerCon  2014, he’s definitely a man of action, leading a great group of not just thinkers but awesome doers!  Among the inventions that will be on display on behalf of TBIC:

So head out to Gulf Coast MakerCon April 5th and 6th,  come hungry to learn – we’ll fill your plate up!

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Meet the Maker: Ellie Willingham, of Frontier Furs

20 Mar

Ellie This year we have a Heritage Craft  area, highlighting Makers of a different kind: People with traditional skills and expertise in fields that at one time were the cutting edge of technology, expanding trade and exploration, and improving life in myriad ways.  One of these Heritage Crafters is Ellie Willingham,  of Frontier Furs, unusual both for her skills, and for her gender in her field,  which has traditionally been male dominated.    Ms. Willingham’s exhibit was among our most popular last year, and this year she’s expanded her booth to offer a broader educational experience at Gulf Coast Maker Con 2014.

We asked her to tell more about what she does and why she does it.  We hope you enjoy her insights as much as we did!

GCMC: What do you do?

FF: I am a furrier – I make all kinds of things out of fur! Everything from hats and other winter accessories, to costuming and re-enactment attire. I Fontier Furstrap and process many of the furs myself, and others I obtain by trading with other trappers or fur crafters. I sell my furs at many local events and also online. Clients will also send me their own pelts to have made into a customized product of choice.

GCMC: How long have you been doing it?

FF: I skinned my first animal – a road killed squirrel – in my early teens and decided then I wanted to become a professional taxidermist. I did taxidermy for years until it later proved too costly to continue. So I switched to fur crafting and have enjoyed it ever since!

GCMC: What do you like about your work?

FF: I love fur crafting for countless reasons. There are so many beautiful and practical items that can be made from fur and leather, the possibilities are endless. I’m a very outdoorsy person, and during the winter I enjoy spending almost every morning out on my trapline (an area of woods set with a number of traps for furbearing species)  I have a deep respect for these animals and all they provide. I use their fur, eat their meat, and take to heart everything I can learn from tracking and observing them in their habitats. For me, it is a very natural way of being.

GCMC: Why do you think what you do is important?

FF: Much of what I do tends to get a bad rap from the media and the animal rights communities, mainly because people simply don’t understand it or have no real experience with it. And people often fear or dislike what they don’t understand. So by openly sharing my craft and teaching others about what I do, it will help the general public gain a better knowledge of this trade and to understand that it’s not all about “killing”. More so, it’s about responsibly utilizing and managing our natural resources, and preserving a traditional way of life.

Natural fur is a very renewable resource. Animals reproduce constantly, and they produce an excess in order to keep their populations stable. However if the excess is not kept in check, either through natural depredation or human harvests, many species will begin to overpopulate, which inevitably leads to spread of disease or inbreeding. In some areas where there are little or no natural predators, hunting and trapping is the most effective means of managing prolific species such as raccoons, coyotes, foxes, beavers, opossums and others.

Also, real fur is a completely natural and biodegradable product, even when processed and tanned. If discarded in a landfill, a piece of real fur or leather will eventually break down and disintegrate from the weather. Faux fur on the other hand, as well as synthetic leathers, are comprised of man-made materials, typically containing petroleum and plastics, which will never decompose in our lifetimes.

GCMC: The “Maker”community is often equated with high tech topics, but we believe the makers of heritage traditions are equally important. Why do you think what you do and make has value to the DIY community?

FF: In this high-tech world, I think it’s very important for people to see the simpler side of things, to know that many traditional methods and crafts still exist and are still being used today because of their timeless reliability. The only way we can pass on these heritage traditions, and to keep them going, is to expose and teach them to our future generations.

GCMC: What kind of demonstrations will you be doing at GCMC?

I will be demonstrating how to process fur from start to finish, and will also give a few tips on how to properly prepare wild game meat. Using a freshly harvested raccoon and opossum, I will show how to skin these animals and dress the meat, then get the pelts prepared for tanning. You will also get to try a taste of my special raccoon jerky!

GCMC: Will you have any interactive components?

I will have a “touch table” with all kinds of fur pelts and examples of products that I’ve made out of fur, along with the above-mentioned samples of raccoon jerky for anyone to try. It’s surprisingly tasty!

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You can meet Ms. Willingham and learn more about her timeless craft at Gulf Coast MakerCon April 5th & 6th.  Advanced discount tickets are available now - eventbrite button

 

Meet the Robot Makers!

8 Mar

Robots are a big part of any maker event, and Gulf Coast MakerCon is no exception.  We’ll have a variety of robots on hand – bouncing balls, flinging frisbees, butlering and battling to the (near) death, a grand kick off for National Robotics Week, and just plain old fun for our 3rd Annual Celebration of the DIY Inventive  Spirit!

BAMThe USF Robotics Interest Group is hosting B.A.M.  - Battle at MakerCon – at GCMC.  The USF- Robotics Interest Group (RIG) focuses on sharing knowledge about designing and building robotic devices, promoting robotics at USF, and representing USF in robotics competitions. One of our major focuses is on combat robotics. Popularized by the TV show Battlebots, combat robotics involves a competition where two robots enter an enclosed arena, and fight for a set period of time or until one of the robots has been disabled. Through designing and working on these robots, students learn the principles of design, manufacturing, and programming. RIG will be hosting NRL (National Robotics League) 15 lb and under class fighting robotics competitions at Gulf Coast MakerCon, similar to the video.

Lego mindstorms nxt CNC-FräseThe Fun with Bots group will feature a variety of LEGO Mindstorms projects courtesy of the youth Lutz Robotics Club, who is also building a LEGO CNC lathe (who knew right?!)  that they’ll be fwblogodemonstrating.

And we’ll have a veritable army of FIRST robots, including FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition teams , with student built robots guests can learn about and drive, like the robots 

FIRST in FL logoyou’ll see in the video below from LI4E’s ROBOCON Tampa Bay event back in October.

So if you like robots, Gulf Coast Maker Con’s the place to be April 5th & 6th!

Advanced, discounted tickets are on sale now!

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Meet the Maker: Tangible Labs

1 Mar

tangible labs photoOur collection of awesome Makers is wonderful and growing! This weekend, we’ll get to know Tangible Labs. Tangible Labs grew out of MityMo Creative, a creative services agency located in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. For over ten years, MityMo has provided print, mail, and web design and development services focusing on local small businesses, non-profits, and political campaigns.  Tangible Labs specializes in “making the world a more fun and interesting place through the use of micro-manufacturing machines and three dimensional printing technology. We believe in the real-world magic of dreaming an idea, and bringing that idea into reality by building it before your very eyes.

We checked in with Tangible Labs to learn a little more about them.

GCMC: What do you do?

TL: At Tangible Labs we provide 3D modeling and custom 3d print services for prototypes, customized and personalized items. We also started selling own own products called NerdTags.

GCMC: Why do you do it?

TL: We believe in the real-world magic of dreaming up an idea, and bringing that idea into a reality by building it right before your eyes.

GCMC: Why do you think it matters?

TL: 3D Printing technology allows anyone with an idea to make it a reality. Previously, rapid prototyping services could take months and $1000s of dollars. Now if you have an invention, you can design it and print it in the same day. The can really change manufacturing and engineering and hopefully make it more affordable for the average person and not just big corporations.

GCMC: How can others do it too?

TL: 3D printing is open source technology. It doesn’t take special training. Just the willingness to learn and explore new possibilities.

GCMC: Why should they want to?
The future is now.

 GCMC: What are you looking forward to at Gulf Coast MakerCon?

TL: We are looking forward to showing off the 3d printer to people who many have only read about it or seen videos online. It really is hard to explain to people, so having it printing as we explain the technology is a lot of fun. I love seeing their eyes light up and the excitement when they “get it!”

GCMC: What are maker fairs important?

TL: They are important because they give  people opportunities so see things in person they have only read about and it’s a chance to let them met and network with other like minded people. For kids it’s a great way to inspire them to work hard and try new things and to learn to not give up.

Come see Tangible Labs and more great exhibitors at Gulf Coast MakerCon April 5 & 6th!  Advanced ticket sales available now through April 4th at Eventbrite.

 

Welcome Awesome Makers!

27 Jan

Heroes Alliance TBIC Electrathon

USF RIGOur Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014 line up is taking shape and it’s a beautiful synchronicity of creativity!

We’re delighted to welcome

You can find our full – and growing! – list of  Makers on our Makers page , and check out our great Event Partners, too!

 Early bird tickets are on sale through February 28th !

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Gulf Coast MakerCon Inventors Showcase & More!

10 Jan

Make Your WeekendLI4Es Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014 will feature festivals within our festival, with a Youth Maker Festival, Robotics competitions and exhibits, and a Florida Inventors Showcase, hosted in collaboration with the Tampa Bay Inventors Council, one of our event partners.

Want to be part of the Showcase?  Include “Inventors Showcase” in the comments section of your Makers application here .  

We’re also looking for educational and commercial exhibitors who can showcase the celebratory spirit of innovation and inventiveness. We’re looking for Makers who provide interesting, interactive, and engaging experiences and innovative waresthat can help educate, inspire and motivate event goers to become active and empowered makers in their own lives.

Individuals as well as groups such as hobbyist clubs and schools are welcome to apply to exhibit. Here’s some of what we’re looking for:apply button

  • Student Projects
  • Music Performance and Participation
  • 3D Printers and CNC Mill
  • Heritage crafts and trades
  • Green Tech
  • Radios, Vintage Computers and Game Systems
  • Electronics
  • Electric Vehicles
  • Biology/Biotech and Chemistry Projects
  • Food and Beverage Makers
  • Bicycle tech
  • Shelter (Tents, Domes, etc.)
  • Unusual Tools or Machines and much more!

eventbrite buttonEarlybird registration runs through Feb. 28th and is just $30 for a Family/Friend 4 pack or $15 per person, for both days. Individual advanced tickets for children ages 5-12 are just $8 for both days. Children under age 5 are free!  Ticket costs at the gate, the day of the event, will be $15/day adults (13+); $8/day for kids ages 5-12.

 

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Happy Holidays from Gulf Coast Makers!

24 Dec

Holiday greeting

Gulf Coast MakerCon Early Bird Tickets Now on Sale!

19 Dec

Take advantage of our Early Bird ticket sales for Gulf Coast MakerCon, and get admission for the full weekend at half the rate of a one day pass, paid the day of, at the gate! Early Bird tickets will be on sale now through Feb. 28th.

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Click here to Buy Tickets!

Interested in being a Maker? Click the button!apply button

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