Makers

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Book Review - Makers

Andy Warhol once said, “in the future everybody will be famous for 15 minutes”. Lately these words seem to be ringing true. Not only can every day Joes get noticed on the seemingly endless parade of reality TV shows, but thanks to the internet, garage inventors and tinkerers can spend time in a virtual spotlight too. O'Reilly publishers has a new book, website and magazine that celebrate these creative people and their sometimes wacky projects.

The book is Makers (first edition Dec 2005) by Bob Parks http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/makers ($16.95 on Amazon.com)

The magazine and website are Makezine http://www.makezine.com

When you read this book it's obvious that the "Makers" are not driven by the possibility of fame. However, just as the projects are varied, the reasons for them vary as well. There is a doctor in India who created improvised baby warmers when her hospital could not afford them. There is a Vice President from New York who created a battery powered shirt made of computer fans to keep him cool during the Nevada Burning Man festival.

Whether the inventor is trying to solve a seemingly impossible challenge (homemade nuclear fusor) or simply create something new and fun (WakeNBacon Bacon-cooking alarm clock), it seems clear that they all truely enjoy time spent simply creating something.

Actually, what I enjoyed most about "Makers" was the variety. The book seemed to tickle my imagination (imagine a machine made of Legos that manually solves Rubik Cubes). It seemed to cover a range of Makers as well, from electrical engineers to high school girlscouts, from retired farmers to research scientists. Since they are not always making things in the genre of their career, it's nice that the Occupation, Home town, Project cost (in time and money) and related URL are listed for each project. A sense of sharing can be detected in the related URL information. No one is simply trying to create their first million, they love what they are doing and are often willing to help others.

This book is printed on shiny almost magazine style paper, makes for great photos. Though it isn't quite the size of your typical "coffee table" book, it would be perfect in that duty, plenty of short articles with something to interest anyone.

Recently my local computer club tested the waters of a Makers style project, we created a great little LCD computer display. Hmm, maybe we should submit our project to Makezine.com and shoot for that 15 minutes of fame...regardless, I think you will want to check out the book Makers, I think you'll like it.