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Hacking (Wikipedia) wrote:
The act of engaging in activities (such as programming or other media) in a spirit of playfulness and exploration is termed hacking. [...] Hacking entails some form of excellence, for example exploring the limits of what is possible,[5] thereby doing something exciting and meaningful.

September 20 and 21, 2014, Cemetech made its third trek to World Maker Faire in New York City to show off Learn Hacking and Coding with Graphing Calculators. As in 2012 and 2013, the focus of our booth this year was to spread the word about graphing calculators as a tool for learning programming and electronics, or "hacking". We showed off the different things you could make graphing calculators do, from networking, to connecting to the internet, to playing music, to running educational programs and games. We also showcased resources for learning to use calculators for math and science as well as for programming. Our displays (click any photo for the full size), from left: the east side of the tent, with networking, internet-connected calculators, and books; calculators networked together; internet-connected calculators; interactive calculators with math and science programs and games; calculators playing music with speakers and a floppy drive.



This year, we had our largest crew of participating Cemetech staff and members yet. I (Christopher Mitchell) was joined once again by Cemetech administrator Thomas Dickerson, Cemetech member Alec Szigeti, and Cemetech and Omnimaga administrator Tim Keller. Cemetech member and Omnimaga owner Nathaniel van Diepen trekked down from Canada to join us in showing off our work as well, bringing along his wooden TI-82 created by Caleb Hansberry as well. We gave out over eight hundred bookmarks with Cemetech's URL and an invitation to join us for calculator, computer, and DIY hardware hacking and programming. We chatted with thousands of people of all ages, some new to calculator hacking, some old veterans with great stories of the early hobbyist community. We found that the students, parents, engineers, and teachers visiting our booth were even more tech-savvy than in previous years, and many were receptive to the arguments for graphing calculators as a platform for teaching programming. Among the interactions that particularly stand out in our minds:
  • A teacher who works with at-risk teens in the Washington, DC area who has no budget for computers, but has graphing calculators and wants her students to explore programming and robotics.
  • A science teacher in the NYC area who has CBL devices and told us that she wants to show her students programming, including interfacing with the CBL.
  • A professional programmer who didn't get started coding with graphing calculators, but who "honed his ability to translate an idea into a program" with his calculator.
  • A professional programmer who writes Objective C and Swift now, but started programming with his trusty TI-83 Plus.
  • Students who have been writing TI-BASIC programs on their own in school, and who were excited to learn that there is an online community of enthusiasts to learn from and work with.
  • Younger students excited by the prospect of what they will be able to do once they get graphing calculators for school.
  • A familiar friendly face from TI stopped by, as well as Cemetech member and community legend Patrick Davidson, and members ACagliano, pyrot3chnic, docbill, and balrog. Docbill told us about his classroom lessons on using TI calculators as coprocessors for microcontrollers, and inspired us to try to build our own lesson plan for teachers around similar projects.

We were thrilled to win two Editor's Choice awards from Maker Faire for our efforts, joining two Educator's Choice awards and one Editor's Choice award that we earned in the preceding two years. We look forward to continuing to spread our message about teaching programming with graphing calculators and to working directly with teachers, parents, and enthusiastic students alike. Special thanks to Tim Keller for spending time, money, and effort to make us very professional-looking displays, and to the whole Cemetech team who helped out this weekend. Thank you also to Peter Balyta and Gayle Mujica for their personal enthusiasm on Twitter and LinkedIn about our participation in the Faire. You can check out our full album of photos from Maker Faire 2014 and an informal video showing our displays.

Wish I was there Razz I like hearing these stories, I think I fall into the 5th bullet.
I wish I had been there too. And, I'm very honored that the TI-82 I made was displayed, and then a Makezine article was made on it!

Excellent both, congrats on winning awards, and thanks for posting the YouTube video about it.
APotato wrote:
Wish I was there Razz I like hearing these stories, I think I fall into the 5th bullet.
That's a good bullet to fall into. I hope you'll eventually move to something like the fourth bullet, hopefully without leaving your involvement in calculators behind.

CalebHansberry wrote:
I wish I had been there too. And, I'm very honored that the TI-82 I made was displayed, and then a Makezine article was made on it!

Excellent both, congrats on winning awards, and thanks for posting the YouTube video about it.
Yup, your wooden calculator caught many curious eyes at the Faire. Thanks for the congratulations, and I'm glad you enjoyed the video.
I'm still waiting on the hackaday guy to post about it somewhere.
Eeems wrote:
I'm still waiting on the hackaday guy to post about it somewhere.
Did Brian ever come back to take a look at it? He expressed curiosity about it before you got there, but I didn't realize he had actually examined it when he came back with the stickers and shirts.
KermMartian wrote:
Eeems wrote:
I'm still waiting on the hackaday guy to post about it somewhere.
Did Brian ever come back to take a look at it? He expressed curiosity about it before you got there, but I didn't realize he had actually examined it when he came back with the stickers and shirts.
Yes he did come back and look at it, before coming back with the stickers and shirts actually. He took a few pictures of it as well.
WHOA!! When was this? I totally would have come if it wasn't too far away... Where was it too, then mayby it people do it again I can come....
Botboy3000 wrote:
WHOA!! When was this? I totally would have come if it wasn't too far away... Where was it too, then mayby it people do it again I can come....
I think you haven't been keeping a sufficiently attentive eye on our news! It's unfortunately only once a year, unless we decide to head to some other Maker Faires in the area. If you read the article, it was in Queens, NYC.
I browsed the website but could not find any dates for next years Faire. Do you happen to have that info?
comicIDIOT wrote:
I browsed the website but could not find any dates for next years Faire. Do you happen to have that info?


KermMartian wrote:
comicIDIOT wrote:
Are there dates for next years NYC Maker Faire? I couldn't find anything on the website.
It seems to always be the third or fourth weekend in September, but to my knowledge they haven't posted the 2015 dates yet.
In other words, no. Wink
KermMartian wrote:
Botboy3000 wrote:
WHOA!! When was this? I totally would have come if it wasn't too far away... Where was it too, then mayby it people do it again I can come....
I think you haven't been keeping a sufficiently attentive eye on our news! It's unfortunately only once a year, unless we decide to head to some other Maker Faires in the area. If you read the article, it was in Queens, NYC.

Oh... That's really far away. And I don't usually read this site's news, but I will start to now. Thanks! Very Happy
Dropping the link here, you're featured on Hackaday again!
Why would you need a scale to tell you when you're out of milk? Surely after pouring the milk you know how much is left. It's not like milk magically leaves the carton.
My thoughts:

Man, can't believe that it's been the third year I've done this. I would definitely recommend anyone who can make it should really attend this event. It's fun, lots of neat tech, and you can sometimes even buy some cool things as well. Just beware the food, it's overpriced but that's to be expetected.

As usually everyone was just as fun to hang out with and work with as online (though somehow Kerm wasn't as tall as I remember Razz)

It was also great to meet all the people who took interest in TI calculators. From the little kid who played pokemon for 30 minutes, to teachers that were very supportive of our cause, I think that we, once again, accomplished our mission of spreading the message of calculator programming. (Though some teachers weren't as enthusiastic about it as other)

One thing that surprised me was how TI is now more or less a supporter of our hacking aspect to their calculators, like when that TI woman (forgot her name) was talking to Kerm for a good 20 minutes or so.

Overall it was a 10/10 experience and hope we do it again next year.

edit: Oh, and before I forget, thank you Brian for all those free tee-shirts. My HS librarian is going to be very pleased.
I'm showing up next year. Hope there's room in the booth for me!
KermMartian wrote:
In other words, no. Wink


Oh wow, I completely forgot I posted that already. That isn't cool. Was hoping I could slip it in to the start or end of my next vacation, but a lot can happen between then and now. Not even sure I'll be going in September; I'm trying to scout dates for interesting events before actually planning anything. I'll mark those two weekends as "Potential Events" though.
It would be great to have both of you, comic and nikky. I hope you both end up being able to make it; the more, the merrier!
  
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