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Slashdot Visits Metrix Create:Space in Seattle (Video)

Roblimo posted more than 2 years ago | from the from-oscilloscopes-to-ceramics-and-back-again dept.

Businesses 27

Metrix Create:Space is full of people busily making electronic gadgets. And shot glasses. And everything in between. Some of them saw the street-level sign and stopped in out of curiosity, while others are long-time createspace scenesters. It doesn't matter which you are, says Metrix founder Matt Westervelt. Come in and make something. Need new skills? They have workshops. And lots of great tools.

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27 comments

hackerspaces.org (5, Informative)

EricBoyd (532608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39114175)

Metrix Createspace is just one example of a hackerspace. There are lots more all across the world. To see if there is one in your area, check the hackerspaces.org list [hackerspaces.org] . I've been a member at both noisebridge (in San Francisco) and hacklab.to (in Toronto), and it's been a wonderful experience.

Re:hackerspaces.org (2)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39114885)

Thanks for linking this Eric. Frankly, I had assumed that there were no such areas around me. The kind of people you meet in midwest sort of breeds the automatic assumption that there are no places like this I was surprised to find 3 around St. Louis.

Re:hackerspaces.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39117333)

The QCcolab in Davenport, IA is squarely in the midwest. Although I was here for 2 years before I discovered it's awesomeness.
As for "the kind of people you meet in the midwest", I'd say it depends on who you're hanging out with. If you're an embedded engineer and/or gamer, you meet a slightly geekier set of folk.

So yeah... uh.. QCcolab. Um. Represent. And stuff.

Re:hackerspaces.org (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115477)

I'm a software engineer with 0 background in anything electrical. I've always want to tinker with stuff, and I had no clue places like this existed. I looked online for tutorials and such and never came across these things.

The Big Question (-1, Troll)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#39114267)

The big question is: Do they have workshops in my city? It does me no good to read about this sort of thing if it's only available in one po-dunk little west coast community.

Re:The Big Question (3, Funny)

Mark Atwood (19301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39114687)

If only there was some sort of worldwide network of computers full of information. And if some organization would regularly read all that information into their own computers, and then index it, and give us some sort of simple UI where someone could type something like "hackerspace cleveland" and get a list of all the hackerspaces in Cleveland. Or maybe just one of the computers in that big worldwide network could have a name like "hackerspaces.org", and someone could connect to that machine via some protocol designed to carry hypertext, and find documents about hackerspaces in each city.

That would be great.

Too bad there is nothing like that.

Re:The Big Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115447)

Or, you know, the first post... which has a link to hackerspaces.org.

Re:The Big Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115619)

That would only work if one were aware they were called hackerspaces. Googling for create:space Cleveland brings up sites about closet organizers and park land.

Eh, it's okay. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39114435)

Metrix is okay. I've been by a few times but it doesn't really meet any of my needs. It's a great place for people to go work on projects who don't have any means to work on them at home, but if you have a workbench or workshop in a room or basement at home you'll probably never feel a need to go unless you want something laser cut or printed. I'd go for the social aspect of working on a project surrounded by other hackers, but a lot of my projects involve soldering and that's only allowed in the cloistered-off soldering room, or require equipment that Metrix just doesn't have and so I don't feel like carting my stuff down there to work.

I'd go more, and pay a $10-20 fee each visit, to get access to some more hardware though. I really would like to be able to use an LCR analyzer (that can actually apply decent DC bias), variety of stable test oscillators for generating AF and AM RF, a sweep generator/marker that runs at 455KHz, 4.3 and 10.7MHz, and a VHF FM signal generator, and a nice scope like a Tek with a DM44 or something else that does automatic measurements. Stuff I can't afford, do actually need for my projects, and have to do a lot of wonky workarounds to make do without.

I'd go slightly more if they let me solder in the main room where everyone is.

Re:Eh, it's okay. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39114519)

You know, I would not pay anything to be stuck in a room with a bunch of smelly, mouth-breathing nerds. Save up and buy what you need to do what you need to do.

Re:Eh, it's okay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39114749)

Drop by ALTSpace [airlighttimespace.org] some time. We don't have any of the sophisticated tools you're looking for (though we do have a two-channel scope), but you are welcome to solder in the main room. That's what the fume extractor is for, after all...

Re:Eh, it's okay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39116951)

Thanks, that looks like a fascinating place. I'll probably check it out next month, it does look more along the lines of what I'm interested in.

Re:Eh, it's okay. (1)

OnionFighter (1569855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121071)

Another good one in the area is StudentRND [studentrnd.org] , in Bellevue. I went to one of their meetings where everyone was soldering arduino motor shields in a big, garage-type work area.

There are actually a bunch of different hackerspaces in Seattle, though.

Re:Eh, it's okay. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115017)

You must be a mouth-breather too. And smelly, I'm sure. Come out the basement much?

Hackerspaces are great! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115063)

I was 22, poor and had no job but my local hackerpace let me come in and practice welding and machining. I'm a frequent visitor now and I'm so thankful for the hackerspaces around me. In my opinion hackerspaces are needed for individuals to pursue ideas without having to spend thousands of dollars to gain access to basic fabrication equipment.

While I applaud the general concept.. (1)

wormout (2558092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115307)

These places and the publicity they send out (the one in the article is a prime example) usually have far too much emphasis on making tacky trinkets and other useless shit, no mention of projects that a wider selection of people would actually consider interesting. Where are the workshops on (for example) rooting your phone or PC firmware, building a rocket or UAV, a home made wifi receiver etc. I'm not saying they have to go out fo the way to choose things guaranteed to get them sued or arrested.

There is far too much technology in danger of being seen as only the business of big corps and terrorists, the more people who accept dabbling in it as an acceptable hobby, the harder it will be to make it illegal to dabble in it in the future. Choose ambitious, useful and above all inspiring projects, the more chance you have of getting the attention of people other than 'mouth breathing nerds'.

Re:While I applaud the general concept.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115817)

In other words, the things *you* find interesting... asshole.

Re:While I applaud the general concept.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39116045)

As a manager of another Seattle makerspace I spend a lot of my spare time and energies outreaching and connecting to places like Metrix (which is awesome, btw) I can tell you we don't have PR guys 'sending out' waves of glamour shots and toothbrush robot essays. Our organizations are largely grassroots-funded with predominately introverted people sharing their passion for making/hacking/fixing/etc. The community is first and foremost. While my technical knowledge and home tooling surpasses a lot of these places, I realize I am not the statistical norm, nor are you @wormout, nor are most slashdotters. There's plenty of technical sophistication in these places and there is much to be shared which doesn't quite make it out the PR channels. In terms of press, however, all of these places are trying to engage and inspire less technically literate folks (the masses). You don't do this by talking (online) about your most sophisticated/complicated work [this may give you 'geek-cred', but that's about it]. I know of, and have been to, yet another makerspace like this in Seattle and they've created a walled garden; feeling uninviting and intimidating, even from my heavily geekish perspective. @wormout: Put your money where your mouth is: volunteer, get-involved, teach, share, collaborate...maybe then you'll make a difference and/or see how hard it is to be a geek with the a public storefront.

Re:While I applaud the general concept.. (1)

wormout (2558092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39116591)

In terms of press, however, all of these places are trying to engage and inspire less technically literate folks (the masses). You don't do this by talking (online) about your most sophisticated/complicated work [this may give you 'geek-cred', but that's about it]. I know of, and have been to, yet another makerspace like this in Seattle and they've created a walled garden; feeling uninviting and intimidating, even from my heavily geekish perspective.

I don't think you're giving the 'great unwashed masses' enough credit. There must be plenty who don't identify themselves as geeks or nerds, yet would jump at the chance to learn how store bought gadgets can be subverted and repurposed for their own ends, it's cool and useful. When people see a club where you get to make little plastic egg cups with flashing LEDs, sorry but it doesn't have quite the same impact. Don't mean to be harsh, that might be the tip of the iceberg of what these places are capable of, but I'm calling it how I see it.

Re:While I applaud the general concept.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39116969)

Another big problem is the groupthink and conformance pressure in geek clubs. I can't speak for other places, but here in Berlin it's extreme. To be part of geek culture you have to be male, look like them, wear the same T-shirts, laugh at the same old jokes, venerate the same gurus, drink the same trademark soft drink. Whenever I'm at one of these conferences I feel like I'm in highschool again, and it's not a good feeling. From the video it seems that this Seattle space is different. It looks very open and welcoming.

Re:While I applaud the general concept.. (1)

Mark Atwood (19301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39118745)

That sounds like a problem you have there. That is not my experience. The makerspaces I know well in Seattle: Metrix and ALTSpace, are nothing like that. All are truly welcome and encouraged to come play. And the same for the O'Reilly makerfairs. And not via some politically correct faux-welcoming "outreach" either. We have a lot of different kinds of people, working on all sorts of different kinds of projects.

Re:While I applaud the general concept.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39117899)

calling it like you see it is swell, but as someone who is NOT a geek/nerd/makerdork/etc, I think making "tacky trinkets and useless shit" (nice job of value judging there, by the way) is perfectly wonderful. I've known plenty of people who, if they knew they could learn to do laser-cut items from metal that could be polished/burnished/aged/etc and give those 'tacky' items as gifts, would be thrilled.

And those thrilled people would then perhaps learn other stuff. Now tell an average non-geek "YOU CAN LEARN TO MAKE A UAV" and see how fast their eyes glaze over.

You're engaging in the typical geek fallacy of 'if it's interesting to me, it's going to be of interest to people who know very little about this stuff.', and I believe you to be fundamentally incorrect.

Re:While I applaud the general concept.. (1)

Mark Atwood (19301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39118699)

Projects similar to what you describe do happen at spaces like this, and in fact *AT* this very space.

One of the regulars at Metrix is currently working with some friends to build a UAV quad copter.

The widely reported FireSheep project was written and demoed at Metrix.

Recently a class was taught at Metrix on how to pick locks.

A team of geeks working at different space in Seattle launched a balloon to the edge of space.

Your ignorance and apathy is showing. What about trying showing up, looking at what people are doing, and doing something really cool yourself.

Communists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115331)

These communists are letting people learn for free!

Major Corporate Hackerspace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115767)

Does it count as a hackerspace if you have the sponsorship of multi-billion dollar corporation and every piece of equipment you need?

ObHack: blah, blah chewing gum. blah, blah screwdriver. blah, blah group 60 battery. Then something interesting happened, blah blah.

Great staff at Metrix (1)

feddas (1979736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39117931)

I went to Metrix just last weekend for the first time. They were the only place I could find in the Seattle area to use a 3D printer. The staff knowledgeable and interested in wanting to make my project work and making sure I knew what it'd cost ahead of time. They frequented my printer job often as it was printing. They also have a ton of interesting projects around to check out and use for examples as they tend to share a similarity for what you want to create. The only downside is parking/bus routes.
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