Saturday 13th April members from Drogheda’s Lightbox Lab and Dublin’s TOG (http://www.tog.ie/) hackerspaces took along some of our projects and ideas to the DojoCon conference held in Slane Castle. It was Jester aka Martin Mitchell from TOG who initially suggested that it would be a great idea to have some representation from the irish hackerspace community at the event. So a after a few emails to Graham at CoderDojo Drogheda who also thought it would be a great idea, we put the wheels in motion to get a stand arranged.
TOG are well used to public events but this was to be Lightbox Lab’s first venture outside of our workshop in Millmount and we all were quite new to planning the logistics, so we naturally wanted it be as successful as possible. A week beforehand we got some of our projects organised and ready for the Saturday. And thanks to Paul Doyle and family we were also well set with flyers, posters, and our new banner.
On the Saturday we picked up Jeffrey and Jester from TOG at Drogheda bus station, got ourselves some breakfast and then made our way to Slane Castle.
We knew there might be issues with getting an internet connection in the exhibition area but we had made sure we had a backup plan to get ourselves a reasonable connection so we set this up first. After that we were pretty much set and we set up a bunch of projects and hands on tutorials for people to play with, this included Jester’s lockpicking tutorial, Paddy’s Arduino projects, Paul’s games emulators running on Raspberry Pi, Cians 3D printer, my own playdough and banana powered makey makey sip phone :-) and of course Jeffrey Roe’s soldering tutorial.
The morning was reasonably quiet but there was a steady stream of CoderDojo delegates, organisers and volunteers visiting the stands and getting stuck into the lockpicking and soldering tutorials. Jeffrey later said that about forty people learned to solder on the day!
However come lunchtime we were pretty much swamped for about an hour and a half, there was a lot of interest in hacker and maker spaces and I was surprised to learn how many people had not heard of the community in Ireland. However I think we all did a good job of explaining that it is a community open to anyone interested in exploring technology and that its not just for people who are well skilled in the area.
It also looks like we could have done with another body on the soldering stand, Jeffrey was flat out especially at lunchtime.
Shortly after lunch it was time to bring things to a close, pack up and then head back to Drogheda for some celebratory drinks.
This was of course the time to relax and go over what went well and what we could do better next time round. It was also great to catch up in the pub with the lads from TOG where we discussed ideas around running hackerspaces and some upcoming irish hacker events, most notably Gaelhack which will be a community run event in Waterford in June. details here ( http://gaelhack.hackerspaces.ie/ )
So a fun first day out for Lightbox Lab overall with thanks to CoderDojo for hosting us and of course to TOG for coming up from down south. And of course we hope to do a lot more over the next year or so.