Author: amcewen

"Week 78"

Each week we’ll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

Things of Note

  • <amcewen> Observed at DoES Liverpool: comparing shopping carts and sharing experiences setting up online shopping #weeknotes
  • @amcewen: Today’s laser experiments at @DoESLiverpool. I for one welcome our felt robot overlords… http://twitpic.com/bh8gzu
  • @paul_furley: @DoESLiverpool Thanks again for everyone’s input at the fantastic startup weekend. Company now launched and open for business! @CustomCocoa
  • <mcknut> achievement unlocked: applied for a trademark #weeknotes
  • @mcknut: @DoESLiverpool after many hours spent laser cutting and soldering in the workshop, I shipped the @WhereDial! #weeknotes
  • <amcewen> Andy Powell has cleared his desk 🙁 Bit of a long commute now from Manchester… #weeknotes

Coming Up Next Week

Monday 2nd December 2012, 6-9pm Liverpool Sewing Club
Saturday 8th December 2012, 10am-5pm Maker Day
"Talking About Ourselves"

One of the things we’re not very good at doing here at DoES Liverpool is talking about what the members of the DoES community get up to. If we were looking for excuses we’d claim it was because we’re called Do Epic Sh…, er, Stuff rather than Talk About Epic Stuff, but it would be better if we could find a way to let people know what we’re up to, and what goes on, without it taking too much effort and getting in the way of all the doing.

So, what we’re going to try is publishing weeknotes. These are a bit like the weekly status reports that you might have had to write for your boss if you’re in a boring corporate job, but hopefully ours won’t be as full of reasons why we haven’t quite hit the latest deadline. It’s something that quite a few different people do, and you can find out more over on http://www.weeknotes.com/

To keep the admin overhead to a minimum, we’re going to note anything weeknote-worthy in IRC (#doesliverpool on irc.freenode.net) or on Twitter over the week by tagging it with #weeknotes (and @DoESLiverpool on Twitter). Then at the end of the week, creating the weeknotes will just be a case of searching for everything with that tag, and copying it into a blog post.

So, don’t expect glorious long-winded prose, but do expect at least some hints as to what goes on at DoES Liverpool…

"Digital Innovation, a talk at FACT"

Last Wednesday I was one of four people asked to give a talk at FACT (the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) about Digital Innovation. Once the talks were over we then had an interesting discussion between the speakers and the audience about some of the issues raised (and more). I was too busy involved in the debate to take notes I’m afraid (and I can’t find any other reports on it online), but I can share my slides. The notes here won’t be exactly what I said, but were my thoughts when preparing the talk and so shouldn’t be too far from the mark…

[audio:https://doesliverpool.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/amcewen_intro.mp3|titles=Adrian McEwen intro music]

(and if you want to hear more, try the original tune it’s sampled from)

Imagivisionating the Future(tm)

Hello, I’ve blatantly stolen the idea of having intro music from a friend of mine, Russell Davies, but I think it’s good to start things with a bit of a flourish. I’ll come back to what the music was a bit later.

Who Am I?

I’m Adrian McEwen, I build interesting things with electronics and software and I co-founded something called DoES Liverpool. More on that later too.

Thanks to FACT for asking me along tonight…

Digital Innovation

I wasn’t sure what to talk about at first, but given the overall theme is “Digital Innovation” I figured I’d have a stab at defining what that might be.

Let’s break it down first…

Digital

That’s easy, it’s about computers and stuff. Pretty much everything I do involves computers or electronics or the Internet in some way or other…

Innovation

That’s the tricky one. Everyone seems to want more of it, as it’s some sort of magical elixir that will save money, make us more competitive, create new businesses and make us “think out of the box”. Which is strange, because people “doing innovation” look like this…

Innovation?

Which looks rather like they’re inside a big box, whereas these guys…

Innovation?

…are definitely outside of their box, and have re-imagined it as a shop. And tomorrow they’ll maybe rebuild it into a spaceship, and then incorporate a bedsheet to make it a lunar base…

I think “innovation” is one of those grown-up business words, that’s used by people because they don’t think they can get away with saying…

Playing

…or…

Experimenting

…or…

Trying Loads of Different Stuff

The problem is that in pretending we’re not doing any of those things, we suck all the permission to do any of those things out of ourselves, and end up trapped in a meeting room with a stack of post-it notes until we’ve “imagineered” our way out.

Another Way?

We’re tying to do things a bit differently at DoES Liverpool

First off, we’re a bit hard to explain…

We hold lots of events there but we’re not really a venue.
We have all sorts of people, with all sorts of skillsets, but we’re not an agency or an artists collective. You can’t “hire” DoES to make or do things for you.

I guess you can say we’re a community of diverse and interesting people (which we’d love you to join) who have a space where most (but not all) of the related activities take place.

We’re…

A Space to Play

DoES is full of people who are interested in trying out new things, and seeing where that takes them. We saw some laser-sintering of titanium at Liverpool University’s Engineering Department, and so John McKerrell thought he’d try it out with our laser-cutter and some sugar…

A Space for Experimenting

And some of the playing leads into experimenting. We were trying out some RFID technology, and installed it into the door at DoES so you get a welcome tune played when you arrive, and another when you leave. The music at the start of my talk is what gets played when I check into DoES. We’ve now extended the system so that it automatically logs the days that hot-deskers are here, so it makes running the space easier and lets us track stats of how it’s being used.

Somewhere to Cross-Pollinate Ideas

All sorts of people use DoES – artists, web developers, software engineers, designers… We’ve even got a translator and surveyor and someone who runs a modelling agency. Who knows what conversations and ideas will come about with those sorts of connections…

And there are plenty of groups that call DoES home – GeekUp, Liverpool Sewing Club, Breakerfaire (a computer security meeting), SpecFicLiv (a sci-fi/fantasy writing group), and one of the more regular events is…

A Space for Making

Maker Night (and Maker Day). Three times a month anyone can come along and learn more about 3D printing (that’s our 3D printer in the slide), laser-cutting, or electronics (things like Arduino). If you need a making fix more often than that, the workshop is available for anyone working from the space for the rest of the time

A Space for Prototyping

We have a number of people using the space to prototype their projects or ideas. I use it for some electronics/Arduino kits I’m developing, John McKerrell has been iterating through versions of his WhereDial location clock with the laser-cutter, and just today artist John O’Shea has been 3D printing scaffold for tissue culture as part of a bio-hacking project.

A Space for Business

Lots of members of the space run their own business, so there’s expertise to tap into, and someone to sympathise when you’re having a moan about clients not paying on time… Plus there’s Lean Liverpool, a monthly meeting to learn more about the Lean Startup methodology to running your business, and the Liverpool DoES Startups startup weekends (next one coming up in November)

A Space for Working

We’re happy to help you get some work done, whether it’s just hanging out at a desk with your laptop getting wifi and a cup of coffee, or using the workshop to laser-cut your latest project design.

You can get a desk to call your own and use of all the facilities; or have access to come in and use the workshop whenever you like; or just come and hot-desk (or hot-workshop) for a day. If any of that sounds tempting, bring some cake along and you can try us out for your first day for free.

Get Rich or Have Fun Trying

Is any of this going to increase the amount of Digital Innovation in Liverpool? I don’t know, it’s hard to scale or force – all you can do is try to engineer more serendipity into the environment.

At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter, it’s more about encouraging more people to chase exciting and different projects, and to make a living in a more enjoyable way.

The challenge we’re setting is…

Can You Do Epic S**t, Liverpool?

[audio:https://doesliverpool.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/amcewen_goodbye.mp3|titles=Adrian McEwen goodbye music]
"The Birth of the DoES Space"

When we first moved into the Gostin Building there was a fair bit of work that needed to be done to the space to make it presentable. Nothing too major, mainly collecting furniture and equipment from a few different sources (some from an office that a few of us had shared before founding DoES, and some that was kindly loaned to us by local tech startup Scraperwiki), plus giving the whole space a lick of paint. It had last been used for some sort of strange art project and there were an assortment of outlines of people and objects drawn on the walls.

Given that we’d be doing some work on it I took the opportunity to play around with some time-lapse photography. During the time we were moving in, and doing the decorating, I stuck an old Canon camera on a tripod in the corner. It was running the CHDK software with a script that took a photo every five minutes. A bit of playing around afterwards with ffmpeg, and Open Shot (for the titles) and we had this little video to show off the transition…

 

Birth of the first DoES Space from Adrian McEwen on Vimeo.

That doesn’t give you a sense of what the space is like now that it’s in use, so I thought I’d include this photo of the main space as it is now, but you should really come down for a visit in person 😉

A Panorama of the DoES Space

Of course, if you’d rather have some music to accompany the video, I can recommend watching it from here

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"DoES Liverpool provides first outpost as Google Developer Outreach looks beyond London"

DoES Liverpool are pleased to announce our newest resident – Google.

When Google Developer Relations were looking to reach beyond their established base in London, the DoES space in central Liverpool ticked all the right boxes.  It gives them a base from which to strike out and make visits across the North West, as well as somewhere that people can call in for an “office hour” meeting – where they can find out more about how to use Google’s products and services to help their business.

“We’re looking to go where the developers are”, said Paul Kinlan, Developer Advocate at Google for Chrome and HTML5, “and this will give us the chance to start working more closely with developers and businesses in the North of England.”

Paul will be working from DoES Liverpool for a couple of days each week, and the rest of the time the desk will be available for his colleagues who specialise in other Google products to use for similar purposes.

They’re interested in hearing from any startups, businesses or developers who want to talk about the Google Developer platforms, but they aren’t going to just sit and wait for people to knock on their door.  They’re planning to hold events at the DoES space, and are keen to speak or get involved with other tech events both at DoES and also across the North.

DoES organiser Adrian McEwen said “Although rather different from our usual mix of startups and freelancers, there’s a great fit between Google and DoES Liverpool: we both want to find and help local startups.  It’s a great opportunity for all involved – DoES, Google and the North West.  We’re very excited for what it means for local developers.”

About DoES Liverpool CIC

DoES Liverpool CIC was created to further grow and support the community of people interested and involved in technology that has been building over the past few years in Liverpool and the surrounding areas. It aims to help small businesses and start-ups by creating a space within which they can work, network and build up a business.

DoES Liverpool CIC currently runs a space in Gostins Building on Hanover Street, Liverpool offering affordable co-working desks, workshop and hot desks. It also uses the space to host events such as Maker Night and the Liverpool GeekUp.

For more information about DoES Liverpool CIC visit their website on https://doesliverpool.com/ or email hello@doesliverpool.com

About Google Developer Relations

The Developer Relations organization at Google is focused on driving the success of Google’s developer products and the open web by creating a thriving ecosystem of 3rd party applications and businesses built on them.

We work with technologies such as Chrome, Android, App Engine, Google Maps API, HTML5, and also support our core Google Apps and Ads businesses. For a full list of the products we support, see code.google.com.

We are in Google’s Engineering organization, though we also work closely with Product Management, Marketing, PR, Business Development, and others.

You can get in contact with Paul via his Google Profile page http://plus.ly/paul.kinlan

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