‘What is it about Woodstock?’

Enquiring minds speak volumes from the back of the car, and with pauses for reflection from the front come suggested answers from the rear. ‘Is it like Glastonbury?’

Cue the ‘answer a question with a question’ approach and ‘What’s Glastonbury, then?’

Which really got us thinking. What was it, and is it, about this Upstate festival from the summer of ‘69, which launches storytelling often with a different focus for everybody’s opinion asked?

With a heap of data and collections of information available about the festival, could we turn an interactive visualisation piece into a tool to build a story? And how about collaborating maker style to explore thinking and problem solving skills extending beyond an initial circuit design?

If the data pointed towards facts, opinions and answers what were the important questions to ask? Could a collaboration support that?

Step 1: Inspiration, patience and an array of ideas from Scott and the team at littleBits during an afternoon of tinkering in the city.  Constructing instruments and composing sounds of the sixties but what about aligning data facts through more sounds?


Guitar tinkering with synth sounds

Step 2: Making and remaking through tinkering with materials to collectively form a circuit with the Touchboard.


Create then install

Step 3: Refining the circuit to facilitate an interactive installation.

  • If one of the components was a guitar, how could it be designed to ‘pick up and play’ and launch a piece of music?
  • In essence could a fingerboard be created with paint and wire and ‘strummed’ to launch a sound file?
  • What would be the most logical sequence and should that be part of the design?
  • Clues to match the data with an artist or theme?

Electric paint and flexible wire created the backdrop for lots of debate, testing and finally a workable solution.


Circuit design

Step 4: Testing times with lots of conferring to check out question theories for each piece of retrieved data:

  • 600
  • 50,000 and 500,000
  • 43
  • 9
  • 200
  • 3
  • 120
  • 2
  • 2
  • 32


Data, sounds and questions?

Of course there are no sound clues here.  Yet.

Perhaps we’ll get more storytelling at the weekend’s Jam Packed event; it’s the final festival of the series.


JamPackedUK at Manchester Makefest

Jam Packed UK

The Jam Packed team took workshops, challenges and our latest recruit, the dalek (be careful out there), to the Manchester Makefest on 8 & 9 August.

IMG_7583 Raspberry Pi Challenge Corner

Hosted at the Museum of Science and Industry, we joined friends old and new for a weekend of computing, making and shared digital adventures as we added our own series of workshops to the programme.

IMG_7581 Ask the Family

More collaborative challenges through gaming with Python and Scratch and some memorable (we can still hear them now) musical compositions from new Sonic Pi converts.  Problem solving using the Raspberry Pi electronics kits gave pairs the opportunity to try out the driver / navigator approach and support each other on their journeys to success as lightbulb moments.

IMG_7582 Lightbulb Moments Galore

And not forgetting Minecraft Hack at a Makefest.  We witnessed subterranean architecture on a grand design scale from some groups and vowed to share some ingenious new hacks…

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Ey up. A reight Yorkshire Day multi-player version of t’ wavy wire wi’ t’ Codebug?

It’s a tricky situation being the only Lancastrian in a Yorkshire household on 1st August.  Actually, a day of restraint and moments of lip biting so as not to become entangled and ignite the War of the Roses series.

So what better strategy than to beat them challenge them with their own Yorkshire rose?  Of course I’d have to make sure it was the right way up.  Again, so as not to ignite previous stand-offs.


2 leaves at the top?

A challenge fitting of Yorkshire Day celebrations to throw down the gauntlet with suitably bias proportions?

Better to stick to what I know best.  Take a computing challenge directly to them and altogether; better to test them collectively.


Multi-play wavy wire

And if I played it right, and gently nudged the rivalry enough to get a reaction, could I even get them to make the challenge for themselves? Not forgetting there are more of them.


Steady hand activity guide

Fortunately they took the bait early on, having already tinkered with Codebug, and accepted the White Rose Challenge:

  • 3 players, 3 Codebugs, one winner


Parameters set by Team Yorkshire?

“We’re only doing it if the rose is the right way up”.

FullSizeRenderWho won?

It’s an on-going battle.  Sorry, a series 🙂