The Energy of Making

I returned from Maker Faire Bay Area yesterday. The wonderful mix of conference, expo, and fair always fills me with a lot of energy to make things. Just being around people like the members of Noisebridge, the inventors of sugru, Mitch Altman (inventor of the TV-B-Gone), etc., osmotically sparks my creativity and leaves me thinking: it feels so good to make things. There are people out there who haven’t made a thing in their life, and they need to be exposed to it.

Cory Doctorow captures what I’m saying in a quote from his book Little Brother:

If you’ve never programmed a computer, you should. There’s nothing like it in the whole world. When you program a computer, it does exactly what you tell it to do. It’s like designing a machine — any machine, like a car, like a faucet, like a gas-hinge for a door — using math and instructions. It’s awesome in the truest sense: it can fill you with awe.

A computer is the most complicated machine you’ll ever use. It’s made of billions of micro-miniaturized transistors that can be configured to run any program you can imagine. But when you sit down at the keyboard and write a line of code, those transistors do what you tell them to.

Most of us will never build a car. Pretty much none of us will ever create an aviation system. Design a building. Lay out a city.

While the quote discusses programming specifically, it explains the brilliance of using the tools available to you to invent new tools. Check out a hackerspace near you, or the MAKE homepage, or Hack-A-Day. Look at all the links in this single post: all people who make things and want to help others do the same.

Go make something.