DemoCamp Lansing was a great event again this year. This was the 8th DemoCamp Lansing and the reason why it is such a great event is because it really is all about #LoveLansing. There are cool people doing cool things in Lansing!
Thank you to everyone that attended, the presenters, and to our sponsors. Our sponsors make this community event free and awesome!
Shannon Fransen & Todd Wilson: Educating Our Youth With TechTransport
Shannon Fransen and Todd Wilson helped us kick-off the night with tours of the ITEC TechTransport bus during the reception. We had the opportunity to check out the cool, space-themed bus, which houses a 12-seat computer lab for educating students in our local neighborhoods on STEAM topics. During their presentation, Shannon and Todd described the evolution of this 2-year project and how it will be used now that it is ready for action. For more information on the TechTransport bus visit: http://www.techtransport.org
Nick Ruge: Passionate Apprentice
One of the first speakers was 16-year-old high schooler Nick Ruge, who talked about modding steam games, and eloquently said, “I started knowing nothing, and now I know slightly more than nothing.” His point was that you don’t need previous knowledge to learn to mod or to code or to create your own cool tech… all you need is time and the desire to learn. He shared nuggets of wisdom far beyond his years and applicable reminders for even the most seasoned developers.
Joe Zimmerman: Inventor and “Maker”
Joe Zimmerman demoed his LED Whiteboard Build Status Indicator. It’s a cool, visual way to give updates to a team sharing a workspace… and also a fun, entertaining whiteboard – especially when the “Pacman” lights are going! His project was a great example of merging technology with a physical product. Joe built the board at the Lansing Makers Network. Joe also mentioned the Lansing Makers Network is a finalist in the Berzomatic’s Find Your Fire grant program, which would provide funding for makers classes specifically for women. Please vote for them and help them expand classes for woman at Lansing Makers Network. You can vote up to once per day through the end of December at: http://findyourfiregrants.com/#projectId=203
Allie Irwin: Straight Shooter and Master Persuader
Allie Irwin, a former Mechanical Engineer and now a “People Skills Strategist,” gave us great tips on how to get what we want. She explained, “Our brains are like hungry toddlers,” and if you really want to get through to someone you need to “say it like you mean it.” She shared some great tips with us in her talk, like the importance of lowering your voice as you are talking to really stand your ground. Find out more about Allie and her company Engineered Conversations at http://www.engineeredconversations.com/about
Jonathan Stars: A FileMaker Pro
Jonathan Stars demoed software he created called MoviTraX. It is a program for videographers to track their projects. He showed how it makes it easier to find files needed while editing. MoviTraX tracks movie details about video shoots, clips, media storage location, and notes about the quality of the video clips captured. He created the program using FileMaker Pro and also authored the book Learn FileMaker Pro (now in it’s seventh edition!).
Brian Winn, William Jeffery, & MSU Game Students: Learning to Make Games (And Letting Us Play Them)
Faculty and students from MSU’s Game Design and Development program had three games setup for us to play during the reception – Greatest City, Project Shutdown, and Bunny Skate. The games were all created in a course over this past semester and varied from a mobile game, to a computer game, to a game for the HTC Vive (virtual reality system). The students also presented the games and highlighted the development process of making them. The games are all free to play and can be found on the MSU Game Development website at http://gamedev.msu.edu/games/. Bunny Skate is also scheduled to be available on the iOS App Store in the next week.
Linda Lay: Making a Change Locally
Linda Lay talked about UX Design for Social Change and being part of Design for America. She was passionate about using her talents to help others and learned through her Design for America project that there are great opportunities locally for making an impact. Her team was surprised to discover that hunger is a real issue on MSU’s campus. With the cafeterias across campus providing a smorgasbord of food options to so many students, she hadn’t thought food may not be accessible to everyone that needs it. However, she found there are graduate students and international students trying to support families on modest student wages and struggle to feed themselves and their families. That’s when Linda and her team decided to partner with the MSU Food Bank to help be part of the solution. They looked at the user experience of the food bank and helped to redesign it to be more efficient and be able to feed more people. Linda talked about how some problems can feel overwhelming or unsolvable, but explained how we can all make a difference in our community, “If everyone works a little bit to make a dent, then the problem gets smaller and smaller and eventually it makes a crack.” She also talked about the importance of, “becoming something bigger than your own self – taking what you learn and adding to the community.” This philosophy is what drives the open source community and is also the passion behind DemoCamp Lansing – sharing, helping and motivating each other in the community and highlights the great work of those who do so.
Jerry Norris: Making Things “Stickier” in Mid-Michigan
Jerry Norris talked about The Fledge – an ideation and maker place, incubator, and accelerator. He said “We made The Fledge to make Michigan ‘stickier’… we’re doing this to change Mid-Michigan.” He wants to make it “stickier” so people stick here. The Fledge is inclusive and aims to help makers, creators, doers, and dreamers by helping provide resources to make their aspirations become a reality. From a workspace, to equipment, to classes, to funding, to connections… just ask and The Fledge will try to help. To find out more about The Fledge in Grand Ledge, visit http://grandledgefledge.com
David Riedle: Organizing Media Files With Ease
How many photos (and videos) do you have on your phone? The quantity of media we create and acquire has become massive, making it challenging to find what you want when you need it. David Riedle demoed AV (Audio / Visual) Shoebox. He created the program to organize media – audio, video, and photo files. You can categorize items, tag them, and add additional information about them, which allows you to easily understand what you are working with and how to find it.
Chris Fritz: Don’t Be Afraid of Giving Commands
Chris Fritz is a developer and passionate educator who tackled gamifying how to use a terminal. The non-visual, non-GUI, black screen of a terminal may be intimidating for those who have never tried using one, but Chris showed there are power in commands and it’s easier than you think. Try his Terminal Game Demo at http://shaky-adjustment.surge.sh. Chris also mentioned that the schedule for tech user group meetups can be found at https://www.lansing.codes
We hope you enjoy the event as much as we did and hope to see you at one of our events next year!