Tuesday, 21 September 2010

TechFest Activity Weekend - technology museum pushes all the right buttons!

Another One Bytes the Dust
9.00am - 4.30pm, Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th September 2010
Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen

Ever wondered what one of the world's first computers looked like and what it could do? Want to find out how mobile phones can shrink? Curious to discover the link between musical drums and a hole-punch?... Then you should have joined the ~3000-strong crowd of visitors at the Beach Ballroom last weekend to find out!

With a van load of kit, a team of dot.rural researchers (and TechFest-SetPoint's Techie the Terrier!) were on hand to answer all of these questions and more!

After an absolutely jam-packed, exhausting and fantastic weekend, two days of lunches consisting of corned beef sarnies (the glamour!) and the gradual loss of our voices... we made it!

dot.rural's technology museum workshop proved a roaring success. Early estimates from the TechFest organisers (TechFest-SetPoint) suggest ~3000 people - adults and children - raced through the doors of the Beach Ballroom over the Activity Weekend.

Special thanks go to:
Ruth - for crazy amounts of hard work before and during and, of course, your ridiculous dedication to getting the Spectrum up and running!
Nico - sorry for plunging you in at the deep end.. you didn't sink! I've not seen you since so hope you've managed to survive after your 'scare'!!!
Gorry - what a help! Firstly, representing the Co-Investigators (dot.rural's first Prof to engage with the public!), enabling Ruth's Pong to join in the workshop, and then with the crucial transportation! (Note to self: Never get in a car in Aberdeen with no windscreen wipers!!)
Lizzy - for expert researching on the 'history of computing' and the TV that wasn't to be.
Gina and Hien - for dragging themselves down to the Ballroom on a Sunday afternoon to show their support for dot.rural! Good effort guys :-)
Everyone at TechFest-SetPoint - Yvonne, Liz, Sam, Sean... for a super efficient, slick event and the chance to take part.
John Reid - for passing on just a smidgen of your unlimited knowledge and the generous loaning of exhibits (courtesy of the University's Natural Philosophy Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments)... and for your patience!

So many visitors (more than we could have imagined!) turned up to see the progress of everyday technologies through the ages. Although there was a team of us on hand to host the workshop, in hindsight our dot.rural human resource needed doubling to cope with the demand...

The 'retro arcade' (Pong, BBC Micro, ZX Spectrum and iMac G3) attracted both the young and the, err, not so young!

The 'punch programming' activity was a real hit with the littluns. Gimme a bit of paper and a hole punch and I can program 'Claire' in the Baudot code in about 3 seconds flat.

The 'computer biopsy' activity provided an opportunity for parents to show off their knowledge of the inner workings of computers and for kids to surprise me (well done to computer whizz Calum, aged ~8)... and their parents!

Keep your eyes peeled for photos of Gorry and random TechFest attendee (Jack) appearing in local media and the College Bulletin soon.

More of our amateur photos - of course, all with the subject's approval - are on their way...

Check out http://www.techfestsetpoint.org.uk/emag/2010_public_programme/ for more info on this and other events in the TechFest in September programme!

Bye for now... and see you next year!

1 comment:

  1. Glad everyone enjoyed themselves and am delighted that you managed to get the Spectrum up and running!!