Tag Archives: Maker Mag

Tech Crunch: “Maker Faire halts operations and lays off all staff”

This is sad news for those like me who enjoy Maker Faires. This year, our own community started a Mini Maker Faire that was held on a university campus–it was a massive success. My daughters and I taught a number of children and adults how to solder simple circuits. I also met quite a few radio enthusiasts and hams at the Faire.

Here’s the news via Tech Crunch:

Financial troubles have forced Maker Media, the company behind crafting publication MAKE: magazine as well as the science and art festival Maker Faire, to lay off its entire staff of 22 and pause all operations. TechCrunch was tipped off to Maker  Media’s unfortunate situation which was then confirmed by the company’s founder and CEO Dale Dougherty.

For 15 years, MAKE: guided adults and children through step-by-step do-it-yourself crafting and science projects, and it was central to the maker movement. Since 2006, Maker Faire’s 200 owned and licensed events per year in over 40 countries let attendees wander amidst giant, inspiring art and engineering installations.

“Maker Media Inc ceased operations this week and let go of all of its employees — about 22 employees” Dougherty tells TechCrunch. “I started this 15 years ago and it’s always been a struggle as a business to make this work. Print publishing is not a great business for anybody, but it works…barely. Events are hard . . . there was a drop off in corporate sponsorship.” Microsoft and Autodesk failed to sponsor this year’s flagship Bay Area Maker Faire.

[…]“We’re trying to keep the servers running” Dougherty tells me. “I hope to be able to get control of the assets of the company and restart it. We’re not necessarily going to do everything we did in the past but I’m committed to keeping the print magazine going and the Maker Faire licensing program.” The fate of those hopes will depend on negotiations with banks and financiers over the next few weeks. For now the sites remain online.[…]

Click here to read the full story at Tech Crunch.

I should think this would be a golden opportunity for organizations like the ARRL to step in and, perhaps, work with other like-minded organizations to keep Maker Faires alive. These gatherings are so large, and the organizers are so motivated, I know this won’t actually be an end to Maker Faire events.

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Radio Shack promises to go back to its roots

Wow. Thank you to Make Magazine for pointing out the fact that, in an ad, RadioShack has recently re-committed to serve electronics hobbyists.

I remember, as a child, when I used to travel with my family on vacation–we would pass through a town and I would declare that it was “livable” when I verified that it had a Radio Shack. It was an ongoing family joke, but of course, there was some truth in there.

I lived for the new releases of the RS catalog each year.  I would plan my purchases and was eager to see when highly sought after radios and accessories would go on sale each month. My first pocket AM transistor radio was a Realistic (the RS brand name on their radios at the time). My first crystal radio kit came from RS. My first digital shortwave radio was purchased at Radio Shack. The local store manager knew me by name.

Most of all, though, Radio Shack  had an extensive collection of small electronic parts/components that I would use to build projects or repair my electronics. Long before the internet, RS was my lifeline.  Where else would I find a 2 cell AA battery holder, small incandescent bulb or tiny servo in my small rural town? Those were the days.

Times changed, though. In the past few years, RS has focused more on consumer electronics–especially mobile phones, computers and TV/Satellite services. I noticed that in corporate stores (not as much in locally-controlled franchise stores), the electronic components sections were getting smaller and smaller.

So, I believe we can thank the Maker community for RS’ new commitment to carry components for the hobbyist.

Okay, Radio Shack, let’s see you go back to your roots. Perhaps my home town will become “livable” once again? One can certainly hope.



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