This past summer and fall, in order to make better use of my camera phone, I visited a few places in Toronto that I have either never been to or never paid much attention to before. Here are some of my favourite shots:
This summer I plan on spending some time with my camera to see if I can improve my photography skills. There is a lot of room for improvement, a lot of techniques that I have yet to learn. Most of all, there is something so satisfying with capturing a beautiful moment and showing it from your perspective. I’d like to pay more attention to the world, to the environment that I am surrounded by, and appreciate subtle detail like tiny cracks in the pavement. And who knows? Maybe I’ll take a picture that will finally spark a thousand words.
Made a terrarium with a spherical hanging tea light holder and a baby succulent plant in the summer. Happy to report that it’s still alive after a moment of nearly dying from a lack of sunlight.
I had never heard of the term “maker culture” until mid-last year. Curious to find out what it meant, I attended a few events across the city geared at DIY types. First there was Mozilla’s Maker Party, which is a global campaign to teach the inner workings of the web. Then, at the Toronto Mini Maker Faire, I signed up for an introduction to 3D design workshop run by MakeLab and produced my first 3D print. When the holiday season arrived, City of Craft and Vendor Queens were hosting meet-the-maker craft fairs and community art markets showcasing products that local independent designers created. It wasn’t easy to find these makers groups before. Some were professionals within the art, design, science and technology realms, while many were self-taught hobbyists. Even though I am not part of the maker scene, what inspired me most was seeing other people with little training displaying their passion projects.
You can make websites. You can make apps. You can make robots. You can make games. You can make music. You can make films. You can make books. You can make cards. You can make posters. You can make clothes. You can make accessories. You can make food. You can make a mess. You can make friends who share similar interests or simply find people who were already making the things you’d like to make.
And making matters because it’s about showing and discovering what you can do and not waiting for permission to do it. (Or in some cases, building something or else it won’t ever exist.) Everyone can learn how to create. That, I think, is what maker culture is all about.
Earlier this month, I attended my very first hackathon here in the city hosted by Hive Toronto. As someone with limited coding skills, but have mastered the art of clicking things, moving them around and filling in form fields, I was glad the activity involved no programming at all. The platform we were hacking away at happened to be the “pre-alpha” version of the Mozilla Appmaker, a free tool to create personal mobile apps on your web browser without requiring you to code. It took me two minutes to design a Beyonce-themed Irreplaceable Taps app that made sounds as you hit the words “to the left, to the left.” Two minutes. All in all, it was fun to build apps and not care whether they were good, marketable ideas. (Would anyone like a poutine app?) Now in beta, Appmaker is ready for the public to test out. You can read my article on Techvibes, which takes a closer look at the new tool and what Mozilla plans on doing with this technology.