Farset Labs 4th Birthday/Anniversary Celebration – 9th April

4 years old!  Farset’s now old enough to count and ride a tricycle.  Exciting times!

We’re going to have a bit of a party, and Farset Labs invite you to come and celebrate with us on Saturday 9th April from 7pm – as a thank you for staying engaged, involved, and nurturing local creative and technology endeavours.

Please do invite friends and well-wishers.

As well as being a general “Open/Social Evening”, we will of course have cake, party food and tasting sessions of local beverages and liqueurs, plus a selection of high-tech (low-commitment) games and multiplayer video-games, with plenty of opportunities to experiment with some of our projects and tools and meet-up with the community as we continue to grow.

We’re looking forward to seeing your wonderful face!

You are also welcome to BYOB, and your own 4th puns, as always 😉

(Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.)

Game Friday

To relax at the end of a busy week, we’ll be reprising our LAN game evenings along with a bit of chilled music and classic console gaming on Friday 5th June.  We’ll kick off at 6pm, but there’s no rush – all are welcome!
Entry is free for Farset Members (including corporatesponsor employees) and £3 for non-Members.

We’ll plumb the depths and ages of multiplayer game greatness, we’re open to playing anything suggested – so if you have any recommendations, let us know.  It’s best if it’s either available for all players to get easily, or if it’s a popular game.

Just kidding
Only a little dirty though.

Team up and compete for map dominance or have a break and kick back with a wee drink and some console classics.

This is a BYOPC and BYOB event. We have some machines available on site, but we recommend bringing your own machine if you want a well-performing rig 🙂

Snacks and soft drinks will be available (in return for a donation to the charity).

Vitals:

Getting kids excited about Computer Science in Northern Ireland

The following is a combined position paper and call-to-action for a project that many of us have been working on behind the scenes for a long time now, especially Andrew Mulholland who’s taken over the operation of the Raspberry Jam programme.

Andrew and I collaborated on this document to put forward our plans for a school outreach programme built on the experience we’ve gained from running the Jam programme in Belfast for the past two years, including a collaboration between Farset Labs, Digital Circle and W5 that brought teachers together from across the province to share best practice for ICT education, as well as receiving our ‘wisdom’ from running CoderDojo and Jam-like programmes. This programme was assessed DCAL and was very well received but due to personnel changes in some relevant organisations, has not been directly carried on as a full pilot programme.

We hope to change that, and thanks in part to Andrew’s recent successes at the TalkTalk Digital Hero awards, as well as working over the summer with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we’ve secured match funding up to £4,000 to support the proposed programme.

But we need your help to drum up the rest of our estimated £8,000 programme costs, and hopefully this document will help. Have a read at our thoughts, and Andrew and I are more than happy to answer any questions, concerns or ideas about the proposed programme.

EDIT:

We’re happy to announce that The CultureTech Festival have pledged £1,000 towards this programme, as well as inviting us to participate in three events in the North West.

Raspi_Colour_Rculture-tech-avatar-rgb

Welcome a New Director of Farset Labs and Some Parting Thoughts from an Old One

Presidential letter on Resolute desk
A passed note from Incumbent to Incoming.

With my imminent departure for Nicaragua looming, I have the immense honour of welcoming Conor Robinson as our new incoming director, having been voted-in by the community. Conor, congratulations and welcome to the fray. I did a little air-punch when I saw that Conor had registered for election. Now Farset is getting an upgrade: replacing its most aged part with a new, faster, more functional one.

I have for years referred to myself as a “wannabe geek” to avoid anyone thinking that I actually know how to do anything technical. And, well, Conor’s one of those guys who does. But directing an experimental organisation like ours needs much more than tech credentials, and I think Conor brings the full set of tools to the table. He’s calm, friendly, organised (or at least he looks like he is because he’s always carrying a notebook!), and damn smart.

As Conor steps-up, I am stepping, well, kinda sideways. Quite a way actually. 8,341.14km in fact. I hope you will forgive my self-indulgence at taking this opportunity not only say hello to our new director, but also to offer some thoughts from a parting one. You know, like the private note the old president traditionally leaves for the new one… except it’s public. And not in the White House. And probably not as useful.
Continue reading Welcome a New Director of Farset Labs and Some Parting Thoughts from an Old One

Get Kids Coding, Designing and Building This Summer 2014 with Our Special Four-Week CoderDojo Course

 

Summer can be either be downtime or uptime for kids, families and businesspeople alike. For our members who volunteer to run CoderDojo at Farset Labs it could have been a good time to chill out. But noooooo, they’ve only gone and made more work for themselves.

This July and August, bring your kids to Farset Labs to learn their choice of the following, in four weeks:

  1. Build and program a LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robot. The robot was part of the kit kindly donated to Farset by the Nerve Centre for just this kind of hands-on learning. Well, it’s not just about the learning, right? It’s the errr…. Robots! UPDATE: LEGO sessions were booked-out in a couple of hours! Sorry. Hannah is taking names for more LEGO sessions in September, just email dojo@farsetlabs.org.uk
  2. Design a working computer game with GameMaker.
  3. Design and build a website.

Normal CoderDojo will resume in September. See the calendar for details.

Aaaand, while we have your attention, it’s worth reminding everyone that Farset has no public funding and is run by volunteers. No, wait, not quite volunteers: in fact all of us pay to be members in the first place. So if you or your contacts are interested in sponsoring great causes like our CoderDojo events, or getting behind Farset in its mission to develop everyone’s creative and technical skills, get in touch. And you don’t have to be a deep-pocketed company, Farset’s lifeblood is our recurring monthly member payments, and we are always keen for small personal donations from visitors to the Labs. ‘Nuff said about filthy lucre, now let’s get back to the… errr… ROBOTS!

Register for the CoderDojo Summer Course here.

P.S: No nasty remarks about my design skills on the flyer. I stayed up to the wee hours putting that abomination together. It’s MY abomination and I’m proud of it.