Blog Listings

CRITGroup’s February Meetup

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Annabeth has written another great write-up about CRITGroup, who just recently completed a collaborative project. CRIT stands for Creative Reflection and Investigation Talk Group, and is an opportunity for artists and designers to get together, discuss their work, and support each other.

Read more about their latest meetup in this blog post, and attend their next meetup on the 26th of March:

This month I was really looking forward to the opportunity for a freer session for a change, less constrained by attending to the specifics of the latest collaborative project, which we completed last month. I wasn’t disappointed! Though I have enjoyed the collaborations, both participating in them and being part of the discussions they generated, it was really refreshing to get ‘back to the roots’ of the group and just spend a couple of hours sharing and talking about recent work and ideas.

Continue reading…

Mike Glynn’s ‘Living Map of Manchester’, an Arduino-powered Internet of Things Project

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Mike Glynn attended our ‘Building the Internet of Things’ course last year, and has since created an excellent project. Mike works at HERE (a Nokia-owned mapping business) and is responsible for helping customers better understand their map data.

Mike decided to aid visualisation of expected and actual road speeds by using LEDs in a very flashy-looking installation. Read more about it on his blog:

The HERE platform publishes real time average speeds for roads belonging to the TMC (Traffic Messaging Channel) network – when these real time speeds are compared with expected free flow speeds a colour value can be calculated which indicates how freely the traffic is flowing. This technique is used by most mapping sites for displaying traffic conditions (e.g., google maps, bing maps). Here’s showing traffic on the M60.



My aim was to replicate this in a physical form using LED’s – I chose the M60 because our office is located in Manchester.

Continue reading on Mike’s blog…

We’ll be listing a new Internet of Things course for 2014 soon. Stay tuned for updates!

Celebrate Free Software at MadLab

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Manchester Free Software Festival

Manchester Free Software Festival

We’re very excited that one of our most popular groups – Free Software Foundation Europe – has decided to put on a week of events celebrating all things free software. They’re bringing together members of other groups – including Bitcoin Manchester and Manchester WordPress User Group – and have organised a great line-up of free events:

Get ready to celebrate:
Manchester’s first Free Software festival has arrived!

Free Software is the radical tech movement behind projects like WordPress, Android, Bitcoin, Firefox, GNU/Linux, LibreOffice, and many more. It guarantees you the freedom to use, study, change, and share your computer software and has spawned a generation of creativity by empowering millions. The chances are you have been using Free Software for years – this is a great opportunity to learn more about what that means, how you can get involved and most importantly celebrate this fanatic movement with canapés, cake and company.

Read more and signup…

CRITGroup’s December Meetup

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

We missed posting this at the time, but Annabeth of CRITgroup put together a lovely write-up of their final meeting of 2013. If you’re not familiar with the group, CRIT stands for Creative Reflection and Investigation Talk Group, and is an opportunity for artists and designers to get together, discuss their work, and support each other.

If you’re interested, read Annabeth’s blog post, and attend their next meetup at MadLab on the 29th of January:

Not quite a silent night but certainly a peaceful one; we had a small meeting this evening, three familiar faces and a very welcome new guest! All the more mince pies for us!

Continue reading…

Gravity Assist – a game made at Manchester Game Jam’s Ludum Dare Weekender

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Luke Thompson has written a blog post about a game he made during Manchester Game Jam’s Ludum Dare Weekender. There’s still time to vote for Luke’s game, so give it a try:

Gravity Assist is a game I made for the Ludum Dare 28 competition, my first game jam. If you’re not familiar with LD48 or game jams in general, the idea is to create something in 48 hours. You can play (and vote on!) the game here, in-browser or as a standalone.


Inspired partly by my day job (accelerator physics), you launch a “particle” angry birds style, choosing your power and trajectory to navigate between various force fields and objects. Primarily these fields are gravitational, causing the particle to curve and loop. Getting close to them scores you more points, but instant death on contact. You can instantly retry though with space, and all your previous tracks are shown to help you and make things pretty.

LD48 is a global event; in Manchester an event was hosted at the excellent MadLab in the Northern Quarter. It’s a great hackerspace, with community-organised activities ranging from game development to film-making to taxidermy[3]. It was nice to be in a space around a bunch of other people developing at the same break-neck (some might say reckless) speed. Comparing ideas, testing each others’ games and offering general advice is pretty rewarding in both directions, and it’s a great way to meet more people, and get together with those I already knew.

Read Luke’s full post here.