Saturday, January 9, 2010

Questions from Readers

Well, I posted my email address in a post a few days ago and, boom, they started arriving. I thought I'd take a moment and answer a few of the more popular ones:

1. Why are you doing this? - Well, I was going to go through this book on my own and do all the experiments, so I thought - why not take a few extra minutes here and there, photograph what I can, and write up my results? I'm sure everyone learns differently, but for me, I've figured out that I learn best when I do three things - read about it, do it, and then write what I've done. If someone shows me how to do something, I can sometimes repeat it, but if any time goes by or if I don't sit down and write out the steps I did, it'll be forgotten. So, that's my process - read the book, perform the experiments, write (or blog) what I've done.

2. Are you getting paid for this? - Nope. But please feel free to send me your checks if you like. Seriously, though - I approached Make magazine about doing this and just asked them for permission - I didn't want to do it if they (or the author, Charles Platt) didn't approve. But they gave me the thumbs up (and a mention on the Make: Online blog the other day) and just asked that I put a link to the book and to MakerSHED (where you can buy parts, tools, etc. for the book)... easy enough. When I'm done, I'll probably pick up another book or kit or something and do it again... but I have no advertising and no company/organization paying me to write good things about the book. (No need - it's a great book, isn't it?)

3. How long until you finish? - I don't know. The early experiments are fast and easy, but a quick glance through the book will show you that later experiments can get a bit more complicated and time consuming. I'll be going through it at my own speed, but please keep in mind that I have a real job (writing books), a wife and 3 year old son who require my assistance and attention, and friends and family who trump any volunteer blogging. That said, I'll do my best to keep pushing along and making forward progress through the book. My goal isn't to complete it in a specific time period, but to actually learn as much as I can. I'm not wanting to rush it... my ultimate goal is to provide Make magazine and Charles Platt and other book owners with more content and pictures and notes from a real reader's experiences... so please let me know how I'm doing as the blog progresses.

James Floyd Kelly

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