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This weekend, November 8-10, hackathons will be taking place all over the world in memory of Aaron Swartz. Jigsaw is hosting the Seattle hackathon. The event will bring together the varied communities that Aaron touched to figure out how the important problems of the world connect, and to share the load of working on those problems.

The November 8-10 hackathon series is being coordinated on this wiki page:


Within weeks of Aaron’s death in January, 20 hackerspaces, schools, and libraries organized Aaron Swartz Memorial Hackathon events all over the world. In our collective shock and grief, we came together to console ourselves, remember Aaron, and, in his memory, to work on important problems ranging all the way from open access advocacy to a database refactor.
Half a year later, we still feel an immense shock and loss, and after many conversations with people who attended one of the initial events, still think that we need to be there for each other and focus on the things that are important.

More details here:


Jigsaw’s own Ben Dobyns will be conducting a workshop on Kickstarter this Saturday starting at 10AM. Ben and Zombie Orpheus Entertainment have been remarkably successful at raising funds via Kickstarter, and he’ll be sharing the secrets of his success. More info and registration (required) at


I salvaged an otherwise disappointing Sunday in Vancouver by visiting VHS. VHS member John gave a tour of the space and showed off his tricopter. I was really impressed with the space and took a lot of pictures in the hope we can steal some of their ideas.

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On the davinci mailing list, in a thread bemoaning the lack of electronics stores in Seattle, Matthew Dockrey piped up that Vancouver BC has a block containing *two* electronics stores (O RLY?). Well, your humble blogger happened to be in Vancouver yesterday and found said block.

Just as Matthew had said, Lee’s Electronics and Main Electronics are just doors apart–crazy! Unfortunately, they both close on Sundays, and it was Sunday, so for now we must content ourselves with these tantalizing glimpses of the treasures inside.
The afternoon was not a total bust, however…

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Alex Clemmer hosted the first Seattle Hack and Tell on Thursday. He showed off his Apple //e LISP machine and described the trials and tribulations he went through to make it work. (More info)
Michael Truog presented cloudi, an Erlang-based personal cloud computing platform. He calls is “a cloud at the lowest level” which is why he’s sitting on the floor in the photo above (not really; his laptop wouldn’t connect to the large monitor). (More info)
Your humble blogger presented two projects: pself, a single-board retrocomputer, and the Willpowerometer, kinda the opposite of a sound-level meter. I might blog about them here at some point.
Hack and Tell is off to a great start and will repeat every second Thursday at Jigsaw, so get hacking and prepare to tell.
Meetup link


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On Tuesday, Curtis led us through the basics of Unity 3D, a game development system. To get the ball rolling, he showed us how to create (wait for it) a rolling ball controlled by the keyboard. This was actually pretty cool. In the classes to follow, Curtis will build on that foundation to teach us the basics of game development. It’s not too late to sign up: meetup link.

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Here at Jigsaw Renaissance, we’re trying out a new membership level: Micro-Desk Community Builder, and our first Free Form Monday.

This is our $100 Keyed Member category with the added bonus of a small dedicated workspace, and with the added responsibility of ensuring Jigsaw Renaissance is open for all one evening each week. Tamara, our first Micro-Desk Community Builder, will ensure that Jigsaw Renaissance is open each Monday evening from 6-10pm. As more Micro-Desk Community Builders sign up, we’ll be able to ensure Jigsaw Renaissance is open more often – hopefully, every night of the week!

Thinking of becoming a Micro-Desk Community? Inquire at for more details!

Freeform Monday accurately describes the activity here this evening:

Tamara is trying to figure out how to convert her mask files for a class this weekend at MakerHaus, and then she'll begin working on a hand sewn custom lambskin glove
Tamara is trying to figure out how to convert her mask files for a class this weekend at MakerHaus, and then she’ll begin working on a hand sewn custom lambskin glove;

Harry is teaching Meagan and Budi how to program Arduino
Harry is teaching Meagan and Budi how to program Arduino;
2013-10-07 19.56.25

Steve is exhausted between chapters in his recent book selection 'Networking for Dummies'; Bill is editing his giant YouTube playlist of science fiction movies, always adding more;
Steve is exhausted between chapters in his recent book selection ‘Networking for Dummies’; Bill is editing his giant YouTube playlist of science fiction movies, always adding more;

Michael was here earlier creating music on his keyboard but unfortunately he had his headphones on and we didn’t get to hear it. How will you participate in Free Form Mondays this month?


On Tuesday the 8th, new Jigsaw member Curtis Himel will teach the basics of game development with Unity, an increasingly-popular game engine used by both indies and large studios. With the engine integrated directly into the development environment, Unity is (relatively) easy to use and allow real-time changes to your game with immediate results. Making a quick game is probably easier than you think! (And probably cheaper too since Unity has a highly-functional free version.) And once your game’s done, you won’t have to do it again since Unity publishes to nearly every platform available from mobile to Windows to X-Box.

Before the class, you should download and install the free version of Unity game engine 4.2 from . Also, a mouse with scroll wheel is somewhere between useful and required.

Sign up for the class here.

This class will be the first in a series.