AutoMatters & More: Maker Faire San Diego, Imaginate, “Bridge of Spies” and “Steve Jobs”


Maker Faire San Diego and Imaginate

How would you like to build and race a $500 electric car, do battle with and sink ships at sea (actually at the manmade Battle Pond), create works of art and crafts, learn how to make cool things using a state-of-the-art 3-D printer, or look up at a gigantic, fire-breathing robot? All of this and more were among the many things to see and do at the first San Diego Maker Faire, held the first weekend of October in beautiful Balboa Park.

This major event — part of the ongoing centennial celebration in Balboa Park — was previewed by San Diego Mayor Faulconer several months ago, and then again at the Imaginate Premiere and Maker Faire Kick-Off Party at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center on the Friday night immediately preceding the two events.

Imaginate, going on now at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center until Jan. 3, 2016, features more than 20 hands-on, interactive, innovative and creative exhibits. With themes that include music, science, aeronautics, animation and art, you will stretch and exercise your critical thinking, creativity and maker abilities.

At one interactive exhibit that enabled kids and adults alike to express their artistic creativity, I hand-crafted a model of a Nikon digital SLR camera using little more than corrugated cardboard, foam, pipe cleaners and a glue gun.

For information, go to

Likewise, only much more so, at Maker Faire San Diego there were more than 200 hands-on, creative, educational, practical, innovative and fun activities and technologies. One day was really not enough to see everything. I highly recommend that you be there both days in 2016.

Part science fair, part county fair and part something unique unto itself, there were 14 themed zones distributed all over Balboa Park, including Science; Sustainability and Engineering; Robotics; Imaging; Modeling and Hacks; Captivating Crafts; Costume and Crafts; Drones and Outdoor Play; Electronics and Open Source; Maker Space and Battle Pond; and Flight, First Robotics and Education.

Maker Faire is a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and a celebration of the Maker movement. It is of interest to tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students and commercial exhibitors. In other words, there are things of interest to everyone.

The Maker Faire movement began in the San Francisco Bay area in 2006. It quickly spread across the country, with Faires in Austin, Detroit and New York City, and around the world. Maker Faires feature innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, the arts, performance and crafts.

San Diego Maker Faire 2015 was a huge undertaking, made possible thanks to a partnership of the city of San Diego, Premier Sponsor Qualcomm and many nonprofits, including the San Diego Makers Guild, the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, Balboa Park museums and others.

Fortunately, Maker Faire included a contingency plan for rain. On Sunday, that plan was tested — and it passed spectacularly. When it began to rain, many exhibitors simply moved their exhibits into the museums, where there was plenty of room for them and their visitors.

Find out more, including how you can participate in 2016, at

“Bridge of Spies”

Set in the mid-1950s, Cold War era U.S. and the Soviet Union, this fact-based film — directed by Steven Spielberg — is at times a chillingly austere and foreboding dramatization of historical incidents surrounding the Soviet shoot-down of the U-2 spy plane that was piloted by Francis Gary Powers. The strained, distrustful relations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union were on a hair trigger that could have led to nuclear war. A tense tale of espionage, “Bridge of Spies” masterfully weaves the story of the pivotal role played by attorney James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) and his defense of accused Russian spy Rudolf Abel.

“Steve Jobs”

While this might be an accurate cinematic portrayal of how it was to work for Apple’s Steve Jobs (miserable?), and about his personal relationships (tumultuous and inconsiderate?), this is certainly not the Steve Jobs that I remember — or care to — nor is this film particularly entertaining. Not only does it paint a pretty grim picture of him, but it also seriously diminishes the innovative and creative role that he played at Apple, tearing down this cultural icon. I left the theater wishing that I had done something better with my time.

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Copyright © 2015 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #407