Geeking out aero-style for a hundred bucks – Dan Shapiro

When Dan Shapiro was a kid, radio control flight meant spending thousands of dollars to put what was essentially a slightly aerodynamicized lawnmower in the air. You spent thousands on engines and electronics and balsa, months building your plane, crashed it your first flight out, and then repeated.

Over and over, and over again.

Enter lithium polymer batteries, rare earth magnets, miniaturized solid state inverters, 2.4 GHz spread spectrum frequency hopping transmitters and receivers. Then stir it up in a huge domestic Chinese market for RC gear that has pushed remote control aircraft off a Moore’s law cliff of price and performance.

Watch Dan explain how you can get off the ground for a single Benjamin.

About Dan Shapiro

Dan Shapiro - Ignite Seattle 7When Dan isn’t geeking out about RC planes, you can find him at his day job as CEO of Ontela, on his personal Web site,, or on Twitter @danshapiro.

Scotto Moore’s Digital Fairy Tale, CPU

Ignite Seattle Artist-in-Residence, Scotto Moore’s gives us his latest work, “CPU” which he describes as “a cautionary tale about the dangers of modern neural malware.” Updating those virus definitions will never feel quite the same.

About Scotto Moore

Scotto Moore is a writer, director and technologist. You can find him at His next play, “When I Come to My Senses, I’m Alive,” will be at the Annex Theatre April 23 – May 22, 2010.

Some praise for CPU:

  • “tweeting grinds to a halt as the ignite digital fairy tale told by scotto moore holds people spellbound at #gnomedex”
  • “Last Ignite speaker Scotto Moore offers a very entertaining Charlie Kaufman-esque talk. Great!”
  • “Awesome last Ignite talk – human as virus-hobbled computer. Moving.”
  • “Loving the last Ignite talk. Absolute best of the series IMO.”

Principles of Economics Translated – Yoram Bauman, Ph.D.

Yoram Bauman, a standup economist, deconstructs Greg Mankiw’s 10 Principles of Economics. In short order Yoram explains away tradeoffs, incentives, margins and markets. They become more common concepts of choices, people, governments, and stupidity (and limits of stupidity).

Greg Mankiw clearly doesn’t take this too personally, he blogged about Yoram twice, and by his own estimation, may have sold a few more books for him.

Editor’s Note: Much of this post was borrowed liberally from Brady’s post on the main Ignite web site.

About Yoram Bauman

Yoram has a Ph.D in Economics and has decided to use humor to convey his thinking. His first book The Cartoon Introduction to Economics: Volume One: Microeconomics comes out in January.

You can find Yoram Bauman on his blog, Stand-Up Economist, his blog at the Seattle PI or at his day job as the environmental economist for the University of Washington’s award-winning Program on the Environment.

Fighting Dirty in Scrabble – Mehal Shah

Scrabble isn’t a game of who can get the best 6 letter words. It’s a game of points and squeezing 2 letter terms into corners. Mehal Shah takes us through clean (and sometimes dirty) ways to win at Scrabble.

Some of his tips include:

  • Thinking of Scrabble as a numbers game, instead of a word game
  • Learning how to double the value of every tile you play
  • Shutting down the board and holding on to every point you can get
  • Learning how to bluff effectively
  • Learning how to fake a bluff effectively
  • Using your opponents knowledge to trick them
  • Using foreign languages to psych out your opponent

About Mehal Shah

Mehal Shah - Ignite Seattle 7Mehal Shah is a software engineer at You can find Mehal on his blog, on Twitter and his photos on Flickr. Mehal did a great post about his experience speaking at Ignite.

(Note: most of this post was gratuitously copied and pasted from Brady’s post on

Ron Burk on The Psychology of Incompetence

Here’s a great talk from the last Ignite to warm you up for tonight’s Ignite 7 event.

Why does software suck so bad? Is it possible that a lot of us really smart computer programmers are, in fact… incompetent? Ron Burk, with his wry style, asks the hard questions about hiring, firing and working with incompetence in the software industry in this talk that went viral on YouTube.

About Ron Burk

Ron Burk - Ignite Seattle 6Ron is the former editor of Windows Developer’s Journal and author of the upcoming book “The Pop Psychology of Programming.” You can find Ron Burk on his blog.

The Coolness of Telemedicine – Chris DiBona

We grew up watching medical droids, tricorders and stasis chambers as mainstays in futuristic medicine but it wasn’t that long ago that bionics, the hypospray and telemedicine were also merely science fiction. While there aren’t many open APIs or much rapid product development, the IT revolution hasn’t left the medical industry behind completely.

Chris DiBona takes us on a tour of the near future with his visit to the annual American Telemedicine Association Exposition and talks about the state of IT in the latest medical gear.

About Chris DiBona

Chris DiBona - Ignite Seattle 6Chris DiBona is the Open Source Programs Manager for Google, which includes running the Summer of Code, releasing open source software on Google’s Code website and contributing to several og Google’s blogs. He also helps plan the annual Sci Foo Camp with Tim O’Reilly and Nature’s Timo Hannay.

You can find Chris writing on his personal blog, Egofood or on Twitter @Cdibona in his spare time (spare time?).

The Sanity Hacks of a Stay At Home Mom – Jen Zug

Drawing from her real life as a stay at home mom, Jen Zug shares her parenting hacks to staying sane when the majority of her day is spent discussing the merits of Optimus Prime over Buzz Light Year.

Parenting may not be for everyone. Staying home may not be for every parent. But everyone makes choices they’re willing to sacrifice for, and we all find ways to cope when it’s no longer glamorous.

About Jen Zug

Jen Zug - Seattle 2.0 AwardsJen Zug is a writer and a stay at home mom.

You can find Jen Zug at @jenzug on Twitter or her blog, This Pile. She is the boss of Ruthie and Thomas (and often Bryan) no matter what they tell you.

Intangible Method (a digital fairy tale) – Scotto Moore

Scotto Moore takes us into a digital fairy tale about a young woman who realizes that first person video footage from her own life is being posted to YouTube – before the events actually occur in real life.

Surreal fantasy or could it really happen? You’ll not want to miss this gem from one of Ignite Seattle’s recurring cast of characters.

About Scotto Moore

You can find Scotto Moore on his Web site at

Humblefacturing a Sustainable Electronic Future – Dominic Muren

We geeks love our personal tech. iPhones, Kindles, and netbooks – these are the things we are quick to buy, and quick to trade up to stay on the bleeding edge. But in our wake we leave mountains of discarded, useless, and toxic ex-electronics. We have accepted this cycle of perpetual desire, momentary fulfillment, and discarding to chase new desires as the inevitable cost of technological life. But must this necessarily be the case?

Humblefacture is a movement to better understand how the way we make things affects our society and the environment. Using this understanding, practitioners of Humblefacture aim to make things more safe, useful, and accessible to more people.

Dominic Muren shows us how modular design, biologically-inspired construction, and user fabricated components can be used to create consumer electronics which go beyond “green materials” to create truly sustainable manufacturing.

About Dominic Muren

Dominic MurenDominic Muren is a full time lecturer in Design Studies in the Department of Design in the School of Art at the University of Washington. He has written extensively on design and how it relates to society, both online as a writer for, and on the weblog

You can find Dominic at @dmuren on Twitter, his Web site,, or on the bookshelves with “Green’s Not Black & White: The Balanced Guide to Making Eco Decisions,” published in May 2009.

The Invention of the Wheel – Mike Tyka

It seems Nature has beaten man to almost every “invention” : Helicopters, Submarines, Electricity, Video Cameras, Supercomputers, etc. For the longest time Mike Tyka thought the one notable exception was the wheel. Recent discoveries in biochemistry proved this to be false as well.

Nature has invented a full blown, reversible, proton driven turbine engine, many tens of thousands of which churn away in every one of the billions of cells in a human body. Join Mike Tyka as he takes you on a journey of discovery inside your body and the wheels that make you tick.

About Mike Tyka

Dr. Michael Tyka is a senior fellow at The Baker Laboratory at the University of Washington’s Biochemistry department.