The internet has taken what was initially a play on words and turned May the Fourth into a day of celebration called Star Wars Day. It has gone beyond the initial holiday and it has further been coopted to be adopted by consumer culture. To participate in yesterday’s “holiday,” DK Publishing released a comprehensive encyclopedia of all things within the Star Wars universe entitled Ultimate Star Wars.
Growing up, movies weren’t so readily available. When I couldn’t watch Star Wars, I would read books and look at Topps cards to relive the story, when I wasn’t making my own adventures with my toys. DK Publishing is merging the adventures created with toys with the storybooks in LEGO Star Wars in 100 Scenes.
When I came across the Nomiku at Engadget Expand last November, I was intrigued. I had heard of sous vide cooking, but had never seen it for myself. As someone who almost never cooks, it was interesting to watch the food cooking before my eyes, and I knew I had to try it out.
There are some programs that are iconic touchstones to our generation. We all watched them, shared in their fictional lives, and grew attached to them in different ways. One such show of the 1980s is The Wonder Years, the slice of life sitcom that took place in the 1960’s
The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 system is a great way to build robots or other autonomous creations, but it can have a steep learning curve. For those not familiar with Technic or Mindstorms, it is a different type of building experience than the LEGO System and the programming can be a new experience for a lot of people. For those beginners who need a place to start, The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book by Laurens Valk is a possible starting point.
When most people think of LEGO, they think of the brick based building system that they grew up with, but LEGO has a second building system started in 1977 that is still going just as strong. The Technic system uses beams rather than bricks to create more complex machine based builds. While Technic has a more mechanical feel to its builds, the book Incredible LEGO Technic: Cars, Trucks, Robots & More! by Pawel “Sariel” Kmiec shows some of the more creative and advanced builds that utilize the Technic system.
In the 1980’s, Steampunk was developed as a reaction to the growing Cyberpunk movement. Rather than the dystopian future fiction that was being developed, a reactionary fiction wherein the Industrial Revolution never came to pass and culture became stuck in the Victorian Era and all machines were steam powered. With time, the Steampunk movement grew and art and costumers created their own interpretations, including LEGO builders. In the new book Steampunk LEGO, Guy Himber shows off some of the Steampunk LEGO creations.
Many Mindstorms books teach how to use the kit by teaching how to make particular robots which work in a particular way. While this is a good way to learn how to build a Mindstorms robot, it is limiting the kinds of robots you learn to build and how the knowledge can be applied beyond those limited projects. Alternatively, there is The Art of LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Programming, a book focused primarily on the actual programming of the Mindstorms EV3 rather than overall robots.
Sometimes the hardest part of any project is getting started. Whether it is getting the initial idea or just getting started implementing the idea, it takes that effort to launch the concept into an actual project. For LEGO Mindstorms builders, The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Idea Book is here to help bring that initial idea from concept to actual build.
Over the years, the LEGO brick has moved from just a child’s plaything to an artistic medium. Like with other mediums, artist explore different aspects, including the darker ones that aren’t necessarily as wholesome as one would expect to find in children’s toys. With the new No Starch book, Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark, Mike Doyle explores some of the darker ideas that people have brought forth using LEGO pieces.