Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit January 04, 2016 - 10:00 am

Geeks and do-it-yourself tech masters unite in Nunavut’s capital

“It's for people of all levels to help each other learn"

THOMAS ROHNER
Jamie Griffiths, who helped get Iqaluit's Geek Makers Club off the ground, uses her Raspberry Pi computer through a wall projector in her home Dec. 29. The mini computer is an affordable, efficient computing alternative, perfect for tinkering with, Griffiths said. (PHOTO BY THOMAS ROHNER)
Jamie Griffiths, who helped get Iqaluit's Geek Makers Club off the ground, uses her Raspberry Pi computer through a wall projector in her home Dec. 29. The mini computer is an affordable, efficient computing alternative, perfect for tinkering with, Griffiths said. (PHOTO BY THOMAS ROHNER)
The Raspberry Pi computer, engineered by a British educational charity, doesn't have a hard drive. Instead it runs on a memory stick and has USB and Ethernet ports. (PHOTO BY THOMAS ROHNER)
The Raspberry Pi computer, engineered by a British educational charity, doesn't have a hard drive. Instead it runs on a memory stick and has USB and Ethernet ports. (PHOTO BY THOMAS ROHNER)

Tech-nerds in Nunavut’s capital have found a new home: Iqaluit’s Geek Makers Club.

The club already boasts more than 40 members despite holding its first meeting just a few weeks ago on Dec. 6.

It aims to encourage Iqalummiut to learn from, and support, each other in their techy, do-it-yourself dreams.

“It’s for people of all levels to help each other learn, and to help with geeky projects that maybe they got stuck on, or procrastinated or didn’t have the computers for,” Jamie Griffiths said Dec. 30. She helped start the club from her Iqaluit home.

The first few meetings, held Monday evenings at the Iqaluit library, involved brief presentations by members who volunteered to share their knowledge.

The club members learned about open-source operating system for computers, and a mighty — but mini and cheap — computer model, called the Raspberry Pi.

Open-source software programs, which include the operating system Linux, discussed by the club, are programs created publicly by people from around the world who collaborate online.

Open-source software is often free and therefore accessible to anyone.

The Raspberry Pi, engineered by a British educational charity, costs around $60, is roughly the size of a wallet and has high enough graphic capabilities to play HD videos.

The mini-computer consists mainly of a processor, with slots for memory cards, USB sticks and an Ethernet cable for internet.

Two of the Iqaluit club members already own the mini-computers, a few more have ordered one and the library owns a couple that members can use and learn from as well, Griffiths said.

So far, the second half of each meeting has involved members breaking up into smaller groups to work on their own projects, discuss more specific topics and help each other.

The club is founded on the same principles as the Maker Movement — a United States-based movement that encourages supportive and creative knowledge-sharing, especially in re-purposing old gadgets.

“The whole point is sharing what you know,” Griffiths said.

As the Geek Makers Club continues to grow, members will have to decide if they might need a different format for meetings.

The club may also establish itself as a society to become more recognizable across Nunavut and to make it easier for the club to accept contributions.

Currently, the club is in need of old computers, monitors and laptops, Griffiths said.

“The club launched itself very quickly, the energy was already there,” she said.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the club you can search for the Geek Makers Club (Iqaluit) page on Facebook, or drop by the Iqaluit library on Mondays at 6 p.m..

 

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