Monthly Archives: July 2006

Playing with LEGO at Work

With looming deadlines and a mountain of work, it’s been a pretty rough week at the office, so I wasn’t looking forward to a four-hour training course on how to conduct customer visits. My day picked up immediately when I saw a big tub of basic bricks on the conference room table.

After a brief overview of the topic, we were divided into teams of three — one “user” plus a note-taker and observer who “worked for LEGO.” Naturally, I wanted to be a user so I could get paid to build! The user was supposed to perform a task: To recreate their living room with the available bricks. Being the sorty sort that I am, I quickly had the bricks sorted by color, telling the observer that I wasn’t happy that my “product” also included some knock-off parts (Mega Bloks, ugh).

Given ten minutes and parts limitations, all while talking through my process, I was fairly pleased with my sorta-kinda vignette (photos by my quick-thinking office-mate, Crystal, who said, “Oh, you should blog this tonight!”):

Kate, my manager’s manager and one of the other “users,” had this to say about my creation: “Overachiever.” Hee hee.

Here’s another living room, by Ilana:

I like her entertainment center, couch, and coffee table. The multi-colored stacks of bricks also work surprisingly well as bookcases. Both Ilana and I kept playing with the LEGO throughout the rest of the meeting. Ilana ended up with a three-foot-tall rainbow thingy and I had a bunch of geometric objects of various shapes and sizes.

After we finished our living rooms, the observers and note-takers presented their findings, writing up a “sequence” of each user’s actions:

Along the way, the group collected various data points or “factoids” about what the users said and did, which we then organized into related sets using a process called “affinity grouping”:

(If you want to read what a bunch of geeks had to say about playing with LEGO, see the full-size versions of picture 1, picture 2, and picture 3.)

Not nearly as fun as free-building at home, but hey, it beats a meeting any day. ;-)

Add to | Digg It | Furl It

Flickr Steampunk Contest

Several people asked for a link to the steampunk contest on Flickr, so here it is:

The contest is almost over, but the judging should be beginning soon, and it’s always interesting to see which creations are selected as the best.

Add to | Digg It | Furl It

Kevoh’s Heliocopter and Whirligig

Thanks to the Flickr steampunk contest, there’s been a bumper crop of steampunk lately. Awesome. Kevin Blocksidge adds two more with his Heliocopter and Whirlygig.

Kevin’s heliocopter has gone through several iterations, and I have to say that this, the simplest version, definitely works for me (love the minifig):

The whirlygig is apparently based on a real-life experimental vehicle:

Nathan Proudlove and the World of Tomorrow

This may be the first steampunk SHIP (that’s a Spacer term for Significantly Huge Investment in Parts). Nathan Proudlove presents a flying steampunk aircraft carrier reminiscent of Angelina Jolie’s ship in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow:

Not surprisingly, my favorite part is the little steampunk bicycle thingie sitting on the deck:

(More catching up. This one via Brick Brick.)

Mecha Instructions from Soren. w00t!

Ever wanted to build a mecha of your own? Not satisfied with puzzling out building techniques from Brickshelf pictures? Wonder no more! Soren Roberts and Tim Gould have teamed up to announce step-by-step instructions for Soren’s RGM-79C GM mecha:

View the partslist and download the instructions (in PDF format).

(Okay, so I have some catching up to do… Credit to mumu for blogging this first.)