May 10, 2014

A Maker in the Quebec Fortress

A couple of weeks ago I saw a tweet from @hackaday about their new hacker contest.  The prize is only a trip to space... an actual trip to space worth around 200k.  That evening I was browsing the contest page to get more details and then I reached the eligibility section where it stipulates that the following can't participate: [...]Quebec, Italy, Cuba, Iran, Myanmar (formerly Burma), North Korea, Sudan, Syria, or any jurisdiction where the Contest would be restricted or prohibited by law [...]

The thing is, I was not too surprised since this happens often in Quebec where we have some retarded laws to control the lotteries.  Quebec is surely not the only place in the world where lottery & gambling is controlled but I think we're the only ones that are dumb enough to think that we can control all the world-wide lotteries. The result is that Loto Quebec, the government body controlling this, is trying to impose those crazy conditions on out-of-Quebec contests. So any contest with a prize must submit to those conditions and guess what, for only a small pool of 6 million people, they don't.  You ear that, contest organizers from around the world? Keep your free money and space trips. We have maple syrup.


So I can't register my project on Hackaday. Life goes on.

I recently acquired an Ultimaker 3D Printer and that was a huge moment for me.  I have so many projects that can benefit from this that I don't know where to start.  After a few days of learning the limits of the printer I was ready to start working on a project, and to make it even better why not a contest. So I returned to an old ongoing Intel contest page: the Make it Wearable Video Contest.  This place is a really cool mix of art, technology and people that I want to connect with.  Well you know the twist of that story.  This project [...] is open only to legal residents of Argentina, Canada (excluding the Province of Quebec), [...].


So I was ranting to people at work about the stupidity of this law but, deep inside, I thought that it wasn't too bad for now and that I could still connect with the Maker community through blogs, videos, twitter and so on.  “I'm a good sheep, I am.” (in the voice of My Fair Lady)

Then, a couple of days ago, the proverbial sh*t hit the fan.

My 9yo son who plays with LEGO Mindstorms found out about the MoonBots contest, a Google Lunar XPrize LEGO Mindstorms Challenge.  This an awesome international on-line competition for kids (9 to 17) where you have to simulate a moon mission.  Needless to say that we were bouncing ideas around and, as the vision of the project took shape, a shiver ran up my back.  I went to my computer and checked the small prints...  guess who can't compete? [...] Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Myanmar/Burma, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Syria, Argentina, Quebec, any other U.S. sanctioned country [...]

$^%&#@#$#&^ You're messing with my kids now.  The gloves are off and Nova Scotia looks like a great place to live.  Maybe I'll shop around for houses.

Where is the best place on earth for a family of Geeks and Maker?