Thank You for a Successful Summer!


This year’s summer workshops were a huge hit. With most classes filled to capacity, we want to thank all new and returning Stratolab members. With such great students doing amazing work, Stratolab is always fun and rewarding for all.


Stratolab announces Strato-Lounge


To celebrate spring, Stratolab invites the public to visit our Upper West Side Studio for “StratoLounge.” All through May, when courses are not in session, StratoLounge will be open to everyone!

StratoLounge is a place to come hang out Tuesday – Saturday after school. Please come visit, use our computers, play games, do homework, or just chill out and have fun. Light and nutritious snacks will be served, and there will be short computer demonstrations every hour. StratoLounge is free and open to everyone. No appointment or registration is necessary, just drop in and join the fun.

We look forward lounging with you!


Stratolab at NY Comic Con


stratolab_shows_robots_at_comicconStratolab is demonstrating at NY Comic Con. We have a booth number 2046. If you are at the DC Comics Booth, go 3 rows North towards “Artist Alley”, and turn left.


LEMUR


Only tangentially related to Stratolab, I just heard about a very interesting place in Brooklyn — LEMUR. They build musical robots and installations. I happened to meet one of the artists, Joshua Goldberg, and he is a fascinating guy. With a background in music, theater, computers and mechanics, his work looks very interesting.


New Course: Cartoons, Computers and Comic Books


Why are all comics about other people? Aren’t you the most interesting person around? Should you be a super hero instead of that Clark Kent dude? Here’s your chance. Starting January 4, our own Sebastian Mondrone will be coaching a new version of this course on creating cartoons using Comic Life and iMovie. For more information, see the course description.


NBC visits Stratolab to help Wednesday’s Child


Some of you may have heard of WNBC’s news segment “Wednesday’s Child”. Every week Janice Huff interviews a foster child who would like to be adopted. They find out some interest of the child such as sports, music, or…video games, and they arrange for him or her to get a lesson. It’s a wonderful program.

They found me somehow and asked if I could teach a young man named Mauricio a bit about video game programming, and then use my studio for the the interview. I was honored to help out and I had a really good time with Mauricio. He was quiet but very intelligent and picked up what I was showing him immediately. I wish him the best fortunes for his future. Truly a worthwhile cause and I was glad to help in a small way.


Stratolab has a Home!


stratolabmap_125_w_72nd_stAfter many months of searching, we’ve finally found the perfect place for our studio, a.k.a. Stratolab Internation Headquarters. It’s on West 72nd Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where most of our clients are, near the express subway stop for the 1/2/3 trains and also the B/C trains. It’s next to ButterCup Bakery and just a block and a half from Central Park. We have a quiet area for working on computers or robots, and another comfortable area for discussing ideas and projects.


Comic Life for Learning Storytelling


Some of my students have been using Comic Life to work on storytelling. I was inspired to use comics with my students by my friend Sebastian Mondrone who is an amazingly creative guy and a comic author himself. Comics are a great way to work on creative writing at a younger age because the visuals make it compelling, and you can tell a lot of story with just a bit of writing.

One thing that I’ve realized is that what I think is a good story is not necessarily what others think, and that it’s important to let students have the freedom to express their ideas despite my better judgement.

For more examples of Comic Life storytelling, check out Ido and Jordan’s page.


DorkBot


 

Musical Robot at DorkBotI went to my first meeting of dorkbot on Wednesday. Dorkbot has a great motto: “people doing strange things with electricity.” Who can resist the temptation of such an intriguing description? Dorkbot is a series of monthly meetings where a few people demonstrate their inventions and take questions. My favorite was Bret Doar demonstrating some rickety devices constructed from old bicycle wheels that produce erie space-age music/noise. Jon Lippincott’s algorithmically generated virtual solar system and David Kareve’s horrified robot art were also fascinating.

The best thing about the dorkbot meeting was the exhilaration of imagining what can be made out of garbage—old bicycle wheels, motors from broken printers and fax machines—if only you have time time and ingenuity to do it. I’d like to make a course for just this sort of creativity—robotic sculpture out of household junk. I wonder if people would be interested.


Summer Camp July 10 – 14 — Advanced Video Game Programming


By popular request, we are adding one additional summer day-camp for Video Game Programming for Kids. This will be an advanced session for students who have already taken our at least one LRY course, or have some previous programming experience. The camp will be Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm, for one week. That’s 30 hours of heavy-duty game building fun. Contact us to register.