A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week:
Who: Phillip Torrone, Seattle-based associate editor of Make magazine
What it is: A quarterly how-to publication for high-tech tinkerers. It discusses and offers tips on personalizing hardware, making gadgets and taking up other do-it-yourself projects. Its circulation is 80,000 paid and 100,000 total.
There’s a blog, too: And Torrone is a prolific contributor, usually posting about 20 items a day. He also creates audio and video on the Makezine.com Web site. People can download the videos to digital devices. Torrone also writes for the magazine and contributes to the HOW 2.0 section in Popular Science.
And science fairs: The magazine has started Make Fairs, which Torrone describes as “science fairs with beer.” The next one is planned for April in San Mateo, Calif.
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Cool toys: Torrone said pretty much everything he owns is one-of-a-kind. His favorite gadget now is a cellphone made from a modified rotary phone. He’s tweaked an old Olympus camera so that it will take a digital photo every second when turned on. He’s also modified a CVS disposable digital camera for use.
Seattle DIY-ers: Torrone has lived in Seattle for four years, after spending time in Florida, New York, Minneapolis and Asia. Seattle is filled with willing beta testers, Torrone said. “The thirst for knowledge and sharing it in Seattle is amazing,” he said.
The creator inside: Torrone said he is passionate about self-publishing. Anyone can produce audio, video and publications, he said. Many new stories will be told and new things will be made as a result. He’s also a science geek, he said.
The future? One day people will download schematics from the Web and “print” out their own parts and gadgets, Torrone said. Sound impossible? So did personal CD burners a few decades ago. “It’s not crazy to think we’ll have the ability to become our own manufacturing plants, limited only by our imaginations,” he said.
— Kim Peterson