Hi, I'm James, an ancient old man of the IT world (I first worked on an all-valves-and-wires machine called the NCR-Elliott 405 (http://www.vintage-icl-compute......com/icl40) and went on through IBM 360, PCs, Sinclair ZX-80 and Spectrum. At one stage I taught advanced database design for Big Blue. Having left IT a few years ago, the Arduino, Netduino and Rep Rap have brought me back.
I have a dream to produce a series of "Fab Labs" (community workshops) around the UK, based on Rep Rap and open source fabrication systems, like http://www.Contraptor.org
, MakerBeam, etc. Extending the idea of Rep Rap: rather than one machine that self-replicates using Open Source, a whole workshop, with both additive and subtractive engineering: 3D printers, CNC mills, CNC laser cutters, plasma cutters, even lathes.
Until I heard about Raspberry Pi, it seemed that the PCs to back it all up looked horribly expensive. Now I have a vision of digging out all those old laptops that lie in cupboards, gathering dust, stripping out the "recoverable" stuff, and inserting Raspberry Pi's, running Ubunto, Blender, and Replicator G.
I'm based in the home of the Spitfire (birth place of R G Mitchell), between Winchester and Southampton. Please feel free to contact me; the hacking scene down here is currently lonely!