I've been an avid maker of model kits since I was about five years old. My first attempt at assembly was a FROG P-38J/L Lighning Long Range Fighter in 1/72 scale. Since then, I've built mostly model aircraft, but have done some pretty cool AFVs, ships, submarines, space, science fiction, and railroad things in my time too. From U-boats to Saturn V rockets, I've assembled, painted, customized and displayed hundreds of made models over the years. When I relocated from the US to Ireland a few years back, I shipped over 1,000 unassembled kits with me (and a large numbers of built ones). I've built (and flown) remote control versions too.
As a maker of kits, once you get the hang of it, you quickly find yourself wanting much, more more. It's not enough to read the instructions and build out of the box. You want to customize the kits, extend them with different parts, work with different materials, and of course build your own subjects from scratch. You want completed ones that delight you, versions that nobody else has, and have fun from the process too. And, the resources are all there for you to do that: from airbrushes to special decals to aftermarket parts and the various bits and pieces to enable you to make your models your own way.
And what's this got to do with user experience (UX)? LOTS! I'll be at the Maker Faire Bay Area 2012 in San Mateo, telling you the Oracle Applications UX story about how you can make cool stuff yourself too: software applications to use in work that are drop-dead easy to use and look the business too. I'll talk about the tools, components and design guidelines that Oracle provides for you to do that, how this fits within our powerful Java ecosystem, so you can turbocharge your making of applications and also have a fine career and see the world out of it too!
So, come along and see and hear me and Oracle coworkers in action. If you want to chat about model kits, that's cool too! Stay tuned for more details.