We'll be open every day/night during Maker Faire, drop by and check out the space if you're visiting!
We'll be open every day/night during Maker Faire, drop by and check out the space if you're visiting!
I got home today from a month-long trip to China that I organized <https://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/NoisebridgeChinaTrip2>. 10 of us traveled around, visiting all of the hackerspaces currently in China, exhibiting at the Shenzhen Mini Maker Faire and giving talks and workshops and exhibiting at the big Maker Carnival China 2012 in Beijing. We also visited my manufacturer in Shanghai, where my TV-B-Gone remote controls are made.
Lots of photos:
This was my 10th trip to China. I was there with my mom in 1998, and then every year since I started making TV-B-Gone remotes there in 2004. It has been very interesting to get a snapshot impression of how China has changed through the years.
Though not very accurate, it is possible to have a sense of some very real change happening in China.
In 1998, there was capitalism visible in China, including KFCs everywhere, but it still felt like a 3rd-world version. Also, the Cultural Revolution was not all that long gone in ’98, and my sense was that people were still realing from it. Police were all over, and they had guns. And people seemed to be a bit wary of them.
On my trip in 2008, just before the Olympics, there must have been some heavy propaganda happening on Chinese media, ’cause lots and lots and lots of people I met all asked me what I thought about protestors in London and San Francisco. And before I could answer, they all said the same thing: “CNN is all lies.” I’d probably mostly agree, but probably for different reasons. There were also many inconvenient, seemingly random, restrictions imposed by the Chinese government (such as not allowing anything to be shipped with a battery installed). When asked why, most Chinese people I asked, answered with a straight face that it must be done because otherwise the Dali Lama would blow things up at airports.
By the time of the first Hacker Trip To China that I organized in 2009, things were very different. A gigantic, ugly statue of Mao was surrounded by a perimeter of stores selling everything imaginable. A huge department store had a mongo pile of a newly released American board game that they were pushing hard: Monopoly! There were still no hackerspaces in China, though. I still had the sense that officials were very official, and you didn’t want to cross them.
When I went there on my own last year, things were somehow way more open than it felt before. People I met were openly criticizing the government. There were two hackerspaces, XinCheJian in Shanghai, and FlamingoEDA in Beijing. Lots and lots of people, including those with positions in Chinese bureaucracy, were expressing the opinion that Chinese culture needs to change to encourage people to be creative and innovative — without this, they said, China would not have an economic future.
When I mentioned hackerspaces, people agreed with me that this was one means of implementing this change; and there was a lot of interest in me sharing my experiences in how to start a hackerspace. And there was also a lot of interest by people in organizing a Maker Faire for the same reason.
One year later, this year, there were not one, but two faires in China: a Mini Maker Faire in Shenzhen, and a big Maker Carnival in Beijing. And there are 7 hackerspaces in China, with talk of lots more. There may very well be 100 more soon, as the top 100 universities may be mandating that they each have one. And an elementary school in Shanghai is slated to have one soon. The hackerspaces in schools and universities are being called “Toyhouse” .
Everywhere I went, the Chinese media was interviewing me about how hackerspaces can change China in positive ways.
The Chinese government still openly censors the internet (though there are free online services that easily circumvent this). And the bureaucracy is still huge and centralized (though so big and out of control that many actually call it “anarchy”), and people in power can, seemingly on a whim, make decisions that adversly affect projects (such as the last-minute venue change for the Shenzhen Mini Maker Faire and the last minute date change at Maker Carnival — both because some bureaucrat said he needed the venue for a meeting — no apology — it’s just the way things are.
How will the changes in China play out? I don’t know. We will get to see.
Our lovely build platforms for Noisebridge’s RepRaps George and Gracie have been completed. Each one was made using a piece of poorly cut 3/8″ acrylic, and two layers of 1/8″ Plywood, laser cut to size. The holes for all three parts of each platform were also laser cut. For vitamins, I used four M3x16 Socket Cap bolts, and three M3 Nuts per bolt separating each part of the platform.
Hey laser cutting people: I have discovered excellent settings for laser cutting 1/8″ plywood. Regulate the current to just a pinch under 15mA and use the following settings:
3 Passes / 18.75% Speed / 100% power.
The reduced speed (25% to 18.75% – a 25% reduction) seems to account for the needed power, while the reduced number of passes (also a 25% and thus proportional reduction) reduces the excess char that is produced by the laser.
I’m going to be borrowing one of our Cupcake CNC’s over thanksgiving weekend to make a ton of prints. If all goes well, I’ll bring it back on Sunday with at least two sets of Prusa RPs printed, along with some spools and other goodies if time and materials permit. Awesomeness shall ensue.
Also, feast your eyes on two new Replicators to this world! one of them, currently just a concept/in early stages of design and development could be the successor to the Prusa Mendel, and the other could be the first real “RepRap for the rest of us” type thing.
Gobble Gobble! Go forth and replicate!
Geeks & Depression meetup
Tuesday, 6-December, 7:30pm
No Starch Press, 38 Ringold Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
(near Civic Center BART Station)
Let’s have a meetup where geeks can talk about depression and suicide. You are not alone. Share your story, if you like. Share a friend’s story. Or just hang out and listen. Let’s make it OK to talk about these things so that we don’t feel so alone with our feelings of being alone and depressed or suicidal.
This is not a support group — none of us are trained professionals, but we can get together in a safe, confidential space to talk about depression and suicide — an important part of life for so many of us geeks.
If others elsewhere in the world feel like creating their own meetups, please do.
For folks who don’t know, Ilya Zhitomirskiy, one of the founders of Diaspora, committed suicide recently. He was 22 years old.
Ilya hung out at Noisebridge, and also led workshops and hackathons for Diaspora at our space. Most people who met him were quickly taken in by his enthusiasm and do-ocratic charisma. I became instant friends with him the first day he showed up at Noisebridge shortly after he moved to San Francisco last year.
Hardly anyone had even a clue that Ilya was depressed, let alone suicidal. He was bubbly, cheerful, excited about all the way cool projects he was implementing, as well as the ones he had thought, and would think of.
Last night was his memorial in San Francisco, followed a party in his backyard in the Mission. This party was typical of the epic parties Ilya threw in his backyard over the past many months, bringing together so many wonderful people — incredible opportunities to have fun meeting and connecting with each other. The only thing atypical last night was that Ilya was not there.
Both the memorial and the party were full of people who knew and loved Ilya, and who Ilya knew and loved. Ilya could have reached out to any one of us — any time of day or night. He could have reached out. But he didn’t.
For Ilya to have held in and hid his pain so well that all of these people, including myself, had no clue — Ilya must have felt *so* alone, *so* isolated, exacerbating his pain too greatly. If he had reached out, maybe — maybe — he could have lived another day. But he didn’t.
I lived the first half of my life in total and utter depression. No joy, just shame, just self-loathing, dread and anxiety and fear of other people — total depression. I know what it is like to be depressed. I know what it is like to live for one’s whole life knowing and believing that the best life might have to offer is the ability for me to endure the pain till I eventually died. That was the best possibility. As with Ilya, I hid all of this from the world as best as I could. And most people had no clue I was depressed.
Yet, I learned, through making choices for myself, and learning from the consequences of my choices, and with help and support of others, over a period of many years, making more choices, learning, growing, crashing, burning, making more choices, more support. . . — I eventually learned to live a life I love. I love the life I live! If I could learn to live a life I love, then, certainly, it is possible for anyone to do this!
It is more than possible — it is way worthwhile, way rewarding, way wonderful to go through the experiences of our life — through the ups and the downs, through the all-arounds, and all the pain and suffering and joy and love and excitement — and come to a place where you know that the pain, regardless of its intensity, is yet another (perhaps seemingly unendurable) experience, which gives way to more of what makes life even more worthwhile.
Depression is an important part of life. Everyone experiences it to some extent. But to those of us who know chronic depression, it is our own unique hell.
Unique as it is to each of us, we all share a lot.
And we all have a lot to share with each other. Through the ups, and the downs, the all-arounds.
For someone who has no experience reaching out, it can seem to be the scariest thing possible. But it is possible.
It is very possible. Ilya is dead. But you — you are still alive. If you are contemplating suicide, please know that you are not alone. You are part of a community of others, many of whom know what it is like to be hopelessly depressed. Many of whom are more than open for you to reach out to (if you only knew!).
You *can* choose to kill yourself. But it will be your last choice. If you are ready to kill yourself, why not try out one choice first? What do you have to lose? I know it is scary, and perhaps way shameful, and maybe too awful, and extremely difficult — but, really, what do you have to lose? Please know that you *can* choose to reach out to someone. Please, know that you can. Please, pick someone and reach out.
Why wait till your pain is so unendurable? You can reach out now. (Really, you can.)
The Occupy Movement is an international protest movement which is primarily directed against social and economic inequality. Currently near by to us there are Occupy encampments in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley.
Noisebridge as always is open to those looking for a space to work on projects, and resources to make those projects a reality. We've been seeing more and more groups coming through seeking aid for things related to the Occupancy. Together we've built out interesting ways to recharge car and cell phone batteries, provided internet at camp, had meetings about web presence, document GA minutes and more.
We want to let participants of the Occupy Movement know that we're here and open to them. We've also started a site called hackupy.org. Hackupy are open hack nights at hackerspaces for Occupy related projects, and the site gives a listing of spaces which provide such nights. So far hackupy has been happening at NYC: Resistor and almost 24/7 at Noisebridge, and we look forward to seeing more hackerspaces jump in and provide time to those wanting to hack for excellence!
Fantastic day at Replicator Wednesday, although unproductive, for the power was reset while I was printing prusa parts, and I lost the print. However, this is why PLA is so wonderful. When I was done swearing, I could simply toss the PLA garbage in the Blue recycling bin as a category 7.
A word to the wise: If you wanna learn CAD, DO NOT START WITH GOOGLE SKETCHUP. I’m a recovering SketchUp user, and am now learning PTC Creo. At the very least, I can export to .stl (and all the other things as well)