Month: October 2011

Is it time to retool libraries?

I’m reading the latest issue of Make Magazine online. Yes, I still get the dead tree edition too but I’m considering dropping that and just going all electronic. And yes, I am getting a Kindle Fire though I have the Kindle app on my phone. It’s just the bigger screen would be nice on the Fire.

But anyhow in this edition of Make on pages 28-29 there’s an article title “Is it Time to Retool Public Libraries as TechShops” by Phillip Torrone.

And as I look at my city I see elements of the things mentioned in Torrone’s article. Yes, little Providence has a hacker space in the Brain Tank which is also where DC401 meets.

We have the Steel Yard where you can pay money to take courses on how to weld things, make things, ceramics. Just a lot fo things to learn!

We have AS220 for performance arts which is where Providence Geeks meets.

Brain Tank is interesting. I may want to get a membership there because they have all the cool tools.

And DC401, I’m almost always there because quite frankly the topics of discussion are interesting as hell, and the hardware projects are fun.

Haven’t been to Providence Geeks in some time and I think it was well summed up at the last DC401 meet up. It seems the event is being overtaken by the corporate lackeys. I also noted a high number of unemployed there too.

I do want to take some classes at Steel Yard though, yes it looks pricey but some of them run for several weeks so you’re really learning it. I mostly want to learn the welding and foundry skills but the glass casting and fusing fascinates me too. I wonder if I can get educational creds for this stuff?

the fact that we have all this in our little city fascinates me. I think a lot of it stems from AS220 and even they have a nice little hackerspace in there.

But getting back to the article. Maybe our public libraries should embrace the hackerspace mentality. Maybe even a Fab Lab at the Central library in downtown Providence. That would be, in a two words, fucking sweet!

And it would help the sagging libraries too. With city budgets being cut, libraries need to find new ways to prop up their huge collections because those too have value. The libraries need to become value added places. So I say to you Providence Public Library (Not owned by the city mind you!), think about it. You have the facilities that could be converted into a Fab Lab.

Even the branch libraries now run by a different group could embrace parts of this, maybe act as feeders by introducing some of the tech to youngsters.

I’m pretty sure there are grants out there that would cover the costs. It is after all, educational.

Cheapie USB audio adapter modification

So the old laptop had it’s audio jack start clipping out on the right channel. I had two options, either open the laptop up, unsolder the old connector and put in a new one, or use a USB audio adapter with audio-out and audio-in connectors.

Weighing it out, the labor involved in repairing the laptop outweighed the cost of the USB adapter. The USB adapter cost a whole $2.88.

But it was cheaply snapped together and the USB plug isn’t anchored to the board. Keyron’s adapter is trashed but I can fix that easily by re-soldering the USB connector.

So I decided to go preventative on mine. I fired up the glue gun and applied six drops of hot glue, two to anchor the USB connector internally, and one drop on each corner. I snapped it together and now it’s a SOLID device.

I love modifying cheap electronics and making them dependable. I’ve done it with my laptop by replacing parts that have gotten old or failed. Thus far I replaced the palm assembly, the LCD and the hard drive. Only the motherboard is the original.

Granted, I am getting ready to buy a new computer. I do get a 17% discount on a new machine where I work so I can really load one up.

Face if NOM, you can’t stop us!

I was pleased to see the NOM has suffered yet another judicial decision that they have to expose their donor lists. Good. Of course NOM is able to tap dance around IRS rules but don’t piss off a judge.

Because before you know it you’ll see old Pumpkin Face himself, Brian Brown, marched away in cuffs because he ignored a judicial order. Judges get downright cranky about that stuff.

So for all the misinformation and outright lies NOM has put forth, it’s time to pay the piper!

And I am so not feeling this new WordPress interface!

Finally – a decent flickr app for Android!

So I got a notification that there was a new update for the Flickr app on my Android phone. So I updated it. Well, let me tell you the folks at Flickr are thinking smart.

For example, not only can I share a picture to Flickr, but cross post it to Facebook, Twitter (Which I refuse to do!), tumblr, email and even this, yes WordPress.

You can see some of the uploads to Flickr over on the right there.

Damned ragweed season!

I would have to be allergic to the tree, grass and weed group. It means general misery from late March through early November.

But with just Allegra I can weather spring and summer. But fall, even with the drug my eyes itch, upper throat itches, and I get an almost constant running nose. It’s the blasted ragweed. It starts pollinating when the temps fall below 60F. It’s sort of original to the northeast.

I missed my annual allergist appointment this year. Can’t really figure out why since I did have insurance at the time. I just thought I could skip it. Not next year. And I’ll get a six month prescription for the 2.5mg prednisone. That coupled with Allegra knocks ALL the symptoms out during ragweed season. That and the Patanol drops, expensive little drops but they keep me from wanting to tear my eyes out.

Uh oh, Mittens is in trouble

So Mitt(hew) Romney was a Mormon Bishop? Christ on a stick! So we have an authoritarian believe in a cult with faith that makes even Catholicism look legitimate.

You do know that Mormon beliefs include that fact that when you die, you get to be the God of your own planet? I give Joseph Smith some credit at least for knowing there were other planets out there. Which is being proven almost daily by the various orbiting probes out there.

But the real foundation of Mormonism was the fact that Joseph Smith couldn’t keep it in his pants. So he invented, yes like all religions, he invented a religion that would allow him to dip the old wick in as many women as he could.

And reading of Romeney’s work as a Bishop in the church, well it should make most other Christians distrust him.

Like I said before, every single Republican candidate for the Presidency so far has serious electoral flaws!

Occupy Providence crowd at 2,000+

So I heard today that the Occupy Providence movement got close to 2,000 people there today. I am totally shocked.

I couldn’t make it. We were visiting a friend who is in the hospital with what I suspect is pulmonary hypertension which is never good. It’s when the pressure on the right hand side of the heart is unusually high. The reason the left side of our heart is larger is because it needs to keep a pretty high pressure, but for the fairly delicate tissues of the lungs, you need a low pressure system. Increase the pressure and you can rupture the blood/gas barriers in the lungs. Not a good thing. But enough of that little medical school lesson.

I saw on Facebook that there were 2,000 attendees at the event this evening. And I checked the ABC6 site and they say over 1,000 which is their hedge. I wanted to go but between having a phone with a flat battery and the visit, I couldn’t make it.

But I’m happy to see the outrage becoming evident all across the U.S. and even in Europe! All throughout the eight years of Bush & Co. I wondered where it was and when we might see it. Now we’re seeing it. Meanwhile you’ve got big banks trying to screw us by charging $5 a month to use a debit card. First they slammed us with high interest rates and fees on credit cards so most people elected to say screw it, use a debit card. So now they’re going to try to squeeze that?

I’ve also heard in other news that they’re limiting access to Wall St. in NYC to only folks with work ID’s. What part of unconstitutional do they not understand?

But in RI, you know things are bad when you can swing a couple thousand people to your cause. And I’m happy that the occupy movement here is strong.

One thing that amazes me is that they are occupying Burnside Park without a permit. And the city’s Public Safety Commissioner is letting them do it for a few days. That to me is VERY interesting.

It’s interesting because I don’t believe the rank and file of PPD have their heart in the game, especially with recent layoffs and cutbacks in the department as well as the open attacks on the unions in general in this city.

So my brothers and sisters in the fight, stay on it! I’ll help where I can by writing and agitating against corporate personhood.