Our Sunday skill-share this week involved eating copious amounts of superlicious breadfruit, shoveling compost, doing crafty activities and talking about the implications of place and place sharing.
As a long time Windows user, and finally making the switch to MacOSX – I know well how much the Windows OS is problematic – and in so many ways. Windows is not built by people who care – the tool chains and solutions they offer are bad enough that it becomes increasingly difficult to actually make forward progress. I personally reached a point where I was losing a day every day in dealing with performance and networking issues and it was a big motivator for my leap over to MacOSX. I had shied away from the Ubuntu and FreeBSD solutions for my desktop for a variety of reasons, mostly that I figured that Windows would be “good enough”. Now that I am on a *BSD system I realize what a mistake that was. Metaphorically using Windows is like living in the suburbs – don’t surround yourself with people or practices that are mediocre because only mediocrity will result from it. Perhaps we are not good at finding excellence, but we can avoid what we know is bad.
In any case then I personally took a peek at the problem with http://graffiti.org . This was brought to us as a real urgency and a real need. The entire site is static, and hand-built. But in need up systemic upgrades and improvements. What I’ve done is build a scraper using hpricot from why the lucky stiff which walks each page of the site – turning into a document tree and then pruning and injecting new layout details – to generate a new site. Fun. This worked well and I think we have a first rev of the site redesign done.
We took shovels to the compost that the neighbor needed moved – and we talked about place. There are resonances between us. Matthew is extremely interested in how people perceive spaces, how we can reclaim urban space. He hosts the http://thebackroompdx.com/thebackroom_future.php event which brings artists and designers together to talk about space – usually involving copious amounts of food. Not quite sure how he knows so many people in fact. Amber Case – our cyber anthropologist in residence – also has a similar fascination witih place recently; she’s asking the lazy web for a way to have geo-local rss feeds so that as you walk around the city you are subscribing to different feeds that reflect that part of the city. I too am interested in place, and would like to find a way to build technology to solve this puzzle, and also bring in folks like Matthew to bring critical analysis to it.
Finally at 9 or so Paige Saez and Amber Case both showed back up in town after being at MIT. Bram and I fetched them from the aeropuerto. We had to talk them down from their hyper-kinetic mental mode ( after a few days at an intense conference they were definitely at top speed ) – and we just hacked late into the night – played music and ate food. I put on a movie in the corner ( Totoro ) and a good time was had by all.
We’ve all been doing a skillshare on Sundays for many weeks now. It has somewhat replaced our initial focus in the year of Tuesday and Friday nights – the approach we used to build http://imagewiki.org . While not as work focused it is more diverse. Paige has a large community of artists, anarchists and creatives who’ve been bringing their diversity to our events. What seems to be the most fun for us hearing about problems and issues from people and then helping them solve their problems. The crowds are diverse, and we swarm over issues, talk about them, eat food, and generally have a pretty good time. Sometimes we do this at my house ( 4804 North Borthwick ) and sometimes at either Paige’s Gallery or Ben’s Gallery ( IGLOO and ON Gallery respectively ).