[Noisebridge-discuss] draft of Signal to Noise, a NB newsletter

Jonathan Foote jtfoote at ieee.org
Wed Jan 5 03:02:43 UTC 2011

OMG yes.

Certain graybeards of an Anglophone bent might remember NTK, which was
possibly the best bloody email newsletter on the planet. It was funny,
subversive, informative, and co-written by none other than Dany. (For
a flavour sample, see ntk.net.)

I miss it terribly.

So anything even remotely similar from the pen of Mr. O'Brien has my
vote. I'd even volunteer to write/edit. Make it so.

On Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 5:06 PM, Danny O'Brien <danny at spesh.com> wrote:
> Briefly, my sense talking and polling people right now is that there's
> a huge amount of activity going on in and around Noisebridge that
> people (and the public) don't know about and is not easily
> discoverable. (Also that the NB community is now far larger and more
> diverse than it used to be, which means the time and resources need to
> maintain one-to-one conversations with everyone to maintain social
> coherence and spread news and mutually groom one another's silverback
> pelts and  prevent [or at least adequately publicise] HUGE FIST FIGHTS
> is growing steadily greater. If this was a TED talk I'd start
> bullshitting about Dunbar numbers, but this is nb-discuss so you would
> start throwing PBR cans at my head, so I won't.)
> Anyway, at last week's meeting I mused that one way to help fix this
> would be to have a regular Noisebridge newsletter, which would pull in
> some of the threads of this larger social group, and have a simple way
> for everyone to keep in touch with what's going on, and feel a warm
> glow of self-regard at being in with all the in shit, and thing.
> Below is my first stab at this. I went around the mailing lists,
> talked to people, interviewed one Noisebridger at length, and then
> through it all into an old ASCII email newslettter format I happen to
> have around (some of you may know I co-wrote http://www.ntk.net/ a
> decade ago. Yeah, I dusted that off. Kill me)
> The content is pretty much what I could imagine writing every
> fortnight with some help. It certainly wasn't hard to find cool stuff
> that noisebridgers do; it was harder to decide what not to put in. I
> didn't spend much time on formatting nor tone or voice (ie this is the
> special No Actual Jokes edition), because that takes a while to get
> right and for this first go I wanted to concentrate on purest content.
> It's very rough though.
> I'm sending this one out only to noisebridge-discuss for your comments
> and criticisms. In the real world, it would go out to nb-announce. I
> want whatever finally goes out there to that to be sustainable long
> term however. Realise that if you're a regular nb-discuss reader you
> probably know much of this, but there are plenty of people who do not
> (most NBers I've spoken to don't know that the financial mess is not
> so dreadful these days, for instance.)
> My acute self-criticism is at the bottom of it, under the ASCII <HR>
> tag. I welcome comments, yeah even from you.
> ============
>   .-'`-.     Signal
>   z    !/|   To Noise
>   z    !\|   V11.010000000(Beta)-rc7
>   `-'`-      2011-01-04
> In this issue:
>> Meredith Scheff-King is ALL SCARF, ALL THE TIME
> This February, Noisebridge will not disappear in a white hole of
> debt, anguish and sheet rock dust. You all stepped up, and in a few
> weeks we went from having little cartoon flies buzzing out of the
> cartoon wallet, to touching the rim of our canonical hackerspace
> float of three months costs in advance ($15K).
> Noisebridge has historically paid its bills with about 2/3rds from
> membership dues, and the rest from casual donations. We're mostly
> fixed the overdue dues problem thanks to Kelly's excellent financial
> forensics, but Noisebridge is still prone to economic boom-bust on
> the rand()*(donations) front.
> A lot of you drop a few bucks in the box when you come by, and thank
> you, you're awesome. But just as you don't have to a member of
> Noisebridge to use the space for whatever, you don't have to be a
> full member to make a pre-programme regular donation. Turn those few
> bucks into a monthly electronci payment of just $10 or $20, and
> you'll always have a Gentlemen And Ladies Space Within Which To Hack.
> Plus less of this irregular NPR-style pledge-drive spazzing. Go on!
> https://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/Donate_or_Pay_Dues
> - We'll give you Ira Glass's perineum in a totebag if you give us a fifty
> http://cha-ching.noisebridge.net/
>         - mfb broke into our PayPal account and wrote a script at it
> http://j.mp/tenbridge
> - $10 dude! You pay more than that in dropbox or Ritual or watercress
> or something!
>         Noisebridge's Scanning Electron Microscope is getting better
>         every day: Mike and Andy got it working up to 20,000x.
>         Schematics and pics uploaded to:
>         http://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/SEM
>         THE TEA ROOM is no more! Zed and Shannon went on a
>         stairs-constructing rampage and constructed a space you can
>         walk up to, on your legs. It still works for tea drinking.
>         That BUILD-OUT MESS by the touch-panel was magicked away
>         into the Even Darker Room (aka the Scott Memorial Storage
>         Room). The ADA BATHROOM got grab-bars c/o Miloh!
>         https://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/File:Noisebridge_map.png
>         Eric and Chung-Hay of Sensebridge launched their HEART SPARK
>         heatbeat-sensitive necklace to universal Internets acclaim!
>         Eric's in Toronto now, hanging out with our hacklab.to
>         sisters, but C-H is still about, and working on new
>         projects, including a heartbeat scarf. Scarfs are cool.
>         http://sensebridge.net/projects/heart-spark/
>         http://bunnymeetsbean.blogspot.com/
>         MC Hawking, the wheelchair robot, now has an embedded PC for
>         a brain, and is possibly conspiring with our IRC noisebot.
>         He is actually deadly.
>         https://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/Noise-Bot
>         Sean made a Tron suit out of 190 proper LEDs and not boring
>         EL wire like you thought. He's like Tron Guy : Legacy!
>         http://www.instructables.com/id/LED-lit-Tron-v20-suit/
>         (From the Cyborg list:
> https://www.noisebridge.net/mailman/listinfo/cyborg )
> All the usual events at https://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/Category:Events plus:
>> Sean's Distillation Class
> Wednesday, January 5th @ 7PM
> "I'll teach you how a still works, go over some options for 'rolling
> your own', and the best part of the whole thing? We'll actually
> distill something, and try the results! Plan on the class lasting
> about 2 hours."
>> Neural Net Workshop!
> Wednesday, January 26, 2011
> Mike Schachter says: the Machine Learning group at Noisebridge wants
> to teach you! We're holding a workshop on constructing and using
> neural networks, to raise Neural Network Awareness (NNA) and money
> for Noisebridge. Bring laptops!
> https://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/Neural_Network_Workshop
>> Noisebridge Book Club!
> Miah implies without explicitly stating: "I'm starting a NB book club
> on Goodreads. We can be virtual or have actual meetings":
> http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/41745.Noisebridge_Book_Club
> MEREDITH SCHEFF-KING won the Awesome Foundation's monthly $1000 award
> for her proposal to make 30 scarves in January. Signal to Noise
> caught her attacking her third scarf in the space, and plagued her
> with dumb questions:
>> So is this three scarfs of the day or one you're making right now?
> It's one; the scarf of today is reconfigurable with one or two or three
> free-floating sections.
>> Are you planning out the whole month beforehand, or are you taking
>  it one scarf at a time?
> Well, I went into it with more than thirty scarf ideas, but
> ultimately I'm making them one at a time. I don't want to plan too
> far ahead. I work better spontaneously.
>> How much your time are you setting aside for this?
> All of it. I'm not doing much else but making scarves this month. At some
> point I'm going to have to get groceries, I guess.
>> Okay, I have to ask. Why scarves?
> I love warm, fuzzy things. I'm sort of a chilly person. I grew up in
> the Central Valley, where it's over 100 degrees a lot of the time, so
> it's always cold by comparison. And I like making art that I wear.
> With a lot of my work, like the cartooning or the construction you
> don't know if anyone sees the end result. It might be that noone sees
> it.
>> But if you're wearing, you get to see the reaction?
> Yes! Also, people know what they're seeing. It's not like an artwork
> where you have to explain to the audience what they're seeing first.
> They already know it's a scarf. They know what it's supposed to do.
>> I saw that you were agonising on your Twitter stream about keeping two craft
>  centers, one at your home and one at Noisebridge. Where do you think you're
>  going to spend most of your time this month?
> Well, this is scarf three, and the first one I'm making at NB. It
> gets lonely making stuff at home. I'm very distractable, but it's
> easier to avoid that here, strangely. Like, I can choose not to bring
> my computer here, but I can't *not* have it at my apartment.
>> Does it help you finish a project when you have a clear goal like this?
> A bit. Mainly, though, it's the publicity that encourages you to keep
> going. When the Awesome Foundation mailed me I'd won the award for
> January, I'd actually almost forgotten I'd applied.  And then they
> told me all the blogs and people that they'd already told. I was like
> "uh-oh, I guess I'd better actually do this". Then of course, the
> economics of taking a month off for $1K doesn't work out, so I
> started a Kickstarter project to get the rest of the money, and I
> thought "Whoa, now I really *really* have to do this."
> I guess it sounds kind of bad, but I do like it when my projects do
> the rounds on the Internet. Like the Northskirt -- that was such a
> lot of work, and so is this. It makes me happy to know people see it.
>> Do you know where you're going to show all the scarves yet?
> Actually, no -- I haven't had a moment of time away from scarves to
> call around galleries.
> (Miloh shouts from the kitchen that Meredith's rice is boiling.
> Finally distracted, she runs off to grab five precious minutes of
> non-scarf scarfing.)
> Meredith's Kickstarter project is here:
> http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/668017121/scarf-a-day-a-scarf-everyday-in-january/
> ============
> Okay, that's that. My self-criticisms/thinking aloud:
> I finished this last night, and when I read the nb-discuss this
> morning, there were already a bunch of worthy new stories (vending
> machine! tardis!) that I hadn't included. The newsletter is already
> slightly too long, I fear that once I actually get stuff sent in, it's
> just going to grow even more. I don't think I could stand to write
> this weekly or even a shorter time-period though.
> Would a what you young people call a "weeb-log" or "b'log" work
> better? Maybe: certainly if we ramped up the NB weblog, I bet we'd get
> a lot of coverage and relinking from Maker blog, etc. What isn't so
> great is ownership and ritual with blogs. The advantage of a regular
> periodic mailout is that people look forward to it, and if you write
> it well (this draft isn't written well) people will sit through and
> take it all in, and feel like they're an exclusive subscriber. Also we
> can print it out and put it in the space somewhere. Blogs are less
> easy to attach ritual to, and the level of control that you can exact
> on a broadcast-only news format often feels inappropriate for blog --
> ie saying "We" all the time, not having comments, etc. It might just
> be a style thing. I will talk to people about this.
> My actual sese right now is that what we have here is a bunch of nice
> potentially aggregatable mini-features: Noisebridge Human of The Time
> Period, Project Updates, Infrastructure Diffs, General News, that need
> to be in one place, and quickly digestible, rather than scattered over
> dozens of mailing lists, inside people's heads, and as wikisplatter. I
> think one output of all of those mini-features is potentially a blog,
> one is an email newsletter to nb-announce, and one is a printed
> pamphlet that can be on the wall entering Noisebridge. But just
> writing and collating this text is hard work -- piping it into
> different media needs either an automatic process, or a bunch of
> people working together consistently. Wait, would people be interested
> in a Noisebridge press club?
> d.
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