Friday, January 21, 2011

Digital Eden = Noisebridge

"Occasionally, a digital Eden appears." 
-Jaron Lanier, "You Are Not a Gadget"

Noisebridge, a collaborative donation-run hacker space in my hood, is what I would call the ultimate creative space.   In one nook, Mission dwellers huddle around the Reverse Engineering Bar while across the way, someone uses the industrial sewing machine to serge a glow-in-the-dark dress.  A colorful, cobbled-together library boasts titles on programming, hacking, and every subculture and microtrend under the sun.  The nearby kitchen typically features a crew of laughing DIYers, whose concoctions keep Noisebridge smelling impressively organic.

In other words, "We make stuff. So can you."

South Wall. Duh.
Steve Jobs' nightmare.
On the third Thursday of every month, Noisebridge hosts "Five Minutes of Fame" (or 5MoF,) a series in which speakers from all areas of expertise get exactly 300 seconds to educate the audience in... well, whatever they want.  Talks this week ranged from Meredith Scheff's "Scarf A Day" project to Ryan Blair's ideas on a "Chaos VPN" for hazardous network deployment. There was a live UStream tour of East Bay hacker space Ace Monster Toys, an impromptu Internet meme sing-along, and the unveiling of some rad new watches developed in Waterloo that sync to one's smart phone.

Most importantly, watching quarters rain from the hacked Coke machine at the back of the room was priceless.

Capacitors for your every need.
Light reading about linear circuits.

If you're in the area, check out their upcoming classes and get-togethers.  As Danny O'Brien said in his talk, everyone is welcome, everyone is a member, and the only guiding rule is to, "be excellent to each other."  Noisebridge truly makes its vast collection of resources readily available to everyone - the possibilities are endless.  

5MoF = Win.
I'm feeling really inspired by something Meredith said in her talk (mentioned above) about the generative, exciting results that can be achieved when an artist challenges themself to make (and complete) something every day.  As she described this, there's no turning back once you reach a certain point in the day - you must commit to the work that you've done, regardless of how much you "like" what it's turned into.  No abandonment, no regrets, just pushing through to the end of a project to see what can happen.  I think this might be interesting for me to apply to my poetry.  Poem a day in February?

Happy hacking!

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