Category Archives: Uncategorized

Current Project – Concord Hacker Scouts (or similar) Child Education program

My post about this one might be less informative than the post about the wiki – check back and this idea will be more fully baked for public consumption and participation in a future post but I wanted to post something up about this.

We are going to start up an after school program to teach STEAM education type stuff to kids.

We are currently checking out Hacker Scouts because they’ve done an amazing job of starting up a project like this over in Oakland.

What we need:

1.  A place where we can meet up after school, on weekends and during the summer to teach stuff to kids.  It’s going to need to have convenient parking.  If it was within walking distance of BART that would be perfect but if not that’s okay too.  Also, we’d love to have a secure place there where we could leave things.

2.  Related to us not having #1 — we could really use a list of educators who teach shop classes and computer classes in the Concord area.  If you are interested, we have a start on this so I’ll create a partially filled-in Google document which I’ll share with you.

Really, this is still in the early stages and as the volunteer coordinator I’m not totally in the loop right now.  If you are interested please get in touch with me at joseph@eastbayhackers.com and I’ll fill you in.  Or just come to the next meeting and you can hear about this first hand with me when we’re there.

 

Proposed Project — City of Concord Wiki

Here are a couple examples of great city wikis —

Oakland Wiki

Davis Wiki

Vacaville (smallish, hosted on LocalWiki)

Vallejo on LocalWiki

Rochester (New York) Wiki

Anyway, I’ve long thought that Concord should (and could!) have something like this.  It would be a site where people could post about the neighborhoods they live in, groups in our area, events taking place, local history, restaurants, businesses, local companies and government, etc.  A whole wiki filled with great stuff about the city where we live.

What do we need right now to get this project going?

I’ve got the domain names registered for this project — www.corcordwiki.org and www.concordwiki.com

Full disclosure — if this gets some legs I really want to dive into Walnut Creek next!  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Concord first.  LocalWiki already has a stub for Walnut Creek and I don’t think they’ve got Concord at all yet.

Doing this well is going to take a lot of work.

I could use volunteers who would like to do the following –

1.  Create a Web Site for the Concord Wiki Project — simply explain what it is, what we’re doing, who we are, etc.

2.  Create a Flyer for the City of Concord Municipal Wiki Project — same as above, but we’ll print it on dead trees

3.  Begin work on the actual wiki — I can hand off the domains when you are ready and we’ll have them go over to a blank wiki.  There’s a site called LocalWiki that does stuff like this.

4.  Start researching what’s going to go into the wiki.  Your deliverable will a list of what you’ve discovered.  What belongs on the list is anything about the City of Concord that deserves to be written about in the Wiki.  This could be historical events, current events, businesses, famous residents, local urban legends, Concord culture and … well … I guess you’ll probably figure this out as you go.

5.  We are going to need lots of people who know how to edit and work with a wiki and can teach other people how to do this.

Brainstorming. What’s In a Name?

I like the name hackerspace but I’ve found that it comes with negative connotations and baggage that make it more difficult when you’re having to explain what it is to people.  I’d rather just call it something else that would pique the interest of people who would enjoy it but who might not think they’d enjoy something if it was called “a hackerspace”.  I’ve found that most people who already know what a hackerspace is are Early Adopter types who already know what it is and are going to be looking for their community’s hackerspace.

So … the name … important to get right.  I was thinking:

Makerspace?  It’s got no baggage, but it’s also got more of a connotation of being about tools and building physical things.  That’s cool if it’s what people are into.  Personally, I’m more of a UNIX geek / software guy so it speaks less specifically to my interests.  That’s probably fine though.

Community Lab?  I think it gets the idea across that it’s a place where people can get together and work on group projects.  I wonder if people would think “lab” and get the idea that it’s a group of biotech hackers or something.  Innovation Lab.  Idea Lab.  I think something along these lines might work.

Idea Workshop.  I think that name maybe does a better job of conveying the idea of what “hackerspace” speaks to along with “makerspace” and “community lab”.

Hmmm … I think someone else is already using the name Idea Lab in the area for something else.

FIRST MEETING SCHEDULED! 3/16 2pm in Concord at Todos Santos Starbucks

Arright, I’m not in love with the text here or anything, so feel free to suggest something better or improvements and I’ll change it.

http://www.meetup.com/East-Bay-Hackers-Contra-Costa-County-Hackerspace/

We are creating a hacker/maker community where residents of all ages in Contra Costa County and neighboring areas are encouraged to teach and learn new skills and knowledge, to invent using a variety​ of technologies assisted by mentors in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Design, and Mathematics, with the goal of having a good time, educating people, fostering creative thought and incubating new businesses.

“The future is already here. It’s just not very evenly distributed.”
—William Gibson

Meeting People

I was able to speak on the phone with the founder of Hayhackers for a bit.  She had a bunch of positive suggestions, and some contacts to pass along.  I also checked out a Hackerspace business plan that I found on Rochester Makerspace’s site.  Rochester is my old home town — I graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology and like a lot of Rochesterians, I’m a former Kodak employee.

http://www.rochestermakerspace.org/founding-a-hackerspace/

http://www.hayhackers.org/

 

Planning Our First Meeting

Today I had a meeting with our hackerspace mentor.  We’re ready to book a location, send out a press release, send personal invitations and really pull the trigger on getting this project going more full time.  I’m a little nervous, but very excited right now.  I think we’ve done our homework and got a good support system in place for this.  Now it’s time to present our ideas to the public and hope it goes well.

We’re looking at getting a meeting space in Pleasant Hill right now at one of the rec centers.  I will update this blog when there’s more news to report!

Hackerspace Research

http://www.rochestermakerspace.org
http:///www.rochestermakerspace.org/founding-a-hackerspace

Rochester Makerspace makes me a little bit jealous. First of all, it’s in my old hometown of Rochester NY. That means they’ve got low rents over there and these extremely cool old brick industrial buildings with an absolute ton of wide-open space.

The paper ROC Makerspace is referring to above – Founding a Hackerspace.  It’s a 69 page paper about the history of hackerspaces, interviews with the founders of hackerspaces, and it includes the business plan from MakeIt Labs in Nashua NH. Good stuff.

So, like any similar venture, location is going to be one of the most important considerations for us. There are some pretty serious trade-offs there, more on that at another time. Broadly speaking location-wise, around here we could head over to east Contra Costa County (such as in Brentwood) and have a ton of space to work with, but it would put our space well off the beaten path for a lot of the people we’d really like to reach. In Walnut Creek or Pleasant Hill there are some great locations, but there rents are often beyond our means if we want to be within reach of public transportation.

We’re working on our explanation of what we’re about

We’re still working on how to concisely describe what a hackerspace is and what we’re all about. This is our working copy, probably subject to extensive revision as we get this going.

East Bay Hackers is non-profit organization that provides a collaborative space that brings together hackers, artists, programmers, students, entrepreneurs and other creative thinkers in Contra Costa County. We use the term “hacker” in the original, positive sense of the word to describe someone who likes to explore how things work.

East Bay Hackers’ mission is to bring people together around the ingredients for innovation. We provide space, Internet connectivity, tools, informal technical training, and a stimulating social environment for hackers.

Explanation
East Bay Hackers is hackerspace; a center for innovation. It is a collaborative blend of community center, business incubator, coworking and tech space rolled into one creative place for innovation and design. We are different from other innovation centers that are based on a profit-driven commercial model.

Opening the blog …

This is the blog for the East Bay Hackers project.

Right now we’re trying to get a hackerspace project started.  Things we’re working on right now:

1.  Creating the legal/financial structure for our organization.

2.  Getting approval for 501c3 status as an educational/scientific nonprofit org.

3.  Getting a feel for where we could locate our hackerspace, rents in the area, zoning, public transportation in the area, etc.

This is still in the very early stages so I’ll update the blog as we go.  I’ll be sharing my research for this project here, so if you find this and you’re involved in something similar I hope you’ll find my links and data useful.