This site is for my personal projects, in computing and social change. These projects cover local improvement, digital literacy, open source software, urban ecology, citizen's telemetry, computer recycling and re-purposing, biodiversity, financial reform and deep democracy (local councils in London).
I'm no longer supporting or volunteering for large, unresponsive, public-choice driven, grant funded organisations with well-paid 'CEOs' and publicity machines or false-flag social enterprises. No more GAS, Grant-Assisted Self-Congratulation. I'm just concentrating on the small and within reach.
There's hardly any time to eat at Wings Buffet, Tayyabs, Lahore Kebab, New World or even the Anchor Cafe. but I manage somehow.
If you want more information, use the contact form. The currently active projects are listed in the menu.
Well, my web site doesn't really have adverts, usually. However my friend Allison has just started to sell plants and seedlings in the East End. The site is: http://www.groweasy.co.uk/ here. I'll leave this for a while.
This is a little bit of a project to provide real time feedback on energy [mis]use on council estates that have communal boilers.
I should be blogging to 'explain' the rioting, but I'm letting the Guardian and the Daily Mail etc. etc. do that. That is, it's very difficult to separate explanations from celebrations of particular prejudices, isn't it?
Anyway, braving the yahs and yuppies went to Waitrose at the Wharf this morning to buy grapefruit. I like the red ones, I know, I know but they are part of my five-a-day and, at least, they aren't Boris or Barclay blue.
At the grapefruits, I chance upon some Chinese tourists who are taking pictures of the fruit and conversing. I try some very rusty mandarin, they laugh delightedly and they don't slap me [easily possible because tone-error changes question-mark into 'horse', for example].
From time to time, I volunteer with Thames21 to clean up stuff on the canals and rivers in the East End. Expanded polystyrene is everywhere, see picture, in various sizes and forms. The boot is to give an idea of scale.
It chokes plant life and wildlife [if they eat it], doesn't biodegrade quickly and is an ugly carpet in natural places. Rant, information over.
It's also extremely difficult to pick up with litter pickers and there are good reasons not to use hands, even in work gloves. So [now we come to it] I'm inviting suggestions for ingenious picking up solutions. In my opinion, these include stabbing, vacuuming/sucking, blowing, selective brushing and static electricity [that could be fun]. No lasers that set the atmosphere on fire and no genetically modified polystyrene eating animals or large robots called Gort, sorry.
I've been spending some down-time from cclite and all the other more serious things, developing a Perl based simple MUD framework. I looked for one, honest, and couldn't find anything that suited. The project page is here:
There's a somewhat serious purpose in that I want to make a simple, hackable ecology game where you can plant things, build things etc. but I don't want farmville [tm, no doubt]. Also it's a bit of a playground for JQuery, Ajax with JQuery, SVG with Raphael.js, Parse::RecDescent and other things that it might be fun to combine.
Also, it's making me think about rules and Wittgenstein, what can be thought and can be shown. For example, I can take a screwdriver but it seems a little unreasonable to take another player and put him or her in my bag. Others may feel, why not?
I've attached a mini-talk about the Debian/Ubuntu based drop-ins created on the Exmouth Estate and the Barleymow Estate in Tower Hamlets. This is meant to occupy about five minutes during dorxmas: http://dorkbotlondon.org/event/dorxmas/
Both of these were created with very small [in the case of Barleymow, none] amounts of funding and will not disappear because of artificial upgrade cycles either. Both of them use older PCs, some between five and ten years old. It costs an enormous amount of energy and physical resource to make a PC and therefore their lifetime should be as long as feasible.
Actually that applies, pretty much, to everything that we make: Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle.
Down to my last couple of days in Tokyo, a great visit. I spent some of today before the rain on a minor suburban adventure to visit Shimo-kitazawa: http://stsk.net/en/index.html a sort-of nicer Camden, now menaced, as usual by development.
Had lunch in a cafe set to the Stone's music at about the time of Altamont, Gimme Shelter, I know it's not real but pleasant to bathe in some of those previous days. Kids cycling around with solid guitar cases strapped on their backs too.
Back to London on Wednesday, just my fairly minimal Japanese is beginning to function too.