Category Archives: DIY

“Building the Victorian City: Splendour and Squalour,” a lecture by Professor Simon Thurley [56:09]

I like architecture and urban planning, so you can see why I am intrigued by this lecture delivered from Gresham College (who has been all about talks open to the public since 1597 [!]) by Proffesor Thurley. This is totally one of those things you can put on and then walk away from, since there are only a few slides, and mostly a bunch of talking.

It traces the history of worker housing in Victorian Britain that sprung from the industrial revolution, but you will notice there are quite a few U.S. parallels, especially their take on light wells in the slums–the deleterious absence of which (amongst a gigantic amount of other basic things) was so famously documented in New York City by Jacob Riis in How the Other Half Lives (free and clickable, btw, through the Bartelby Project).

Here’s a video slideshow of some of Riis’ photos from New York City tenements (yeah, could not quickly find an online gallery with clickable thumbnails for those of us from the ADD generation *shrug*).

But what’s interesting about Britain’s approach is that when their cities’ populations exploded, they went straight to low-rise duplexes with communal privies and bake houses, along with a shared interior courtyard. This echos the contemporary cohousing movement whose principles are sneaking their way into the minds of progressive city urbanites, through labor-sharing initiatives like TaskRabbit (where you can sell your skills by the hour, to bidders that need random things), and urban farmers’ markets.

The second half–the “Splendor” bit– is about how London’s Italianesque architecture is a visual callback to the Renaissance Medici family, who so famously were both merchants and art patrons and basically shaped the architecture of Italy in doing so. Interestingly, London’s first futures markets rallied in pubs, which were razed to make way for London’s monuments to capitalistic wealth games and its financial center-ness.

[Sa. May 4, 2013] Pumping Station One Hackerspace Birthday Party

PsOneTardisRoof

Chicago’s coolest hackerspace, Pumping Station:One is having a 4-year birthday party / open house thingie on Saturday.

In case you’re not familiar, hackerspaces are, well–pretty self explanatory. You sign up for a membership, like a gym, and then you get to play with all the neat toys–oscilloscopes, 3D printers, drill presses, sewing machines, and a scanning electron microscope (duh!). It’s $40-$70 per month for a membership, for all that access to awesome future-creation. Also, they really do have a Tardis on the roof, just like that photo up there shows–not shopped.

7PM – Demos and reception
10PM – Live music
@ Pumping Station: One, 3519 N. Elston, Chicago IL (near Addison and Kedzie)

They also have a THUNDER SLINKY (I don’t know what that is, but it sounds awesome):

  • Souped-up Power Wheels Racers
  • DIY Quadcopter
  • Check out our new scanning electron microscope
  • Brain-based Jacob’s Ladder
  • WindowFarm
  • THUNDER SLINKY!
  • Other cool things!

Also, interactivity is completely smiled upon and encouraged:

  • Make art with lasers!
  • Silkscreen your own art poster!
  • Learn to solder and walk away with your very own blinkie badge!
  • Print your first object using one of our 3D printers

Liquid and light snacks will be on hand, as will music and an  LED birthday cake.

There’s a $10 donation for non-members, which will go towards building a new kitchen.RSVP here.

Lovely video on the hackerspace concept:

ps1map

Charlotte the Pitbull: Third Place for Best Costume at Wicker Park’s Boo-palooza

pitbull, chicago, halloween, wicker park, boo-palooza

Aka “Pitbull in a Tutu,” Charlotte won third place at Wicker Park’s Boo-palooza, and we took home a sweet gift basket of dog delishiousness.

She then had a vet appointment and then amused many people over in Retailland (Logan and Elston strip mall), even while in traffic in the car. Hooray.

Check out these photos of all the cool stuff that came in her gift basket.

I got her when she was a puppy from Chicago Bully Breed Rescue, or CBBR as they call themselves, a rescue and fostering nonprofit.

[6.4.2011] 4th Annual Experimental Garage Sale

On  June 4th, 2011 is the 4th Annual Experimental Garage Sale! This craft fair  focuses on circuit bending and DIY musical instruments at the Experimental Sound Studio space with 12 sellers who will have plenty circuit bent devices, un-bent toys, electronic parts, kits, experimental instruments, contact microphones, guitar pedals, art, and more. The sale will begin rain or shine at 12:00 PM and last until 6:00 PM.

Here’s the  Facebook Event page.

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Meeblip: Open Source, Hackable Digital Hardware Synth

Meeblip

Check out this cool synth kit that’s meant to be poked prodded and programmed into whatever you wish. It’s designed by James Grahame of Reflex AudioRetro Thing, and Peter Kirn of Create Digital Music.

Here’s a demo of the kind of sounds you can make with this little hackable blippy instrument:
Meeblip bassline demo by cdm

From James:

Oscillator A & B slightly detuned, square wave on A and sawtooth on B. FM turned all the way up, distortion on. The filter resonance turned way up (hence the chirpy squeal) and the filter cutoff knob is initially open, then twiddled a bit to help the filter chirp. At the end, I just slowly turn the cutoff down. the VCF envelope modulation is mapped to MIDI velocity, which adds some sonic movement.

Take a lookGet one of your ownlearn how to make / use / modify it, and then join us in the MeeBlip group to share sounds, hacks, photos, videos, music, whatever.

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