power plug rebellion

some shuttle pipes, the drones use the same principle as the musette de cour.

another diy segment. i followed this guide to do it. laptop chargers (all chargers actually) are usually done in a particular way by the makers so they guarantee that only they sell their stuff. for example, my (now over 8 years old) laptop had an apple jack charger. this jack is not standard, so it means i had to get it from the maker (or some chinese knockoff like i did). so i changed it so it’d have a standard jack to charge it. works perfectly, and now lets me use any charger that matches the voltage and current rating. here are the results, pics by T.

mod pic 1

mod pic 2

right now i’m designing solar mods for the rest of my electronics. what i applied here works for every charger. for example, a regular cell phone charger can be modded into a usb plug so you can charge your cell using your laptop. another fun thing would be doing a solar charger on the laptop cover, but for that, i’ll need some more sketching and electronics recycling. a key thing is epoxy, so i could make a proper casing for the cells. by now my front bike light is solar, and i’m planning on adding some more panels to do the back light too. the plans are to have all my electronics be entirely solar powered.

another year, another cleanup: _42 mandala review

some gajde today

it’s now the third time we do it, but we’re cleaning up another mandala and moving on. it’s official: i quit my job, gave up the house and will move soon.

at _42 we hosted 185 people (83 females, 102 males, of which 17 were couples) from 38 countries (AR, AT, AU, BE, BL, BR, BY, CA, CN, CO, CZ, DE, EE, ES, FI, FR, GI, GR, HR, HU, IE, IL, IN, IT, JP, LT, LV, NG, NL, PL, PT, RO, RS, SE, TR, TW, UK, US). of these, only about 5 or 6 were not from CouchSurfing.

despite the big numbers, this time there were no big damages. one laptop charger and one shower hose, offset by a vacuum cleaner and some mugs that we got as gifts. using plastic cups was an excellent idea, as this prevented the usual cup-a-week expense. plates and cutlery survived too. no instances of violence, abuse, disrespect or any other kind of antisocial behavior were reported as usual, though there was one false alarm.

this was a very different experience again. one of the things we noticed was how the furniture design and arrangement has a big influence on how people interact and whether they stay or not. this was discussed previously in my creeped out rate post. people seem to be extremely sensitive to personal space (or lack thereof), and whether there is a good place to sit and have a meal. this hints again at the idea that humans are very situational, and that by defining the space one can control behavior. i always get called a nazi when i say this, but i’d ask if breastfeeding is an authoritarian control of an infant’s diet. these issues are never simple, and we’re just trying to discover the best space arrangement for everyone. this has been extensively studied by marketers but in the opposite direction. we are looking for spaces that promote diversity, humanity and personal and collective growth, not easy money and mindless consumerism.

another thing we noticed is how travelers have changed. maybe due to this being a more tech-friendly setting, with free WiFi and electrical sockets everywhere, most of the guests were permanently online. this includes smartphones, ipods, laptops or even our own laptops. there was no room for discussion because everyone was discussing things online. this is a bit unsettling, as the communal space turned into a dormitory of autistic travelers. i had to forcefully provoke conversation (as usual), but contrary to the previous two places, this time conversations were less frequent. this is also connected to the fact that we, hosts, were now too used to the travelers and did not try to interact much. as usual, if there is someone hosting, they should act like it, in order to encourage interaction.

the capsules, overall, worked out great. people loved them, with the only complain being hard to climb to the top. this means that, despite the size, one can conceive communal spaces even in very small houses. the only privacy lacking is sexual privacy, which we had the unfortunate incident of interrupting before it started at least once. as we saw at SPCC, privacy, both auditory and spatial, is essential for general well-being.

our dog, durga, was a bit troublesome in terms of chewing but generally guests loved her. guests were welcoming and tolerant of dogs, except when they missed the dog warning or wanted to use it as an excuse to leave (e.g., “sorry, i’m allergic”).

we also noticed significant ups and downs as the search system for CS was changed. right now, i don’t show up in searches at all. it’s fine for now, as we stopped hosting. there are many members complaining about the same thing: CS search is not reliable.

as for neighbors and the local community, the receptivity to the open house was fine. neighbors already knew so they would point our guests to our place. they were helpful whenever our guests got in trouble, never complained or raised any issues. this is a big contrast with e8, which was in a rich neighborhood. here, everyone was friendly and welcoming. near e8, people were arrogant towards travelers. i can only explain this with the difference in social class of most people living in one and the other.

overall, _42 was an excellent place to live in, but did not workout as nicely as the previous two in terms of creative space. it worked out as a place for us, hosts, take a break from extreme community living and reorganize our lives. this led to the point we are at right now: we’re moving, it’s time to clean up this mandala and draw a new one.