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Born to Run the Oakland Marathon

On Sunday, I ran the Oakland Marathon, finishing in 3:54:29, and placing 215th out of 945 runners.  I know it's cliche, but I read Born to Run and got inspired me to run a marathon.  It's the best book I've read in years:  the characters (all real people!) are fascinating, the setting and story are fantastic, and it just made me want to get out and go.  Halfway through the book, I decided to run a few miles to the grocery store in the rain just to run out back, not because I needed anything. Prior to reading Born to Run, I had been running a 2-3 miles twice a week to vary my preferred morning exercise routine of biking or swimming (the kitesurfing season hasn't really started yet).  Running was something I did if I couldn't get to a pool or didn't have the time for a long enough bike ride; it was exercise I did while traveling and when there were no better options.  Born to Run made me question that assumption, and I decided to see how longer runs would feel. Over a year ago I read "You Walk Wrong", a New York Magazine article on going barefoot.  It convinced me that I should be able to go unshod, or at least with minimally foot coverings.  Why would 30 years of running shoe development be able to produce better results than millions of years of foot evolution?  So I bought some Vibram Five Fingers  to protect my delicate soles, and had been doing lots of hiking and a bit of running.  The difference between running in running shoes and Vibram Five Fingers was profound for me.  In running shoes, I typically stopped running because my knees and hips hurt, not because I was exhausted.  The Vibrams forced me to take smaller, faster strides without heel strikes, and suddenly I was getting closer and closer to being able to run long enough to catch exhaustion without any joint pain.  The concept of going barefoot was initially tough because of my flat feet and overpronation, and the possibility of re-dislocating a kneecap. I never went anywhere barefoot, and after I initially dislocated my kneecap in 2000, I was told by a sports medicine doctor that I should never walk without the aid of custom orthotics in my shoes.  However, barefoot websites and forums are full of stories about people's arches coming back, and how kids raised without shoes never have flat feet.  Amazingly, it's all worked perfectly for me.  I now run without my orthotics without any knee pain, and my arches appear to have (re?)formed.  After hopping out of the pool, I always inspect my wet footprints, and they now have distinct arches.  I wish I had taken photographs every day to plot progress. With the characters and race in Born to Run still fresh in my mind, I looked for nearby races to give myself some motivation and something to train for.  When I discovered that Oakland was holding its first marathon in 25 years, and that the route literally went through my neighborhood, I immediately signed up for the half-marathon and convinced Christy to do the same.  I researched training regiments online, and discovered many were 4 and 5 month plans; since I had 50 days before the race, I decided simply to run longer and longer distances at a comfortable pace, and not worry about a rigid structure.  I ran most of my miles on trails in the Oakland hills, and some on the streets, but all of them in my Vibrams.  During a practice run on the half-marathon course three weeks before the race, I completed the half in less than my target time for two hours and felt so good that I opted to do the full marathon. In the marathon, I ran with GEICO-sponsored pacers aiming for a 3:50:00 time (8:46 miles on the flats, and slower miles in the hills; course elevation PDF here).  Of the three pacers, one was running his 34th marathon, and the other two were ultra-marathoners training for a 200 mile race from Calistoga to Santa Cruz; their normal weekend run was 50 miles, so a marathon was like taking a break.  Running in a group is awesome and way better than running by myself listening to audio books.  On multiple occasions, I imagined that we were the hunters of a tribe out running down game -- water stations every couple of miles broke the illusion, but I still eagerly grabbed cups, and the community support was tremendous.  There were bands, drummers, DJs, and gospel choirs making music along the route; families with full brunch buffets setup in their front yards offering all the runners fresh fruit and homemade baked goods; and many people just thanking us for running in Oakland.  The second image shows all my runs in the 50 days leading up to the marathon.  The first 5-mile run on the chart was the longest I had ever run at that point.  While I was coming from something of a limited endurance background (I've biked 135 miles on a tandem from Boston to Provincetown in a single day), I didn't really know my limit.  At mile 23 of the marathon, I finally caught up to exhaustion, and fell behind the pace group.  The last three miles were painful, but in the last quarter mile, I couldn't stop grinning and felt like I might laugh and cry at the same time.  When it was over, I just wanted to sit down. I was aiming for a sub-4-hour marathon, and I'm really proud to have done that on my first try.  Everyone made fun of me for walking like a zombie the next day at work, and I have some pretty large blood blisters on my feet, but nothing that won't disappear in under a week.  Go and read Born to Run, it might inspire you, too. Christy says: I'd always had to run as cross-training for other sports (I swam competitively for 13 years) and ran when I needed quick exercise, but hated it - my joints hurt, and it just wasn't fun.  I was a distance swimmer and can hike nearly forever, but could literally swim farther than I could (or would) run.  The most I'd ever run before was about 4 miles.   I got my Vibrams with Eric, and really enjoyed hiking with them on my feet.  I hadn't run in nearly a year and a half (pregnancy loosens the joints, which made running feel even worse) so when Eric announced he was signing up to run 13 miles I was dubious.  However, I read Born to Run and was suitably inspired - I was in good cardio shape from swimming and stationary biking, and would happily hike 13 miles, so why couldn't I run that far?  I decided to go out for a 5k jog to see what running felt like in my Vibrams. Long story short, I accidentally ran 6 miles, stopping not due to fatigue or joint injury but because of a blister from a poorly-adjusted shoe strap.  I signed up for the half marathon that evening, and started taking increasingly pleasant runs through the parks and across the city.  I ran the half-marathon course with Corvidae in her jog stroller, stopping to feed her periodically.  Eric finished while I was on mile 8, so he backtracked along the course and met us at mile 10, by which time she was thoroughly done with this stroller nonsense and had migrated to the sling.  I left the two of them to their own devices and jogged the rest of the way to the finish, about 3:25 after I started in the morning.  Not terribly speedy, even given the breaks!  The next day the bottoms of my feet were sore, and one of my Achilles tendons was a bit inflamed - I'd describe it as having overused my springs - but even though I was limping, my muscles were still in good shape. My pace is still quite slow (I ran the half-marathon in 2:42, for roughly 12:26 mile splits) but it's frighteningly consistent - I negative split most of the race, and at the end discovered I still had plenty of energy to sprint past a dozen exhausted runners.  Clearly I didn't run fast enough or far enough, but I was specifically setting a pace I felt able to maintain indefinitely.  The weak link is still my feet!  While I had plenty of muscle and energy left at the end of the race, the bottoms of my feet were tired from use - more practice is necessary to balance out years of shoe-wearing.  However, I recovered much more quickly this time, and was able to run again by Tuesday morning.  No zombie shuffle for me!  Of course, this means next time I'll be running the marathon, and at a faster pace!

Topic by ewilhelm    |  last reply


3D Printing for High School Students

As part of our effort to print awesome things for awesome people, we printed out 8 models designed by students at Oakland Technical High School. The models were designed by kids during their spare time to assist younger students in the program to visualize shapes in three dimensions. “It’s amazing, but it’s all on the screen,” shared junior Zoey S. when I asked her about the main challenge facing students in the program. “It’s one thing to see it [the model] on the computer, but another to see all the aspects and angles in real life. It’s nice to have a physical representation in order to see all sides.” Students in the Oakland Tech engineering program begin by modeling basic shapes and slowly develop their 3D modeling chops by manipulating geometric shapes. By senior year, students create an architectural design that incorporates everything they’ve learned about 3D modeling (and calculus and trigonometry and environmental design). The high school juniors designed their models to help sophomores who are just beginning to create objects in three dimensions. The prints were mostly cylinders and boxes with various cut-outs and indentations that present a real challenge to neophyte 3D designers. High school students are not the only people who can receive free 3D prints of their models. With a small army 3D printers, we're printing our favorite 3D models from the gallery at 123Dapp.com. Just submit a design to the 123D gallery to be considered for fabrication. For free. We'll send it to you. Even if you're not in a high school that we can easily drive to. And be sure to submit any designs to the Make it Real Contest (by the end of May) for the chance to win a $50,000 3D printer of your very own.

Topic by wilgubeast    |  last reply


White Elephant sale in Oakland

I went to the White Elephant Sale this weekend in Oakland. While it's tough to beat noahw's at home dentistry plans, there was a bunch of cool stuff, and I thought I'd share some pictures. Check out the image notes for descriptions.

Topic by ewilhelm    |  last reply


Fire Ballet at the Crucible: Stravinsky's Firebird

I've been watching the set for the Crucible's second fire ballet, Firebird: L'oiseau de feu, come together over the past few weeks, and the metalwork and fire sculpture of the set alone is going to be incredible. Add ballet dancers, aerialists, acrobats, break dancers, motorcycle stunts, a classic car, and fantastic fire performance...and, well, amazement will ensue. If you're in the SF Bay area, come out for the show!From the Crucible website and press release:The Crucible PresentsOur second Benefit Fire BalletStravinsky's FIREBIRD: "L'oiseau de feu"Once again The Crucible sets the dance scene ablaze with a fusion of classical ballet, fire performance, aerialists, acrobats and break dancers to create a fiery and funky interpretation of Stravinsky's masterpiece.Imagine the graceful firebird somersaulting through the air on a flaming trapeze, a ballerina engaging in a graceful pas-de-deux with a motorcycle stunt rider, or innocent maidens attacking the evil henchmen with flaming swords. And of course, no Crucible production of Firebird would be complete without a 1970's Pontiac Firebird.Proceeds from this production help support the Crucible's art education programs. Firebird runs April 9-12 and 16-19, with performances Wednesday through Saturday each week.Check out the video promo with clips from the last fire ballet (Romeo & Juliet) and the new list of spring classes at the Crucible, too.

Topic by reno_dakota  


Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale

This year's White Elephant Sale to raise funds for the Oakland Museum of California is coming up!  The 2010 event runs March 6-7, 10am-4pm, at 333 Lancaster Street in Oakland near the Fruitvale BART. It's billed as "the biggest, the best, and certainly the most enjoyable rummage sale in Northern CA," and while I haven't attended too many other rummage sales, this doesn't sound far fetched.  The (carefully vetted) pile of goods absolutely stuffs the 96,000 square foot warehouse, which is sorted into themed departments.  It's insane, and an excellent place to find weird and wonderful items for your next project.  Pro Tip: If you go near the end of the day on Sunday, you'll find discounts on the remaining stuff - some departments will charge a flat fee for everything you can fit into a paper grocery bag. Bonus:  all proceeds go to help the Oakland Museum, which is currently undergoing renovation.  I'm a huge fan of their natural sciences exhibit, which features some excellent dioramas showing California birds, reptiles, and mammals in their native environments.  Truly good stuff.

Topic by canida    |  last reply


Giant crane arrives to help build new bay bridge

A 328 foot crane built by ZPMC near Shanghei, China capable of lifting 1800 tons at a time was brought into the Port of Oakland two weeks ago aboard a partially submersible transport ship. It is the largest marine crane to ever work on the west coast.I had been noticing the absolutely massive red white and blue crane on my commute over the bridge to work for a few days, but was unable to find any info on it. Thankfully a project associate from the Public Information Office of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Seismic Safety Retrofit Projects was nice enough to email me back about my query with the relevant info. From there, it was easy to pick up the internet news trail.SF Gate Article - One big crane, coming upThe San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge Project

Topic by noahw    |  last reply


Call for Mac & Cheese Recipes!

Homeroom is a specialty Mac & Cheese restaurant opening soon in Oakland.  Even better, they're running a mac and cheese recipe challenge!  You don't have to be local to enter (or win), and the best recipes will be included in their upcoming cookbook.  I suggest posting your mac'n'cheese Instructable, then sending along the link as your entry - we'd like to see what you've made, too! Details from the Homeroom website: The winning dish will be selected from a group of 10 finalists, who will be invited to show off their mac and cheese at cook-off party held right here in Oakland. But don’t worry out-of-towners, if we choose your recipe one of us will cook it up for you. But there’s a catch. For your recipe to qualify for the grand prize or for a spot in the cookbook, you must follow a few simple rules: * You must use only California cheeses in your mac and cheese. * All recipes must be based on 1 pound of dried pasta. * The retail cost of all your ingredients must equal or be less than $20. This includes pasta, milk, butter, flour, cheeses and whichever veggies or meats you decide to include. * Email your entries topmac@homeroom510.com no later October 15, 2010. Be sure to include your name, contact info, and a detailed recipe, including brand-names. * Gluten-free and vegan recipes are welcome and encouraged!

Topic by canida    |  last reply


East Bay Mini Maker Faire!

East Bay Mini Maker Faire is next weekend in Oakland! There will be lots of great performers, presenters, makers, crafters and vendors at this year's faire, all ages welcome.   The Details: When: Sunday, October 14, 2012, 10 am to 5pm Where: Park Day School, 360 42nd Street, Oakland, CA  and Studio One Art Center, 365 45th Street,  Oakland, CA  94609.  Faire entrance is at corner of 42nd & Opal. (Please see Attend page for more info Hope to see you there!

Topic by audreyobscura    |  last reply


The Space Shuttle flew in front of my house this morning

Shuttle Endeavour flew over Oakland as part of its victory lap this morning, and I took these pictures.  

Topic by ewilhelm    |  last reply


Steampunk Artist vs. TSA

If you're into steampunk, I expect you'll find this story of how this guy got arrested for his art somewhat interesting: http://blog.tsa.gov/2012/11/odd-watch-discovered-at-oakland-oak.html

Topic by billhorvath    |  last reply


DIY Hatchback Subaru Legacy

Check out this DIY Hatchback I caught a few pictures of coming off the Bay Bridge in Oakland, CA. I think the guy driving was a woodworker, and needed a couple extra cubic feet to fit things like dressers and wardrobes.

Topic by ewilhelm    |  last reply


Crucible Fire Arts Festival in Oakland CA - July 9-12, 2008

If you're into fire, metal, dance, and all of the above, BART on over to the Crucible Fire Arts festival, coming next week!Each July The Crucible's Fire Arts Festival celebrates creativity through fire and light with a spectacular open-air exhibition of interactive fire art, performance and the largest collection of outdoor fire sculpture on the West Coast.The 2007 Fire Arts Festival attracted over 10,000 people from as far as England and Australia and featured The Fire Odyssey, an innovative production that blended industrial fire theatre with ballet, opera, hip hop, aerial dance and fire performance. See the full lineup of performers, artists, and goings on at:http://www.thecrucible.org/fireartsfestival/index.htmlJoin our special Cupola Iron Casting workshop running July 7-13th and wow the crowds with your iron pour!Here's your chance to play an active role in this year's Fire Arts Festival! After learning the steps to create a mold and prepare iron and coke charges for the cupola, you are invited to participate in a public iron pour on the last day of the 2008 Fire Arts Festival.

Topic by susie    |  last reply


Hot Holiday Gifts

'Tis the season again for holiday shopping, and the hottest gifts will be found at The Crucible's Gifty Holiday Art Sale, this December 13-14th. This is probably the Bay Area's most unusual shopping experience. Where else could you find fabulous affordable handcrafted holiday gifts while experiencing art in action in a space where furnaces roar, sparks fly, and imagination runs wild? Food, demonstrations, performances, fun for all ages. The artisans donate a portion of their sales to support the arts education programs here at The Crucible, so by shopping at the Gifty shoppers support both local artists and arts education. Share this information with family and friends, and come on down to experience the holidays Crucible-style.Saturday & Sunday December 13-14, 2008 10AM 4PM For more info: http://www.thecrucible.org/calendar/gifty_08.htmlFREE ADMISSION Family FriendlyThe Crucible 1260 Seventh Street, Oakland, CA 94607 (2 blocks from W. Oakland BART)

Topic by plasmajan    |  last reply


Robots Are Art Show

In the Bay Area and like robots? Check out the Robots Are Art show!The opening for this event has already passed, but you can still catch the show for another two weeks.The Float CenterPhone: 510.535.1702Hours:Tues-Sat 10-10Sun/Mon By Appt.Location:Float Center1091 Calcot Place #116Oakland, CAThe show runs through Jan 17th, 2008.

Topic by noahw    |  last reply


Hot Couture: A Fusion of Fashion and Fire

The Crucible is having their annual Hot Couture: A Fusion of Fire & Fashion festival.It's a conflagration on the hottest catwalk in the Bay Area, with fabulous fashionistas, flaming dancers, stilters, contortionists and aerialists. Enjoy music, dazzling performances, fiery delicacies and refreshments, and a silent auction -- all while sizzling models strut down the hottest runway ever.What: Hot Couture A Fusion of Fashion and Fire When: Thursday, Friday & Saturday, January 17, 18, 19th 7:00 PM Who: Dozens of Bay Area's hottest designers, outrageous models and awe-inspiring performers Where: The Crucible 1260 Seventh Street, Oakland, CA 94607 2 blocks from W. Oakland BART Tickets on sale at http://www.thecrucible.org Thursday 1/17 - Preview & community night: All tickets $15 Friday 1/18 - $35 General Admission, $30 Crucible Members, $40 at the door Saturday 1/19 - VIP gala $125 in advance, $100 Crucible Members, $150 at the door http://www.thecrucible.org/calendar/hotcouture_08.html

Topic by noahw    |  last reply


NIMBY Party

NIMBY made it into their brand new 64,000 sq. ft. space and they're throwing a party!Live Music | Incredible Art | Giant Sculpture in a new space for the world famous NIMBY.WITH SPECIAL GUESTSBoy Chaous, Big Daddy, Dj Caine, Derailleurs, Los Banos, The Disgusting Spectacle, The Turks, Therm Robots, Tilt a hurl, Fluff grrl, It's so $$$$, Carp Van, Cookie Mongoloid, Orion Fredricks, Phat Man Dee, Goat Man Dan, X TEN, & Binky.February 21st, 2008Doors open at dark. $10 Donation.NIMBY8410 Amelia St. Oakland, CA94621http://www.nimbyspace.org

Topic by noahw    |  last reply


MARS: Fire & Ice - this Sunday @ The Crucible

The Crucible and NASA presents: MARS: Fire & IceSunday, May 25th, 1-5pmIt's a FREE Open House to celebrate the Phoenix spacecraft landing on Mars. Experience the mission via live feeds from NASA, browse a Mars-themed art show, learn more about space exploration, watch fiery demonstrations, and test your skills with Mars-oriented pinball machines - all in The Crucible's 56,000 square feet of studio space where scientists, engineers, and artists of all kinds come to play. The Crucible - 1260 7th Street - Oakland, CA

Topic by Patrik    |  last reply


Spain Turning Into Desert as Water Wars Begin

Parts of Spain are feeling the pinch of too many people going after too little water. Some of the land is drying out after water-thirsty resorts and corn farms in the arid land guzzle it all up and leave nothing behind. About the only thriving part is the black market which is charging ever higher prices.Where I live in Oakland we're getting phone calls from the water utility to cut back on water use and are facing higher prices ourselves. People could even face penalties for excessive watering of gardens. Makes me feel OK for letting most of our plants shrivel up and die after all. Water Shortage in Spain

Topic by fungus amungus    |  last reply


Aluminum Pipe Bed size Queen

After reading an instructables on how to make a bed frame that was industrial strength, my husband built me this bed frame. Six years later, our dear dog can no longer jump onto the bed. We're selling this bed to move to something larger and lower to the floor. The joint parts are pretty expensive, and he spent around $400 on the fittings and railing. We're asking $300 Cash only, you pick up. We are in the Mills, Oakland Hills area.  SO, all in all, you'd be buying a pre-cut kit for the canopy style bed that has a feature here on the instructables website. You're more than welcome to email me directly. gaytha dot watley at gmail dot com.

Topic by TattooedPirate1969    |  last reply


40% Off: an art show for the new economy

Come on out to 40% Off: an art show for the new economy this Friday!New artwork from:Aaron GemanBen CowdenDaniel BenoitLuigi OldaniMitch HeinrichRandy SarafanNoah WeinsteinShelly CournoyerPlus, 40 gallons of delicious home brewed beer from Dying Vines, drink serving robots, live music from Belly of the Whale, Tiny Things and No's at 10PM, 8000 sq. ft of community art space, 1200 sq. ft of show space, a big yard with a fire barrel, a bus, a man living in a shipping container and many classic mercedes cars!Friday, February 20th, 2008 at 7PMABCo artspace3135 Filbert St.Oakland, CAMore at http://sfmedialabs.com/

Topic by noahw    |  last reply


Kirlian Aura Kamera For Sale - Aura Photography!

WOW!  This is an original working 1997 Kirlian Aura Kamera by Triune-Being Research Org out of Canada.  It uses high voltage to generate an aura on a photo plate which transfers the image to Polaroid film.  Everything works...I have the instruction manual and both parts - the generator and photo box. Specs: 10KV to 50KV, 500 KHz adjustable generator Photo Plate with black sleeve and Polaroid Housing for Type 889, Polacolor 100 or 100 Pro Film $60 or Best Offer - over 21 only, I prefer local pick-up in Oakland, CA.  The unit used to be used at events and with current (no pun intended) insurance rules this device is not appropriate any longer and has been replaced by digital photography.

Topic by partyink  


Upcoming Welding, Mechanical Sculpture, Woodturning, Glass Classes etc at The Crucible

Want to expand your repertoire of Instructable skills so you can weld, make fun kinetic sculptures with your creations or re-use old stuff, make jewelry, glass etc? If you're in the SF Bay Area, check out the upcoming classes at The Crucible, a non-profit in West Oakland, CA. It's easy to get there off of 880 or by BART.Some classes have "family packs" where 2 people can get a discount when you take a class together, which could make for an interesting Father's Day or graduation gift. You can see all the classes and start dates on these postings:http://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/cls/eby?query=crucible&neighborhood;=Or browse around on The Crucible site - http://www.thecrucible.orgHave fun!

Topic by susie    |  last reply


NIMBY 5 Year Birthday Party - March 28th

Who can believe we have been doing it wrong at NIMBY for 5 years? Come see the Bay Area's largest and most prolific industrial art/ DIY space in it's new 64,000 square foot location. NIMBY 5 year anniversary party featuring: The Life Sized Mouse Trap, Esmerelda Strange, art by Ryon Gesink, Wink and Yoni, The Disgusting Spectacle, DJ Zeljko, Fatwater, live art by Jordan Fillers, art by the Museum of Unnatural Selection, therm's robots, art by Janine Miller, art by Orion Fredericks, Brian Kenny Fresno, Glen Meadmore, DJ Big Daddy March 28th 9 pm $10 to enter 8410 Amelia Street, Oakland www.nimbyspace.org

Topic by rachaelb    |  last reply


Laser Cutter Origami

The New Yorker printed an article about engineer/physicist turned professional origami artist Robert Lang. He's dropped by Instructables/Squid Labs to use the laser cutter to score curves otherwise impossible to fold; it's some neat stuff. This spawned a comment thread on using origami techniques to mold concrete for the Universal Nut Sheller. (Scroll up one comment for first post in the thread.)I don't know how long the article will be available, so here's the laser cutter's cameo:One clear, chilly day not long ago, I met Lang at Squid Labs, a high-tech research-and-development company headquartered in an enormous concrete building that used to be part of the Alameda Naval Air Station, near Oakland. Lang and his wife and their teen-age son live about twenty miles east of Oakland, in a comfortable ranch-style house that has a separate studio building in the back yard, where Lang works amid a clutter of math books, seashell guides, computers, and a menagerie of paper animals. He was spending the day at Squid Labs to use its industrial laser cutter to help him crease paper for some complex folds. He said that he may be the first origami artist to use a laser cutter, which he dials down to a smidgen of its power, so that it scores the paper rather than slices it. Lang was working on paper prototypes for two commissions: one for an interior-design piece to be made of metal, another for a leather fashion accessory, and on a design he was making for himself, which he didn't want to describe, in case he jinxed it. All three of the designs were so intricate that it would have taken him hours just to crease the paper in preparation for the final folds. He was using large squares of tweedy-looking mauve Hanji paper from Korea, which is sturdy but still slightly translucent, like the flesh of a fish.

Topic by canida    |  last reply


Giant Firebreathing Snail Car

Well, Burning ManBurning Man is just around the corner people all over are finishing up their fire breathing, tree growing, LED encrusted, jet propelled art cars. Yesterday I got to join my friend Annie to check out Form and Reform put the disco box and lights on their giant snail car they call the Golden Mean. It's a beautiful metal sculpture that drives and shoots fire... hee!The Form and Reform people do their work in a giant studio in Oakland CA called Kraftwork. It's an amazing place filled with awesomely old metal working machines and soot covered greasy machining tools. Wrought iron everywhere, art and robots. A pretty cool place to check out if you can.Now for pictures of the snail:(you can also check: Flickr or Form and Reform for updates and more photos)

Topic by lamedust    |  last reply


Instructables Stickers are Multiplying

Squid Labs recently got a Roland 54" Printer/Cutter and we have been using it to print out the first round of Instructables stickers. Our initial batch was mailed out to the winners from the valentines day contest. Then, as we got the hang of how to use the crazy machine more appeared at the Instructables Show and Tell two weeks ago in Alameda, Austin and Boston. Now they are being sighted at the Port of Oakland and in Brooklyn, New York! It seems that our stickers like great views of city skylines, but I think they could be happy living just about anywhere. If you happen to see a sticker living in its "natural habitat", take a quick picture of it and post it up as a comment.If you would like a sticker, and don't have one, attend one of the Instructables Show and Tell events coming up, make a great instructable and get it into the Instructables News Letter, or send me a private message with your compelling story.

Topic by noahw    |  last reply


October 12th Grand Opening-Fremont CA

Schmartboard, The World’s Greatest Electronic Circuit Prototyping System, has relocated to the historic Centerville section of Fremont, CA. Join us on October 12th from Noon to 3 P.M. as we celebrate our new location. • Come and meet and have your photo taken with Oakland Raiderettes: Chanel Nichols and Ashley Brown • ***Hand solder a chip using Schmartboard’s patented “EZ” technology which makes hand soldering fast and easy • Contest with prizes from Schmartboard, other technology companies and local Centerville businesses. • Special offers not available to the general public. • Giveaways, Food SchmartBoard is the destination for people who want to hand solder surface mount (SMT) components. Are you an engineer, technician, educator, student or DIY hobbyist who has avoided utilizing SMT components? Those days are officially over, because with SchmartBoard practically anyone can hand solder SOIC, QFP, PLCC, QFN, BGA and discrete surface mount components. More Details

Topic by nealgb    |  last reply


Directions to Instructables HQ / Squid Labs

Coming to a party at Instructables HQ in the Squid Labs control tower?2175 Monarch St. Alameda, CA 94501We'd like you to actually get here. Google maps & Yahoo maps are giving misleading directions at the moment, so here are some better ones. Check out the aerial view here.From San Francisco/I-80E:1. Head east over the San Francisco Bay Bridge2. Take the exit onto I-880 S toward San Jose/Airport/Alameda3. Take the exit toward Broadway/Alameda4. Turn right at 5th St6. At the next light, stay right at the fork & follow signs for Broadway/Alameda (stay on 5th)7. Make a soft left at Broadway & follow the signs for Alameda. You will enter the Webster Tube/Tunnel. 8. After the tunnel, stay to the right and follow to the 1st light.9. At the first light, turn right onto Atlantic Ave/Ralph M Appezzato Mem Pkwy10. Go through a few lights & enter the Alameda Point Naval Base11. Continue in that same direction through the roundabout (around the navy jet)12. At the T-interstection, turn right onto Ferry Point13. The road will curve left & become W Tower Ave14. Follow Tower ave to a T-intersection, then turn left onto Monarch St15. Squid Labs is the control tower building on your right.From 880N/South of Oakland:1. Take the Broadway exit towards downtown Oakland2. Make a right onto Broadway3. Make an immediate right onto 7th street4. Drive 2 blocks and make a right onto Webster Street.5. Stay to the right & enter the Webster St Tube (Tunnel)6. After the tunnel, stay to the right and follow to the 1st light.7. At the first light, turn right onto Atlantic Ave/Ralph M Appezzato Mem Pkwy8. Go through a few lights & enter the Alameda Point Naval Base9. Continue in that same direction through the roundabout (around the navy jet)10. At the T-interstection, turn right onto Ferry Point11. The road will curve left & become W Tower Ave12. Follow Tower Ave to a T-intersection, then turn left onto Monarch St13. Squid Labs is the control tower building on your right.

Topic by canida    |  last reply


How do you keep deer out of your garden without a fence? Answered

I just planted a small victory garden in my backyard. The yard is mostly a steep hill, and the patch shown is just about the largest, flattest part. I planted cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, artichokes, and spinach. A few days later, everything but the artichokes has been munched, and there are hoof-prints all over. So, knowing I don't want to build a huge fence for a small hobby-level garden, how should I keep deer out?I live in a fairly urban Oakland, CA neighborhood, so despite what one might think -- and what I might enjoy --, hunting the deer is out. I read that human hair works as a repellent, but I don't need a hair cut anytime soon. Among other ideas, Country Wisdom and Know How suggests that I put a 4-foot barrier of chicken wire on the ground around the garden. Apparently, deer don't like to walk on chicken wire. Has anyone tried putting chicken wire on the ground? They also suggest tying a dog up in the yard near the garden, but I'm more inclined to the chicken wire idea.

Question by ewilhelm    |  last reply


Vintage Dental Tools

I stopped by the White Elephant Sale in Oakland a few days ago and picked up a a really old set of dental equipment. At home dentistry has long been a dream of mine, and now I have the tools to make it a reality. Its got two different dental style flood lights on nice swing arms, the spittoon sink thing, a Mr. Thirsty, a belt driven articulated dental drill, the tray on the arm, the thing that fills up the little cup of water and the air/water gun that dentists like to use so much. The water and air connections are included, but not much of it currently works. The equipment is set up outside of my room in my shop, and to be honest, it kind of freaks me out every time I walk by it. If anyone has any ideas on how to repurpose any of this stuff besides making a renegade dentists office/torture device I would love to hear them. Also, if anyone knows anything about how to restore these kinds of things, it would be great to get some pointers. Its made by a company called Weber and its got to be from at least the 40's or 50's if not older.I'm most excited about the articulated belt driven drill - I have never seen anything quite like it!

Topic by noahw    |  last reply


Behind the Scenes of a How-To Machine: Youth Radio Brains & Beakers Interview with Eric Wilhelm

I was interviewed by Youth Radio, an Oakland-based organization that helps underserved young people learn how to make their own media, and David Pescovitz of Boing Boing about starting Instructables and running the business like a scientist. They took video and audio, and did a fantastic job of editing it together with cool music into the embedded video and audio tracks here: From their post, B&BII;: Behind the Scenes of a How-To Machine:Eric is an MIT-educated engineer and avid kite-surfer. He started making his own surfing equipment and then writing about it online. Soon, he picked up a following. Other people wanted to share their own projects and create a Do-It-Yourself community. And so instructables was born. Now, Eric's running a business, but he still thinks like a scientist--isolating variables, making interventions, assessing data, and then starting that cycle again--to grow his enterprise.In the first segment, Wilhelm elaborates on how he started the site and describes how it works. In the second segment, you'll learn about some of Wilhelm's favorite projects on the site. Finally, check our David's post on Boing Boing about Brains & Beakers: Youth Radio "Brains and Beakers": Eric "Instructables" Wilhelm and Pesco

Topic by ewilhelm    |  last reply


Save the Crucible

Those in the Bay Area may already be familiar with the myriad classes The Crucible offers.It's where I learned to weld. It's where many of my friends have learned fire arts, glass fusing, and other really unique skills you can't get anywhere else. And I plan on further honing my led and el wire skills with their classes. It's an awesome environment with great, patient teachers and an enormous workspace.Plus, have you seen their fire ballets? And the Fire Arts Festivals? Amazing!!But now the Crucible is in trouble! They need our help!The Crucible has already been awarded two years of funding, but that is about to be taken away due to proposed budget cuts. Here are some ways you can help:Sign their petitionCheck out City Council Meeting on Tuesday October 21st! 6:00 pm at Oakland City Hall Council ChambersContact a Council Member and let them know how important the arts are to you!Other ways you can support The Crucible:Join The Crucible as a member; or step up to the next level when you renewCheck out their fundraising events and gala performances like Dracul: Prince of Fire, our next fire ballet fundraiser in JanuaryTake a class or workshop and bring your friends!Check out what our members have done with the Crucible already! Steel Necklace Giant Fractal Pie Wood Bowl

Topic by scoochmaroo    |  last reply


How to Make Your Tools, Gadgets and Appliances Last Forever

Check out Popular Mechanic's How to Make Your Tools, Gadgets and Appliances Last Forever, where I -- but mostly my grandfather's circular saw -- am mentioned.How many M.I.T. engineering Ph.D.s does it take to repair a dishwasher? In the case of a balky Maytag at Eric Wilhelm's house in Oakland, Calif., one doctorate sufficed. After a plastic wheel on the dishwasher's upper rack broke off of its assembly, Wilhelm faced a classic consumer conundrum. The same plastic part had broken and been replaced three times--and now the warranty had ended. Considering this history and Wilhelm's mounting frustration, repairing the 3-year-old appliance seemed marginally less logical than buying a new one.But discarding the machine didn't feel right to Wilhelm, who is the co-founder and CEO of Instructables.com, a website that details DIY projects, from simple repairs to elaborate, artsy computer mods. Armed with a drill, a vise and a spare stainless-steel bolt, Wilhelm repaired the wheel and got his rack rolling again--and it hasn't broken since. "From a purely monetary standpoint, it probably made no sense for me to spend an hour and a half fixing a plastic wheel on my dishwasher," he says. "But I got an intangible reward--a satisfied feeling that I fixed something and didn't replace it." Here's my Instructable on the dishwasher repair: Maytag Quiet Series 300 Dishwasher Wheel Repair Hack, and you'll probably be amused by my rockstar-esque photoshoot with the circular saw for this article.

Topic by ewilhelm    |  last reply


Instructables Internship - Day 8

Wednesday: Jason's Last v_vToday was Jason's (derangedmoose7) Last Day, so we pretty much just spent all of it working on Project X. It's come along so far, it's truly quite amazing how quickly it was originally put together and how long it's taking to tweak it in order to get what we really want. I feel bad keeping Proj. X a secret from all of you, it would be awesome to tell you what we're doing every day, but It's gotta be kept a secret until it's released.By the way, Wednesday was my and Noah's salad club day. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the muffin stuffs... AGAIN.... I'm such an idiot....Luckily, Noah brought salad stuffs and we made lunch together, again, I got to chop! I also played around with my solar panels a bit, diffusing the LEDs and getting new LEDs, too. I made one earring, but it doesn't work very well... The LEDs light, but they're not bright... at all. I'm thinking about putting a cap on there so that they charge, and then some sort of tansistor that will clamp when there isn't sufficient light, the LED's flash for a split second, grabbing everyone's attention. Sounds good, doesn't it?!Hmmm... what else? I was planning on playing with the laser cutter today, but alas, I was working on Proj. X with Jason, that that'll have to wait for tomorrow. OH! THAT'S RIGHT! I made the Badge templates Wednesday night! HOW COULD I FORGET ABOUT THOSE?well, going out to see scenic Oakland. gotta go!Cheers,-Muffinator

Topic by T3h_Muffinator    |  last reply


Teacher Throwdown: Make Something This Summer

No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks. It’s June. The school year is done. Grades are in, students are out, and it’s time for two and a half glorious months of mai tais and piña coladas and not telling anyone to "Knock it off with the electric pencil sharpener, or, God help you Emilio, you’ll be doing it by hand for the rest of the year.” Relax. When I was teaching, I managed to relax for all of ten days. Then it was a couple of months of analyzing my practice, scheming about ways to bolster reading scores with Mad Libs, creating a DIY version of the Yacker Tracker* with an Arduino (still in the works, two years removed from the classroom), and kind of missing all the shenanigans of 150 thirteen year-old kids in Oakland. Summer is a great time to dig into project-based learning. It’s free time to get better at something that takes extra time. Building a project during the school year when you’re unsure of how it’ll work with your kids is for the brave or foolhardy. Or shop teachers. Making that project fit within your curriculum? Your budget? Your principal’s vision of studious children poring over a district-approved textbook? That’s insane. So I issue this challenge to the educators out there on Instructables: pick a project, make it over the summer, then work it into a unit or lesson plan. Build it now so you can use it later. Because design challenges are somewhat more challenging when confronted by a classroom of 35 kids coming in after lunch on a hot day in August. Use your summer. Adapt an existing project (like one of these, perhaps) or create something new just for your class. Channel your inner Phineas/Ferb** and put the 104 days of summer vacation to good use. In between piña coladas. Send me a PM with what you’re building, or talk about it in the comments. *The Yacker Tracker is a sound-controlled traffic light that changes based upon the decibel level in the classroom. It's a prize in the Education Contest that runs until Monday, June 4th. **This is a Disney cartoon about two stepbrothers who build something every day over the summer. I highly recommend it.

Topic by wilgubeast    |  last reply


Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

Thanksgiving dinner is coming up in just a couple weeks and we want you to be able to have the perfect feast ready. So we've whipped up a fresh batch of Instructables that will help you out with everything from the turkey to the side dishes and even a dessert and a bit of apple cider.These recipes have been tested out at the Instructables Test Kitchen in the Oakland Hills and are sure to be a great addition to the festivities. If there's something that you think that we missed, make one of your own!This topic is now an official Thanksgiving Dinner Guide. Turkey Recipe by noahw Cook up a delicious bird and get everyone in a festive mood as the aroma fills your house! This in-depth recipe will guide you on the way to greatness. Gravy Recipe by noahw Make this delicious sauce from the turkey's pan drippings. Stuffing by scoochmaroo An amazing stuffing recipe so good that it stands well completely on its own. Mashed Potatoes by scoochmaroo An essential part of the Thanksgiving dinner, mashed potatoes go well with everything else that will be crowded onto your plate. Cranberry Sauce by noahw Homemade cranberry sauce rules with its tanginess and wonderful texture. It cooks up easily and stores in the fridge like a champ so skip the can this year. Cornbread by canida Cornbread is a versatile dish, equally good with a big bowl of chili and as a holiday side dish for Christmas or Thanksgiving. Deviled Eggs by rachel While everyone's anxiously waiting for the turkey, bring these out to keep the hungry horde happy and content. You can also try the dill-variation of Deviled Eggs. Corn on the Cob by noahw Hot corn on the cob with a bit of butter is a simple pleasure that nobody should be denied on Thanksgiving. That's right, nobody. Green Beans by noahw Add some veggies to the meal with this quick and tasty recipe for green beans. They're so tasty that even those who normally have to be force-fed greens will grab them up. Apple Pie by randofo Learn the basics of apple pie making with this Instructable and then try out different kinds of apples to see which combination makes you happiest. Pumpkin Pie by ewilhelm This recipe turns out a pumpkin pie so smooth that eating it is like becoming one with the essence of pumpkin. Absolutely worth the effort. Apple Cider by nagutron Fresh cider has a life of its own that can't be matched with what you get in the store. Give this beverage the respect it deserves by juicing some up yourself.

Topic by fungus amungus    |  last reply


Instructables Internship - Day 1

Hey Everyone!I just arrived in Oakland from New York last Saturday, at 10:30 AM. Canida and Tetranitrate arrived shortly thereafter to pick me up from the airport. Over the weekend, we went camping. Not something that you would expect out of an Internship, but here at Instructables, anything can happen. The trip was awesome, camping up in the very scenic Sierras was simply astonishing. I'll include some pictures of the trip at the end of this post.Today was my first day at Instructables HQ. After about 20 mintues in the Control Tower, I realized how awesome the rest of my stay would be. The environment here at Instructables is unbelievable. Everyone, and I do mean everyone is super-friendly. Instructables is seemingly just a large family, of which every member seamlessly gets along with every other member. This doesn't only apply to the website, but also to the staff here at HQ. Instructables is unlike any other Internship/program that I've been to/participated in. At first glance (after the tour, of course), Instructables has actually surpassed my expectations. I was expecting to see a lot of which I had already seen in the photos of HQ on Flickr and Instructables, but there is just so much more. There's so much to see, do, and get totally sidetracked on just while walking around. I'm just amazed that I'm here, and that I got the opportunity to work for such an awesome company.So, on to the details. I'm set up on a table in front of a huge window that looks out at the front entrance. I get "free lunch", because I joined "The Salad Club". That entails me making at least one lunch for everyone sometime during my two-week internship, and every other day I get to eat food that someone else is making for all of us, etc. etc... I get time, everyday, to do what I want to do, where "what I want to do" is defined by building something. Again, this is something that you would never expect from an internship. So, basically I work half the day, finding people that would potentially like to join the site, getting their e-mails, and telling Tetranitrate about them, and then the other half of the day I'm building. This is pretty much the sweetest deal that I could ever think of. 1/2 of the day, I get to look at cool DIY projects that people post on the internet, and the other half I get to build. I think that everyone should know how awesome Instructables really is. They really love their work, their company, and what they are giving to the How-To Community as a whole.Anyway,I'm so glad to be here, and I really can't believe that I am here, yet.-Muffinator

Topic by T3h_Muffinator    |  last reply


Instructables Internship - Day 3

Hello Again!So, What did I do today...During breakfast this morning I wrote up yesterday's log, which was exciting yet depressing... because of the burnt Peanut Butter Sandwich... no, that wasn't the top-secret project, DON'T WORRY!Other than that...hmm, well, initially, I just made some new "homepage images," then Billy and I attacked the semi-old yet miserably slow laptop that was attached to the "new" laser cutter and cleaned that out. Yeah, we made it run nice and fast =)After that, NoahW and I went out to Trader Joe's for Salad Club shopping. Yep, today was our day to cool lunch!Noah brought his mini-barbecue and we bbq'ed steak, chicken, and tofu! YUM! We also prepared a HUGE salad, which I'm not used to, 'cause I've never made salad before. For all of you who don't know how to make salad, basically, you get to kill a bunch of vegetables with a large, sharp, blade... VERY ENTERTAINING!Unfortunately, I forgot the muffin tin from "home" (Eric and Christy's House), so I wasn't able to bake muffins... there's always next week, though!After lunch, Jason, Noah, and I went out to home depot to get supplies for the top-secret project... I think I'll call it Proj. X, from now on. Anyway, we got all of the materials that we're going to need for Proj. X except for the surgical tubing V_v... it was just too darned expensive, so we're just going to order it online.However, tomorrow, we can start building! YAY!I'm starting to write up a new Instructable on my Hypercube Bubble maker, which should be published relatively soon. I'M EXCITED!I've also started on a template for the Instructables Badges, hopefully those will be rolling out of the laser cutter relatively soon, too!Umm... what else? Well, I MIGHT be able to make Cotton Candy Machine (Mark III) here! Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to use any of the heavy machinery (ie. the lathe), so I'll teach Billy how to use it and he could make my parts for me! This, However, depends on how much time I have to spend on projects, and if I'm willing to buy the aluminum (= a lot of $)Just for any of you who hadn't read my previous posts, I'm having the time of my life here at Instructables, and if you end up producing really nice Instructables, you might get the opportunity to intern, too! Remember, if there's a will, there's a way!Cheers,-MuffinatorP.S. I've included a picture of the view from my room. Yeah, I know, I had to make it all artsy... it's the Oakland Skyline at Night. It looks pretty cruddy in the "preview", so take a look at the full-sized image by clicking on the "I" in the upper left hand corner on the picture.

Topic by T3h_Muffinator    |  last reply


To Pier 9, Thanks for Everything !

Tl;dr : 1. people are the greatest resource at the pier 2. sometimes it’s hard to work due to too much awesomeness Seriously. Me and my collaborator, Radamés Ajna, had a couple of projects we wanted to do in the spring/summer of 2014, and while looking for some shop space in Oakland, someone recommended we check out the AiR program. We applied. We thought that if we got accepted Autodesk would give us a desk, some nice hand tools, and access to their software. And that would’ve been great. Coming from Brazil, where it feels like we solve everything using hot glue, zip ties and duct tape, that would have been more than enough. Weren’t we surprised when we visited the shop. . . Holy crap, everything is here. Some of the machines are bigger than my apartment, and there’s even a swimming pool ! I’m pretty sure everyone has written about all the great machines, because, yeah, they are great, but to me, the most important aspect of being an AiR at the pier was the people. The shop staff who not only teach you how to use the machines, but also have enough collective experience to help you solve any kind of material/machining/construction problem. Want to vacuum form foam? No problem. Want to glue glass to cement? Someone has done it before. Want to weld titanium? Easy. Having access to the tools is good, but having people that know how to use them is even more awesomenest. The same is true for the CAD people who help you set up and use all kinds of modeling and design software. Not only that, but they get excited when you use their software. Not having had a lot of experience with 3D modeling prior to my residency, it was a great opportunity to learn it using Fusion 360. Another very special group of people were the other AiRs. The ones that came in with us (Anouk, Alex, U-Ram, Adrien, Paolo, Scott, Mikaela) and the ones that were already there when we  arrived (Andy, Aaron, Rima, Andreas, Ben). What a diverse crowd. It was great to get to know everybody, and also to be able to share experiences and expertise. I don’t even know how many times Paolo and Andy saved me from searching for “metal thing with a hole” or “thing with a thing inside” on google, because they knew exactly what I was looking for. Invaluable! Sometimes it’s a bit tricky to explain your project and get everyone excited about it, because everyone has such a diverse background and set of interests, but learning how to talk about our projects from different perspectives was a challenge that I enjoyed. And, last but not least, the IRL Instructables community; another very diverse, active and enthusiastic group of people at the pier. I don’t know how they do it, but it seems like they are always happy, and making cookies. The sum of all of these people is something awesome. There’s always something interesting going on at the Pier (even at night and on the weekends), which sometimes can be a bit distracting, but also motivating. I will sorely surely miss them all.

Topic by thiagohersan    |  last reply


You're a foreign AIR. How much is the $1.500 stipend in San Francisco?

So you want to be the next Instructables Artist in Residence? That’s awesome! Being on Instructables was one of the best experiences of my life (if you read my final blog post, you already know that). The only bad part is when you have to say goodbye. But, even if you manage to get over the after-Instructables broken heart (good luck with that), you have to be careful about the risks of a broken wallet, too. Yesterday, a fantastic author from another country asked me if the $1.500 stipend was enough for living in such an expensive city as San Francisco. Honestly, I’m not the best money adviser, but as a Colombian who was living five and a half months in the Bay, I want to share with you my experience with the economical part. Despite I had an awesome AIR program coordinator (Noah Weinstein), the help of my friends Alisson Sombredero and Jennifer Hansen, and all the Internet for investigating, there are some things you can only learn by yourself, at your risk. So, let’s suppose you are a foreign artist, from the middle class of your country, with a normal job, who wants to travel to the amazing Pier 9. What kind of things you have to keep in mind? NOTE: I’m not an official spokesman from Autodesk. And some things can change from now until you read this post. So, if you have any doubt about the AIR program or need some help, ask the Instructables AIR Program Coordinator. 1. Plan ahead: The AIR program is a very tempting opportunity, and probably you want to be in Pier 9 RIGHT NOW! But think: what is the best moment for you to be in San Francisco? How much time will you stay? Do you have any savings? Will your parents support this amazing opportunity? Do you have any responsibilities that affect your decision (a steady job, girlfriend, spouse, children)? What will you do when the AIR ends and you have to return to your country? Do you have any debts? How is your English? Do you have emergency contacts on the city? When I took the decision of being part of the AIR program, it was October of 2012, for starting March 2013, with a duration of three months (at the beginning) so I had 5 months to prepare myself for the travel. So, you have to think: how much time do you need for preparing your travel? 2. Your stipend: You will receive US$1.500 monthly. With good planning and some restrictions, you can have a good time with that money. Autodesk pays the materials and tools for your projects. But remember: the AIR program doesn’t cover air tickets, visa paperwork, health insurance, taxes and other extraordinary expenses. It’s all on you. Besides, it’s a stipend, not a salary. Be careful with those words when you talk with a migratory authority. A salary implies a work contract and work visa, and you aren’t an employee, but a vendor who probably will enter to the United States using a B1 Visa (Business/Tourism), with a stipend for covering housing, food and transportation expenses. So, don’t use the words “salary” and “work”. Use “stipend”, “invited”, and “artist in residence”. Instructables helped me with an invitation letter explaining to Migration what kind of activities I would do on the AIR. Autodesk is very prompt with stipend payments, but there is not an exact date for paydays. It’s between the first and second week of every month, but it can varies. So, at least the first two or three weeks of your time in SF are on you. And you have to eat, transport, pay your rent and deposit, and so on. Think between $2.000 and $2.500. 3. Housing: You will need to rent a room and to share the house with somebody else. And getting an economic and good room is a very complicated mission in San Francisco. Especially if you will stay only for 1 to 3 months (landlords prefer long term tenants). The best site to find a room is Craiglist. However, everybody can post on that site, so be prepared to find some bizarre stuff… Before you go, Google Maps is a mandatory tab in your browser. It’s a good idea to know the area. Every time you see a room offer, look how far is from Pier 9 in San Francisco. Keep in mind something: San Francisco is just a city from a big area named “San Francisco Bay Area”. In the Bay Area you will find a lot of cities and towns like Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose, South San Francisco, San Mateo, Redwood City, Concord, San Leandro, etc. A lot of people live on the nearest towns and take public transportation to San Francisco. Don’t forget to investigate if the neighborhood of the room offer is a good area to stay. If you can’t get a room before you arrive to San Francisco, think about a hostel for the first days, meanwhile you find one. (But just for the first days). Or you can try couchsurfing. Don’t trust in the $80/night hotels on Mission, because you can find a very creepy experience. Back to the room for rent: Try to get a furnished room, or you will have to buy at least, a mattress (and you can’t take it home at the end). If you are good cooking, having a kitchen will help you to save money. When you get the room, most of the landlords ask you to pay the first month plus the deposit. The deposit is some kind of backup money for the landlord, in case you break something, damage something or don’t pay your rent. At the end, the landlord must return your money. Consider it some kind of saving. But be careful: try to have a written contract, always ask for a receipt of every money you give, show to your landlord the fails of your room (take pictures just in case), and don’t break anything. My experience: my first three months, I lived in Treasure Island (in the middle of the Bay Bridge. Believe it or not, it’s part of the city of San Francisco). Good neighborhood, old room, furnished, $625/month, $600 deposit (so, my first payment when I moved was $1.225), creepy landlord (if somebody named Israel offers you a room on Treasure Island, it doesn’t matter how nice he sounds, basically… RUN!) Next two months: I lived in Oakland (passing the Bay Bridge). Beautiful house, fantastic landlords, good neighborhood. $600/month, $500 deposit. The farther the house is from San Francisco, the better and cheaper will be the room. My recommendation: try to get something in San Francisco. All the fun is in that city! I loved Treasure Island, but probably you can find a better neighborhood. If you get a room in another town, you will have always to think how you can return to home if you are going to have some night fun. Maybe it’s more expensive, but you have to consider carefully the next point. 4. Transport: You will find these ways for commuting: • MUNI: This bus and metro system are exclusive for the city of San Francisco. $2 per ticket, but you can use the same ticket in the lapse described on it, or all night long. It works 24 hours. • BART: Bay Area Rapid Transport. This metro communicates San Francisco with the nearest cities and the SFO Airport, and it’s a quick way to travel inside the city. According to the distance, you will have to pay. If you get a room in the east bay area, think in more or less $3.65 per ride. And it doesn’t work in the middle of the night. • AC Transport: Bus in the East Bay Area. $2.10 if you are travelling inside Oakland, $4.20 if you need to cross the Bay Bridge to go to San Francisco. • FERRY: I never used it. I leave you that mystery. • CALTRAIN: This train communicates San Francisco with the farthest towns in the Bay Area. More expensive. Think in $8 per ride. • CARPOOLING: It works only at week mornings. In a marked point, a driver picks up two or three passengers for using the Fastrak (more economic toll to pay). Most of the time is free, but the driver can ask you for one dollar tip. Very economic and fast, only if you din't mind to take up a strange car with other two or three strangers. You can manage all of the public transportation options using something called Clipper Card. Avoid the taxi cabs. They are very expensive! My recommendation: If you live in San Francisco, MUNI is the cheapest, safest and best way to travel. You can get an Adult Muni-only Pass for only $66 and for that month, you can travel all you want inside San Francisco. You can get it in any Walgreens. Or you can try getting a bike. Living in another city implies you have to organize a logistic plan for your transportation, including: BART, MUNI, bike, AC bus, carpooling, Caltrain, Ferry, free shuttles, and thinking like Cinderella every time you are invited to a party in San Francisco. I prefer to pay an $800 room in San Francisco and $66 in transport, than a $600 room in Oakland and $300 in transport. Here is a recommendation from Canida: There is a bike share in SF. For $88/year, you can borrow a bike for as many 30-minute trips as you like. Exists a bike stand directly across the street from Pier 9. More info here. 5. Food: If you can buy groceries and make your own food, awesome! You can find microwaves on Pier 9. In my case, it was cereal with milk and fruit at morning, sandwiches at night, and lunch on the food trucks near Pier 9. Think in an average of $11 per lunch or dinner, depending of the place and if you want to add a soda or a dessert. McDonald’s and Burger King aren’t good options. You can find some good Chinese lunches and Safeway’s specials for less than $8. Remember: the prices showed on the menu don't include the tax. My weekly budget for groceries (for breakfast and dinner) was $30. 6. Cash: Ok, there’s some delicate point in this talk, and probably one of the only things for improving in the awesome AIR program: your monthly stipend probably will be paid in a $1.500 Rewards Card. The good news: a rewards card is very useful! You can buy on Internet, you can carry a lot of money on this single card, you can use it as a debit/credit card, and you can pay with the card in most of restaurants, food trucks and stores. The bad news: you still need cash for some things (especially for paying the rent). And there is no simple way for changing your electronic money for cash. You can’t do withdrawals in an ATM or bank, you can’t consign that money to an account, you can’t do international transfers, you can’t pay debts and you can’t get cash back when you buy stuff. Besides, some places require a minimal bought if you want to use the card, or charge an extra amount. And probably you will have to spend all the rewards card money before returning to your home country. So, be prepared. Luckily, I found an awesome person (I won’t say her name because everybody will ask her for that kind of help) who changed some of my cards for cash, so I could defend myself. 7. Shopping: You will need (or want) to buy extra stuff: personal care, towels, blankets, clothes, gifts, etc. The best places are Target (Mission St. at 4th) and Ross (Market St. at 4th). You will find some good sales, but remember: the excess baggage can be a headache when you have to return to your hometown, and airlines charges for that, $200 at least. 8. Communications: I got a good plan for my smartphone on T-Mobile: for $50/month, unlimited minutes, messages and data. Maybe you can get a better plan in another cellphones company. You will need specially the data. Believe me, in U.S., nobody does anything without consulting Internet first. 9. Tips: Tipping is very important in U.S. I’m not telling you have to give a tip in every place (you are in a personal “war economy”, after all), but there are a lot of situations where you definitively have to leave a tip, between 15% and 20% of the bill. And don't forget: you are in San Francisco, so you have to visit some cool places! Some attractions are free. Others, (like Alcatraz) are between $20 and $30. Maybe more, if you want the star treatment. Don't take a guided tour into the city. With enough planning, you can go to the best places with less money. Maybe it looks like too many troubles and considerations, but we are talking about moving to another country for at least one month. And remember, this awesome company will pay you for making whatever you want to build, using their out-of-this-world tools like 3D printers, lasercutters, waterjets and CNC machines, and giving you the materials. It's a fantastic opportunity you will love forever!!!!

Topic by M.C. Langer    |  last reply


Two Hands Two Legs and lots of walking in SF

And we're off! The documentary tour of hacker spaces in America starts off in Boston with an early breakfast:At 3:30 on September 8 I began making the WOD's [waffles of departure] and gathered my friends. This was it, I was having my goodbye breakfast. We sat around a giant LED display that was playing tetris on autopilot like we were at a sports bar and called the AI engine out on it's bad plays. Choice is the name of the game in AI, how do you make the optimal choices with limited knowledge about the present and doubt about the future?I drank my cocoa considering the choices I've made to hit the skies and shoot a documentary on hackerspaces, and it filled me with exhilaration. What could be more critical than doing something that gives you the energy to do the thing you want to be doing? There has to be this ignition point to push the chooser into action, creating this snowball of awesome gathering steam as it goes downhill. Rather than chilling with Sysiphus on his uphill downhill journey. Feeling energized, feeling pumped, I called my friends around me and we ate to good health and poured generous libations of yogurt smoothie [Spilled the contents of the blender on the floor]. **************Later that very evening I found myself SSFed :: Suddenly in San Francisco:Walking down 17th street passing bodega after fruit market after bodega and suddenly we intersected. The assembly of the Two Hands Project was complete as we fortuitously intersected directly at the gates to NoiseBridge nouveau. An odd bunch from Chicago/Alaska, Michigan/Boston, and Florida/notsureyet we were meeting for the first time since the inception of the project, and we were ready to rock. Having almost no equipment after meeting up with Mitch and experiencing excellence and consensus in action we go to Sadies house (what a great lady), stay up late, and work all night. Starting the tradition that will continue to this day. Hopping on Paul's tiny folding bike I run across town gathering Mic's, video cameras and miracle fruit. Meeting up with the crew dazed and confused walking around town with tons of gear on their back we were glad to have a brief breakfast with SkyT, Mitch and FBZ before checking out the reMakeLounge.At the reMakeLounge we met up with Inna who saved our lives, 300 times. With her help we were able to talk with the folks at the Internet Archive where we met up with Mang. She drove us over to Oakland, back to SF, and finally back to the Airport. If there's one lady that made the SF leg of this trip possible it was Inna.Mang and his roommate Mike have an awesome Hacker Space appended to their home. We were given a rare peek into Radish Research which they opened up to us. It's been amazing how much people have opened up to us this trip! I'd like to take this moment to thank you all for your kindness, generosity and ability to withstand the rush that is The Two Hands Project. Hee!Posting would happen more frequently if it weren't for the emergency nature of this trip. But keep an eye out, I'll be posting shorter things more regularly I hope._Bilal GhalibAnd now, a brief video of the first leg of our trip:

Topic by lamedust    |  last reply


Reflections on the Pier

Writing this is one of the hardest things to do. Writing this means that my artist-in-residence at Pier 9 has come to an end. What motivates me to keep writing is something that I learned and deeply embraced at the pier. The pier taught me that giving back to the community you're in is priceless and extremely valuable. More on this later. First, I want to tell you a little bit about my journey at the Pier.  During the first quarter of the residency I was overwhelmed by the things I could make at Pier 9. Pier 9 has it all, it's a makers / artist / designer / engineers paradise. So when I got there, I realized that I could make anything, which then made me question why I wanted to make those things and if those things really mattered... What impact would they have on the world, on me, on my surrounding community... This period of questioning was frustrating and hard. While others at the pier were making amazing objects and projects that were getting a lot of press and attention I was just sitting there... thinking as time was quickly passing by. Maybe this was something akin to writer's block. Maybe this was just me being an emotional artist. Maybe this was just me being burned out from a hard year of working at start ups in Silicon Valley. Maybe this was just growing pains (because I was transitioning from writing software to making physical things).  Things got better tho. What really helped get me out of this rut was the community at pier 9, especially Vanessa and Company. The community at Pier 9 is hands down the most valuable asset the pier has. The machines are great, but its really about the people that the pier attracts. Never have I worked in a space where everyone is so excited, helpful, funny, and happy about their work and the community around them. The culture at the pier is what helped me find my path and eventually helped me make a couple fun projects. I could go on and on about how awesome the community is, but I want to give you a couple concrete examples of things that happened to me that helped me grow and morph into who I am today.  Vanessa Sigurdson would sit down with me every so often and ask me how things were going. When I got really stuck on something she would immediate connect me with someone who could help me or show me something that could inspire me or help me get through my block. Thanks Vanessa, I owe you big time.  I asked Noah Weinstein a ton about his shop in Oakland and how he started it. His super valuable knowledge made me feel empowered and able! He is an individual that really follows through with what he says, very admirable! Thanks Noah!   Andy Lee and I would sit around and talk about triangles and math. Andy is an awesome maker and brave individual. He taught me to just try things out and not care too much if they failed. Andy's experiments at the pier made me feel comfortable prototyping ideas and concepts. Not everything has to be a final art piece. Being an artist / engineer is also about exploring and failing! Thanks Andy! Paolo Salvagione connected me with a major museum in SF. Next year I'll be showing a couple pieces there. His work has been an endless source of inspiration for me. The mechanical beauty in his designs inspires me to make every element in my art pieces elegant and beautiful. Paolo you are the man.  Dot Matrix and I went on runs along the Embarcadero to Crissy Field. Dot gave me some great perspective on the projects I was working on and vice versa. These runs helped clear my mind. In addition, looking at the ocean reminded me that the world is bigger than me. Its a great stress relief. Thanks Dot!!! Sitting next to Andreas Bastian was one of the best parts of the residency. Every time I thought what I was doing was hard, I'd just look at this desk and be humbled by the challenges he was taking on. Thank you Andreas, your work ethic is off the charts.  Craig Dorety blew my mind with his LED sculptures. Experiencing one of his pieces was like a DMT trip (from what I've heard :) ). Craig also taught me a ton about the art world and about how to do miter cuts on the water jet! IGES files are the key!! Thanks Craig!  Robb Godshaw taught me how to follow my impulses. If you have an idea brewing inside of you, you MUST make it! You are an awesome individual Robb! Keep killing it!  Observing Anouk Wipprecht taught me about being fearless and tackling challenges with authority. In addition to being an amazing designer, maker, hacker, and person, Anouk really knows how to reach out to her networks and communities for feedback, involvement, and help.  Dr. Woohoo taught me how to connect with people, and empowering others around me. His optimistic & mature perspective and hilarious nature always helped me find my way though all sorts of problems and challenges.  I could go on and on. So many good memories and so many things learned... Side note, I believe that Autodesk's Pier 9 will go down in history as the Xerox Parc of our modern day. So many talented people / things / concepts / ideas / pieces of knowledges come in and out of it, I don't know of any other place in the Bay I'd say is more innovative, cutting edge, open and inviting. Maybe Google X, Maybe Tesla / Space X... MAYBE.... Towards the middle/end of my residency when I was wrapping up projects, and new artists were coming in, I had this deep urge to help the new artists find their way just as the coordinators and other past artists had helped me find mine. Helping the new artists was one of the most satisfying things I did at the pier. I'd like to think my residency at Pier 9 has come full circle, but I think it even goes deeper than just my time at the Pier. I did my first instructable (as in I made someone else's creation) in 2007. Now 7 years laters, I hope that the instructables I have written and will write in the future will inspire young makers to keep making and eventually give back to their community in any way they can!  Thank you Pier 9, Thank you Instructables, Thank you Autodesk, Thank you fellow Artists. I will try to pay you back one day.  

Topic by syedrezaali    |  last reply