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NYC Resistor: DIY Hackers Doing Awesome Things 134

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the neck-deep-in-nerds dept.
HansonMB writes "Founded by a handful of friends who wanted a place to tinker with electronics and meet like-minded hackers for good, NYC Resistor has blossomed into one of the country's most influential hackerspaces. On any given Thursday night, their cozy, cluttered loft workshop is crawling with a diverse crowd of hardcore tinkerers and curious newcomers. Throwing some caution and many user warranties to the wind, they're there to build, refine, break and share everything from toy robots to intricate paper sculpture to open source musical instruments."
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NYC Resistor: DIY Hackers Doing Awesome Things

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  • by decipher_saint (72686) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @10:22AM (#35942614) Homepage

    I'll probably feel the burn for this one but I have lots of karma...

    I understand that people living in large cities may not get the chance to own a house with a spare room or a garage but is it really necessary to badge themselves? By the loose definition here I know a great "hacker" and I've been to an awesome "hackerspace" (he's my dad, and it's his garage).

    At what point did building stuff on your own become something so rare?

    I understand the fun in building something yourself, designing/making something new or just tinkering around with something old or broken and making it work but I just call myself a "regular person".

    I don't know why being creative in the "industrial arts" has gained hipster status...

  • by cain (14472) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @10:27AM (#35942688) Journal

    You may have missed the phrase in the write-up that makes highlights the difference between your father's garage and this place: "...crawling with a diverse crowd..." This is where people who build stuff can meet and talk about building stuff.

  • Collaboration (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @10:34AM (#35942766)

    The key to this "movement" is, I think, the collaborative aspect. I too grew up with a handy dad, with garage full of woodworking and metal working tools, and a darkroom in the basement and a jewelry studio in the attic. He was always making one thing or another, repairing appliances and vehicles, teaching his four boys how to use the equipment safely, etc., but at the end of the day, it was just us tinkering around the house.

    We had some nice tools, but with just my dad's income, we wouldn't have been able to afford a laser cutter or a shopbot or any of the modern design tools that are found in the larger-scale hackerspaces. Also, the pool of creativity was limited to just us. Hackerspaces have room for thinkers, dreamers _and_ makers.

    I still have my own tools (not as extensive as my dad's setup), I build and repair electronics at home, but I'm also an active member of The Columbus Idea Foundry [columbusideafoundry.com] where I mix and mingle with metal artists and artisans, and get shared access to tools I could never afford on my own or never take full advantage of even if I did own them.

    As for why being creative has gained hipster status - I think you can look at the trend in education for that - with all the emphasis on standardized testing and the denigration of teachers as a profession, who learns how to do this stuff in school anymore? If you've spent your whole life as a consumer, connecting with the "producers" becomes an event.

  • by Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @10:38AM (#35942790)
    What caused this downfall of knowledge, I don't know, but I suspect it has something to do with Fox, American Idle, partisan politics, NIMBY, and excessive litigation. That might have an influence, but I think it also comes down to increasing complexity and decreasing ability to actually fix things. Even as few as 20 years ago it was very possible to pull something apart, get a basic understand, and maybe fix it. With everything being shrunk down to a few chips that can't really be altered this has radically changed. You can no longer pull apart your iPod, and expect to be able to fix basic problems with it, since most of the inner workings are on a few chips. If it breaks you ONLY option is to throw it out and buy a new one. Contrast this with an old fashioned tape machine where all the parts were sized to be manipulated by a human. For the most part miniaturization has had huge boons, but it's seriously cut down on the number of things that people can tinker with.

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