Thursday, 15 May 2014

It occurs to me there's no definitive guide to what I'm actually doing.
So; bullet point style:

  • I've arrived in New Delhi with the intention of putting together an appropriate technology working group for designing and implementing various scrap makable lowtech, mainly in one of the slums near where I'm staying.
  • The group will ideally consist of people who have existing access to workspace and informational resources, and people from the slum itself who will be using what gets made in their everyday lives. They'll thereby be in a better position to maintain and improve it.
  • Once the crew's in place have a sit down with a bunch of people from the slum and find out what they actually want and need.
  • Start designing whatever we collectively decide will be the best things to make, taking into consideration local resources, culture, ergonomics, etc.
  • Have one family from the slum be the test household for each bit of tech, with one or more people  from that family as part of the build team for it. 
  • That family effectively beta tests the tech by using it, and making fixes and improvements via the family members who were involved in making it.
  • Once the tech is at a level where we're confident that most of the bugs have been worked out we roll it out to other households who want it.
  • Testing and improvements continue as needed.
  • Anyone, those involved in the build or otherwise, is free to produce and sell anything that gets made for their personal profit. Also to give workshops teaching their construction.
  • Anyone who sees that working out for them is free to do the same.
  • I move on to the next place, hopefully the working group has sufficient cohesion and momentum to keep all this going for as long as they find it interesting to do so. Individuals are also free and encouraged to travel with this model, setting up groups of their own as they go. Everything gets fed back into whatever open source community comes up around it all.
  • Repeat as necessary.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Toured the nearby slum today with one of the guys from Wahoe Commune. Very deliberately did not take my camera. Very deliberately did not get a photo of myself being taken on a tour of a slum.

Couple dogs didn't like the look of me, people were ok. It's certainly what you'd call a slum, and there's plenty there in terms of basic human need to work with and for, but I've seen significantly worse in outback Australia.

Seems water is a bit of an issue, not the lack since the city started trucking it in once or twice a week, so much as the presence in terms of undrained puddles and mosquito infested ponds in the wet season especially.
Power is managed through the kind of jungle-vines approach to electrical cabling you'd expect.
Toilets are probably the main thing in that there kind of aren't any, and anything there would be would have to be waterless.and sewerless. Composting toilet technology has come a long way, can likely sort something out.
Houses have decent thermal mass but do get hot in summer and cold in winter, but without point of reference no one seems to mind. The new prefabs they're putting up on the outskirts and trying to move everyone into are apparently pretty terrible, being just plastic and tin.

No wind, lots of sun.

So the plan at this stage is to spam every student and/or engineer group  in the region in the hope of getting a handful of people wanting to pitch in on making and doing, and then get something similar from people in the slum so they can tell us what they actually want and be part of the making. This is for reasons of them being able to maintain and improve what gets made, test it all, work out the bugs, and then if they want start producing and potentially selling stuff to the rest of the area.
Wahoe connections assure me the latter group will be no problem to gather, so am now sending emails and being on the lookout for some engineeringy studenty types.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

India! Land of exposed wiring.
Arrived this morning, staying at Wahoe Commune, have so far organised wifi, two mangoes, a roll of toilet paper (only one in the shop, dude blew actual dust off it), learnt how to say Please and Thank You (shukrea), 'A Bottle Of Water Please' (bottel pani shukrea), and 'Jandle' (sandle).

Plan now, is to sleep.
Plan for tomorrow is to pitch in in some manner on Wahoe's educational projects in the slums and at some point soon start visiting the city's various hacker and maker spaces, start putting together a wee crew for making stuff and doing things.
Exactly what will depend on what people actually want.

Meanwhile, I think my ceiling fan is, even when not running, actively planning my violent death.
Will it be electrocution? Concussion? Probably decapitation.