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Welcome to my home page. I became blind at birth. I started programming computers at a young age. I also earned my general class amateur radio license, KA3TTT, a hobby to which I have returned with great joy. I practice Qigong and identify as a Taoist. I use Linux as my desktop and Android as my mobile OS. I eat gluten-free vegan meals. For the rest you'll have to read my blog.

Community BUilding and Coworking

January 31, 2013

I just attended yet another great talk put on by PANMA, the Philadelphia Area New Media Association. For me it all began with PANMA. I first attended the talk entitled Links as Language. While there, everyone told me I had to go to BarCamp. I did, and ended up giving a speech which went over very well. Everyone told me I had to check out this place called Indy Hall. I did, and it changed my life. Now Indy Hall would come to PANMA to give a talk about community building and coworking. Full circle!

I took an Uber there. That worked out well, I got there with minutes to spare. I met another attendee and we found our way to a different room in the very prestigious Wharton School of Business. While getting situated my friend Christine enthusiastically came up to me and gave me a hug while saying hi. It felt so good to see her. We met at the previous PANMA event but I forgot to text her to see if she would attend this one, so it came as a pleasant surprise. We settled down and the talk began.

Reed, the treasurer, started out by saying that usually they have more technical talks, and tonight would go a little farther. He introduced the panel:

  • Alex Hillman, cofounder
  • Johnny Bilotta, Principal, GUIwerks
  • Eric Steele, developer, Principal, iamericsteele.com
  • Ahava Zarembski, CEO, Yesod Strategic Consulting Group
  • Brian Glick, Supply chain IT executive
  • Maya Northen, Owner, Chimera Travel LLC
  • Adriano Martino, Italian Label Advertising

Alex founded Indy Hall in 2006. At the time coworking spaces didn’t even exist. He met Johnny on the PANMA list, going back to my full circle theme. They founded Indy Hall, one of the first national and international coworking spaces.

In 2005 a guy named Brad Neuberg used the term coworking to describe a collaborative workspace. before that he and his friends would meet at local places to work and socialize together. They’d call this a Jelly. I learned some of this backstory during Jellyweek.

They treat Indy Hall like an open source project. One speaker described it as beautifully organized chaos. You can feel it when you walk into a place with positive energy. At a show and tell, someone told how they improved milk conditions in Kenya. People actually do things here. The speaker also said that walking into Indy Hall feels like walking into a micro-world.

Some wondered about the trend of coworking, and it really does feel like that. We believe it shows us a lens into the future. Coworking will become working. A coworking space does not have the hierarchy and competition of a traditional office space. People can work next to each other instead of getting forced to work next to someone. We do not work in offices with closed doors. We can overhear each other’s conversations. This leads to more opportunity for collaboration.

Coworking represents a product of generation X. A speaker pointed out that our generation has that gift, we can dream of bigger structures. Indy Hall attracts a special kind of person: cool and kind, self-driven but open to people. We have a culture of dreaming big and sharing. We all work (or would like to), we understand the value of money. This keeps things grounded. People don’t just show up to hang out (although you can), we actually come to get things done.

Indy Hall has a distinct Philadelphia spirit. We want to make Philadelphia a better place. “What happened to the visionary element? This was Ben Franklin’s turf! We had the first computer!” exclaimed a speaker. It excites me to think that we have a tremendous opportunity in the next economic boom. Philadelphia can become a trade town once again through technology and a thriving small business scene. These efforts to better the city have grown over the last few years from a blip on the screen to having beers with councilmen at City Hall.

It all started with some people showing up at a common place with a laptop, something to do, and a positive demeanor. They did that for at least six months. This let them test the waters and get the feeling of coworking. Now Indy Hall has around 250 members, and a 10,000 square foot space. It draws creative intelligent people like an magnet draws iron filings. It makes up part of the greater effort to renovate the city.

They got into the business aspects, which I didn’t understand as much but wrote down anyway. When asked about the funding, Alex described Indy Hall as 100% bootstrapped. Unless you only have the community as your investor then you will have outside forces to answer to. They didn’t want that. That also explains why they run it as a for-profit business instead of a nonprofit. Having a for-profit does not preclude doing good will. He likened their business model to raising a barn for a newcomer to a farming village. The farmer’s individual barn will benefit the community as a whole.

Alex used a great dated metaphor, we all come together like Voltron! And yes, I remember the cartoon. My brother and I watched it together. We preferred the version with lions if I remember correctly. “And I’ll form the head!”

At every stage the members come together to solve problems. They wanted to work in the Old City due to its central location, but instead of worrying about the higher cost, they just scoured Craig’s List and found a space. They approach every inflection point like this. Money was never the object. They could have gotten a bunch of funds and gone crazy with a big space, but chose not to. All the money comes from members, and they have town hall meetings twice per year.

Alex warned of those who see coworking as a trend to make money. “If the whole point is generating profit then you’re not profitable.” He also gave some good advice to those starting a coworking space: run the numbers out further. It became far more successful than they could have imagined.

Someone asked about security. If needed they can provide a monitor that faces the wall, which solves most problems. If you have concerns, try it for a day. Also, if you have an important conference, just don’t go that day. Most concerns turn out more theoretical than practical. Someone won’t look at your data with a hundred eyes looking at them from an open floor plan!

Here again we see the difference in this attitude of extreme self-autonomy. In a coworking space, security becomes everyone’s responsibility. Alex said if someone shows up we can’t trust we will know within five minutes. Another speaker compared it to someone showing up dressed at a nudist beach. Despite a large open space with thousands of dollars of computer equipment just inside the door, they have had only one theft in six years.

Finally the subject turned to the membership options. They have several levels, from the basic membership which costs $25/month, to a full-time membership which costs $275/month. Full-time members get a key, and need three full-time members as references. This also helps with security. They’ve only thrown two people out: a thief and an extremely mentally ill person.</p>

Interestingly, a correlation does not exist between how many days someone works to how much they contribute. I only showed up during the day on Wednesday to get my chair massage and cook. Other than that I have gone to every night owl session and all of their events open to all members. That has kept me busy enough.

Alex mentioned something called Dunbar’s Number, which he put at 149 (Wikipedia says 150, whatever). This refers to the maximum number of social relationships one individual can have. Indy Hall has grown past this with its 250 members now. Yet, relationships remain stable. This happens because of the growing number of sub-communities, such as the Philly Cocoaheads group I went to. Night Owls and the newly formed Engineering Core make up others. This self-maintaining pattern keeps the whole group alive.

They closed by mentioning the word I heard so many times, and have experienced myself: serendipity. Having a bunch of creative and intelligent people together in an open space causes good things to happen. Cross-pollination occurs, and people find new connections which could not have existed before. This gives a true sense of magic about the place, the reason for everyone’s enthusiasm, including my own.

To illustrate this point, I would like to share with you my Indy Hall story. I went to Indy Hall one Monday and got their free tour. While there I met a guy named Mike who runs Philly Cocoaheads, a group for Mac and iOS programmers, and they would meet there on Thursday. I had begun thinking about giving a talk about RubyMotion and accessibility, a topic relevant to his group. I really wanted to give this talk at the first RubyMotion conference in Belgium, but felt a little intimidated. I wondered about perhaps giving the talk at Cocoaheads sometime in the future.

I felt so impressed with my free visit to Indy Hall that I became a member and went to the wednesday night owl session. While there, I sent Mike a message on Twitter. He came down and I ran my idea passed him. It turned out his speaker bailed, so he gratefully accepted my proposal. The next day I showed up and gave a nice little speech.

This wednesday I showed up for a day of fun. While there, I received an email that they have accepted my speech at the conference! Cocoaheads and Indy Hall gave me the perfect platform to test my talk, and it certainly helped get it accepted. In a very real way, Indy Hall has changed my life forever! And I haven’t even belonged for a month! Thank you PANMA for yet another great talk. It made me feel proud to live in Philadelphia and belong to Indy Hall.</span>

Lovely Lentils

January 30, 2013

I love this recipe. You just throw a bunch of stuff together in a pot and it makes a great meal. I just made it for the Indy Hall night owl session, and everyone loved it, even people who don’t normally like lentils. In the past I made it with honey, but this time I used maple syrup. Both work wonderfully. I didn’t create this recipe, I’ve seen it in many places, such as here. Of course, I added my own little twist by increasing the garlic. This recipe serves four.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Lentils
  • 2 Cups Water or Stock
  • 2 tbsps Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsps Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsps Honey or Maple Syrup
  • 1-2 tsps Fresh Ginger, minced
  • 2-4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • A vegetable of choice, carrots, potatoes, or other winter vegetables work well
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a casserole dish. Cover and put in the oven at 350º for 90 minutes. Serve with rice and bread. Some beer doesn’t hurt either.

Enjoy these lovely lentils!

Chair Massage

January 30, 2013

I love Indy Hall! Every week something new happens, usually from members just doing things. They call it JFDI. Today, the good people of Healing Hands Massage gave chair massages to members. A ten-minute session cost $12.50, so I signed up for two. I had never had a chair massage before, or for that matter any kind of massage.

I had no idea what to expect. I imagined sitting in an office chair while someone massaged my shoulders. I really didn’t know. I made my way to the conference room. Rachel showed me inside and introduced me to Denise, who would give me my massage. Rachel asked if I ever had a massage and I said no. “Then you’re in for a treat. They’re addictive.”

Rachel showed me the special chair Denise would use. Forget the office chair. This chair had a raised seat to sit, arm rests and a place to rest your head with an open space for your face. It felt very plush, and reminded me of a pool toy, albeit better constructed. The relaxed atmosphere and Indian music probably also contributed to this impression. I knew I would have a fun time.

The massage went pretty much as I expected, but words really don’t convey the benefit. She asked where I carry stress and I said my shoulders so she started there. She massaged the muscles in my neck and back. She worked on each arm, letting it hang down as she massaged all the muscles and even the reflexology points on my hand. It felt great. I felt some strain in my wrist I didn’t even know I had just go away. She massaged the back of my head, my occipital lobe which has received so much work. That felt so awesome. She also spent some time on my hips. I didn’t even realize I had tension there, probably from sitting a lot, and it felt good to have that removed.

The twenty minutes passed quickly. It felt like the perfect length. I stood up and oriented myself and could feel the change. I had some brief conversation about their work.. Healing Hands reminds me of Reiki, which they also do. I asked if they’d do this again, and they said as long as we have an interest. Hallers take note.

I stepped outside to enjoy a smoke in this unseasonably warm sixty-degree day. I felt right with my place in the world. I walked back inside, and smelled the ubiquitous scent of fresh coffee. I gave in and had a cup of La Colombe, apparently quite a good brand. As I sipped it Adam said: “Be careful, it’s addictive.” Kind of like a chair massage.

Epilog: As I wrote this article, Dropbox synced the directory and the entire article vanished! I silently cursed Dropbox and wrote a testy tweet. Good coffee! And I still feel so relaxed from the massage, even after this incident. All computer people should try a chair massage. It compliments a sedentary job so perfectly. And to cap it off, while finishing up this article I got accepted to speak at the RubyMotion conference in Belgium! I feel fantastic!

Philly Give Camp 2013

January 19, 2013

This weekend I attended Philly Give Camp. At this weekend-long event, volunteers give their services to nonprofits who need them. The event took place at the Microsoft building in Malvern, PA. I also got a chance to try the Microsoft Surface. I worked hard, played hard, and helped a worthy cause.

My buddy Nick picked me up at 08:30 in the morning. It felt too early for me, but I pulled myself together. I couldn’t believe that I would actually go to a Microsoft building. I love my Apple products! We found it easily enough, a very impressive structure. They seem to use it for demos. We even saw a demo server, a large box with blinking lights and racks upon racks of processors and hard drives. Pretty cool.

We met a Microsoft employee named Dani. He said he read my article about Indy Hall. Nick asked him if I could try a Surface, their new tablet. He said sure, and got it ready while I had a blueberry muffin and Earl Grey.

The SUrface looks kind of like an iPad, but smaller. It has a solid feel, Dani said they made it from liquified magnesium. They really intend you to use it in landscape orientation as evidenced by the kickstand. This works well visually, though many product designers believe that vertical touch screens don’t work well over time. Still the integrated design feels solid but heavier. It has more weight than my iPad, even with its keyboard cover.

The Surface also has a keyboard cover. It actually has two: a touch keyboard and a tactile one. Dan swapped the one for the other. It felt good enough, a little thin, but definitely usable. I know that for me, having a nice tactile keyboard cover for my iPad has made all the difference. I use my tablet much more because of it..

We figured out how to turn on Narrator, though Dani admitted to not knowing about accessibility. It came up in the settings screen with a hint about how to see all the keystrokes. I figured out how to do basic navigation, and found my way through the list. At the end, the list of commands actually had a disclaimer which said that Narrator provides basic functionality for when people cannot use a more full featured screen reader. It also said that Narrator does not work with all applications. That pretty much said it all. Compare that with VoiceOver, which functions by design as a full featured screen reader, the real deal.

Despite this I started bumbling my way around Windows. I couldn’t get the swipe gestures to work for some reason, but remembered enough from using Windows XP years ago that I started doing some things. I tried the finance program, since that feature sold me on my iPhone. It started reading me the market indices, but would cut off when reading the percent. That made the experience feel less than perfect, and certainly less than what Apple offers.

I made my way to Internet Explorer, and started browsing my blog. I like the way I could easily change my view i.e. navigating by headings. Interestingly, it did not announce headings as such. I read some text, but didn’t have a chance to explore further. Honestly, even though I made some critical points here, I had a better experience than I had envisioned. Part of me felt ready to absolutely skewer this Microsoft iPad knockoff, but another part said to keep an open mind and just observe things from a neutral perspective. I feel glad I did, and honestly grateful to Dani for letting me try it. It works better than Narrator in previous versions of Windows, I’ll give it that. And I heard that NVDA will have a free screen reader for the Surface, which could make things exciting.

Some friends asked if I wanted to come brainstorm, so I decided to go. I walked into a big room with a few nonprofits meeting. Nick and I went around, Nick leading and asking if anyone needed help with accessibility testing, Unix administration, or general WordPress help. The last one seemed like the most in demand, lots of people needed help with WordPress. But nobody needed my help. We walked around a few rooms. It began to feel like a game. Then, one of the organizers told me that a new nonprofit just arrived, and maybe they needed help.

I came into another room and found two nice women named Judy and Marge. They run Tikvah Residence, a volunteer organization that provides housing to adults with mental health needs. Tikvah means Hope in Hebrew. They have run it for thirteen years, but didn’t have a web site yet. They came to Give Camp to get volunteers to build one for them. I settled in and began discussing what they wanted. We began to get a good idea of things, then took a break for lunch. They didn’t have much in the way of vegetarian options, but I got by. If we went to an Apple campus they would have.

After lunch we got down to business. Or at least we wanted to. They told us we had to move upstairs for some unknown reason. I also met a guy named Ben and a girl named Jess. We became the core team. Nick and another guy named Dan also chipped in when they could.

We found our dynamic. Ben and I know about Linux/Apache/MYSQL/PHP servers. Jess and I have WordPress experience, with Jess having the most. She likes using the Genesis framework, so they had a discussion about which theme looked the best. An organizer gave us a free hosting account with a WordPress install. The server went very slowly, but I said nothing, considering what I paid for it.

I got a basic installation going. Jess began installing the theme. Everything froze. The server crashed. We lost everything!

This really enraged me. Several hours of work had just evaporated. I swore and threatened to just start over on my server and let the chips fall where they may. Dani runs the server, so Jess and I went to seek him out. He apologized profusely. I said I understood, since I also run servers. Shit happens. He gave us a new account on a different server. So we had lost everything, but had a new server. We went back upstairs with the bad and the good news.

I felt kind of burned out, but redid what I had done. We all pitched in. Jess installed the theme right away and it worked. Before long we had gotten things back to the point before the tragedy. The time had come for dinner. I had pasta and salad, not bad. They ran out of water however, so I had to have Sprite Zero. It reminded me of the Bill Hicks routine about Orange Drink, especially given the setting. “You know, when I’m done ranting about an elite power that rules the planet under a totalitarian government, my throat gets parched. That’s why I drink Orange Drink!” They did have good brownies though.

After we dinner we finished what we had started. I even did what I wanted to do in the beginning, I made the site more accessible. Jess put in alt tags to the images. Ben came up with some great descriptions. If any screen reader users visit the site they will enjoy the images! It made me think about how many images go completely unnoticed. I’ll bet web sites have tons of them. Jess also felt thankful because she has a blind brother and sister-and-law.

The day had gotten on and we all felt frazzled. I figured I wouldn’t come back the next day, but Ben said they had a carpooling document in their directory of Google Docs. As any blind person knows, Google Docs suck with a screen reader. And yes, I did see the instructions: Screen readers hit Alt-backtick for keyboard shortcuts. I use a Mac, I don’t have an alt key, and I couldn’t figure out what they meant by a backtick. I tried Command-backslash but to no avail. The irony of reading Google Docs on a Mac in a Microsoft campus did not escape me either. Eventually it didn’t matter, because a girl named Andrea overheard my plight and agreed to give me a ride the next day. I thought I wouldn’t come back but realized that now I would. I thought the article would end here, but now realized that it wouldn’t.

Nick and I wanted to go out for beers. A girl named Gabrielle came with us, who worked with Nick on another project. We found ourselves at the incredible Dock Street Brewery and pub. This local brewery not only makes and serves their own beer, but they use the same yeast to make incredible pizza. I had their Man Full of Trouble Porter and we split a Sicilian pizza. It had tomato sauce, garlic, olives, capers, walnuts, and fresh herbs. Amazing! We all followed that up with a Prince oatmeal stout. The incredible pizza and beer had washed away our woes. We stepped outside feeling amazing.

A homeless guy came up to us. He said he just had some Oodles of Noodles, and wanted to buy some chicken wings, and asked if we had any change. We said no even though we obviously did. Then Nick called him back over and gave him the last two slices of pizza. I wouldn’t have minded it for the next day, but then I thought: well we did just go to Give Camp after all, and if that pizza blew my mind imagine how it will make him feel. He thanked us and we went on our way.

While eating dinner, Gabby’s friend Tom joined us. We discovered that they would go near where I live, so they offered to bring me with them. I said good night to Nick and went on my way. I had to choose whether I should just go home, or join them at their friend’s for a few minutes to have fancy cocktails. As we talked, we realized that we had some interesting things in common, including Discordianism and supporting Ron Paul. That felt like a sign so despite having to get up in a few hours I went with them to have fancy drinks at a complete stranger’s house.

We walked in and the smell of cigarette smoke immediately hit me. I think I started getting a contact high off the nicotine. I figured when in Rome smoke like the romans, so pulled out a tobacco pipe, much to their amusement. We all introduced ourselves and they gave me a drink with whiskey and spices. And on the television I saw they had on Reservoir Dogs. And of course I walked in right at the good part. We all relaxed but Gabby and I had to get up the next morning, so we said our farewells and I got home.

Somehow I got up the next day. I recalled Gabby’s words from the previous night. “It’s only one weekend…” “We work hard, we play hard…” “It’s ok, it doesn’t happen very often…” “You’ve just gotta soldier through it…” “We only have to make it to two o’clock…” Andrea met up with me and we returned to the Microsoft campus.

We found each other and continued working. Judy had to get a domain, and since nobody else had arrived she just decided to go with stupid Godaddy, which I won’t even link to. No matter, she got a good deal and they had their domain. Ben really wanted them to use another hosting provider and I sort of did too, but this seemed like the path of least resistance, plus it limited my liability. Lunch came and this time they had a selection of sandwiches from Subway. I had an good vegetarian wrap, though ate it with some trepidation, since pretty much all of my family has gotten food poisoning from there.

We would have the final wrap-up a little after 01:00 so that limited our time. Still we worked as hard as we could, and somehow or the other TikvaResidence.org came into existence. Judy said it felt like giving birth to a child, a good analogy, considering both can have their share of troubles. I thought of how the process of going from nothing to something invokes the process of creation, even on a small scale like building a web site.

We made it to the wrap-up and everyone presented their projects. Since I want to speak at the upcoming RubyMotion conference in Belgium, my fellow teammates nominated me to give our speech. I talked and Ben handled the visuals. Everyone laughed at something I said and applauded so I think it worked out well.

I now have to take a quick aside to tell you about a kid named Jesse. Nick first saw him the previous day and recounted to me a very funny scene. Jesse and his Mom stood at one of the original Surfaces, one of the large prototypes big enough to fill a table, playing chess. Behind them, a huge bank of servers blinked and beeped behind a pane of glass. Nick said it looked like how people in the 1950’s thought the future would look – a huge computer powering a huge screen on a table with a kid and his mom playing a game.

Jesse also attended the wrap-up and spoke for his group about doing WordPress work. Then something very funny happened. A group couldn’t make it, so made a Youtube video to play instead. Dani started streaming it and the video buffered. “Now, see, that’s Google doing that.” he quipped. He had taken a lot of friendly banter, working for Microsoft and all, and he would soon take more. Without missing a beat, Jesse replied: “Yeah, but it’s on an internet connection over a Microsoft network.” The entire crowd clapped and howled with laughter. Zing! Jesse should get an award for his comment, and Dani should get an award for handling it with aplomb.

After the presentations Andrea said she could take me home, and we all agreed that we could do any remaining work remotely. I suddenly realized that I would leave all these people. It felt exactly like going home from summer camp. You make friends and do things together, then suddenly you have to leave. You feel the connections torn away. Maybe you’ll see some of them next year, maybe you’ll see some of them even sooner, maybe you’ll never see some of them again. The full weight of the event hit me and I realized its value.

We exist to bring our highest potential good (heaven) into physical reality (earth). By the end of the day, a bunch of new friends came together and actually built a web site. When I saw it at the end it really brought it home. Everyone benefited. We had a very long weekend, but really enjoyed Give Camp. It feels good to give to people who need your services. I forget that not everyone owns their own server and can just throw up a new WordPress installation in five minutes. The founders of Tikvah Residence didn’t know anything about how to manage a web site, and now have something that should serve them for years, or at least until the next Give Camp. See you then!

National Mechanics

January 17, 2013

In November I went to BarCamp. Of course, they had an after party. It happened at National Mechanics. At the time I wrote somewhat disparagingly, because of the loud environment. I now realize my error, and felt like I had to write an article to resolve the situation.

Lots of people attended BarCamp. They had a huge party afterward. We filled the place! One could hardly walk. People sang karaoke and played Rockband. It all made for quite a noisy time.

I just can’t stand situations like that, faced by a sea of sound from all directions. I imagine everyone feels this to an extent, but not having sight and therefore relying on my ears makes it even worse. I stuck it out and felt glad I did, but I longed for something quieter. I even talked about forming an alternative to the alternative at a quiet place with good conversation and vegetarian food. I figured I would only go to National Mechanics once or twice a year. I figured wrong.

Last week I joined Indy Hall. Has that only happened eight days ago? I feel stunned. Last Thursday I gave a speech at the Philly Cocoaheads group. Afterward, we went to National Mechanics. I figured I’d come along, since a beer sounded good after my ordeal. To my delight I founded it less crowded and therefore less loud and had a good time celebrating my victory. I even ate a good veggie burger and fries.

Today, Indy Hall had an event for something called Jellyweek. At first I didn’t understand the meme of jellying, but the guys explained it to me. When people meet somewhere with free wifi to work together, they call it jellying. Apparently the guy who originally blogged about it had a big jar of jellybeans at his house, and he’d invite his friends over to work together, so they called it jellying. Now this has spread. From jellying comes collaborative workspaces like Indy Hall. But it all started in a bar.

During Jelly Week, different events go on all around the world to celebrate collaborative coworking. Basically, if you have a laptop, something to do, and a good attitude, you can show up and do some free work. To go back to their roots, Indy Hall went back to National Mechanics. In the beginning they worked out a deal with them where they could come and work during the day, and of course give them business. Things worked out and that grew into the wonderful space we now know as Indy Hall. What a story!

I didn’t know what to expect, but figured I would have fun at anything they did, so signed up. The day started at 11:00. I showed up around 02:00. I had never worked at a bar before. It felt weird to reach over the bar to type on my MacBook Air or browse on my iPad, but I quickly adapted. I finished reading the RubyMotion book, which made me feel good. Then I started working on this article. The afternoon had started getting on. A friend and I stepped out for a smoke. I came in and enjoyed my free drink, a Great Lakes Porter.

While checking in to FourSquare, I learned something cool from unlocking a special. National Mechanics has an iTunes library, and lets you use Apple’s Remote app to request songs. What a great idea! I requested with All TOmorrow’s Parties, by the Velvet Underground. I started feeling really good.

I met a girl named Sonia and her boyfriend Ian, as well as their colleague Jim. They run Paperweight Design Studio. We chatted about all kinds of things, including the Mayan calendar, business, cats, computers, and beer. Sonia asked if I remembered Netbooks. My goddess! I started out on an Apple II/e way back in 1984! Have Netbooks really died that quickly? In the summer of 2009 I lauded them, calling them the end of note taker fascism.

I had started getting hungry. This felt truly novel. I had spent the afternoon working in a space, and now I would just remain and eat. I had one of their excellent veggie burgers and more of their amazing fries. Sonia had a hummus platter and shared a little. I also had another porter. I really felt the vibe now, so requested Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads, a classic.

Things started winding down for us, and heating up for the bar. The Indy Hall crowd had started thinning out. I decided I should go. Sonia helped me catch a cab home. On my way out I requested A Farewell to Kings, by Rush. It felt like a rallying cry for the spirit of Indy Hall and those who wish to build a better space! In retrospect perhaps Closer to the Heart would have served that purpose better, but oh well, I left and the song played.

When they turn the pages of history

When these days have passed long ago

Will they read of us with sadness

For the seeds that we let grow?

We turned our gaze

From the castles in the distance

Eyes cast down

On the path of least resistance

Cities full of hatred, fear and lies

Withered hearts and cruel, tormented eyes

Scheming demons dressed in kingly guise

Beating down the multitude and

Scoffing at the wise

Turn the Page

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