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What can Metrix do for you?

A few days ago I was reading Josh Mahar’s post on CHS Blog about how Seattle First Covenant Church is looking for community input on what to do with the old University Honda Space. Among the possible uses for the space that Josh suggested was a tool library. This gave me pause because that sounds kind of like how I described Metrix in a writeup on I did for CHS Blog and just like how I described Metrix in a post here earlier this week. Mind you, we don’t have every tool under the sun (no shovels here, sorry), and it’s definitely a tool reference library (please don’t run off with our tools), but we certainly have tools for people to rent out. Things like soldering rooms and lasers that are too big or expensive for most of us to have in our home. So why wasn’t there at least an aside in Josh’s article about our friendly neighborhood basement workshop?

I suspect this is because Metrix-Create Space’s resource-sharing business model is a new enough concept that people are still figuring what it is and what it can do well.  Resource-sharing (material/ideas/etc.) is as old as the existence of social animals, but the rise of the resource-sharing business model still looks new and different. I suspect that Zipcar and Office Nomads had the same discovery and adjustment period that we’re having now.

I’m not entirely sure why resource-sharing is such a new and revolutionary concept. Libraries are still a common and important feature of community life in the US. But a lot of other collaborative/community/sharing activities aren’t so common anymore, like quilting bees and barn-raisings. I actually don’t know of any urban or suburban equivalents of these rural examples.

Perhaps these new resource-sharing businesses are the urban/21st century equivalent of barn-raisings - 21st century because of the needs served, and urban because a business is be easier to start than a tight-knit community in an urban center where the population is large and mobile. That said, just because a resource-sharing model is set up as a business doesn’t mean that it won’t end up as a community. I know that’s what we’re working on here at Metrix.

Music Collaboration Night: House Friday with DJ Zhenia

Speaking of collaboration nights, we’ve got a fourth: House Friday with DJ Zhenia. That’s the working title, anyway. If you’re got a better name, we’re open to suggestions.

DJ Zhenia sez, “I enjoy playing music somewhere other than my house and I think that other people would enjoy playing around with midis. Since Metrix has a lot of microcontrollers I’d like to work with people to create midi instruments. I want Friday nights to be about collaborating on computer-produced music, like unofficial studio time with an open-source feel.”

If you’re interested in helping to run Metrix’s new digital music collaboration night, get ahold of DJ Zhenia at darksidednb(at)gmail(dot)com. You can find a sample set of his music here


Collaboration nights: Kraft Nite, Hack Night and MakerBot Madness

To continue the theme of how our middle name is collaboration, I now turn to our weekly collaboration nights.

  • Kraft Nite is every Tuesday evening and the focus is on things you make with you hands. Usually we get a lot of knitting, sewing and gluing, but I take Kraft Nite to include everything from soldering to crochet to paper-making.
  • Wednesday nights are Hack Night; then it’s all about fooling around with code and using your computer to talk to phone systems in Palau (yes, someone has done that here-not for any particular reason, just to do it). 
  • MakerBot Madness is on Saturday evenings and involves us bringing out all our 3D printers out to play with everyone else’s 3D printers.

If we’re about collaboration and making neat stuff all the time, why have certain nights focus on certain activities? Simply because you can work on just about anything here. It’s a roll of the dice who will be here working on what at any given moment. With focused collaboration nights, you’re guaranteed a concentration of certain makers and projects, i.e. a little community thinktank focused on one general topic.

If you have no idea why you’re MakerBot won’t work, come on Saturday, if you want to learn obscure facts about phone systems, you come on Wednesday, etc. At Metrix, we’re not just building a pool of shared resources; we’re working on a pool of shared knowledge as well.

We don’t need to stop at three community/collaboration nights. If you’re into mapmaking or steampunk modding or whatever, and think it’ll draw a crowd, come talk to us about setting up a night. The more communities we make, the merrier.