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Dec 282009

So, the end of the year is fast approaching. It’s time to look back and take stock of your life. And for me, NYC Resistor has been a big part of my life, though not as big as I’d like for it to be at times. This will be our second full year as a space coming to an end. We’ll be celebrating our third anniversary early next year. I’ve been a member for most of that time. The reason we look back at this time of the year is because it’s hard not to be a funk. With the weather worsening, the sun shining less, and the cabin fever setting in as we begin an all too familiar rotation of our winter haunts; we’re faced with the apparition of our own failure. Goals unmet, aspirations unrealized, and battle damage from another long year of economic woe and misery. But in a few short days, we start anew. We take all this nasty funk we burn it and set out on a journey into the next year, fresh and ready to be simply better. From the ashes of that funk comes resolve. That’s what new years resolutions are all about.

And that is why right now, NYC Resistor gets to suck. Our members at NYCR tend to end up in the proverbial limelight of blogs, periodicals, and even network television. In fact, one of our members had a short lived career as a host of their own show on the History Channel. As a result, we get to be the unwitting subject of much internet mockery and judgment. I like to think we all have pretty thick skins when it comes to this sort of thing. Heck I’ve been known to join in on threads bashing stuff I did along with the naysayers. I mean why pass up the opportunity to join a good old fashioned five minutes hate. If you can’t poke fun at yourself and your own failings then you’re missing the point of laughter. That being said, sometimes we get a little too good at drowning out the noise of internet commentary with our own sanity filters. We sometimes don’t hear what people have to say about us that really might actually matter. My dad has a saying, “occasionally even a blind squirrel finds a nut”. I always thought he was stark raving mad. At least until I happened upon an actually blind squirrel. And let me tell you, pray to god that thing finds a nut and not you in a dark alley. I’ve never seen such a vicious beast of a rodent before or since…

Sorry was on a tangent, I’m back. Anyways, one of the first people to openly criticize us on a public stage ‘so to speak’, was a guy named Zed. Now, I’m sure there’s a few resistors puzzled about this right now, but the light will dawn on them. Zed tried to start his own competing organization called the ‘free hacker’s union‘. He wasn’t very successful. Which is really a pity. There’s certainly a large number of people in and around NYC that we simply have been unable to accommodate. And that’s where Zed had a point. See, Zed was angry that NYC Resistor wasn’t as open as Noisebridge or some of our other hackerspace friends. Truth is, we’re very different from other spaces in some of our views on what it means to be “open”. The de facto mission of NYCResistor is to “learn, share, and make”. We’re huge fans of open source hardware and software, and many of our members contribute regularly to open projects. In fact, there’s so many projects we’re all collectively involved with I’d feel bad singling any out. But, we aren’t as open to all the world as other spaces. And, we suck. Zed’s right in that regard. We turn away great people. We sometimes refuse to help great projects. And, at craft nights, there have been times when people who took the time to lug their stuff to our space, end up with little or no room to work. What makes it worse, is that there are times during the week when our space is fairly empty, and resources lie basically unused. And that’s not just because we have insufficient resources or time. Sometimes, it’s simply because we aren’t trying hard enough. And I think Zed might now realize after his experiences, how easy it is to simply not show up enough, or not put in that 10% more you need to make something awesome happen for someone else. Sometimes we even end up at odds with each other over decisions about how we continue to try to meet the needs of our current members while trying to be more accepting of new members. We’re not as open as we could be. We aren’t able to help everyone. We charge for classes, and we ask people to give up their hard earned coin. In 2010, maybe with a little luck, and a lot of hard work on our part we might be able to suck a little less on these fronts.

Financially, NYC Resistor flirts chronically with stability. Currently we rely pretty heavily on our classes to help us pay our rent, power, operational costs. In the coming year maybe we’ll increase membership to a point where those costs are no longer vital to our existence. Or maybe we’ll make enough to grow the space and fit even more of your awesome NYC hackers, makers, crafters, and everyone else into our space. I know that’s one of my major goals for NYCR next year. I want to see if I can get NYCR strong enough to be a little bit more open to everyone who isn’t a member. That will be one of my NYC Resistor resolutions.

I’m curious what else we suck at. I mean if you want to judge a product, you read the negative reviews, right? So post some negative comments. Link me to some hate filled rants about all the evils of NYC Resistor. Tell me about how we haven’t had enough posts about time cube, maybe we are a part of the conspiracy to keep it under wraps. I don’t know! I need your help to figure out where we are sucking. This is a rallying cry for the angry, sarcastic, and trolling souls out there in internet land. Give us your raving, conspiracy-filled, grammatically incorrect rants.

2010 is right around the corner.

 Posted by at 4:48 pm

  14 Responses to “NYC Resistor Sucks. A moment in repose.”

Comments (14)
  1. More online content. Seeing the projects done or hearing about the classes is nice, but it doesn't do any good to those of us to cant make it down there. Perhaps a small tutorial? Even amazon offers the first chapter of a book for free.

  2. … dude. Well, if nothing else, I guess this is a goad to blog more.

    We've got a compressor, so let's see if we can make Mr. Stabby rock hard tomorrow.

  3. You are in new york, I am not – that alone is a suck right there 😉

  4. I second “more blog posts.”

    Also please start an open source project to make my life less busy so I can find more time to come by the space.

    As for the Zed's of the world, I think it's hard for people who have never maintained a community to understand how delicate of a balance it can be. I've seen how one “bat-shit crazy” person can poison a community. I don't think you need to apologize for having locks on the door. It's your baby. Raise it how you see fit.

    Good luck in the new year!

  5. I hate u !!!!1111!!!. No, but seriously, I'm not in NYC, wish I was, but even so, while you might not be able to let everyone in, open up the windows (metaphorically, I'm sure its pretty cold there, as it is up in Canada) and show more people what you are doing, seeing the bits and bobs of people's projects gets them inspired to do their own thing. More of a web presence is what I mean I think. Like regular updates and stuff… All that complaining was quite fun. Thanks.

  6. Your Web site sucks because it's not “open” to Mobile Safari.

  7. Thanks for the feedback everyone! Two things that I know I'll definitely be working on a lot more in the new year are documentation, and making the blog as friendly to read and informative as possible. That means more videos, a revamped mobile theme for the site, and lots more posts.

    Here's to a great new Resistor year!

  8. What really sucks is that there is'nt a “Spring City Resistor,” or a “Spring City Chapter of NYC Resistor.” Not yet, anyway. Translation: alot of us, like Richard, are envious, seeing all the neat things you do, and not bein able to join in, hands on.

  9. Interesting… I'll do some testing on my iPod Touch and see what tweaks can be made to the CSS to make it more mobile friendly.

  10. thx eric. you rock! happy new year.

  11. Mostly I'm just jealous I'm not in NYC and able to enjoy the suckyness that is NYCR. But I don't think there is much anyone can do about that right now.

  12. When people are saying that they want more blog posts or more activity on the website, they aren't saying they want to be marketed to more. This is one of the first times I've seen a request for comments in a blog post. Use this website to build a community outside of your membership, not just a big group of fans. Set up a project where outsiders can collaborate by doing more than just soldering LEDs. Work with another local hackerspace instead of just giving them a shout out. Maybe even update your wiki some time and invite non members to do the same. If your space is sitting empty, invite in a group of outsiders and ask them to pass the hat.

    Sometimes, I walk in and someone asks me what I'm working on, and what I'm into. I've gotten help on my projects, and I've been paired with someone else that I could help with their project. This is good.

    Sometimes, someone asks me what I'm up to, and once they decide they aren't interested, that's the last time anyone approaches me to chat. It often seems like some people aren't interested in what you're doing on craft night unless you're pointing a camera at them or you've got something they can snap a pick of for their blog.

  13. I'm not a member of NYCResistor, but in my case it would be nice if NYCResistor was available for more hours or days rather than just Craft Night. I have a reverse commute to work every day. I go to New Jersey in the morning and come back at night. Essentially, my day is shot or I am just way too tired to want to do anything. However, my weekends are absolutely free. It would be nice if the weekends there would be someone present that allowed visitors to hack around on his/her own projects. I don't particularly need anyone to help me (although it would be beneficial), I just need a hacking environment to immerse myself in to keep me motivated. Being alone in my empty apartment attempting to hack something up on the weekend just doesn't cut it sometimes.

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