All posts by razi

Jay on Fascism in the UK

My friend Jay @thejaymo made a wonderful series of tweets a few days ago taking a list titled The 12 Warning signs of Fascism and attaching each to a picture, article or news story in the UK. Read the storify

The 12 warning signs of fascism seem to have evolved from an article written by Dr. Lawrence Britt (“Fascism Anyone?,” Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20) inside it he outlined Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism.

The impermanence of twitter compels me to commit his efforts into a blog so that it may be more easily shared and retrieved.

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Clear words

Wordless instructions. This suggestion comes up almost immediately as the best way to deliver instructions to the developing world. Whether it be an answer to tackling the behemoth that is multi-lingual translation or addressing mass illiteracy, this is the answer that keeps coming up. It is easy to see why, it sidesteps the issues of translation and illiteracy.

This approach was undertaken by two Swedish students in a remarkable a project the called Made in Kenya that tries to engage with the informal manufacturing industry and uses IKEA inspired styling Continue reading

The Needs of Others

I gave a talk at the open source hardware user group recently titled “The Needs of Others”. It was half outlining what is known about the effective delivery of technology aimed alleviating technology and half talking about how faithful reproduction of physical objects at any reasonable scale is dependent good documentation and then exploring the challenges all int he context of Free and Open technology. Unfortunately I only had 20 minutes while it was at least an hours worth of talking.

I really enjoyed it and the other two talks we great.

It was the first time I had to talk about the topic so the practice was great and I now have a better feel for it. Might ask a few ewb branches if they need a speaker

You can see my notes if you download the file.

Terminology and renaming

I will write up about the talk at OSHUG later on but this has been the first rest period for a while so I thought it would be best to update the project status first. Short form – back to the foundation and in need of a rename

The last month has been rather quiet on both of my blogs. Why is an interesting question. It started with Richard Stallman comeing to give a lecture at Hub Westminster. Another three high profile events followed and a freelance contract.

Stallman took a great interest in the Hexayurt Project and seemed interested in the idea of free hardware. His talk about free software sparked in me a need to delve deeper into the heart of the documentation issue. Continue reading

My time

It’s been a good long while since my last post. In truth I am not a blogger by habit. I do things, or I think about doing things. Writing about the things I am doing or thinking about is a forced action for me. Ironic in light of the documentation bent I am pursuing.

I recently applied for a job. Both shocking to those who know me that I could muster up the effort and attempt to pursue something resembling a typical life path, and shocking to those who don’t for that this should stand out as anything remarkable. Surely for all my whining about having no money or job I should pursue gainful employment with all the vigour afforded to me by my body in the waking hours.

Nevertheless I applied for a job and was forced to commit the past two to three month of my life onto paper. Continue reading

We Are The Elite

To the “99%”,

Yesterday I tweeted this

“Top 1% of earners globally is anyone with an annual income of £22000 #perspective#occupyearth #occupyeverywhere”

I received this response

“@jumplogic Good perspective. We are the 99.99%. Stop international profiteering and private pillage of public good worldwide. #OccupyEarth”

I agree with the second half, however I have a problem with the statement “we are the 99.99%”. Continue reading

Scalable Documentation by Paul Polak is perhaps one of the most important blog posts I have read related to affordable poverty alleviating technologies. Read it before continuing this post

Read it?

I hope to write a bit more about the delivery chain but for today I will focus on scalability. This paragraph covers the important aspects.

“In many instances, the design of a scaling strategy is not very complicated. What development practitioners usually miss is the importance of building design for scale into a project from the very beginning of the design process. For example, if you need to sharpen ten pencils, the way to do it is simple. If you need to sharpen a thousand pencils, you need to use a different strategy, but it can be done. If you need to sharpen 100,000 pencils, you need a still different strategy. Continue reading

The Hexayurt and Documentation

So you want to build a hexayurt? There is no shortage of information online. But which website do you go to? What do you find there? The information is all there but it is a bit messy. Numerous diagrams and building guides. Many videos. Some with the latest developments, some out of date. The mailing lists are full of questions and answers.

All of this mess in only one piece of open source appropriate technology, in one material.

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Here is an attempt to map out how information flows in an idealised documentation and creation cycle of a piece of technology and how this can be seen at different resolutions. Currently the situation is that the polished documentation and documentors stages are bypassed. They fall broadly into three categories, the passing on of information, feed back on the use of the product (be it the instructions of technology) and creation/improvement.

At the base level it follows the cycle below. It can be seen the steps that all information has/should pass through are the documentors, the feedback and the polished documents

A major improvement on the design has the potential to create a new variant. Each variant has its own cycle. A variant can spawn other variants. Lessons and improvement from one variant can be applied across the range. Variants typically have a reason to exist separately from the original model. If the new variant is superior in every way it renders the old one obsolete. Continue reading

Scope and Modular Videos

Often when I try to describe the project to people they get focused on a single aspect. This project is about documentation, instructions, open source ideals, and appropriate technology. During this starting up phase I will try to offer a glimpse at what the project hopes to cover.

Today I took a first look at the video format. How to make video instructions collaborative friendly and open source. As said this is a first run we will return to once the project starts in earnest.The same sort of analysis will be done to every aspect and every medium.


Re-filming videos is an expensive process. Especially when it becomes necessary to remake the videos to fill a different need. Applying Open Source and Modular principles to video might hold some answers Continue reading