October 2011

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 Some with the latest developments, some out of date.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.

Continue reading


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

Quick Update

A quick update over what has been happening with the documentation project and why I’ve been quiet.

I’ve added some of my work to http://www.appropedia.org/Hexayurt_Plywood . Images to be added as I make ones I am happy with.

I’ve started migrating the work onto opensource platforms. I’m learning how to use Scribus and Inkscape. Not sure if I’ll also learn freeCAD, at this moment I think the accessibility of SketchUp and the 3Dwarehouse to be more useful. Continue reading

Why Document?

Instead of repeatedly appealing for collaborators I am posting a series of my thoughts on documentation to publicise the documentation project.

Why am I pursuing this documentation project?

I will begin from a very simple and obvious point. “A thing is useless to me if I cannot use it”. No matter how brilliant the thing is.

This can be for many reasons.Too big, lack of training, unsuited for my cirsumstances, in the wrong language, lack of capital, I cannot acquire it, I cannot communicate with the people that could help me etc. Until all barriers that prevent me from accessing it are overcome it is functionally useless to me. Who is responsible for eliminating these barriers is another matter entirely that depends on the thing in question. I assume this holds true for most people. Continue reading