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Various writing projects: prose, copyediting and programming — together with related technical tasks.

Makerspace Dashboard

On the back wall of our space is a large-screen monitor hooked up to a Chromecast. When not displaying video content, the Chromecast is usually rigged to display an HTML page providing various useful information for our community. This includes a camera feed of the building front door, a listing of upcoming events on our Meetup page, and a feed of recent posts to one of our Slack channels. A similar dashboard appears over the intercom by the machine shop.

For the new dashboard, I've chosen to migrate functionality previously provided via client-side Javascript to python backends, retaining JS only insomuch as required to poll those backends and do real-time updates on the page. I'm an old-school Web developer, and prefer to avoid bloat and wall-of-text source files, in favor of clean, single-purpose, Small-is-Beautiful scripts that do what they do with minimal byte-tonage.

That said, the source files hacked up in the past few days are just that, hacks. They're ugly and experimental and will hurt the eyes and brains of anyone accustomed to the regimented, framework-heavy best practices of contemporary Web design. Hic sunt dracones.

Next steps:

  • reorganize dashboard layout
  • incorporate paypal, MTA subway line status, possibly other widgets
  • add building neighbors to event listings (to better anticipate noisy evenings)
  • add four-state space cam surveillance indicator
  • restore emoji capability for hackerspace channel (previously JS, now using a python backend)
  • clean up, refactor and tighten source files

Media Library Consolidation

Have mostly finished migration of a 2 terabyte podcast media library to a dedicated RAID. Still need to fully retire the prior Windows 7 machine, and set up some automation to auto-provision Windows 7 virtual machine.

Have set up an Orange Pi Zero as usbip host, and have a usbmon script that displays an indicator of two way traffic. This is currently being printed to console, but will eventually drive an LED array. Progress continues on libgpod script to post-process the iPod database, after each sync, adding a custom playlist that collates and staggers tracks from existing playlists.

Parallel to this, am refurbishing an iPod Classic to use SD cards in place of HDD. At some point, may also print an oversize custom chassis for the Classic, incorporating a speaker as alternative to headphone listening.

Tellurium Toolchain

Tellurium is the name of the project for generation of the bespoke, each-one-of-a-kind, design-masked word clouds used in current Hack Manhattan handbills and tear-off-ticket flyers, and also the name given to the bramble hosting the tools for same. Currently a lash-up of perl, python and bash scripts, and involving a lot manual steps from cloud sculpting to proper alignment for paper-cutter-ready double-sided printing, the process of creating these materials had become profoundly time and resource intensive.

I've been retooling the production process to provide a screen-able console application for crawling and intelligently caching the cloud crawl process and to automate the assembly of properly-aligned PDF files for printing. However, my decision to use ncurses for the console (simply because I've never developed an ncurses application before) has hit a bit of a snag: Python is now segfaulting on refresh (or, more properly, noutrefresh) calls after a SIGWINCH. Gonna have to do some gdb spelunking to figure out why.


On a related note: Current feedback is that the salient text on current flyers and handbills is confusing, leaving uninformed readers uncertain as to what the materials are even for. So, going to need to do a full rewrite of the salient text copy.

Marketing/Program Development

Have been promising a full marketing analysis of Hack Manhattan, including a membership recruitment strategy proposal, since late last year. Tellurium was meant to be low-hanging fruit, but it's really become a major diversion, so the more esoteric tasks of founder interviews and SWOT analyses are on indefinite hold, for now. In the meantime, I'm continuing to refine handbills/flyers absent a finished toolchain and regularly cross-posting HM's Meetup events to Spingo — the backend for the community calendar used by local newspapers and other media entities.

Related to this, am wanting at some point to put together a Maker-themed museum exhibit/convention event series to draw out those on our Meetup mailing list who, while interested in the IDEA of making, haven't yet been inclined to get move involved in the Hack Manhattan community absent the sort of go-someplace-and-do-a-thing cultural activities more commonly seen on Meetup groups. Oh, and I still want to brainstorm a proposal for HM to apply to the next eWaste residency offered by the LES Ecology Center.

Mashup RPG Sourcebook

My favorite of all time tabletop RPG is a Heideggerian-thrownness of a genre-mashup called TORG. The game was recently updated and released with a new streamlined ruleset following a successful Kickstarter campaign. At some point, other projects allowing, I may even organize a group of dedicated gamers to play a camapaign or two of TORG.

However, having spent some time playing both World of Darkness systems in my younger years, I've also become fascinated with a cross-over between the two systems, and so have started drafting a sourcebook that would allow for crossover campaigns. My intention is to provide a meta-framework that will allow Storyteller-Gamemasters to mix and match the rule sets and settings of both games during the course of a campaign or even a single gaming session.

This is where my task list for this project currently stands:

  • design some 3d-printed card holder insets
  • custom Torg USB stick (also reader??)
  • machine running new version of Scriviner
  • dice probabilities for multiple success conditions (sourcebook)
  • glossary and gazetteer sections of sourcebook
  • sourcebook for a nWoD/Torg mashup (i.e., everything else)



  • recreate printable map utility
  • multi-edit aware wiki->slack notifier
  • existing utility scripts to repository


  • project line count daemon
  • hackable PS1 framework
  • custom cross-platform vulgar incrementor widget
  • user-defined diet diary app


  • Elixir emulation in Lua
  • PL with EC data structures as first class citizens (brainstorm)

First-class EC Projects

  • percolating task dashboard (concept)
  • savvylist media manager
  • social propinquity platform
  • community event aggregation infrastructure
  • local governance policy sandbox platform
  • distributed MUD VM

Social Propinquity Architecture

  • thick-client access-mitigation for activitypub
  • mood and sensitivity oriented back-end reach-tuning
  • side-channel media and scrobbling feeds
  • folksonomic threading component

Federated Social Propinquity

  • post-activitypub integrated infrastructure
  • distributed trust protocol for messaging contracts
  • comment section management integration
  • patron-access local and special interest journalism
  • non-dyadic courtship platform


  • learn to knit (as pedagogical reference)
  • writing-oriented intro to computer programming
  • printing daemon alternative to printer drivers
  • triptypchglyph signing dictionary (for ASL)
  • applied evolutionary phenomenology research