Reading Response

Lessons from the Scrapyard

If I had known 15 years ago I would be reading an article in grad school that referenced both Legos and the movie Sneakers I think my head would have exploded. Both very near and dear to my childhood heart. I was too busy wasting my allowance on Star Wars action figures to buy any of the Mindstorm sets Lego had, but I always remember being fascinated by anything buildable and electronic like that. And Sneakers was a large part of why I started getting into the geekier side of computers.

It’s really inspiring to see some of the projects listed in the reading, especially knowing they didn’t have any background in how circuits work. I’ve done a fair amount of soldering and ripping apart little toy keyboards, but I regretfully know very little about capacitors and all that. There’s something fascinating about just being able to make something with basically no knowledge, but I’m stuck feeling that these projects will always feel half done to me. There’s a level of satisfaction of having built something like what the reading showed, but I think I’ll leave class wanting to make it more functional, a more complete “product”. I think that impulse goes somewhat against what the class is really about though, so it will be interesting to try and just come up with as many ideas as quickly as possible, rather than slaving over one thing.

7 Overrated Technologies and Their Underrated Low-Tech Alternatives

I’ve never really considered myself as someone particularly concerned about the environment. I don’t lose sleep over having thrown away one plastic bottle, but naturally if there’s a way for me to recycle it I will look for it. I understand the importance of it, and that its a global mindset that we have to have to make changes, but I must confess I can get annoyed at people that make it their life’s goal to convince everyone they are more ‘green’ than anyone else. Reading the article was encouraging because it tore away that veil of pretense and gave some really simple ways to be honestly conscious of the environment. It takes more than just reading some posters and doing what they say, it takes some digging to see what actually saves resources, and sometimes those ways are older and simpler than we think. One of the points I was particularly interested in was the idea of actually going to libraries. New York has so many options it would be a huge shame to not take advantage of that mine of resource.

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