posts tagged with the keyword ‘sharing’



I was alerted to the fact that someone created a new design based on one of my designs. The Laser Cut Case CinemaPi is based on a design I created called Raspberry Pi Case (with Camera) which you might remember from this post. (Oh, if you want more info on the Cinema Pi, see the notes here.)

But wait! It doesn’t end there…


My case is actually derived from Stacking Pi Case by CongoJoe. And CongoJoe? Not even the original creator, as he based his work on a design from Adafruit called the Adafruit Pi Box.

And Adafruit? They created the case and it’s a product they still sell, and they’ll tell you how to put it together. (And yes, they do have a newer, cheaper version if you just want a Pi case.)

Adafruit is just plain awesome, of course. They know that it’s not just about selling products, but about sharing information, teaching, spreading knowledge, and inspiring people. They get it.

This… this is the kind of world I want to live in.



Back in 2009 I took this photo of myself with EXPERT written on the whiteboard behind me. I had no grandiose scheme when I took the photo. It was taken at the office of z2 Marketing, in the conference room. I’ll admit, part of the reason I took the “EXPERT” photo had to do with a (slight) jab at people who were declaring themselves “experts” at the time. The photo gets used a lot when someone posts an article and needs a photo that depicts an expert or expertise.

When the photo is used, people who know me tend to tell me about it, which is nice, as it’s fun to track the usage of the photo. Of course I really do like to get credit for my work, so if you use it, please credit it properly, because I am also an expert in Creative Commons.

The most recent use is in an article titled The Death Of Expertise. (It’s an interesting article, go read it!)

Now, as far as being an expert, I like to say “You are an expert at your own experience”. This goes back to 2006, when we had one of the first meetings about BarCampMilwaukee. We were discussion session topics and someone said “Well, I’ve installed Linux a few times, but I’m no expert at it.” I then pointed out to the person the fact that he was an expert to anyone who had never installed Linux, and that sharing your own personal experience is an important part of teaching and learning.

Through the years of helping make unconferences happen, and getting involved in Milwaukee Makerspace, and in publishing this blog, I’ve come to understand just how important it is to recognize that you need be willing to share the things you know, even if you don’t think you know enough, and you also need to be accepting of others when they don’t know everything, because really, no one does. No one is an expert in all things.

Through the open sharing of knowledge, and the willingness to accept that no one is a expert (while we are also all experts) we can all end up learning more than we ever would on our own.


Laser-cut wood

I was at Milwaukee Makerspace, using the laser cutter (that I adore so much) and another maker asked me some questions, and then offered their thoughts. This was nothing new, and it’s a welcomed thing. Often you’ll get suggestions or ideas for future projects (or the one you’re currently working on.)

The maker was looking at what I was doing (making a laser-cut spool) and said he would probably use a band saw to cut the wood, and find a large dowel to put in the middle. That’s definitely one way to do it.

He guessed about how much time I spent on my method, and if you count the file-diddling his estimate was probably low, and I’m fine with that.


But hey, it’s all about perspective, right? I’m comfortable with software, and I like learning and designing things, so I don’t mind picking up new skills in solid-modeling and file conversions. These are skills I’d like to improve, as I plan to use them again and again. If I was just picking up a piece of wood and going at it with a saw… that’s not very enjoyable to me. I’m also not very good at it.


So instead of just finding a piece of wood and making it work with a saw, I prefer the process I took. I found something close enough to what I wanted, modified it to be exactly what I wanted (and along the way got help from another maker (Gary) and learned more about OpenSCAD) and after some tweaks I should have a repeatable process that will allow me to make as many spools as I want with relative ease. Since I’ll be sharing my files, it also means that others can make the exact same thing. To me this is powerful stuff, and while dumb power tools have their place, the smart tools (design software + CNC machines) offer so much more.

I’m also contributing to a community of makers who share their work, make derivatives, suggestions, and mashups of their work, and allow anyone else to do the same. I’m into that stuff, so yeah, that’s my perspective.


Photo by Jeramey Jannene

You can blame Philip Crawford for this idea… After MadCamp he said something to the effect of “You should hold a PeteCamp… I’d be there!” So while the name isn’t set in stone yet (PeteCamp? RasterCon?) I sort of like the idea, and here it is:

An entire day of Pete.

Hmmm, how can I describe this without sounding like an egomaniac… It’s not so much about me, but about how I like to share with others.

I’ve been blogging for 14 years, I’ve dabbled in photography (panoramas, macro stuff, time lapse), audio engineering and recording (including putting out 3 albums), video (shooting and editing, including the RED ONE), building communities (underground music, web and technology), I’ve made a lot of weird things, and a few projects, helped start Web414, helped bring BarCamp to Wisconsin, I’ve got an Egg-Bot, and there’s probably more stuff I forgot about.

So here’s the idea: You get a full day of Pete. 8 hours worth. It would be limited to 20 people, and each attendee would pay $80. This works out to just $10 per hour to attend, during which I will teach you pretty much everything you’d want to know that I know. I’d probably also teach you how I make pizza, and that would be our lunch. I’d answer questions, I’d share what I know, I’d do demos, and I’d teach you how to do things. Sounds simple enough, right?

So does this sound crazy, or does it sound like something you’d sign up for? Leave a comment, and let me know…


NeighborGoods NeighborGoods launched recently, and in their own words, “ is a safe online sharing community where you can save money and resources by sharing stuff with your neighbors.” I like that idea… It’s one of those things that’s made easier by using the Internet. I mean, sure you could get to know all of your neighbors, and make lists of what they have, and what you have, and do it all offline, but who’s going to do that? Web site to the rescue!

Here’s some scenarios: “Need a ladder? Borrow it from your neighbor. Have a bike collecting dust in your garage? Earn some extra cash by renting it out! NeighborGoods members can borrow, lend, rent, sell and buy stuff from their neighbors, saving money and getting more value out of the items they already own.”

If you can get past the usual “ZOMG! I’m not telling everyone what I have cuz they’ll ROB ME!!!” hysteria, and try to think that people are generally good and not complete jerks, this seems like a useful utility. So I joined…

I don’t have a huge inventory yet, but I’ve listed a few things I have, that I do not use very often. A ladder, a heat gun, an old wagon… Nothing of great value, but useful if you need it. I borrowed a ladder from Neighbor Micki (Micki Krimmel’s admin account) to see how it all worked, and it works fine. In theory… and then in no time, I had a request to borrow something!

Someone wanted to borrow my wagon. They said they would be in town for a week or so, and didn’t have room to bring a stroller. I should note at this point that the person was not “verified” which is a process of paying $5 to NeighborGoods so they can add you to the list of “verified” people. This was fine, as the site just launched, so most new users were not verified. (Another note: I’ve been waiting over 10 days for my verification package to arrive, so I’m still not verified.)

So, about the wagon… I made arrangements for the person to pick up the wagon, and replied on the site with the information. I ended up having to leave the wagon outside since I couldn’t be home when the person was coming to get it. Because of that, I asked for a phone number and email address. I never got them. I then had a change of plans, and I was going to be home for the pickup, but two days passed without them coming to pick up the wagon.

wagon While this was going on, I took a photo of the wagon, as it was much more beat up and rusty than I remembered. I let the person know this, and posted the photo. It had been raining a lot, and I didn’t feel like leaving the wagon out in the rain, even under a tarp, so I put it back in the garage, and let the person know that I put it away, and if they wanted to get it, to get back to me. (It had been 3 days since I heard anything from the person.)

Finally I heard back from the person. She apologized for not making the pickup, and provided an email address and phone number for her husband, as she was busy at a conference all day. Then I got super-busy, and couldn’t get in touch until the next day… It was either too early or too late (by my standards) to make a phone call to someone I didn’t know, so I emailed, letting him know I would put the wagon outside by our garage. I never got a response.

This was my last response: “Update: Still haven’t heard back… left the wagon outside, and it rained last night. :( The rust is pretty bad, so when I flipped it over to remove the water my hands got all covered in rust. Just letting you know because if you come and get it, you’ll want to not put it directly into a nice vehicle unless you put down and old tarp or blanket or something.”

After that, I never heard back… not from the woman via the web site, nor from her husband via email. I also provided my phone number with my very first communication, so I don’t think I was inaccessible at all. There was really only one time where I didn’t reply within the same day.

So what went wrong?

I’m not sure… I mean, maybe they just got super busy and never got a chance to come get the wagon. (Though they never said that, or canceled the transaction, and during the 11 days, it always seemed as if they were coming to get it.) If it had been a smaller item, I would have considered taking it to work, which is closer to Milwaukee, and said “come any day between 8am and 7pm, and I’ll be here to hand it to you.” Maybe they saw the photo of a rusty wagon and decided not to use it. Maybe they found someone else closer with a stroller or better wagon. Maybe it was all a scam.

I really doubt it was a scam… if it was, it’s the worse “I’m gonna steal your old rusty wagon” scam I’ve ever been involved in.

In all seriousness though, I do look forward to my first real transaction on NeighborGoods.

Update: Oh, one last thing… I ended up canceling the transaction on the day it was to end (as the transaction never too place, and I didn’t want the system to think it did.) After canceling, the thread of messages disappeared! I could still see the messages sent to me in the Notices section of the Inbox, but not the messages I sent. If the messages I sent really are inaccessible, I’d consider this data loss, and a major bug, as I think it would be valuable to have record of all transactions, even if they fail.


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