The Mechaneer's logbook: Lock-Os Blog on everything (Mostly mechanical stuff)

Well, this is my first blog, I hope people will find it informing, entertaining, as well as useful.

Blog#1 The beginning

Today I'm going to talk about Idealism, Cynicism, and Pragmatic Optimism, as well as an open-Source engineering / Machining network I wish to form.

Many a person, especially in these times, has complained about being too Idealistic or Cynical. Let's go over exactly what these two terms stand for and their position in the world.

Cynicism: Things are bad, and will never change.
Probably what describes the average person. Unfortunately, they are somewhat right. In an age were individuals are almost interchangeable and people are easier to see as groups, individual power is fairly weak compared to bigger groups in most cases. The main problem here is that nobody is actually willing to do anything, and thus nothing does change. Sure, they are right in that some things won't change unless under extreme conditions, but the fact that they don't do anything that they can do is troubling.

Idealism: The world is great! We can make it happen by pure willpower.
An uncommon, but still troubling view point that everything can change in an instant and that pure emotion alone will solve everything. Sometimes goes overboard and can become infected with a deadly dose of innocence or fantasy. Often plans don't get anywhere, causing people to get frustrated that governments and corporations don't seem to 'understand' the problems caused by their actions are affecting people around the world. Well intended, but flawed thinking that everybody is nice and things will improve without planing ahead.

These two opposing viewpoints are at the center of probably numerous blogs, books, speeches and the like. Yet the answer always seems to be black or white, often going to the cynical side as of late. This is were I get a little irritated that nobody is really thinking about things. Few, if any, laws of nature and science gives a yes / no answer to things. This is were I come up with my own third why of thinking...

Pragmatic Optimism: Alright, there is a problem, and it's going to be difficult to solve and we probably won't solve all of it. But we can do something and at least solve a few parts of it and lessen the problem.
My more balanced approach, were Logic and reason is mixed with reality and hope to solve a problem, or at least part of it. Basically, it realizes that yes their is a problem, and that while it may not be completely solved, it still can be reduced, or solved in part, thereby improving the situation. Sadly, it's not as dramatic as the extremes, and it's not flawless, but being in the middle of extremes allows for some movement at least.

So what does this have to do with that project I have in mind? Well, their is one small thing I have to mention to further flesh out the reasoning behind this seemingly insane Open-source plan of mine.

Pro-Am: Professional Amateur, the key to Open-Source and what might be the REAL solution to problem solving when nothing seems to be done about it.


Basically, think of someone pursuing a project or hobby as a professional. All of those who take are CE-Projects seriously are most likely Pro-Ams. While their backgrounds are diverse, one of the big reasons behind it is most likely that they are not getting satisfaction from their job being told what to do, rather than using their skills and knowledge for personal use. If you want to design robots to save people's lives, but the corporation only wants to develop models for PR use, then if that person were to design and make their own robot, that person would have become a Pro-Am.

You probably guessed it by now, but let me make it clear. Pro-Ams are one of the keys to real inventing. Now I know that making a profit is important, and that some corporations are big into real radical R&D. But really, its been the people who love machines and devices who make the most innovative stuff because they love to do it, and they don't need to really make a profit, thus Pro-Ams are a key to Open-Source design.

Now to formally announce my plan. I plan to make a site for engineers, mechanics, machinists, and any person interested and passionate about creating and designing anything to join in this Open-Source network to present personal and group projects that everyone can see, comment on, and contribute to so that we can help not only our fellow creators and designers, but also create devices that can help those that need it, including our own. We intend to fill in the gap that Government and Corporations have let in this world, though doing what people love to do. Though this network, we can facilitate the flow of information as well as find people with the ability to supply, construct, design, and distribute our creations.

In case you haven't noticed, CE is a lot like this to a degree. The only thing we seem to lack is more people on the distribution and manufacturing side of things. I hope to fix this by connecting us to various forums, people and sites to create a network between theory and reality, between concept and realization, and to build a better, more rounded community.

I know this is a big undertaking, and any advice, commentary, or help is greatly welcomed. Even criticize is welcomed and I realize even needed to make this work. Thanks, and lets start turning and connecting all those 'I wish I could do something.' into 'I can do something'.


  • Kaustubh Katdare
    Kaustubh Katdare
    Very good post, Lock-Os! I'd love to write a big comment on your last two paragraphs, but I won't. CE - Labs, as I see, is underutilized and misunderstood.

    All the best with your new initiative.
  • Lock-Os
    Thanks Big-K. I'm glad that their are still some folks out their who actually like to build and design things. It's a shame most people don't seem to really care about it.

    Anyways: here something that is rare these days, Optimism about the economy.

    Blog#2 Dr. Lock or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rescission

    My my, If it isn't terrorists, starving children, or some tragedy on the television, its an economy going down the sink into the domain of civil engineers. The world is doomed, mass panic, chaos, THE END OF DAYS!

    So the media once again has proclaimed doom for all. While this is nothing to sneeze at, we might as well enjoy this down turn and the few rare benefits it gives us. Yes, that's right, it's time to stop running around and make the most of this time. Of course, the big question is what benefits this gives us. Actually, their are two that are quite beneficial to companies.

    Restructuring and Rebuilding: If anything, costs of Labor and materials should be dropping like a body in free fall. If you have been saving, this might very well be a good time to expand, before the next boom hits and you have to pay more when demand comes back. Also, take advantage of the lack of activity to re-organize and do some housecleaning to be ready for the comeback, when you'll be busy as ever with work.

    Start inventing your own new products: Now is a great time to start designing your new product. The most simple of reasons is that the big companies are now pulling back their demand for all kinds of equipment. So costs should drop on all kinds of machine tools and parts that would otherwise be out of reach for individuals. Also, the fact it is easier to produce smaller numbers of products as a small group or as an individual means that you will be able to make a profit making only as many products that you can sell instead of gradual downsizing and trying to guess demand for their product.

    Buy up failed company assets: This one is for people who are more or less into the industrial hobbies, or runs their own small company. Sad fact is that some people are going to go under. The sale of their equipment is a big boon to anyone needing it and lacking the resources to normally obtain it. It might be like a crow going though a dumpster, but at least your are recycling still usable tools and parts.

    Know that this will end eventually: I may take two years to end, but it will end. Things will get rough, but with the interconnectedness of the economy, as well as the number of people on this planet things will get better eventually.

You are reading an archived discussion.

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