I just announced the first annual Hackerfarm Shenzhen Tour. It is tentatively scheduled to occur for approximately four days on 8/22-8/25. We will be hitting up many of the local markets:
Hua Qiang Bei electronics markets
Da Fen Art Village
South China Materials Market
De Pu Shajin Industrial Electronics Market
Dongmen/Luohu Fabric Market
We will also be touring approximately three factories in that time which will be determined later. Right now, it looks like at least one will be a printing factory for people that want to publish games or books. We’ll try to schedule factories based on relevance to what people are working on.
This is the first part of our plan at hackerfarm to grow the local economy in the area by exposing people that live here to the manufacturing and trade resources available in China. The idea is that as more creative people come into the area, its possible to start designing and creating goods that can be sold locally or abroad, bringing money into the community. That’s why it’s important to start educating people early on available options, wholesale pricing, and how to design things in a way that can easily scale.
Hope it all works 🙂
Recently, we started up board game nights at hackerfarm where we play various board games that we own. I’ve never had a lot of friends when I lived in Tokyo so I didn’t get much chance to play board games. It was a completely different experience for me and it’s interesting how the social interaction around the board game develops. It’s possible to learn a lot about people as you play since there’s a lot of idle talk, some bluffing, bravado, scheming, etc. It’s really fun.
Continue reading Board Game Nights at Hackerfarm
One of the things we’ve been wanting to do for a long time is set up a podcast for hackerfarm to keep people updated on what’s going on out here as well as discuss topics related to agriculture, technology, and the millions of other things we seem to be interested in. Jacinta is also working on her publishing company, Zoot Publishing, and previously, she was interviewing people for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. So finally, we put together a USB audio interface, two microphones, and a plan and started preparing the content schedule for the Zoot Publishing and Hackerfarm podcasts. Incidentally, they’ll be separate podcasts. It should be a fun project and something we can get a bunch of people involved in. A follow on project is to set up a soundproof studio at SDF cafe, but that’s still kind of on the drawing board.
I recently wrote an article for Hackaday based on my experiences in Shenzhen, especially teaching the MIT Media Lab Manufacturing Bootcamp Course for the medialab students. This post has most of my favorite places to window shop and get ideas when I need to get away from the technology buzz around Hua Qiang Bei.
Continue reading A Hackers Guide to Arts, Crafts, Food, and Music in Shenzhen
We had the TechRice project status meeting again last night. Tokyo University might come on board for a parallel project so we discussed the logistics of how to integrate them into the overall project. Otherwise, our software stackup for the rice paddy sensor monitoring is looking good. Halfdan has been collecting data for the past few weeks with his wireless nodes, sending them to his gateway node, and then sending them up to his Postgres based server on Heroku. The data looks good and the system is stable. Next up is to cost optimize the nodes and start designing a power optimized 3G gateway device. The rice planting is in May but we look like we’re on track to meet that target.
Here at hackerfarm, a number of people have inquired about setting up webshops and making money online. We’ve decided to do a monthly e-Commerce meetup where we do hands on workshops on setting up Amazon seller accounts, Yahoo auction accounts, and webshops. We also discuss the topics that don’t get as much attention such as payment gateways, merchant accounts, company organization, product sourcing, manufacturing, shipping, logistics, and marketing.
Continue reading Hackerfarm e-Commerce Meetup
Recently I had the great pleasure to attend my first Awamoney meeting. Awamoney is a local currency used in the Ooyama area around hackerfarm to promote local economy and community support. It’s a trade and barter currency and facilitates many exchanges. There’s a really great community around it and they have periodic meetings to discuss Awamoney and the local community.
Continue reading Awamoney Meeting and Satoyama Singers
One of the ongoing projects at hackerfarm is TechRice, a project where we set up a wireless sensor network of rice fields and measure the water levels and weather parameters for each field. It’s quite an intense project since it spans low level hardware, short range wireless, cellular communications, database/web programming, and data visualization. There are currently four of us that are actively working on the project and will be rolling out a ten node sensor network this planting season. We’re currently managing the project and have weekly meetings to discuss status.
This is me & Yves at hackerfarm and Halfdan Rump in Tokyo discussing the project with our Yamaha conference call bar we fished out of a junk bin in Akihabara. It has an omnidirectional microphone and speaker array and is meant for long conference tables. Photo by David Huang, also part of the project.
Continue reading TechRice Meeting and Alternative LED Lighting
Hackerfarm was recently featured on the Muji blog discussing local community revitalization. One of the writers came here to talk to us and see what we were up to. He seemed to be surprised that there was a pocket of technical people hanging out in the countryside in Kamogawa. He was really cool and we talked a long time about art, technology, agriculture, and community. The blog post is in Japanese and it has some really great pictures.
Akiba did an in-depth write up of the TechRice project to explain this rural sensor network collaboration. Sensor Net Makes Life Easier for Rice Farmers on Hackaday. And then it got picked up on Slashdot where the comments were entertaining.