Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wheeling & Dealing

I was gratified to learn that the Laughing Horse collective would accept a collection like mine as a sponsored shelf.

The principled management would rather close shop than sell out to ideologically undermining material, so an endorsement at this level is not just a trivial formality.

I explored this option with other book collectors today. Some of us may have duplicate volumes, if not willing to part with only copies. Grunch of Giants might soon be available in multiple copies, along with Cosmic Fishing and maybe Tetrascroll.

This change in direction might be perceived as outreach to a more geeky readership. Mike D. is already at the hub of One Laptop per Child in Portland. I've connected him with Ed Cherlin and others, Ed having some core responsibilities re Pycon 2012 in the Bay Area.

Portland bills itself as a capital of open source, is hosting both OS Bridge and OSCON this summer (I'm lurking on the planning list for the former, know O'Reilly has control of the latter). We're glad to get OSCON back from San Jose.

So does that mean it's easy for your average Portland-based high school math teacher to get an in-service credit for some Introduction to Python course? Not easy enough I'd hazard. I was up front with STScI about our uphill battles in this regard. Scientific calculators still monopolize the vista, with spatial geometry languishing in the lurch (except in a few elite venues?).

Will all this spirited initiative translate into new Free School classes at Laughing Horse, in Apache, in Django, in Pippy on the XO? Quite possibly. Or is Free Geek still doing those? Perhaps more cross-pollination is in order? I'd be a willing attender of these classes, as well as a presenter, which activities would from my perspective involve extending an already-thriving Pauling Campus subculture. We also both have video collections.

I'd be happy to sit in on some free and/or donation requested Django classes, given I'm currently hacking on /projects/ktraks, plus looking over Patrick's shoulder on his operational buzzbot with a Django front end. We could reach out to more children with Turtle Art as well. Maybe Ed himself would send us a video, or we could stream something live, ala Alan Kay addressing EuroPython.

The upcoming Flextegrity book is going to focus more on the graphical content than the lexical. I'd written something experimentally lyrical as possibly suggestive however this isn't like a recap of Tetrascroll (a poetic work); the nuts and bolts come across in the load-bearing prototypes themselves, more than in just the verbal descriptions thereof. The tactile / kinesthetic experience is likewise illuminating, hence our outreach to schools of design.

Jim reminded me in our meeting this morning (at Lyrik) that Edgar Allen Poe is one of Baltimore's celebrated favorite sons. I hadn't realized or remembered that. Now I'm thinking "Eureka!" (good to know). Baltimore has a kind of Gothic Gotham flavor that deserves explicit celebration.