Freedom isn't Free Club

Hi Rob,

I’ve started this thread to get down some ideas about the monthly event we talked about doing one Monday a month.

I think the key practical pulls were along the lines of:

  • get help setting up a website
  • bring your laptop back to life by installing linux on it
  • learn how to use Free Software to make media (audio, photo, video, graphics)

and then there’s a lot of free yourself from the corporate infomonic hegemony in there as well!?

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Also what about Right To Repair,

or is that a different topic?

Would seem on-topic to me. It’s all a question of empowerment and taking back control, whether it was wilfully removed or collateral damage resulting from well meaning convenience.

@mickfuzz, love the name.

I’m totally up for the repair and reuse stuff, it’s just a question of skills and equipment.

I’m sure that the people from the restart project would be willing to give us some pointers.

+1 from me
Think this is a great idea and a good way to get people involved, might need promoting in a different way though

Okay then @mickfuzz how about the second Monday of the month?

That works for me.

We do need a name though. Here are some ideas without being precious about them.

Free as in Freedom
Freedom as in Free
Hebden Hacktionlab
Hack the World
No I will not fix your computer
Conscious computing
Data Drop-in
Use your computer before it uses you

That one gets my vote!

Hi there, This is a bit stalled.

I was hoping to do this jointly with someone as I don’t really want to convene this by myself. I’ve got loads to input but its the process of getting people there that would hold me back to go for this.

Maybe as a bit of unsubtle rattling of the cage. I would ask what’s the point of even having an event to promote Free Software and the Open Web and Digital Rights.

Surely it is doomed to be a niche thing. Haven’t we lost to “free as in beer” services that track us and sell us advertising? Why bother trying to get people off facebook anyway or to use Linux. Let’s get allotments instead!

rattle… rattle .,…

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Is there a problem in that if you are already a member of Bridge Rectifier, there is a good chance you are already on board with free as in free speech software?

I think it’s a great idea, but would need external promotion (which may be a great way of recruiting)


@Shirtboy thanks for the reply. I think you are right. The issue here is recruiting to a wider audience. An audience that we think stands to benefit from using Free Software / OS’s and who should care about digital rights and being tracked.

For sure that takes work. I guess the question is, is it worth it? It seems like a losing battle sometimes.

I’d suggest it is worth it and concerns over privacy and technology being forced end-of-life are actually growing. However, what with other commitments I can’t offer to help out.

That said, the hope is that post-AGM we’ll get a regular programme of events back on the go and block out at least 3, maybe even 6 months of events. That way we can start to publicise things wider and have a proper membership recruitment drive.

Even then it’s only really worth trying to get something off the ground if those involved are committed to 6 months+ of running the thing and publicising. If you only host 2 or 3 and/or don’t engage in sustained publicity, and it somehow becomes sustainable, you’re very luck indeed…

I did a talk at the Madlab a couple of weeks ago and the place was packed.

At least half the people there had come from outside of Manchester. I spoke with a couple of the people running the place and they said that they would be more than happy for Bridge Rectifier to put up posters or leave leaflets to advertise stuff we are doing.

I have a feeling that ‘Freedom isn’t free’ and my own ‘All Things Open’ are just a little too broad in scope.

Maybe we would have more luck getting BR on the map with a HEBWUG or similar. I’m sure people would travel for that.

My own problem is one of time. I’m still hoping to get the food computer up and running as and when version 2.0 gets released. Between childcare and running my business I struggle to fit anything else in.

I think the point about a greater focus bringing people in is true. The more specialist you make it the more likely to hit a sweet spot where people think -‘ah that’s just what I need right now’.

On the other hand, I think that this also tends to work well as things then are targeted at something that could benefit the individual in terms of their professional development. I think that kind of professional networking and specialist knowledge is what a space like MadLab is good at.

But I think that then comes at a cost in terms of broader outreach, to a non-technical public which is more what I was thinking of in the original aims of this post.

Not saying software user groups are a bad idea for the space at all, just not my focus.

Also, I think another way of pulling people in is doing something with their kids or grand-kids. Serves 2 purposes, a bonding activity and increasing general tech skills of their offspring (future earning power to pay for their retirement homes).

I realise I’m in danger of just moaning rather than getting on with it, ie. doing something and just seeing what happens! I will do ‘something’ but would much rather do it as a broader coalition of people than just me. As @9600 says doing it for longer regularly does have positive effects.
Also like @treb0r I’m a bit time poor but one evening most month will be doable for sure.

nice one

I think that Madlab in general and Mike Little in particular seem better than most at attracting people from outside of the usual techie crowd.

The Manchester WordPress user group is a favourite of mine simply because there are lots of non geeks who regularly attend. That includes older people and females, which are two groups usually under represented in these kind of groups.

Once the food computer is up and running I will seriously consider a Hebwug!

Hi there, Thanks for the feedback on this. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I’m going to take on advice about it being too general. I’m going to start a new thread about digital story telling.