This past weekend, I paid a visit to Buffalo Lab, a community workshop located in the Foundry on Northhampton street. They were hosting Arduino Day, which was a chance for newcomers to Arduino to get acquainted with the platform,
learn some basic soldering skills, and build a line-following robot. I went because I was curious about the Lab as a whole, and Lab member Grant Tepper was kind enough to give me a full tour.
To understand what one can do at the Lab, one must first understand what it is. Buffalo Lab is a place where anybody with an idea can go to make their vision reality, at any scale. It has a true co-op feel in that not only
are you sharing equipment, but ideas and expertise as well. The people there are working on projects of all sizes, from personal curiosities to business-scale technologies and startups. One can become a member for only $50/month, and have access to the multitude of tools there at the lab, or rent a larger space to start a business.
Buffalo Lab is particularly good if you need to use equipment that is too expensive for most people to own at home. They have multiple 3d printers, CNC machines, programming stations, even full wood shops and welding shops. Fortunately, there are also people that know how to use the equipment that you can connect with and learn from.
It’s easy for anyone to get started in Buffalo Lab. They have a variety of educational workshops and events open to the public for newcomers to learn and explore the Lab as a whole. They also are very generous with their really cool stickers.
Before the days of YouTube, Vine, and video games people went to the arcade to hear the nickelodeon (player piano) and watch the amusements and oddities. We went to San Francisco for the Association of Alternative Newspapers conference, but just down the road was the truly amazing Musée Mechanique.
The last machine “Laffing Sal” is the most widely known. From Wikipedia:
Laffing Sal was a fixture at the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach, California when it opened in 1936. Decades later, the park’s management learned that Funni-Frite Inc. of Pickerington, Ohio still had the original molds of Laffing Sal’s head and hands, and commissioned them to make an updated Sal to stand above the entrance of their Scary Dark Ride. An endless tape cartridge provided its audio. The figure was removed when the attraction was closed in 2005.
Telephoning the customer service department of the cable company is never fun. As reported by Chris Morran of The Consumerist, Lisa Brown found out the hard way just how bad it can get.
Brown called customer service with the intention of canceling the TV portion of her service, and was prepared to pay the $60 cancellation fee. When she received her next bill, the first name on the bill, originally that of her husband, Ricardo, had been changed to “Asshole.” She suspects it was one of those sneaky “retention specialists” who was sore about not being able to convince her to keep the service.
“I was never rude,” she tells consumer advocate Chris Elliot. “It could have been that person was upset because I didn’t take the offer.”
Ms. Brown contacted the local and regional Comcast offices to try to change it back, but the calls proved fruitless. Only when she finally got ahold of Comcast HQ did anyone care.
“We have spoken with our customer and apologized for this completely unacceptable and inappropriate name change. We have zero tolerance for this type of disrespectful behavior and are conducting a thorough investigation to determine what happened. We are working with our customer to make this right and will take appropriate steps to prevent this from happening again.”
They gave her $60 back. How utterly compassionate of them.
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