[OpenDesign] Hello + Re: Bram Geenen

Stuart Childs stuchilds at googlemail.com
Wed Mar 28 00:54:45 UTC 2012

Hi Peter, all

> first I think there is a distinction between sharing a design (result) and sharing (while) designing.

I'd agree here.

> you're obviously talking about the first one

I am interested in both - great that you highlighted the sharing while designing, sharing the process, aims, thoughts one goes through as a designer, brick walls / problems one comes up against. All very useful for others trying to use or modify existing shared designs. I hadn't considered the distinction.

> one rough thought of mine is, that sharing a design is not only sharing the "design file(s)" but also the design rationale -- the WHY of a design, not only the WHAT

Would this be akin to blogging about the design process? An example I recently shared was designing a laser cut plywood clamp: http://stuartchilds.com/2012/03/snijlabs-plywood-clamps/ where I shared both the design process as well as files. 

Taking photos, notes, exporting different file formats and writing a short post about it all takes some time.

A challenge may be to find a way to put the WHAT/WHY / info about the process alongside the design files / hard content, without blurring the lines, confusing the two (quite) different things. This might work on a personal website, would it work as well on a larger scale community site?

> this is stuff you won't necessarily find in a say .stl file … but it is extremely valuable to understand, what the thinking of the designer was when creating the code
> I feel that's where we need clever ideas in open design to make "how a design works" and design decisions understandable to non-designers

I'd agree here. I see one great benefit of open design as a way of bettering one's design practice - it's the classic 'if everybody can see how I did this, I would be less inclined to cut corners / include sloppy design'. 

However sometimes you might end up with a design file after a few days/weeks/months/years, and actually have little record of the design procedure, or what you went through to get to the final result. Should one then recollect from a blurry (and perhaps inaccurate) memory, admit that there are gaps in the design process, or otherwise?

The instructables website is a kind of nice example of this: some projects are incredibly well documented with detailed step by step instructions, close up photographs, diagrams, etc. where others are hastily added 'i didn't know about instructables until after i completed the project but here's a photo and some of the steps I took'. 

I have seen (and also followed / contributed to) instructables where the steps have not been obvious and a series of messages, updates by the author, feedback from others has led to a clearer, easier to follow, better documented set of instructions. Nice to see a project evolve in this way, if not perhaps the norm.

Interesting stuff and good food for thought.

perhaps Bram + friends' open-designism project could be a/the solution?

>> Hi Stuart, thanks for posing those questions!
>> I agree that there is a need for streamlining the process of sharing a design. Sometimes I worry that standardizing file formats reduces variety and possibilities, but it could help out a lot. For now I mostly focus on improving the process of sharing and collaborating itself, by creating an intuitive and inspiring envrionment for collaborative projects. instead of standardizing formats.
>> Our collaboration platform hopes to be of great use for designers, but we also want to attract 'non-designers' since we think that a great variety of people with different skills and knowledge will stimulate innovation.

>> What is exactly the difference between open hardware and open source hardware? 

I don't exactly know - a quick google throws up the wikipedia page and a few other interesting links, including the Open Source Hardware Bank - which seems to feature lots of arduino shields.. http://www.oshwbank.org/

Another good read is the freedomdefined.org OSHW page: http://freedomdefined.org/OSHW
Including details of a summit where a group got together to discuss this very subject, and try to define what open source hardware means / could be / how OSHW could be licensed: http://www.eyebeam.org/projects/Opening-hardware

I personally like the creative commons licensing as it is very human readable, and easy to grasp. But this is perhaps laziness, or because I don't fully understand / know of all of the OSHW licenses that are available.

Can anybody else shed light, or give their thoughts on OSHW and open hardware [OHW?] ?

Enjoying the chats.

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Stuart Childs

+44 777 911 4531




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