All posts by nathan

We’ve Got Something New For You

Sheperd Fairey Unveiling
Photo courtesey cliff1066™

If it’s been a while since you last laid your eyes on the nav bar of our humble website, now would be a good time to reacquaint yourself with it.  We’ve added a Media tab up top that contains all of PS:One’s official video (and soon to be audio as well).

We’ve been quietly recording talks and events over the last year and here is just a small selection of those recordings.  There are additional Guided Tours along with the rest of your favorite PS:One talks still in queue to be edited.

Many people have invested a lot of time and work to bring this content to a broader audience extending our reach into the greater community.   Carl Karsten was integral in showing me a less-cumbersome workflow for shooting and recording audio.  Also, Tim Saylor has scheduled so many great speakers for Guided Tours and made such a great help with production (and even taking over once as of this writing).

Now give your strained eyes a rest from this 20th century concept of “reading” and sit back to enjoy some syndicated PS:One goodness.

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Fire Starters the Boy Scout Way

Egg Carton
Photo by greenchartreuse on Flickr

Fire starters are an easy and convenient way to get a fire going without messing with loose newsprint or dry tinder only for it to go out when somebody breathes on it.  There as many recipes out there for these things as there are BBQ sauces. This one is my tried and true favorite of many.


  • Paper-based egg cartons (the classic kind, no plastic)
  • Old candles (can be found for next to nothing at thrift stores)
  • Sawdust (for flavor)


Melt the candles down in a pot/pan that you never want to cook in again.  This can be very dangerous so do use some common sense.  While the candles are melting, cut the bottom of your egg cartons out removing the lid and the flap on the opposite edge that holds the lid closed.

Once the wax has melted entirely so there are no solids left CAREFULLY pour them into your egg carton trays.  If you have a funnel, this would be a lot safer. (safety = 1 / fun)  While the wax is still in liquid form, sprinkle a generous amount of sawdust over the tops of each and let them dry all the way until they are room temperature again.

After they are all dry cut each individual pod (12 per carton) out with the peaks of the carton split equally.  This will make for an easy wick come lighting time.

Thats it!

Now you’re ready to start your charcoal grill, backyard foundry, etc. with minimal set up time and the best part is it can cost you nothing!  As with any open flame, it’s a good idea to have a fire extinguisher around too.

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The Foreman Dog - by Jeff Kantarek

In case you thought otherwise, it turns out nerds aren’t exempt from proving their survival skills by cooking meat on an open flame from time to time.  To keep with tradition this Saturday, May 1st @ 3:00 we will be cooking out in one form or another, (The weather looks good as of this writing, so expect full force) and you are all invited to join us.

If you want to eat as well, we ask that you please bring something to share too.  We’re all excited to come out of our caves and kick off Spring/Summer this year with food, drink & good conversation so come on out, we need to attract the fire department like we did last year!

Hugs from the VP will be available too.

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PS:One at Flourish March 19 & 20

Photo by Anne Petersen

This Friday and Saturday, the Chicago area open source community will converge on the University of Illinois at Chicago for this year’s Flourish Conference.

Flourish is a totally free (as in beer) conference and if you register ahead of time you get a free t-shirt as well.  Speakers will be covering various topics such as Git, Python, Women in Open Source, Building Open Source Software Communities and Video Recording Presentations.

Pumping Station: One will be manning a table in the mini-expo room handing out stickers and debuting our larger than life photobooth TARDIS for the first time outside our space.  Bring yourself and your friends to come see us and all the great speakers at UIC this weekend.  At 6:00 PM on Saturday right after Flourish 2010 closes, there will be an afterparty at OfficePort Chicago sponsored by

See you there!


Friday, March 19 & Saturday March 20
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
University of Illinois at Chicago
750 South Halsted St., Chicago, IL

You can visit the conference website at to register, sign up for Lightning Talks, see last year’s photos & videos and more.

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Hackathon_feel_the_noiseThis month we are going the extra mile to fulfill your hackathon
cravings.  We will be hosting two consecutive weekends of mischief and
machinations starting with Saturday night @ 8:00 PM.

Hackathon: Come On, Feel The Noise
is now our louder, messier counterpart that’s equal parts sawdust,
sparks & dance music.  Some of our own members will be on hand
DJing the event as well as the ‘Cacophony Club’ getting together to
demo their homebrew instruments.

We are also especially pleased to announce that hackerspaces from across the US and Europe will be joining us throughout the weekend in holding their own all-night events, making this a Synchronous Hackathon.  We and many other spaces will be hosting live feeds on Ustream that will be publicly available to view.

Next weekend will be the classic unplugged version of Hackathon: Quiet Riot.
As the name suggests, distractions will be at a minimum and the
emphasis is on coding of various types.  Pick your poison or join us
for both if you’re so inclined.  Our live stream is up and running
around the clock for the most part (below).

See you this weekend along with CCCKC, Alpha One Labs, Makers Local 256, FAMiLab, Freeside Atlanta, Syn2cat, Hackerspace Barcelona, Hive13, InitLab, Kwartzlab, TOG & Tetalab!

Photo Courtesy Anne Petersen

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Physics Simulations in Flash

sim2In a previous job, I made flash apps to accompany math textbooks that helped kids learn things
like trig functions and integrations by showing them visual
representations of what they were doing. After a while, I started making some apps on the side and ended up with this
physics simulator.

This app is at times a gravity
simulation and at others electricity and magnetism.
Basically, you can place “wells” that vary from being very
attractive to very repellent, and then release “particles” into
this system that you have just created. The system operates on a
very simple set of rules; the closer a particle is to a well, the
stronger the force it feels from that well. This led to fairly
simple and straightforward code that reached the desired result. In
addition, I added in the ability for the particles to trace the path
they have taken which allows you to see if the particles are entering
into repetitive orbits and draw pretty, pretty pictures. The actual
app is located here with the directions to run the simulation on the
page as well. Enjoy!


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Devices of Medieval Torture in One Hour or Less

Stocks2What started yesterday as a mailing list quibble ended up turning into a demonstration in escape artistry.  When two directors start goading each other back and forth all day, one of them is bound to get bound.  All that posturing ended with me intending to follow through on a joke before the start of this Tuesday’s meeting.

Stocks are really an elegantly simple contraption to make.  Two 2x6s, a couple hinges and a jigsaw later, and our president is being helplessly doused by ping pong balls in public court.  After the initial ‘test fitting’ I had the opportunity to put the recently acquired Shopsmith through it’s first paces by rounding out the neck and wrist slots for added comfort with the drum sander attachment.

For future reference, the following links are not considered official PS:One business, nor necessarily safe for rainbow-phobic workplaces:

More pictures after the jump.

stocks1 Continue reading Devices of Medieval Torture in One Hour or Less

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Hackathon Next Saturday!

HackathonOn Saturday, September 26th Pumping Station: One will be hosting our first official hackathon.  Dust off your neglected projects and power through the night to finish them with us!  The event starts at 8:00 PM officially and goes through the next morning.  This event is free and open to the public.

Can’t make next week?  Don’t worry, our impromptu hackathon last month was such a success that we will be having one on the 4th Saturday of every month.

Photo courtesy Anne Petersen.

When: September 26 @ 8:00 PM
: Pumping Station: One, 3354 N. Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60618


Why: Because finishing projects is contagious, there will be plenty of people to bounce ideas off of, and its a great excuse to be social without having to peel your eyes off your computer screen.

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The Todd Ianuzzi Experience Dominates Inaugural Power Wheels Race

WinnersCircle0Congratulations to the Todd Ianuzzi Experience and their driver Sarah Sutherlin on becoming the first ever PPPWRS champions.  Many contenders fought hard to claw their way to the top, but in the end they were no match for the Chief O’Neill’s powered racer.

Picture & Video are posted below for now.  In-depth results and stats coming soon.

Special thanks to Chief O’Neill’s & Best Express Messenger Service for sponsoring this event!

Photos courtesy Anne P. & Kamil Krawczyk

Continue reading The Todd Ianuzzi Experience Dominates Inaugural Power Wheels Race

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Cat’s Out of the Bag

Carl_eyesQ: What has 4 legs, glowing eyes, and guards our hackerspace?

A: Our newest addition to the ever evolving workshop, Carl!  If you want to know what’s going on at PS:One this very moment, this is the cat to go through.  You can reach him by following him on his twitter stream here:  Work is ongoing to further automate his updates including a motion detector that we’ve already acquired.

Continue reading Cat’s Out of the Bag

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