Go Beyond

Only read if you don't mind being offended.


Small Scale Technology

Small-scale technology Ted Kazinsky

That text is from Industrial Society and Its Future by Ted Kazinsky, the infamous Unabomber: pdf, epub

I've written on the topic of small-scale vs organization dependent technology before if you want a bit of backstory.

So, perhaps, this is an announcement of my plans. I've registered the smallscale.technology domain but it's not live yet.

My plan is to make money so I can purchase my own land farther north in Idaho to live off the grid. Hopefully through enabling others to be less dependent on organization-dependent technology, like the Internet. I want to escape the Clown World. I want to get out of the system. Hopefully, I can help you do the same.

For the most part, everything I will sell will be more expensive, less efficient, less intuitive, and slower than the alternative. But it will be yours, it will be modular, it will be serviceable, and it will be contained at a much more reasonable level of technology.

Let's compare some possible product lineups.

E-book readers

Amazon Kindle

By far, the nicest, easiest interface. Pretty font. Lightweight, comfortable.

Amazon picks the books you can load. If you buy a book they can remove it if it's online.

You pay extra to not have ads on the device.

Sony E-Reader

You buy the books on websites with more limited selections or you *cough*Torrentcough them.

May not be designed to handle tens of thousands of ebooks.

SST SHTFBook V.1488

  • Runs off a Raspberry Pi or Beaglebone Black.
  • Thick, heavy.
  • Powered by user replaceable 18650 lithium cells.
  • Open source software and design.
  • Ships with 128GB SD card with Project Gutenberg (60,000+ books) and more.
  • 3D printed case.

Other goods

SST BrickBook

(Overpriced, dated Thinkpad because you probably don't need more.)

  • Screen resolution: Less than HD
  • Screen viewing angle: Less.
  • Processor: 10 years old.
  • Memory: Probably 8GB.
  • Weight: Double the modern equivalent.
  • Operating System: FreeBSD DVD with source code on a M-Disc DVD. Handbook and numerous package sources on another M-Disc DVD. (M-Discs are extremely long lasting discs that will probably be readable in a couple hundred years unless you abuse them.)
  • BIOS: Libreboot or Coreboot. Or maybe I just leave it alone, but probably not.

Mini-internet Hotspot

Doesn't actually connect to the Internet. Just hosts stuff locally. Probably a Raspberry Pi in a 3D printed case with a 1TB HDD. Powered by USB with a 18650 power bank for battery operation.

  • Open Street Maps for the whole globe, including routing.
  • Project Gutenberg (60,000+ books in the public domain)
  • Public domain movies
  • Offline Wikipedia
  • Offline Stackoverflow
  • Source code

I don't like fear mongering, but what would happen if you lost internet access? Would you have any decent maps? Would you have medical references?

Technology has come down in price so much that you can have the most important online services archived for your own use. Obviously not communications, but mapping and public domain books are right at hand.

So the two things I'd really like to offer:

  • Curated data sets. You'd be paying me for the service of downloading the material and organizing it. Of course I'd link to the sources. This would not construe ownership but merely a downloading service. Of course if you have public domain media, then it's licensed as public domain. I know this is pedantic but I want to make it clear I'm not selling files with rights.
  • Repurposed hardware or open designs that use modular components. This way you can take it apart and repurpose all of the pieces. You can 3D print new parts. It's all yours to modify.

I say repurposed hardware because while I'd love to design my own laptop, it's not going to happen any time soon and older Thinkpads are designed to be worked on anyway. They already got it right. You should buy one yourself or buy one of my overpriced and mildly tested units if it's what you're looking for. (Until I find a way to cram a few Pis into a single laptop as the next Vagabond Workstation/Whonix...)

I want to sell products that you won't have to buy twice. If you order something from me, if I vanish the next week you should still be able to fix and maintain it. Not that I'm planning on vanishing, but you get the idea. I think "always online" devices with non-replaceable batteries are not the way to go. This is the opposite. Fewer application specific circuits, 3D printed parts, and user serviceable.

If you're interested in any of these things, feel free to send me an email or a comment in the feedback at the bottom of the page. I'd like to sell for cryptocurrency as I have been. I'd likely sell on eBay at first for simplicity, of course. I'll need to write my own web store in Golang.

Actual current offering

Wrapping up

I realize this isn't actually small-scale technology. Maybe we should just move to the woods and build our cabins. Hunt with a bow and arrow, preserve our food with salt, and encourage evolution through natural selection. Until we get to that point, I hope this is at least a step in the right direction.

Update (2020-04-07)

I've launched the website for this. Clearnet, Tor.