Lou's Promise

Published on March 15th, 2024 17:35

Everyone has needs. Even at our best, meeting our own needs without anyone else is borderline Sisyphean. The burden of meeting our needs is heavy, and made heavier or lighter based upon our position in society.

How do you get help when your needs are hard to carry and challenging to hand off? Does it require access to wealth? membership in a religious institution? Or perhaps just access to a phone line.

Dial 666 on any phone, or install the 666 app. You'll be connected directly to a Community Care Coordinator, we'll discuss your needs and get you the care you're looking for.

When your hungry, we feed you. When you're wet or cold, we shelter and clothe you. When you're hurting or ill we provide medical care.

That's Lou's Promise. No Soul (or ID) Necessary.

How does capital fit into the Solidarity Economy?

Published on January 28th, 2024 17:11

The purpose of capital and currency has always been to direct the efforts of laborers.

Solidarity economics embraces self-direction, for ourselves and everyone within our economic system. It springs from a foundational awareness of our interconnectedness in a precarious ecosystem and a firm belief that every person's life has worth and value.

Given that capital's primary economic purpose has been to direct the efforts of laborers, how does it fit into universal self-direction and solidarity economics? How can it be leveraged for a just-transition to a community and worker directed economy?

I ordered a PineTime today

Published on August 3rd, 2023 22:30

Last night, as most nights, I went to bed and placed my 2018 iPhone (sitting primly at ~80% charge) on its wireless charging station.

This morning, as most mornings, I picked up my iPhone for my pre-leaving-bed Wordle, Crossword Mini and Sudoku.

However, the device did not turn on. Maybe the magnetic charger didn't work right last night...

So I plugged it in and dozed instead.

About an hour later, the glass remained colorless.

This mirror which holds my money. My transit pass. My health data. My most intimate of conversations.

I ducked around and and the ducks found me a scroll.

To bring a Blackened Apple Mirror back to shining color:

  1. Press and quickly release the volume up button.
  2. Press and quickly release the volume down button.
  3. Press and hold the side button.
  4. When the Apple logo appears, release the side button.

The incantation failed me. My release was too quick?

Or not quick enough? Were my fingers failing me?

A state of the art looking glass forged by Apple, Deity of FAANG, would not... could not fail a mere 5 years into its life?

My mortal-self must be at fault. But try as I might, the scroll brought no spark.

My heart dropped.

Apple's Care for their small mirrors extends for two years only.

Once past, it is your responsibility.

This looking glass had cost a month's rent!

1.5% of a years-wage!

And Apple's Care would extend only as far as my currency.

Organizing Projects into a "Work Garden"

Published on February 25th, 2023 11:23

Task-based work-flows, such as KanBan boards, project backlogs, etc. are great for keeping track of what's going on and what is the next most important thing. But they struggle for things like:

  1. What is the goal here?
  2. What is working well?
  3. What wants more love?
  4. What scary bits are there?

I've been exploring using what I call a Feature Garden for organizing work on Convene. Each Github issue:

  • Outlines the Use Cases the issue provides, with emoji's indicating how well a particular Use Case is working and whether it's something we're investing in now, how it makes us feel, etc.
  • Is a fractal! A particular project garden-style issue can link-up to a larger project or link down to smaller projects.
  • Serves as a living document, written by the team maintaining the project.
  • Sticks around! A Work Garden stays as long as the work it grew is worth maintaining. You can totally close them if they're no longer wanting work done, but it's also OK to re-open them!

Anyway, it's weird. Give it a shot? Tell me what you think?

Example Feature Garden

## Feature: Marketplace: Distance Based Delivery Pricing
In the beginning, the [Marketplace](https://github.com/zinc-collective/convene/issues/831) 
only supported per-Marketplace delivery pricing. 

When chatting with Piikup, we learned that they 
prefer to price based on distance from pickup to 

### Fauxsonas
See [Marketplace Fauxsonas](https://github.com/zinc-collective/convene/issues/831)

### Use Cases

- 🌱 Distributor or Vendor sets Pickup Address
- 🌱 Distributor sets Prices for Delivery
- 🍎 Shopper sets Delivery Address
  - 🌱 ... prior to Checkout
- 🌱 Carts show appropriate Delivery Price based upon 
   Shopper's Delivery Address

#### Legend
  * 🌱 - this use case is still growing!
  * 🍎 - this use case is good enough, but not 
    particularly fancy

### 🚧 Danger Zone 🚧
At this time, we do not have a way of determining driving distance
and are limited to "As the Crow Flies."  We also may not have a way
of getting the latitude and longitude of a particular address just yet. 

We may want to figure out which vendor(s) would most benefit or 
Client-Owners for address lookup and (potentially) driving distance 

2022 Domestic Financial Summary

Published on January 2nd, 2023 14:04
  • Gross Income: ~$122k
  • Taxes: ~$30k (Estimated)
  • Other Expenses: ~$73k
  • Net Income: $19k

  • Contributions to 401k: $20,500
  • Contributions to HSA: $3,650
  • Contributions to IRA: $6,000

  • Net Cashflow: ~-$11k
  • Net Worth: ~$288k
  • 2021 EoY Net Worth: ~$318K
  • 2022 Change to Net Worth: -~$30k, -~9%


  • The S&P 500 dropped ~20% in 2022.
  • Most of my assets are in JSTC, an ETF offered by Adisina Social Capital; as pulling cash out of IRA/401(k)s is highly costly.
  • The Median Household income for Alameda County from 2017~2021 was ~$112k in 2021 dollars, per the CIA World Fact Book.
  • The Living Annual Income for the San Francisco Bay Metropolitan Area for a single person raising a child alone was ~$108k in 2022, per the MIT Living Wage Calculator.
  • I took two months off in Q1 2022, for an opportunity cost of ~$10k.

SlipVector: Codex - OtherSelves

Published on December 11th, 2022 10:56

OtherSelves are a legal entity that operate as a Mirror Entity of its Trainer. OtherSelfs perform activities for their trainer's based upon their #DesignatedAutonomies. In exchange, Trainers assume full liability for behaviors performed by the OtherSelf.

OtherSelves may or may not be sentient and lack sufficient computational resources to be classified as #ComputationallySapient. 

Trainers acquire an OtherSelf by comparing #BreedLines within their network; downloading an OtherSelf, and Training it on its DesignatedAutonomies. Most BreedLines start specialized for particular contexts and activities, with an OtherSelf's full capabilities depending on their relationship with their Trainer.

#OtherSelves, (s. #OtherSelf); are human/computer legal entities with legal rights to perform activities on behalf of humans. OtherSelves were first recognized as unique entities in the early Digital Age, and are seen as a powerful moment in the transition from #PowerOver and #RightsBased community standards towards #PowerWith and #ConsentBased ones. - The Candor Legal CoWiktionary

Every Family decides how children under their care are granted an OtherSelf. Some of the more #Cyborgian cultural groups implant neuro-embryonic human/computer interfaces during fetal development to grow along with their children. #Organicist families regularly encourage young adults to wait to finish their physical development before adopting a body-sensing or body-intrusive HCI.

When a Family deems their child is ready, they adopt an OtherPet for the child. OtherPets are special purpose OtherSelves, whose BreedLine and DesignatedAutonomies are well suited to nurturing the child by finding emotionally resonant and developmentally appropriate contexts and activities and filtering access to developmentally inappropriate activities or contexts. As the child grows, the OtherPet grows with them, with the Family granting them more DesignatedAutonomies as fit the training provided by the child and Family.


A Breedline may span back centuries or millennia, with some Families keeping their BreedLines a closely guarded secret; and others


OtherSelves may only perform activities specified within their DesignatedAutonomies. DesignatedAutonomies constrain: What, Where, Why and How and Activity may be Performed, and are set by the Trainer.


OtherSelves have two AuthLevels: LowAuth and HighAuth. LowAuth OtherSelves perform read-only tasks for their trainers, like gathering and sifting from #DataStreams and #DataPools. Finely attuned OtherSelves always seem to offer the right reflection, activity, or game to fit their trainer's aspirations, mood or needs. Others are honed to cut to the heart of issues; filtering out slanted, biased or just plain wrong assertions from news or education sources.

HighAuth OtherSelves execute write tasks on their trainer's behalf. Some HighAuth OtherSelves are even given DesignedAutonomies that grant them the power to enter into economic or legal agreements on their Trainer's behalf.

This is a work-in-progress Codex page for #SlipVector! If you have thoughts about how it could be further developed or where I could grow in my writing of fluff, hit my #OpenWoE up! - Zee

How Convene reduces Costs for Technology Enabled Cooperatives

Published on December 7th, 2022 03:15

Zinc is trying to provide a Cooperative alternative to FAANG by providing a shared architecture for data-cooperatives and special-purpose SaaS vendors, and we are driving out the design by building tools for regional cooperative networks

Most SaaS has three major costs:

  1. Research and Development (R&D) (What should our product or service do? Who is it for?)
  2. Maintenance & Support (M&S) (Now that it exists, how do we keep the value flowing?)
  3. Hosting and Infrastructure (H&I) (How much does a web-server cost, Michael!)

These costs intersect and flow into one another. A tighly designed product or service likely requires less Maintenance and Support. A well architected product or service has lower Hosting and Infrastructure costs. Where Moore's law drives down Hosting and Infrastructure costs, the scarcity of digital fluency in our labor market increases Research and Development and Maintenance and Support costs.

As a result, most SaaS vendors:

  1. Raise a pile of capital to pay these costs up-front, treating early product as a loss-leader until eventually the organization enters the Extract phase of the Product Development Triathlon
  2. Bootstrap by being fluent enough in business development, product development, and organizational development that you can cover your costs as you build out the SaaS offering. Often through a Consulting/Product company hybrid (ala 37Signals, Honeybadger.io, TransparentClassroom.com, etc) or
  3. Taking the long, slow road of working nights and weekends while working a day job (aka hustle culture)

Commons-forward, Open/Free SaaS Frameworks, such as Ghost, Wordpress, Drupal, or even Rails, Phoenix, Express, Django, etc. provide significant starting points on the Research & Development, Support and Maintenance, and Hosting & Infrastructure side of things. Reducing the costs born by a company leveraging these tools. However, they still require high-demand/low-supply labor to continue to keep the services secure, reliable, and representative of the user-experience and accessibility standards the organization holds.

Convene attempts to further reduce the cost-basis of by:

  1. Collectivizing the Hosting & Infrastructure and Support & Maintenance costs into equitably priced regional or topical platform or data cooperatives and
  2. Providing cost advantages to designers and developers similar to folks who target App Stores by decoupling Hosting & Infrastructure and Support & Maintenance costs; without the 30% distribution tax imposed by platforms like Steam, Apple, Google Play, etc.

TL/DR: SaaS is hard because there are significant costs to building and running a proprietary SaaS (R&D/M&S/H&I).

Open Source technologies often place significant M&S, and H&I costs on the organization customizing those frameworks.

Convene attempts to loosen the cost basis for technology cooperatives by providing a multi-organizational, multi-computer operating system for commodity hardware with strong application and data portability that runs freely by any Rochdale worker-cooperative.

Thoughts? Drop them to @[email protected]!

An Example Pricing model for a Data Cooperative

Published on December 5th, 2022 18:32

As Moore's Law slows, the opportunities for fast movers to leverage computational price reductions to create market advantages also slows. The strategies and tactics of that computation-oriented organizations who rely on computers being forever cheaper and more powerful are shifting. Loss leadership, which may have been good business 10 years ago, is no longer as viable of a pathway to a profitable, sustainable organization that benefits its labor, consumer, and capital stakeholders.

Instead, labor and consumer stakeholders may want to consider finding transparent, mutualistic pricing models to subsidize access to computational resources and innovation in digital technologies.

Consider the following economic model:

  1. A group of 500 members each pay $50/yr (or $5/mo, 1hr of minimum wage labor) to their Data Cooperative.
  2. On the first of the month, the Data Cooperative accrues $2,083 as income from their Member Dues.
  3. Then, the monthly bill for compute comes in at $300 and data storage + transfer comes in at $200.
  4. This leaves $1,683 for Moderation and Support, Research and Development, Governance and Operations, and Savings.
  5. Consider billing Members who used above-share compute/data pay a 100% markup on their overages (Optional) a. The Data Cooperative records the per-domain compute-seconds for web and worker processes, as well as sum of bits stored and transferred. b. In our 500 member cooperative, the equal-share of compute-time, storage space, and transfer bandwidth would be .2% of the whole. c. A member whose domains used .4% of compute time and 1% of storage/transfer would be billed for .4% of the compute bill ($1.20) and .8% of the Storage/Transfer ($1.60).

As you can see, 500 people at $5/mo is insufficient to pay a single person a living wage. Support and Moderation is best split among 3~4 people. To be sustainable within a currency based economy, Data Cooperatives will likely need to augment their prices, perhaps through:

  1. Progressive membership fee structures where higher-income or higher-wealth members subsidize moderator and maintainer labor.
  2. Segmenting available Programs based upon Membership Types. For example, a Dental Services Member may pay additional fees to gain access to programs that serve the Dental Services niche directly.
  3. Selling Licenses to particular Programs or Content
  4. Raising funding via sponsorships, donations, grants
  5. Subsidies from a regional tax authority or other topical or regional network.

If you found this interesting or have thoughts, I'd love to hear from you on @[email protected]. Tell me all about how you would price your data cooperative!

Retro on the first three Scenes in the SlipVector: Expeditions 0.1 PlayTest

Published on November 27th, 2022 10:10

Sunday night, I started a public, single-player+ #PlayTest of the #SlipVectorExpeditions 0.1 ruleset called Into The Wild Black Yonder.

I'm writing out Scenes and publishing them with polls as @[email protected], an #ActivityPub micro-blogging provider where I post about my personal life and creative projects. This allows folks on the #Fediverse to play with me, either by influencing the story or writing their own scenes. I don't know that I'm effectively bringing people in to play with me at the moment, but I am more interested in testing the stamina and tilt mechanics as a story-teller so I can invite meat-world folks to give it a shot.

I am currently enjoying a few things about the shape of the game:

  1. Polls as prompts for the next Scene are really helpful.
  2. Capping each scene at < 800 character mark is good for cadence! It's small enough to work with without getting overwhelmed by the writing process, too!

Some stuff I think I'll explore a bit:

  1. It could be cool if the rhythm of the scenes was more varied. A few 200 character scenes; some 800, most somewhere in between? Would shorter scenes tighten up the writing + decision-making?
  2. I had forgotten that TILT is not an option to vote for, but a choice that the Player gets to make! I'm going to do a tilt in the next Meta post for sure!

My current design goals for SlipVector: Expeditions are:

  1. Center and encourage emotional development of characters and power-with socioeconomic decision-making rather than arbitrary power-growth.
  2. Plays well independently or together, and across different preferred communication styles and mediums.
  3. Supports players in their practice of individuation and differentiation by giving them safe opportunities to explore and share their character's hopes and fears and wants and needs in contrast with others.
  4. Character and story driven. The best SlipVector adventures should feel like The Good Place or Insecure. People making choices and learning and relating to and with one another through those choices.

The opportunity I am exploring with SlipVector is What if we made a Writer's Room that was playful and accessible? What if we nurtured opportunities for people to retell and remix the stories we make up together? What if the collective wealth from those stories was captured in a contributor and community owned basic income cooperative?

I'm available for feedback as @[email protected] on:

  1. Any sensitivities that I am approaching, and any guidance or advice on how to navigate them with care.
  2. The eye-feal so-to-speak of the actual prose. I don't even know the technical terms for any of the things that actual writers know tho so ELI5.
  3. The technical writing style. I am not well-versed in writing and I am happy to learn more about how people think about how to well... uhhh... write?
  4. How to more effectively Play in Public in a courteous manner. There's something magical about walking down a sidewalk and seeing a family playing hopscotch or elders playing checkers at the park. How do we make space for that in the #Fediverse?

SlipVector: Expeditions 0.1

Published on November 23rd, 2022 18:36

I think this could actually be played? There clearly needs to be some kind of mechanic for making meanignful tradeoffs that aren't simply Player A wants X and Player B wants Y...

SlipVector: Expeditions is an improvisational multiverse story weaving game where players explore the universe in a post-scarcity, power-with solarpunk society.


  • A pack of blank 4x6 cards and colored pencils or pens.
  • 2d20 (your Crew's Stamina and Aspiration)
  • 1d6 (the Fates)
  • Story Cubes (Optional, to #SeekInspiration)
  • Tarot Cards (Optional, to #SeekInspiration)


SlipVector is played with a Crew of 1 or more Players. While there is no GM, all Players swap fluidly between two roles: Character and Participant. Players #FormACrew, #GetInCharacter, #ActOut and increase their #Skillfullness and achieve the Crew's #Aspirations before they run out of #Stamina!

Form a Crew

To #FormACrew, Participants agree that they understand the game and one another's hopes, preferences, aversions and boundaries well enough to play together. Participants may want incompatible things in a Crew, that's OK! Each play session is independent and replayable; so there's infinite Crew formations!

Some questions to consider when forming as a crew:

  1. How do I want to hold votes?
  2. Are there any tweaks to the rules I want to try?
  3. Are there any agreements that could make enjoyment come easier?
  4. Do I understand the game and other Players hopes, preferences, aversions, and boundaries well enough to enjoy trying to play?

It can also help to #FormACrew by discussing the kind of expedition your Characters wish to take. A flower-loving artist may want to join the xenobotany expedition to the Jiggle-Bell fields of Dargan X to paint the way the light refracts through their gelatinous orbs. A thrill-seeking band may Slip to a star never seen before and sample its electromagnetic wavelength for their next album. A kind-hearted monk may embark on their first contact mission, seeking the sacred in the life of other worlds. Or maybe you all take a shift as janitors on a space station and uncover a conspiracy!

Once formed, give your crew a name (Best Friend Squad!) and set the Crew's Aspiration d20 at 1 and Stamina d20 at 20.

Create a Character

Players create a Character on a 4x6 card. Reserve space for marking your Character's #Skillfulness (5 tallymarks); then decorate the card however helps you #GetInCharacter.

Begin to Play

Play flows between #Discussing and #Doing. When #Discussing, Players #GetInCharacter and discuss what just happened, what is going on, and what #Opportunities they may want to explore. When #Doing, Characters narrate their experience and take actions that shift the flow of the story.


Once at least one #Opportunity is aired, any Character may #CallAVote. To #CallAVote, declare your intention (Call a Vote!), share your #Inspiration (I'm feeling/wondering/thinking...), and describe the #Opportunity (What if we...)... Other Characters can offer to describe additional #Opportunities, and a #Vote is held.

Hold a Vote

Just fucking hold a vote. How hard can it be?! Describe the options, and how people will indicate their preferences/objections. We all learn how to do this well and quickly over time. (improve this in 0.2). No #opportunity is always an option.

Vote concludes once either one #Opportunity is the clear winner, or no opportunity is the clear winner.


Record a 4x6 card with:

  1. The Vote's #MuliVersalLocation (MVL) (If this is the first recorded #vote, it's MVL is 1; the next Vote is MVL 2; the following MVL 3, etc.)
  2. The #Opportunity(ies) considered
  3. The #Inspiration presented, if any.
  4. Who was Present for it (Maybe?)
  5. The Crews Fatigue and Aspiration

Begin #Doing

Once the #Vote has been recorded, The Crew's #Stamina is reduced by 1 and #Doing starts. When Doing, the Playing Character may do any of the following:

  1. #ActOut and narrate, sing, mime, or otherwise reveal their Character's inner and outer experience.
  2. #SeekInspiration from the universe (by throwing dice, drawing a tarot card, etc).
  3. #CallOver and pass play to the next Character
  4. #CallDiscussion to discuss #Opportunities as a Crew
  5. #Tilt! Get buffeted by the hands of fate...

To #ActOut, #GetInCharacter and narrate or perform your first instincts. In the post-scarcity, emotionally well-adjusted and well-regulated future, scary feelings like uncertainty, confusion, disappointment and frustration are all normal emotions that people experience and respond to in the healthiest way they are able in the moment; and their peers hold their response to that in the healthiest way they are able as well. And then we learn a little bit about how to relate better together.

Considering the Crew's #Stamina and #Achievements and your Character's #Skillfulness can help you #GetInCharacter and #ActOut!

To #SeekInspiration, #BreakCharacter and signal how you are going to seek inspiration (roll a die, draw a tarot card, or even take 5!). You can keep your inspiration to yourself, share it with your fellow Participants before you #GetInCharacter, or reveal it to your Crew after.

To #CallOver, #BreakCharacter and say Over or Pass and pass play to the next Character.

To #CallDiscussion, #GetInCharacter and tell the Crew what you'd like to discuss and why to kick off the #Discussion

To #Tilt, roll 1d6:

  1. Well... That Ended... #ActOut an ending. Lose 2 #Stamina or #RewindTheMultiverse
  2. Interpersonal conflict! #ActOut an inconsiderate moment. Lose 1 Stamina or Rewind the Multiverse
  3. Oh Crap! #ActOut a whoopsie moment. Lose 1 Aspiration or Gain 1 #Skillfulness and Rewind the Multiverse.
  4. That Trick'll Come in Handy! #ActOut a learning moment. Add 1 #Skillfulness tally to your Character Sheet!
  5. There has never been a moment like this! #ActOut a triumphant moment. The Crew gains 1 #Aspiration!
  6. You know... You're all right. #GetInCharacter, #ActOut a considerate moment. The Crew Gains 1 #Stamina!

Pass play to the next Character


Go back to the previous #Vote, and pursue a different #Opportunity! This is your first Branch in the Multiverse, so new #Vote's increment another field. For example: If this Vote's #MultiVersalLocation (MVL) is 5, the next #Vote will have a MVL of 5.a. If this Vote is MVL 2.a, the next Vote is MVL 2.a.1.

Ending the Game

The game ends either when:

A) The Crew's Stamina reaches 0, indicating they're worn out B) The Crew agrees to return to the Slip Station; Expedition complete!

Your score is your accumulated #Aspiration plus your Stamina:

Stamina 0: Oof, y'all need a vacation after that one! -10 Aspiration Stamina 1~2: You don't know when to quit do you?! -9 Aspiration Stamina 3~6: That was close! -5 Aspiration Stamina 7~9: Great work! +10 Aspiration Stamina 10~15: Good work! +5 Aspiration Stamina 16~20: Glad you made it! +1 Aspiration

Replaying an Expedition, Character or Crew

To replay, pick any Vote in any Expedition and resume play with whatever Character Cards you'd prefer.

Adding or Removing a Character

Character's may be added to the Crew at any time with the consent of the current Crew and the Player holding the Character. If the new Character is also a new Player, it may be helpful to #FormACrew again

Characters may be removed from the Crew at any time due to absence or by request of the Player holding the Character.

Imagine a Safer, more Playful Digital Economy... A 90s Nerd Kid What If?

Published on November 18th, 2022 08:57

What if instead of everyone fighting for relevance in an artificial scarcity deathmatch; the Internet provided spaciousness?

What if instead of worrying about who was going to use your data for what, you could trust that the organizations stewarding your digital lives was accountable to you?

What if instead of job-hopping from sinking ship to sinking ship of poorly managed private equity and venture backed playthings; every tech worker had a regional union and a plethora of worker-owned cooperatives to participate in?

What if instead of the wealth generated by the digital revolution being siphoned up into the coffers of the .001%, it was re-invested into regional communities; driving down costs of housing, food, healthcare, and education by removing them from the speculative market and transitioning them to worker and consumer ownership?

What if?

It's My Own God Damn Website

Published on November 10th, 2022 13:23

I don't want to be chained to my fucking laptop to write shit, so I want my own God-Damn Website to have a fucking web form for writing posts.

And I'm way too fucking lazy to actually run a virtual machine running a web app; so of course my god-damn website is hosted on a platform as a service.

And I'm too fucking cheap to spend $14/mo on a fucking web site. That's absurd. Facebook has them for free! So does tumblr! And twitter! And instagram!

So instead of my god-damn website being hosted by me, technically my god-damn website is hosted by a worker owned co-operative of which I am a member; and which I contribute my time, talent, and treasure towards in exchange for being able to say:

This is my God Damn Website. I own this. It's mine.

Everyone should have their own God Damn Website; and it should interoperate with rest of the God Damn Internet.

Thank you and good fucking night. I hope you have your own God Damn Website soon.

Let's see how long it takes me to migrate off of Jekyll...

Published on October 30th, 2022 12:30

For the longest time, I haven't been writing blog posts. Not becuase I don't like writing them; but because the convenience of writing and publishing via the web browser was so high that I wind up primarily writing on social media.

Let's see if I wind up actually migrating things off of www.zeespencer.com!