Last January one of my friends, Bert Hartmann, approached me saying it was that it was time to finally found a Hackerspace in Hoboken.  He’d already gathered a half dozen people and thought I should be in on it.  Having been a long time admirer of hackerspaces without ever having one close enough to join I was in.

We met through the spring looking for how to do it, what to call it, where to put it, how long to wait,and how to do it legally..  There were a lot of options, the easiest of which would be to become a for profit company, that just doesn’t make any money–that would be really easy.  We are not doing that, instead a year later and with the MakerBar well established we are filing to become a true, legally recognized,  charitable educational organization. This will cost us about a thousand dollars in filing fees, but it’s the right thing to do legally and simplifies our future taxes and donations.  Still this is a thousand dollars we’d rather spend on new kits, power tools, publicity, and other things that support our mission and what’s worse it’s a thousand dollars we need now–before the taxes are due.

So we’re having a fundraiser.  We’ve teamed up with The Melting Pot in Hoboken to have a charity auction and happy hour.  We’ll be selling some projects that we’ve treasured through the year and some that we build specially for this event, sharing our love of hacking with the community, and enjoying a chocolate fondues contributed by the Melting Pot.

More details are on the the MakerBar Blog here and tickets are for sale on our Meetup here.


Friday is Geek Pride Day and I wanted to invite all of you to celebrate with me by taking a class or just geeking out at the MakerBar in Hoboken.

I’ve been working on getting the MakerBar off the ground as a place for experimental and physical projects and would love to invite all of you to come by after work any Friday for our open Craft Night and on May 25th we’ll be offering a Soldering Class and in the future we’ll have classes on microprocessor programming, hobby electronics, and various kinds of geeky skills.

The MakerBar is a non-profit makerspace, sometimes often called a hackerspace.  We exist as a place and community to support DIY projects of all types, such as robotics, model making, intelligent devices, and whatever else you might like to build, but don’t have room, tools, piece and quiet, or skills to do at home.  We have a space in a Hoboken warehouse and are filling it with tools, supplies and projects.

This post has nothing to do with any of the normal subjects of this blog, but I thought I’d vent a little anyway.  You see as of today I am ending a relationship with my bank that has gone back twenty years.  I have been a loyal customer of a series of banks which has grown by acquisition from Delaware Trust Company, the Core States, then First Union Bank, and most recently Wachovia.  I suppose you might read this and say that it is my own fault, but I think it’s also something awry in the banking industry that has made them think they can control their client’s money and establish policies in spite of the wishes of their clients.

You see the problem has been a Certificate of Deposit.  Now I understand the idea behind a CD, you put a lock on some money and the bank gives you a higher interest rate.  Of course it’s based on the idea that banks actually pay significant interest rates, but still the idea makes sense.  So a couple of years ago I took out a CD to store some investment money that I did not intend to invest for 6 months, or more.  I took the bank up on a special CD that they offered at that time, a two year step-up CD with an option to withdraw without penalty at 6 month intervals.  That was nice, and gave me a good out if I needed the money for something sooner.  Now, the thing with CDs is that they automatically renew.  Apparently it can’t be stopped, Wachovia’s computer system has a boolean setting for Renew Y/N and I’ve seen it on their screens, but they’ve assured me that it does nothing.  Yes my friends and fellow programmers this cannot be fixed!  Not only that, my carefully selected step-up CD was rolled over not into another step up, but rather into a standard fully locked 2 year CD at a lower rate than ING Direct’s Orange Savings Account.  So, I hemmed and I hawed, and ultimately bent over and took it.  And I stopped by a couple times asking whether there was any way to get it not to renew again, apparently it still is beyond the scope of modern banking technology.

So, that CD came up for renewal again this year, and I swung by the bank yesterday to try to close it.  Branch closes at 3pm, current time 3:30, a call today revealed that the window to close a CD like that is 7 days, not 10 as I had been misinformed, closing yesterday.  And a check on-line shows that it renewed into a 1.8% 2 year CD, while Wachovia’s front page clearly advertises 4.25% CDs.  You’d think that they would roll over to the best rate possible, that to me is both courtesy and fiduciary responsibility.  I’ve asked Wachovia to close my CD even at penalty and am openning an Orange savings account, my other main deposits with Wachovia will be similarly transferred to another bank.  Ideally one who can handle the concept of not renewing a CD.  Has anybody seen a bank with such high technology in play?