Monday, August 16, 2010

Making and DIY

Making Monday

Late summer seems to be the time when honey-do's (projects around the house, not the melon) multiply.

After participating in many of the rituals of the season, I've discovered the Law of the Home Improvement Store, which is that every project requires at least three trips to the home improvement store:
  1. You get what you think you need.
  2. You go back to get what you forgot.
  3. You go again to get what you really need.
As frustrating as the multiple trips may be, doing it yourself is a maker virtue.

There's an anti-maker tendency toward things that are black boxes (like certain high-profile Apple products where the owner can't even change the battery). Of course, specialization is an important part of the development of society because it encourages interdependence. Taken too far, however, and we end up helpless and dependent.

Makers dream of a world where you can get at the parts and reconfigure a thing to do or be what you want it to be. It's not that, like some toddlers, they have to do everything themselves. Rather they want it to be possible to do it themselves.

So don't get frustrated if you find you have to make more than one trip to the home improvement store. Whenever you try to "do it yourself," you're learning a bit more about how the world works and how you can make it more like what you want.

 Image: Bill Longshaw /

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