A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs - On the political side, there is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side there is naivety and over- complexity

My videos are on these two youtube channels visionontv 3,832,876 views and undercurrents 22,689,976 views


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Quality Refurbished laptops - Thinkpad

I recommend buying a Refurbished Thinkpad laptop to activists.

T series - are good soled general use laptops

X series are small and very low power for protest camps and solar power setups

Used ThinkPads are cheap because after businesses are done with them, which is 3-4 years after they’ve been released, they flood the market. 

Why ThinkPad?

  • They’re really cheap when you buy a used one
  • Splash-proof keyboard
  • Keyboards feel excellent while typing
  • Great Durability
  • Utilitarian design
  • Spare parts are easy and cheap to obtain
  • Easy to repair, upgrade and maintain
  • TrackPoint (that red thing on the middle of the keyboard), great for those who type a lot

Find out more here http://www.ktgee.net/post/49423737148/thinkpad-guide

Look on ebay for good prices it changes all the time here is a link that might still be good


Boat Life - Battery power

Need at least 4 big battery’s http://www.alpha-batteries.co.uk/boat-batteries/225-ah-xplorer-leisure-battery/ could have more depending on space under the floor. Then cabling to put them all in series and charging for solar arrays and wind turbine, would need a selection of charge controllers and heavy-duty cabling – then lighter cabling around the boat for LED lighting

The battery’s will need to be put into a battery box with external ventilation.

Wordpress, friend or foe for activism?


In tech the successful part of the corporate internet is building peer-to-peer(ish) web projects. This is after the wholesale failure of the top-down hierarchical internet that went bankrupt in the dotcom boom. facebook and twitter, 4square and instagram, youtube etc are all built on horizontal(ish) peer production. Activism is still in the sterile and narrow dotcom boom of vertical knowledge production and distribution. The perfect tool widely used for this is the wordpress blogging platform. It's a tool for a single voice, for the top to speak to the foot solderers. Beyond its commenting system the is no peer production in a wordpress setup.

The hierarchical corporations are doing peer to peer production, the horizontal activists are doing top-down hierarchical. If the wholesale failure of activism wasn’t important I would laugh at them. Here is an advert from frackoff:

"This spring, Frack Off are sponsoring Wordpress training for a dozen new local anti-fracking groups across the country and are looking for Wordpress trainers who will work for train fare, money for a pasty or two and of course the good feeling of doing something worthwhile for a really good cause. Frack Off need at least three or four tech activists who know their way round Wordpress to deliver the training in various parts of the country.

At the risk of overselling the project, this will be a great opportunity for someone to do a spot of travelling and meet some of the local campaigners and grassroots activists who are giving hell to the frackers and working to get this destructive practice stopped before it gets started in the UK."

This represents a failure in every way imaginable, a failure of ideology, a failure of strategic thinking, a failure of leadership. And a failure of social change. Tech activism is currently not going anywhere.

There is nothing inherently wrong with wordpress. It's a fine tool for nice looking top-down single voice web portals. Where the wrongness lies is in the activist media use of it as the "tool" to build an internet site for activist campaigning. It is the wrong tool for this.

Activist peer to peer tools would be wikis http://en.wikipedia.org

Sites that have activity feeds such as http://visionon.tv

Aggregating sites http://globalviews.visionon.tv

Ps. I use the (ish) for corporate peer to peer production as it is ONLY the face of P2P. Underneath it is a solid controlling hierarchy just like it always was.

PR firm Bell Pottinger, clients include the Cuadrilla fracking company and members of the family of Bashar al-Assad

The "Sticky 6" were acquitted of all charges related to them superglueing themselves to the doors of Bell Pottinger, a PR company working for the likes of Cuadrilla, who explore potential fracking sites in the UK, and a host of other unsavoury clients.




6 courageous women were acquitted of aggravated trespass and criminal damage, with "no case to answer". They were arrested during the Reclaim the Power protest in August 2013 against exploratory oil drilling in Balcombe, West Sussex. "Allegedly" they had superglued themselves to the entrance of corporate PR firm Bell Pottinger, whose clients include the Cuadrilla fracking company and members of the family of Bashar al-Assad. 

Boat life - heading out of london west

Light portable solar laptop power

This might be a good portable low powered laptop charging system.

Mercury27 Portable & Foldable 27 Watts Solar Battery Charger. I haven’t tested this and it gets mixed reviews but for bang for the buck this is a very good deal if it works. Get it here

MP3450E-60 27,000 mAh Dual External Battery Pack. For a more portable set-up you could use a single battery.

If anyone is doing a trip to the USA I would be up up for ordering one if they could brining it back to test.

Boat life - ArrivIng in Little Venice


A basic solar power setup for summer laptop use and winter lighting

Here are a list of components you could use to build a basic solar power set-up for powering a laptop in the summer, charging a phone and LED lighting. In the winter it would provide lighting and basic phone charging but would have problems keeping a laptop running. The images and links are just examples, you would need to research at time of buying for best cost/utility of components. Am up for consultion on this.

DIY setup

The panel goes in a sunny location (high up and out of the way) with no shade, the cable comes down to close to the battery (make up the connectors for the charge controller) connect the panel to the charge controller and the controller to the battery with as short wires as you can manage. Then the battery to the 3 way splinter, plug the 12v cigarette lighter plug into the splinter for laptop and USB charging. Wire up the LED light strips with cheap wire to the battery with a switch. Then connect the voltage meter to the battery its very important not to run the battery at less than 12v as it will permanently degrade its function after a while. Try and keep the battery full charged at 12.6v if you can, to do this it is best to use the power during full sun in the middle of the day and not at night, if you store the power to use latter you can lose as much as 40% of it...

100w solar panel from under £100

Basic Solar Charge Controller Solar Panel Battery Regulator under £20 (a 10amp charge controler is fine)

*** you will need to get the correct conecters for the cables for the charge controler you buy ***

Pre-Crimped 4mm solar panel PV cable MC4 Connectors x2  around £15


12V 110AH Leisure Battery at under £100 you could just use a old car battery, but it would degrade in 6 month to a year depending on use.

You need a "lug" to put on the top of the 12v battery to screw the connectors two and rings to put on the end of the cables





To connect things to it you need:

MULTI SOCKET CAR CIGARETTE LIGHTER SPLITTER USB PLUG CHARGER DC 12V under £10  you would need to cut the plug off and directly connect this to the battery (remmber red (white strip) goes to + and black to - if you do this wrong ones you burn out the USB sockit)

You need to make shore the 12v power suppy you get has the right tip conecter for your laptop £20-30

If you need to charge more power hungery USB devices around £10

Warm White LEDs Waterproof Flexible Strip Lighting12V, best off buying these from hongkong (less than £15) then cut it up to fit the space.



This would come to £200-250 with out the battery and take a day to put together with basic soldering/crimping skills. Probably a day to order from ebay and Amazon.



* use a volt meter to check polarity when connecting cables

* use your nose to smell for burning and look out for heat

* never plug any 12v components directly into the solar panel with out the battery in between (apart from charge controller)

* don’t run the battery under 12v for any length of time

* keep the battery full charged as much as possible

* in the summer make shore the battery is in a well ventilated space as it may produce explosive gases

* in the winter make shore the battery doesn’t freeze

* to conserve power run your laptop with its internal battery disconnected

Heading West

Coming through Camden

Primrose hill

Manually charging a 110 amh 12v lead acid battery

London hackspace is a creative space, I got the idea of manually charging the battery on the spur of the moment as the was a friendly guy doing the same "it better to do it manually" so took up the challenge, added a do-not hack sticker with contact info. Someone comment that you should mail the list, as it would be left overnight.

The "hack" bring a long term low battery back to life. It's about 5 months old and has been running on nearly empty last 3 months due to winter sun and horizontal mounted 100w solar panel.

Observe amps coming in and voltage stability - how much has this period of light use and low power state affected it. The battery charging is more to do with learning the charge cycle of 12v lead acid battery.

Set me alarm to come back to the space at 5.00am in the morning to check: it had been charging (13.4v input) at about 1/2 amp. Somebody turned it off in the night, had left a don’t hack sticker! After turning it back on its charging at 1.14 amp so it's recovering.  It holds voltage at 12.77 (up from 12.43)

Turn the voltage up to 14.2 in the morning and keep an eye on it, at over night rate of .5amp it would take more than 100 hours to charge to full... the ams goes up to neary 1.2 at this voltage.

Am practical learning volts and amps and charge cycles for lead acid battery's

My gasing detector if the water goes down in the pipe... (and it dose if I increase the vots to 15 and amps to max 2.8) at low charging it doesn’t move, no need for the fire extinguishers (:

knowledge in theory solidified by knowledge by practice - exactly what a hackspace is for.

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