Al Billings bio photo

Al Billings

Former @openbuddha, Tabletop RPG Geek, Buddhist, Security Program Manager, Director at Ace Monster Toys (@AMT), an Oakland Hackerspace.

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The Great Fork

Al soldering an arduino clone

I’ve done it now. As if having one blog that I updated about a tenth as often as I should wasn’t enough, now I have two.

I’ve forked Open Buddha to create Make Hack Learn. The latter is now where my tech oriented posts will be that aren’t specifically Buddhist. This will include general geek stuff, like my science fiction book reviews, stuff to do with the hackerspace I co-founded, Ace Monster Toys, learning electronics, building quadcopters, 3D printing and other stuff that I’ve been trying to work on during the last couple of years. This will allow Open Buddha to focus on Buddhist topics, such as Buddhist book reviews, my thoughts on being a lay Zen priest, teaching at the Prajna Institute, and to generally focus on the Buddhadharma. Since I’ve effectively had two distinct audiences for quite a while with a certain amount of overlap (but not a lot), I think this will help my writing and be better for my occasional readers. This frees me up to write on my geek oriented stuff without feeling like I’m detracting from talking about the Dharma on Open Buddha.

I’ve copied a bunch of the posts relating to Ace Monster Toys and geekier stuff from the last year and a half to act as a seed to the new site. This keeps me from having nothing there for anyone to see and to give some context.

As of two weeks ago, I’m no longer president of Ace Monster Toys or on the board. This was an effectively volunteer decision. A group of about 12 of us founded AMT in June of 2010 after meeting for a few months. I was elected to the board then and re-elected a year ago. In January of 2011, I was made the president (by the board) after the old president stepped down. After being on the board for two years and president for a year and a half, I was feeling a bit burnt out on the responsibility and figured that we could use some new blood. So I let it be known a couple of months ago that I was stepping down as president when the next board as elected and didn’t really want to be on the board (though I was a candidate). All of these dreams have come true and AMT now has a new board, half of whom are newer members, and a new president. They’re already instituting a bunch of positive changes so I’m pretty happy.

This means that I will have time to work on actual projects at AMT instead of working on AMT as my project. While technically, I’ve had time, there is only so much mental energy available for hacking related things and being the primary officer and a board member mostly tapped that out. I’m hoping to blog quite a bit more about actually hacking on things as a result of this. That was the final instigator that pushed for the creation of the new blog. We’ll see if it works!