05/02/16 10:57am
Stay Lassie: 5 ways to hang out with dogs in Brooklyn (if you can't actually own one)

This person is not being weird. She is merely sitting *near* the dog. via Instagram user @sourayajureidini

I want a dog. Bad. I’m suffering from retriever fever; I’m not sound without a hound; I’d be merrier with a terrier. I long for a pup of my own, but I know I can’t get one. I’m too busy to give him the attention and exercise he needs, and too broke to afford a dog walker. Plus, the idea of keeping a dog locked up by himself in my apartment all day just sucks.

I know I’m not the only one in this predicament, because I talk to lit’rally everyone I know about it. They all want dogs, too. And why shouldn’t they? Dogs are happy, silly, fluffy bundles of unconditional love. You’d have to be crazy to not want one! Dogs have health benefits too, including lowering your stress and blood pressure levels. Maybe our hectic New York lifestyles and tiny, non-pet friendly apartments won’t allow us to be happy dog owners, but we can persevere. There are plenty of ways to get your daily dose of puppy time even if you can’t adopt one yourself. We’ve compiled just such a list of ways to seek out temporary canine companions in the city (and tips on how not to come off as a creepy weirdo while doing so).  (more…)

04/29/16 3:10pm
How I watched a Brooklyn start-up sellout: The downfall of MakerBot as seen from the inside

The author in front of one of the locations of the MakerBot store — which all closed. Photo via Isaac Anderson.

Once upon a time, MakerBot Industries was the darling of the Brooklyn start-up world. I’d know, because I worked there.

The company this week announced its productions are being outsourced to China, so it’s come a long way from a hackerspace in Boerum Hill. But let’s start at the beginning: MakerBot was the brainchild of a few 3D printing enthusiasts and unabashed nerds who wanted to contribute to an open-source hardware community founded by an eccentric British professor enamored with the prospect of self-replicating machines. It turned out a lot of folks wanted to get their hands on a thing that made things, and it also turned out that the community that made the original MakerBot possible greatly facilitated MakerBot’s rapid expansion, offering useful feedback and oftentimes original design work that was ultimately integrated into the company’s core product.

For a while, MakerBot was equally generous in giving back to this community. They embraced the spirit of openness and freely shared their ongoing improvements to the public. Demand skyrocketed for a product that was improving in real time, so it made sense to double down on Brooklyn, and MakerBot built a full-blown factory for its products in Sunset Park. It was whimsical! The impossible was possible! In the early days, nearly everyone built printers as a rite of passage. They learned the machines inside and out and became ideal candidates for promotion through the ranks to engineering, repair, customer support, and sales roles. In an emphatically post-industrial city in an outsourced 21st-century world, MakerBot fearlessly bucked the trend by building physical things locally, hiring from within, and committing to the mantra that sharing was caring. It was hard not to like them; their fan base ranged from the obvious, like geeks to geeks who like open-source stuff, to hipster geeks, to, uh, local artists previously involved in Occupy Wall Street? Whatever it was they were doing, it was working. Neither MakerBot nor their affable CEO could do any wrong… until they did.

Everyone thinks riding the start-up wave is the ticket to noble success, a mix of idealistic principles and the cutting edge profitability of the new economy. But sometimes that wave crashes, and this is one of those stories.   (more…)

04/28/16 1:19pm
Words, words, words. via Sundays at Erv's on FB

Words, words, words. via Sundays at Erv’s on FB

As we journey ever deeper into the world of digital publication, audiobooks ringing in our ears and e-readers clutched to our breasts, it seems as though big publishing houses might not be long for this world. These days, you’d think that an emerging writer’s only hope to get discovered would be through a clever tweet.

But you’d be wrong. First of all, even if print is dying, publishing is not. And secondly, here in Brooklyn there’s still a loving home for the literature enthusiast (or just for anyone who prefers to write in complete sentences). If you’re eager to meet other bookworms and discover new voices, the best way to do it is through any of BK’s local reading series. Lucky you, we’ve compiled a list of said reading series, all of which feature free admission and — arguably the secret of all great writers — proximity to alcohol. (more…)