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Demotech News


News Sat Feb 10 (2007) -- Fri Apr 22 (2016)

Workforce adventure in making

Mon Sep 25 (2006)

Basic ability of students at the Maastricht University is to study: analyze text and produce essays, not "to make". Ability to make is not expected, let alone trained.
Workforce students do not accept that. Where sustainability ask for "re-design", it also asks for re-making. To research making, to make different, is what they want to have in their fingers, literarily.
Last Sunday two Workforce students, Sara and Conrad, worked on our pulley project. This is how they experience their exercise in making:

We start off with a concrete and precise task but with a little lack of orientation. The overall picture is unclear. So is the next step. During the process one increasingly understands the importance of trying out different ways, while being highly attentive to the different implications of each idea. Start thinking and experiencing with your hands! Use your intelligence not only for the design aspect but also the building/designing/learning process and how to facilitate it. Finally, it falls together nicely and gives a rewarding feeling of JOY.

Sara, Conrad and the Pocket Poulley

Face lift for demotech.org

Fri Sep 15 (2006)

Yes, www.demotech.org looks different from now on! We say goodbye to the old home page with the many pictures mosaic and three slogans: "Poverty?", "Sustainability?" and "More joy per Person" to exchange it for the middle of the road home page we have now. Why?
For a start, we indeed want to be seen and recognized as middle of the road. Demotech should function as a normal useful tool, like a hammer. A hammer works best when it is just a hammer, without funny extra's.
Stijn Quast, one of the students of the Workforce, has modeled the structure of our old website into a frame that performs better for people that look for information. What does still need improvements is the layout, f.e. the design of the header. The new setup is expected to perform better in regard of:
  • what most people expect to find in a website, thus organized in a more or less standardized version
  • flatter website, fewer steps to go to information
  • the website should work with older computers
  • a smart visual layout. Color coding is used for different categories, icons are more descriptive ...

    Four people are now involved in this new setup. Guiding from the side line has been done by our long time web master Marc. New, young and enthusiastic support came from Sander Bokern, who has done all the PHP-scripts for the forum. I myself have to take care for text and content. I have to do a better job, hope to gradually upgrade the text-blocks that often are inserted as temporary. And then there is Stijn, who went all out for this web-transfer and who has spend most of his free time this summer on this job. Thanks to Stijn!

    But thanks to you too, reader! We need some patience from you to clear the dirty bits left over, to make details better functioning or better looking. And do not forget to look at the Participation page. More and more people from all over the world participate by now. Become one of them!

    Student Workforce votes on a new structure:?

    Mon Apr 03 (2006)

    On Monday the 21st of March, in the 2 hours after the official solstice and beginning of spring, the Student Workforce for Sustainability and Development, a student organization with close ties to Demotech voted unanimously in favor of a new Internal Structure.? The young organization, less than 9 months in operation, has selected its 4 board members, and organizes now its members into projects and commissions.?

    The group of students that gathered round Demotech the last year, now has grown into an independent Student Association with the full name: Student Workforce for Development and Sustainability. Soon their website will contain all their information. Search to http://www.studentworkforce.org .

    The Workforce structure is a smart one. It offers a formal structure, tasks are properly divided, but at the same time this 'Structure' is highly flexible and invites members to take up tasks for only a short time in ad hoc cooperation with other members. More on the 'structure' is to be found in the Wiki section.

    Local support for research in Guatemala

    Mon Apr 03 (2006)

    Bram de Vries currently is in Guatemala for his three month anthropology study project. He uses this opportunity to prepare for the local testing, introduction and training of Demotech?s water pump designs later tis year. He told us about a very inspiring moment, when he met a group of women producing traditional crafts for tourists. He put forward our problem for knots to be used in rope pumps.

    The women working there thought it was a big joke that we could make a big problem out something as simple as that. In less then a minute they made with their skilled hands a prototype of a disk that could fit the pump pipe (see pictures).

    Development work should move more in this direction, is his opinion.?Using the skills and resources of local people, instead of introducing plastic disks should results in a better product. These women should be our research partners!

    Made in 20 seconds

    Workforce contributing

    Fri Oct 21 (2005)

    In the'Lab', Demotech's experimental workshop at Landbouwbelang in Maastricht, we have taken into use 'The Caf?'. The Cafe is situated above our storage area, leaving hardly enough space for not hitting your head against the concrete ceiling beams.
    Apart from that it is a nice place. It has a beautiful view over 'the Bassin', a little harbor, now a tourist resort. Sitting arrangements are a strange mix: there are two couches, a beer table, two beer benches. To a concrete beam a kind of bar is attached, clamped in a window a computer gives access to our network.
    The Caf? is becoming the place for the Workforce's meetings. And meetings there are plenty. Sunday morning there is meeting about our Latin Project, Monday lunch time, there is the General Meeting. Wednesday people involved with the Workshop meet. Friday is the day for hands-on work.
    Now, about one month after its start, the Workforce is getting its own momentum. Wiki web editing is now used by all, preparing our Workshop brings up the basic questions regarding the targets of Demotech. Then is shows how much actual but dispersed knowledge and experience this group has available. Amazing Claudia has visited all of the Latin American countries, Jesse, Mariska, Joel, Peter and Akshay have lived on more than one continent. Their global citizenship also reflects in their fields of interest. Demotech now gets a boost from this Workforce: one of Demotech main topics has already for some time ago been highlighted by one of them, Jesse. The website he created on the topic of 'Open Source' is worth to be studied in depth.

    The Lab is ready for the Workforce

    Sun Sep 11 (2005)

    Demotech needs a space for experimentation: We call it the Demotech Lab.
    For the past year we prepared this new space, situated at the factory building "Landbouwbelang" in Maastricht, Netherlands. Over the year, the once-bare space has been equipped with tools, lights, a brick stove, workbenches, office space, room to relax, and many demonstration facilities. In the past week, a new elevated floor was constructed under which the last of the materials and in-progress designs are to be stored. This will open much new space for Demotech projects in coming months. The Demotech Lab is meant to double as both a workshop for ongoing research, and as a demonstration site promoting Demotech work and ideas. It will be a home base for the Student Research Team, the Student Work Force, as well as a center for organizing all of Demotech's affairs.
    This space will be used for workshops, social and professional gatherings as well as in daily research. For now though, it is very nice to get the last of what looked like junk piles neatly stored away. Joel and I make sure to have the space ready for use by september when the hoard of students comes flooding back to Maastricht.

    Thanh's report on bookkeeping progress

    Fri Apr 08 (2005)

    Thanh Ha Phan is a third-year student from Vietnam in the field of International Business and Management Studies (IBMS) at Hogeschool INHOLLAND Rotterdam. At present she is doing an internship at Demotech. She works on Demotech's design for a bookkeeping system. In the target page of the bookkeeping Wiki her work is described as well as at other locations in this Wiki, Tough it is not the idea to make use of a computer in our bookkeeping system, it has helped her to line up what she learned at school with the Demotech system. I copy her weekly report to this "What's New" item, feeling confident that a bridge has been made between one of Demotech's wildest ideas and the modern financial professionalism as taught at "InHolland".

    I made a progress with the bookkeeping system, successfully put it into spreadsheet. Moreover, I did add more columns of some certain accounts in the bookkeeping system after the discussion with Reinder and Mr Anker. We are improving the system.

    Through the searching process, I have learnt a lot more about accounting system and finance. After studying all the information from the search, I have had the idea how to combine the cash basis and accrual basis into Demotech's system. This is not only just a normal bookkeeping as usual, but is the best with the efficient input for financial documents such as: income, cash flow and balance sheet. Most of all, the system has to be loyal to the underlying targets and goals: transparent, easy for laymen to do and check. With that guideline, I am still working on the method.

    Up till now, the latest version of bookkeeping method is available that meets most of the above requirements. This version provides such information as: how much profit or loss the company made over a period of time; how much cash in hand; how much does the company have to pay or is able to receive in the near future? I did make the expenses and expenditure for manufacturing separate. This is one of the most concerned questions from Mr Anker. With this headway, we now can calculate the gross profit, operating income and net income. The most important thing is that the system still maintain the spirit of the target: transparent, easy for laymen to do and check.

    The tasks for next week is to keep working on the system to attain the perfection. Continuing with the research to find out more and compare the similarities and dissimilarities. This might raise more requirements and questions about the system.

    High end target: More Joy Per Person!

    Thu Feb 03 (2005)

    I just changed the slogan in the lines written between the rows of pictures at our website:
     Poverty?   Sustainability?   A Hundred Practical Solutions ... and a method to get ... More Joy Per Person !
    This to celebrate a new item at this website, indeed: the item of 'More Joy Per Person'.
    Up to now the 'About us'-page was poorly motivated. Good reason to start working on it. With one of Demotech's interns, Leonora, Demotech's target was identified as 'More Joy Per Person'. We argued that our target was nor sustainability, neither poverty alleviation as such. Leonora and I regarded both issues as TOOLS to get at more joy. And not more joy in general, but quantified as more 'per person'. Each and everyone should be supported with the right kind of TOOLS to increase the quantity of joy to be had.
    Another long time supporter of Demotech, Emil, started to give backing to this notion. Today I received a mail from him with a link to a very intriguing paper, written as a comment on 'The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge', by Jean Fran?ois Lyotard.
    It struck me that Demotech's Open Source database as embodied in our website could be viewed as a realization of the ideas of this Jean Francois Lyotard.

    New developments in Brick Stoves

    Wed Jan 26 (2005)

    A mail contact with Marc from Australia made me aware of the website describing the Russian Kuznetso's Stoves. This web site is about the construction of brick stoves according to a principle to maximize efficiency. The design description highlights the controlled process of first the pirolysis, then the burning of the gasses. Exiting is the method adopted to assure complete combusting of the fuel gasses with minimized additional ballast air. For sure this is very inspiring research.
    Can this principles also be used in stoves as we have build them for Davina?
    I still have no stove in my own work site at Landbouwbelang and as a layer of snow outside indicates it is winter time. It seems a good ides to start tomorrow with building one. Willem comes to Maastricht to assist me with it.

    Core Group

    Tue Jan 25 (2005)

    With the people from the Frankenstraat student house Joel, Jakkoo and Chris we set up a Core Group with the task to run the coming workshops in Maastricht and Tilburg. Another task we work on is to make Demotech ideas better accessible by restructuring our publications. First result of this will be the reader we need for the workshops. We want more people to enlist in the Core Group, dedicated people are welcome.
    The Core Group has a special layer of Wiki for internal communication. There is a Core Group home page attached to the Wiki home page. There is also a Core Group page attached to each Wiki-design page.
    You can notice the Core Group button in the Wiki Side Bar. These Core Group pages are hidden behind a pass word.


    News Tue Jan 25 (2005) -- Fri Jan 09 (2004)
    News Tue Dec 16 (2003) -- Wed Aug 27 (2003)
    News Thu Aug 14 (2003) -- Tue Jun 03 (2003)
    News Thu May 22 (2003) -- Mon Mar 17 (2003)
    News Mon Mar 17 (2003) -- Wed Dec 04 (2002)
    News Thu Nov 28 (2002) -- Mon Oct 21 (2002)
    News Fri Oct 11 (2002) -- Tue Aug 27 (2002)
    News Tue Aug 27 (2002) -- Mon Jul 01 (2002)