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Spotlight on Toy Soldier Craftsman/Hacker: YJ Rev. Geoff Nicholson!

2 10 years ago
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This week’s Spotlight is aimed at YJ Rev. Geoff Nicholson! He was born, raised and still lives in Albuquerque, NM. Although he travels a heck of a lot!

When did you become a Toy Soldier?
I Discovered Doctor Steel through a link on Something*Positive back in Jan 2008 but, I didn’t enlist until 1 April 2008.

What do you do for a living?
I’m officially a tech support analyst for Thomson Reuters, but really, that’s the job that pays me to run the lab and go out and do all the cross-country propaganda runs.

You go to a lot of invasions don’t you? How many would you say you have gone to and what do you do there? Or… How many states/countries have you been to now?
I’ve been to at least 35 invasions in six states, and have dropped propaganda in three countries in the northern hemisphere. USA, Canada, and UK. While at the invasions, I wind up being the person everyone points the folks with questions at, because I have a very well honed spiel which I give to all the curious people (while everyone else stuffs them with propaganda) I will be returning to the MCM Expo this year!

What is your favorite Propaganda to hand out?
Since I’m an avid reader (and a sometimes-contributor to WRITE) I really enjoy giving out the bookmarks.

So what exactly is “Hacking”?
Hacking is working on interesting projects, but is frequently applied (incorrectly) to breaking computer security. However you can hack your body (BioHacking), you can hack your car, and you can hack your dinner.
Mostly it’s about working on the interesting projects where you are going to change the normal operation of whatever it is, or use it in a method not intended on the labeling.

What is a Hackspace?
Hackerspaces are places where hackers get together to collaborate on projects, tools, and skills. Quite frequently, they’ve got WiFi and a supply of caffeinated beverages too (whether that’s soda, coffee, or club-mate depends on the hacker in question).
I keep the The Quelab running so that it’s a place for folks to express their creative sides. It’s our local hacker space. That it doesn’t pay doesn’t make any difference to me. I’m on the board of directors there, and am one of the founding members.

Nice! What kind of things do you hack?
I’m sort of a geek-of-all-trades, so I’m not just an electronics hacker. Mostly, I hack on the 7th Mountain’s website, building parts of it from scratch and integrating those bits with the WordPress base I use.
I also have been planning (but haven’t started construction on) a Arduino-based remote-locking system for the tools at the Hackerspace. Something that only lets people use the dangerous tools if they’ve had training… because hackers know that sometimes not enough knowledge is dangerous.
I also have a 3D printer which I’ve been poking around with for the past few years. Upgrading it as parts become outdated, adjusting and tweaking the parts that are working fine, and designing new parts to fit needs that weren’t known to be needed when the printer was created.

So what other crafty things do you make?
I do a spot of sewing at the lab, and that’s where I worked on my ARR uniform. I learned how to knit there too, but I’ve only made a potholder.
I’ve done some para-cord work as well; I do monkeys paws and chokers in my Etsy shop.
I’ve built some shelves and workbenches for the lab, but I’m branching out into Craftsman-style furniture, and with the new wood-shop at the lab I’ll be able to do it (I did all the workbenches with hand-power tools, and it shows)

Are you doing anything you hope to make a profit from someday?

No, and yes? I mean I really internalized the whole “If you’re not having fun, why do you do it” mantra from Doctor Steel. So profit model isn’t what I’m focused on.

Do you have any future plans for your Hacking?
Well, plugging the new idea that Gonzo and I have going on, I do hope to work more on hacking with an aim towards going to space.
The president of the lab is involved with a group called Mach 30th, which is another non-profit for doing Open Source Spaceflight, where the designs for the satellites and eventually rockets and capsules will be freely available for download and construction.
We’re not anywhere near putting people into space, but at the lab are building satellite tracking stations to interact with cubesats and the ISS. So I hope to get more space-hacking done, repurposing everyday objects into getting me closer to space!

Thank you for this interview and the insight into Hacking Rev! *salutes*

Please check out these links for Rev. Geoff’s Etsy and Hacklink information!

Rev. Geoff’s Etsy shop
The Quelab
Find a Hackspace Near you!
Map of Hacker Spaces
Jame’s Ninja Parade presentation

Also check out Rev. Geoff’s 7th Mountain Regiment page:
7th Mountain Regiment


  1. Geoff Nicholson

    Also, for more information on hackerspaces, you can check out which is run by the people who do Make: Magazine.

  2. Orbital Sciences Director Gonzo, YJ

    Awesome soldier! *salutes*
    Thanks to the links I found a hackerspace in my hometown, so I’ll go check that out soon!

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