Arch Reactor!

This weekend is the open house at local hackerspace Arch Reactor, a “space in st. louis for artistic, technical and educational pursuits.”

I’m really excited that St. Louis has a group like this. I’m a big fan of collaborative workspaces, and while coworking hasn’t quite taken off here, this hackerspace, while definitely a different concept, addresses some of the same needs — for solo creatives to have a space to interact with each other.

A bonus is that Arch Reactor has space in the fantastic Jefferson Underground building, at the intersection of Jefferson and Gravois. I had the privilege of attending my friends’ ten-year anniversary party at this venue last year. The space on the top floor where the party was held is amazing — indoor seating for food, and an outdoor chimney/fireplace, dancefloor, dj booth, bandstand and tiki bar.

And to get there, an elevator operator takes you up in a car elevator. I can’t wait to check out Arch Reactor’s space.

Look for a follow up post.

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In Memoriam: Rivalz Technology Cafe

Summer 2004. I’d just finished grad school, and was living with my folks in St. Charles. I really needed a place to get out of the house and worked on my freelance. And I found it.

Rivalz Technology Cafe, on Dorsett, was a coffeeshop/Internet cafe that was open until 1 am on weeknights and 3 am on weekends. Most of the seating was beatup old comfy couches. The drinks were cheap and the WIFI was plentiful. Word spread like wildfire through St. Louis’ geek community.

I would park myself there most nights with my iBook and a breve. I met one of my best friends in the world there, and we started hanging out on a regular basis. Rivalz became the place that my circle of friends and I would hang out. We’d game, chat, gossip, rehearse plays (our group did a lot of performance art at local goth shows), flirt, and brainstorm. If we had any wild and crazy ideas back in those days, it was a sure bet the genesis occurred at Rivalz.

Another one of my best friends, Jen, can tell similar stories about the coffeeshop Caffiend. I should get her to do a guest post.

The brain and life of Rivalz was the main barista/manager, Sean. Sean was the guy who knew all his regulars and their drinks, and knew how to run a business. Everyone knew him by name. He had the best pastries in the case and picked the best music pump into the cafe. One night after he played a tech remix of Alice Cooper’s “Poison”, I asked him for the name of the song and the artist so I could buy the track online. Sean loaned me the CD on the spot.

Not long after Sean ran off to LA with his girlfriend, Rivalz went downhill. DJs playing loud music, roving hordes of high schoolers descending upon the place, and then in early 2006 Rivalz closed its doors for good. I still don’t know all the details, since I’d also moved (out to San Francisco) by then, but numerous sources indicated that the owner blew all his profits on hookers and blow. Is it true? Who knows?

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Take Credit Card Payments With Your iPhone

I love living in the future. Anyone who sells at ren faires, outdoor festivals, sci-fi conventions, take note: you can turn an iPhone, iPad or Android phone into a credit card reader with the Square Card Reader: Seriously, how cool is that?

Someone on my Facebook pointed out that using an iPhone doesn’t exactly scream Middle Ages. My response: “Hey, they’ve already got signs up at Ren Faires that say ‘Accepting Lord Mastercard, Lady Visa, and New World Express.’ The iPhone at least has a much smaller footprint than those clunky credit card hand scanners. And let’s face it, the types of geeks who sell stuff at Ren Faire are exactly the types of geeks who buy iPhones and Androids.”

I’m wondering how cost effective it would be for a solo creative like myself. I’ll probably check it out in the next few months.

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I Heart St. Louis

Hi, I’m Caitlin Moriarity, and I love St. Louis. I think it’s a great town. I grew up here, moved away to San Francisco for several years, and then moved back to St. Louis when I decided that as much as I liked San Francisco, I loved St. Louis more.

There’s a lot to love about this town, and here’s where I’m going to talk about it.

Posted by cm in Geek Saint Louis, 0 comments