I’ve got several stories, but I’ll start with one that represents how I find a lot of fun in just playing with radios while building mesh in Urbana.
The Location: The basement of the old Urbana downtown post office. Built just before WWI, the old PO building still has a post office in it, but is now the local Independent Media Center. The IMC rents space to a number of local groups including the local Maker Space, housed under the front steps in the old men’s locker room.
The People: I’ve been slowly tracking down local tech activists and introducing them to the wonders of the mesh. Tonight I’m finally meeting E. who has just returned from Burning Man.
The Situation: Maker Space is notorious for bad cell phone reception, so bad that most people don’t bother trying, instead going upstairs and outside if they need to make a call. While I wasn’t sure I’d find Eric, I had and I told him I was going to contact my wife to let her know I’d be out a little longer.
The Reaction: E. is incredulous I’m even trying to reach out from the Maker Space “dungeon” with my goTenna Mesh. He’s even more surprised when the message is confirmed almost immediately and answered with a reply. This seems to impress him far more than my elevator talk version of what UMESH is up to. I eventually mention that there’s a relay node on the roof that helped, but regardless of that it was a suitably impressive demonstration of the power of the mesh.