22 February 2006

Community Barter

Individuals and non-profits can share their stuff (barter) through the worldwide Freecycle Network made up of 2,001,122 members in 3,398 communities.

Started in May 2003, the Tucson group wanted to promote waste reduction in the city center and lessen the effects of landfills on the desert landscape by setting up a free electronic forum where people can 'recycle' their unwanted items to someone who does want them.

At the website, www.freecycle.org, I see that there are already 108 members in four Dutch communities (Lelystad, Groningen, Roermond, Bleiswijk) here in The Netherlands.

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21 February 2006

Is Skype 'Bartering' or Just 'Sharing'?

BusinessWeek ran a 20 June 2005 article called "The Power of Us: How Mass Collaboration on the Internet is Shaking up Business."

They discuss how Skype, a small European startup challenged the massive trillion-dollar telecom industry.

Easy. They "[dialed] up a vast, hidden resource: its own users."

Skype comes from the same people that are responsible for the file-sharing software Kazaa.

The Skype network borrows "spare computing power and Net connections" from everyone using Skype.

This creates a "collective resource to route others' calls.

The result: a self-sustaining phone system that requires no central capital investment -- just the willingness of its users to share."

Where is the line between sharing and trading/bartering?

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20 February 2006

Barter Tax

The IRS acknowledges the growing use of barter:
"The Internet has provided a medium for new growth in the bartering exchange industry.

This growth prompts the following reminder: Barter exchanges are required to file Form 1099–B for all transactions unless certain exceptions are met.

Refer to Barter Exchanges for additional information on this subject."
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19 February 2006

Bartering: Think Big

Tim Phillips wrote an article for the Guardian Unlimited in which he reminds us that Dutch colonial administrator, Peter Minuit bartered $24 of beads for Manhattan in 1626.

The 1 March 2003 article titled, The new global currency, explains that companies have been using bartering techniques for some time.
  • In 1935, Monsanto exchanged saccharin for mackerel in China.

  • In 1972, PepsiCo traded Pepsi for vodka in the Soviet Union.
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18 February 2006

Barter: Share Everything Options

Remember my creative beliefs in 'considering options' and 'sharing everything'?

Twice now, I've heard a story on the BBC World Service about Michael Jospeh of Safari Company in Africa who was facilitating the bartering of cell/mobile telephone airtime.

The example was given of someone who traded telephone airtime for a chicken. Instead of paying 200 shillings for the chicken, the person transferred airtime, on the spot, from his or her telephone account to the account of the chicken owner.

I've not yet been able to find a link to this story at the BBC site, but have contacted them to see if they have more information on this story available online.

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14 February 2006

December Urban Camping Spots

Urban camping spots for December were as follows: 8 nights at Carol's house while she was visiting family for the holidays in the States.

I stayed 1 night at the house of classmate Gino, 2 nights at the house of classmate Mei, 1 night at the house of my friend Johan and 19 nights at my studio/healthclub.

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13 February 2006

Non-formulaic Travel

Having just returned from my fourth trip to Brazil, my mind keeps coming back to the addictive practice of traveling.

I am reminded of another (unread) book on my list called Lonely Planet Guide To Experimental Travel.

I love non-formulaic approaches to life.

For me, this book is in the same camp as the alternative hotels I'd heard about.

Experimental travel is called "playful" and "pleasingly vague." The book lays out 40 different forms.

For example, during Aesthetic Travel, travelers record their journey artistically by, for instance, photographing the fire station in every new town they visit or writing a poem in every main square.

Or, you could travel via Trip Poker where four people roll the dice, and the winner gets to choose the destination; the loser pays for the weekend.

The editorial review says, "If nothing else, their unusual book reminds us of the joy of discovery."

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12 February 2006

The Art of Travel

Heading to school after staying at a CouchSurfer's house, I passed a travel store with the book The Art of Travel in the window.

Not yet read, but on my reading list, it's a collection of nine essays divided into five categories, "Departure," "Motives," "Landscape," "Art," and "Return."

The editorial review at Amazon says,
"De Botton's style is very thoughtful and dense; he considers events of the moment and relates them to his internal dialog, showing how experiences from the past affect the present.

In "On Curiosity," for example, which describes a weekend in Madrid, De Botton compares his reliance on a very detailed guidebook to the numerous systematic measurements Alexander von Humboldt made during his 1799 travels in South America.

De Botton compares Humboldt's insatiable desire for detail with his own ennui and wish that he were home.

There are also details about a fight over dessert, the van Gogh trail in Provence, and Wordsworth's vision of nature.

Although well written and interesting, this volume will have limited popular appeal.

Recommended for larger public libraries."
- Alison Hopkins, Brantford P.L., ON Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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05 February 2006

Details May Be Overrated

When starting this urban camping venture, I remembered back to how refreshing it was to shake loose of my daily routine and get a fresh perspective on life.

It seemed that routines were comfortable and deceptive.

They are comfortable because they are predictable.

They are deceptive because we focus so much on our path that we miss what's going on around us.

I am half-way through my journey and disappointed at how quickly this 'heightened awareness' dissolves.

Whenever I find myself in a new environment, I immediately seek out shortcuts and create new routines!

There is even an aspect of seeking out new routines where I notice FEWER details.

When starting a new house-sitting assignment, I NEVER notice spots on the carpet, scratches on the table, dents in the furniture until I am cleaning to leave.

Then I fret that I must be the cause since I didn't see it before.

When house-sitting for my friend Karen, her cat came in with part of its ear missing.

I thought, "Did that happen on my watch!?!" When Karen returned, she assured me that it had always been that way.

I had not noticed.

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02 February 2006

Brand is Montane

I found the link to the featherlites.

The brand is actually Montane and the the clothing line is found here ... still find it disturbing that Mallory and Irvine are printed on the stuff sack ...

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