Get Involved - If You Can't Open It, You Don't Own It

As the Thrift Economy segment on this week's SoCal Connected put it, "most everyone is looking for ways to save money. But many people are also looking to make money." In that kind of climate, the Owner's Manifesto - if you can't open it, you don't own it - isn't just a clarion call for the open-access set, it's a canny money-saving tactic. Being able to fix, customize and tweak your own technology is the first step to freedom from the tyranny of costly repairs, repeat buying and enforced, planned obsolesce.

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To set you on the path to self-sufficiency, take a look at the Public School at Telic, which is offering a series of 8-Bit labs "hands-on classes for those interested in learning to work with digital circuits." Instructables.com offers thousands of do-it-yourself instructions for items ranging from recipes, home stereo, lighting and this handy stealth breathalyzer posing as cassette tape microphone.

Those of you looking to turn DIY into a business can find counseling at Small Business Development Center at the El Camino College, which aims to help people "start, retain, or expand their businesses, increasing California's communities' wealth and quality of life." CARAT - California Resources and Training - also provides an extensive list of community development and training resources in Southern California.

If classes bore you and your plans for world domination are of the wired variety, you can pay a visit to one of the monthly Los Angeles g33k d1nner (that's "geek dinner" for those of you who don't speak "leet.") These are monthly gathers of Internet and technology lovers in Los Angeles. Anyone who has an interest and passion for technology, the internet, internet technologies, software or you just know you're a geek is welcome."

Get Involved always assumes our readers follow the old adage - buyer beware - but we want to doubly reiterate that those of you looking to start your own businesses should be extra vigilant against scams, con-men, and so on. Check with the folks at the Small Business Association or the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce before making any rash or life altering decisions.

The photo associated with this post was taken by Flickr user Kimberly*. It was used under Creative Commons license.

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