Category Archives: a2b3

a2b3 lunch non-summary for March 20, 2014

The weekly a2b3 lunch met at Madras Masala on this the third Thursday of March. It’s been our habit to meet at Madras on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays. The dining room is large and could seat a large party, but our typical lunch has rarely less than 6 and rarely more than 8 people there, which is just about perfect.

This week’s tally was 6, which is just barely big enough to justify a formal round of introductions, but we did it anyway. The discussion, minus the introductions, ranged widely from the workings of lathes to the scene at Community High School to the everyday objects that we carry with us each day. I won’t even try to summarize, there was just so much to say that we talked non-stop for 90 minutes and were still chatting at the end.

As always the food at Madras was good, and just spicy enough that some people who had been regulars aren’t likely to come because the diet does not agree with them. To this end we are planning a west side visit to Chela’s on March 27, 2014. See the details on Meetup, and hope to see you there.


Notes on Meetup

LogoI’ve started using to organize several groups. Here’s some notes.

For the longest time I’ve used a Yahoo Groups list to organize the a2b3 group, and that long-lived mailing list continues. It’s great to have a mailing list, but it’s kind of chatty as a lunch-planning-only effort. So the first of my Meetup groups is the a2b3 meetup which is solely devoted to the tasks of providing an events listing and (most importantly) to plan lunch.

A brand new Meetup is the a2civictech Ann Arbor Civic Technology meetup, which had its first meeting the other night. This is a more classic meetup, one that tries to meet monthly rather than weekly, one that’s similar to other groups around the country, and one where I’m starting out from the perspective that I mostly don’t know everyone who’s going to be interested.

Meetup is a form of civic technology (for the purpose of organizing meetings). For a2civictech, I’ve been able to use the function of annotating the photos from the meeting to remember who was there, and the little discussion forum around the event is just enough to prepare for meetings and remember what happened there. Meetup also allows you to track the input and output of money to the group, so it’s reasonable to track expenses and reimbursement for even little bits of money.

The meetup system isn’t free; a semi-annual fee of $72 applies. So by not being free it gives me the opportunity to have other folks help share in the cost of running things. a2civictech is sponsored in part by a2geeks and that’s been a great plus in getting it going. You can also share in the roles of actually organizing things by giving co-conspirators some additional rights to manage things.

What strikes me the most is that Meetup is actually designed pretty well to help you successfully organize a meeting. I’m so used to group-forming tools like Yahoo Groups and Google Groups where the goal is to have a discussion online and where the in-person efforts are a very late afterthought. The system comes with a checklist of all of the useful things you can do, and the automated emails for the event planner gently prompt you to do the right thing at the right time. There’s obviously a lot of thought and evolution in this system which is a welcome change.

The verdict so far: worthwhile to continue for 6 months, and probably worth renewing.

a2b3 September 12 2013 meetup

RSVP now through Meetup.

Lunch at Madras Masala (Maynard St) for a2b3 this week, Thursday from about 11:45 a.m. to about 1:00 p.m.

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The usual routine is to show up, fill up a plate with yummy food from the buffet, and sit down for discussion. At 12:30pm someone will note the time and then I’ll make a round of introductions and ask a question to prompt conversation.

We’ve had as many as 8 people for lunch and as few as 4 at Madras Masala, but the restaurant is flexible and if we were to get a huge crowd there’s space.

A slow moving version of Twitter: always hand write your tweets before sending them.

A slow moving version of Twitter: always hand write your tweets before sending them.

Bright idea? Write it down, photograph it, transcribe it, then (and only then) post to the network.

It’s OK to wait quite a long time between initial idea and eventual posting. This also works for blog postings, or at least it should. Twitter happens to make it easy to do in one step for short posts.


How will lunch work on Thursday at a new place? (A2B3 lost its regular restaurant, Eastern Accents, and we’re meeting at Conor O’Neill’s instead.) Caroline is manager.

What do you want to have stored up so that you can respond quickly to something new after having already thought through it at leisure?

How important is the drawing? (Very.)

Can you focus on something long enough to make it worthwhile to construct a lengthy effort to assemble media to support it?


Adam Grant’s book Give and Take. Jerry Davis is interviewed. Look in the March 31 NY Times Magazine.

Suggest it at the Ann Arbor District Library once I get online. It’s too hard to fill out the suggestion form from my teeny tiny phone screen.

Jerry Michalski suggesting a similar piece on “bursting vs plodding” and the benefits of each, written by Steve Pavlina.

I’m listening to electronica by Valdis Krebs.



“I think Buddha is one line of work.”

Eastern Accents is closing for good on March 16, 2013

ANN ARBOR (Monday, February 18, 2013)

From a news release from Carol Sun of Eastern Accents. 

Eastern Accents will be closing its doors for good at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, 2013 (end of the day).  A long-simmering dispute with our landlord has finally come to a head, and we’ve decided that it is time for change.

Carol writes:

Feel free to help spread the word.  We want to get the word out–especially to anyone who might have gift card values to redeem.

Thank you for the years of support (if you recall, you were in the picture that appeared in the first article on Eastern Accents!) and the networking that you do that benefits Eastern Accents. 

A2B3 will continue on Thursdays until the March 14, 2013 lunch, and then we'll go into exile.