Category Archives: Coworking

The return of microcoworking

Microcoworking is independent workers and freelancers working together at the same time in a coffee shop, sharing ideas and conversation. It's more informal than the coworking facilities that have sprung up all over the country, but it shares with them the idea that just because you're working on your own you don't have to be alone.

Today Laura Fisher, Patti Smith and I restarted a microcoworking cell that had been on hiatus for a while, meeting at Zingerman's Next Door. We did some editing work together, Patti and I, and Laura showed off her stylish Sensu brush for the iPad. The music started out as a 70s mix which gave us all the appropriate flashbacks in time.


Expense report: Cafe Ambrosia, 3/28/11, $1.00; support the go!pass program!

Cafe Ambrosia is located on Maynard Street in Ann Arbor, across the street from the Nickels Arcade and adjacent to the Maynard Street parking structure. A cup of coffee is $0.95 with your go!pass discount. Ed Renoullet runs the cafe. This photograph captures the morning sunlight that reaches the cafe's front window on a late March morning in Ann Arbor.

Ambrosia is distinctive for having one of the best events bulletin boards in town (another story), for having power outlets at every table, and for its relatively new front seating arrangement. The couch in the front has been removed in favor of tables looking out over the street, which makes it a nice place to read the morning Michigan Daily or any of your other favorite newspapers and to catch up on morning email.

Ed asked me to note the daily specials, which are difficult to read on this photograph. Monday, $1 tea; Tue-Thu, specials on Chai Latte, Cafe Latte, and Cafe Mocha; and Friday, free flavor shot.

Edward Vielmetti wants a proper cup of coffee, made in a proper copper coffee pot.

Mandatory FTC disclosure: I paid $1 for my cup of coffee, which is the standard price available to go!pass card holders. My go!pass is from the Workantile Exchange on Main Street in Ann Arbor, who provide my current membership to their coworking space (valued at $160 per month) in exchange for valuable considerations. Links in this post point to the not for profit Arborwiki, an encyclopedia of local information about the Ann Arbor area which anyone can edit; it is hosted at the Ann Arbor District Library.

Disclosure: The go!pass is funded by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. The members of the DDA are appointed by the Ann Arbor mayor, John Hieftje, and approved by the Ann Arbor City Council. It's DDA and City of Ann Arbor budget season, and funding for the go!pass is subject to budgetary approval in the 2011-2012 budget cycle.  

I support the go!pass program, and ask for your support for it in this year's municipal budget.

Please tip your barista generously, even if you have to go back and add some tip in because you didn't have change.

This message paid for by Edward Vielmetti with personal funds.

The support of Ed Renoullet, Bill Tozier, Matt Hampel, Joe Morehouse, Ryan Eby, Brian Kerr and the editors of the Michigan Daily are acknowledged.

Any errors are the responsibility of my editor (hey, that's me!)

Tues 1/27: Lunch meeting to plan coworking space at Arcadian Too, Main St Ann Arbor

Noted 3/2011: this is the space that turned into the Workantile Exchange.

Forwarded for Mike Kessler:

What:    A free lunch meeting to introduce, create, and design the new coworking space in Ann Arbor
Where:    118 S. Main St. in the former Arcadian Too Antiques space
When:    Tuesday, January 27,  2009 12 Noon
What:    Work has begun!  The space is being created.  Come and be an advocate for your vision of what the space looks like, acts like and how it is organized

RSVP in the comment field at;  I need to get a fairly accurate count for the food.

So far the walls have been stripped to brick,  the acoustic ceiling tiles have come down, and the tile and carpeted floor has been pulled up to reveal the original wood floor.  The space looks great!  If things go smoothly (do things ever go smoothly?) the space can be opened to all in March.

Big questions remain: Please come and give your input.

Contact me at with any questions

coffee house coders: Wednesdays, 9pm-11pm Eastern, Espresso Royale Cafe, State St

Coffee House Coders is a programmer's group that meets Wednesday nights at ERC State St in Ann Arbor.  A large long table in the back hosts a dozen or so laptops, and the assembled crowd works on whatever code they are working on.

Organized by Zach Steindler and Matt Pizzimenti, this group when I visited last week was mostly current and recent UM engineering students, with a few people from out of town visiting old friends.   I saw a demo of a new product under development by Occiptal, which looked kind of like Doom set in cities, designed to run on a mobile phone. 

At Coffee House Coders I learned about CouchDB, an object database which has an interesting data model – throw JSON objects into a big flat store, and retrieve them with Javascript map/reduce functions.  My favorite Django person, Brian Kerr, pointed me at a tutorial on how to implement a hierarchical database in this system.

One notable aspect of Coffee House Coders is that they don't try to create an existence for the group between meetings; there's no ongoing email list as such for discussion, and no permanent home on the web for chit-chat.  To make up for that, their network is online and connected when the meeting happens via IRC (, channel #coffeehousecoders; I used Mibbit as a client), Twitter (#coffeehousecoders), and Skype (coffeehousecoders). 

The a2geeks mailing list is used to gently nudge people to show up.

update: add both zach and matt's names.