Last night, I visited Indyhall, a geek collective working space. Today I joined their group with a light membership ($175/mo), and may decide to shift to full membership ($275/mo). Here's why, and other thoughts:
Indyhall is a collective working space for geeky people, located inside the city proper. Power and network connectivity is very good, and the place is stocked and organised better than any workspace I've seen (even in academia). There's coffee that other members make there, a shower, comfy couches, a turtle, bike racks, and separate rooms for phone calls and meetings. It's attached to a community of geeks determined to collaborate on various parts of life when collaboration makes sense (I just saw a post on their message boards that they got together to buy shares in a cow they bought from a local farmer, for meat. Not my bag, as I don't eat meat, but not a bad idea otherwise!). Indyhall might be the kind of community I need to really feel at home in this city, or at least one of the communities.
I'm not entirely thrilled at their choice of Basecamp to organise their efforts. I'm bothered that Basecamp is proprietary, and also bothered that it seems worse than simply installing MediaWiki and letting people have at it (MediaWiki is not the best imaginable wiki software, and it's based on questionable software components, but it's a pretty nice wiki and a great way to organise people). Oh well. At least they care enough to have something.
The membership level I have entitles me to be there 3 days a week between 9am and 6pm, M-F. Those of you who know me recognise that this isn't quite ideal; I keep an odd sleep schedule and am not always even out of bed before 10am. Also, that no-weekends thing will get old. The higher level of subscription would get me a dedicated desk and 24/7 access.
It's stuff like this that makes me less unhappy about staying in Philadelphia if nothing opens up elsewhere. I'm still applying to jobs at Harvard. MIT, and a few universities in NYC (gave up on Eugene because as far as I can see there are no late-night coffeeshops). If I do stay here, I'll want to find a cheaper apartment in the city proper.
I'll take pictures of IndyHall for the curious, once my membership finishes processing and it becomes part of my routine.