A Freecycle as well as a for sale facility

Colin Critch
(site admin)

Mon 18 Jul 2005, 10:21

Indeed the way we live needs to change and will surely do as we are forced to change by circumstances. There are lots of people doing there little bit to get things going in the right direction, if we all plug on and don't give up and support one another's efforts we can make a change. Keeping stuff out of landfill is what I want, because it displaces new products and therefore reduces sales (if you know you have no space to put it you may not buy it) . The most efficient way to reduce energy consumption and pollution is not to make the "thing" or "journey" in the first place. Of course Fashion and Marketing can be the biggest enemy of sustainability. (though lots on NGOs use glossy marketing to raise funds, and it can be quite fashionable to be environmently aware).

Anyway back to the Freecycle thing.
I want the software I develop to be free and accessible to all so that people who want to do a similar type of site can just reuse what I create (anywhere in the world). This type of software is called Open Source and the concept is based on sharing and improving (with no strings attached).

I plan to make a start now on the software now so any other good ideas you have send them quick because it easier to design them in than add it on.

I think a small adds section on the Charlbury website is a good idea. If done it should make post expire over a certain time or allow the poster to remove the adds that they have posted when obsolete.



Malcolm Blackmore

Sun 17 Jul 2005, 11:41

What Colin is proposing is sophisticated, indeed. I don't think this is a bad thing. The days of the 'net are still very, very young (it won't be long before your doorbell needs a gigabit network connection!!) and it will become ubiquitous (or all those not part of the elite will be Brazilianized into poverty if the global corporates have their way, in which case the connected future won't be for us).

But back to the point - I think Colin's development is welcome as it will provide the basis for something in the long term that has the potential to be a real benefit to this, and other local communities. The environmental resource benefits are clear, as are the personal benefits of acquisition and disposal of material goods that are not wanted or needed any more. Most of my kids's toys have come from "Green Balloon Day" in a couple of neighbouring streets in Summertown (where every year we had a social event on saturday, and most people in the street put out unwanted but still useful stuff on the pavement in front of their houses). These were highly successful and has had a really substantial impact upon the local kids' approach to "used" goods compared to "new" ones. They see not wasting as a real positive virtue, and getting "new" things is limited to birthday (the main present giving time for our household) and Xmas (which we downplay) and not too much of that. They also get second hand stuff for these events, which they don't mind, as clearly the person who found it had either searched for it, or had the wit to realise it was something that they would like when the saw it and had made the effort to check out the charity shops etc, often months in advance.

I was brought up in Canada 'til my late teens, and my father had lived through the depression which was /really/ tough there, in rural communities substantially isolated. My core values were therefore shaped by something of a disgust at the growth of the psychotic consumerism that was inculcated in the American (and by spillover) the Canadian people during the 50s and 60s. Don't forget N.America was a land where thrift was a real cultural virtue, as well as in the smaller towns and country, real and substantial community assistance in many projects. I have memories of proper barn-raising parties in the autumn, for example, and the collective effort to clear the way for electricity to be laid into the area from the nearest main transmission line, etc.

Peak Oil - the point at which the increasing demand for oil cannot be matched by the ability to increase the supply of oil (not "running out" just yet, just that the taps can't be turned on any more open) is upon us either this year or in the next year or two. This will send market prices soaring long before it "runs out" in a generation or two.

So the party is over for our kids - we scoffed all the goodies into our own fat gobs.

Charlbury isn't in a bad place to cope with the "consolidation" back into local places that this will bring about - big enough to sustain a lot of local business, with transport links for when personal transport gets priced out of everyday use in the way we are used to. Though most of us will be living in a degree of relative material "poverty" compared to what we have been used to. We're going to have to find other values and activities to "enrich" us, and create our own local short-circuits of economic activity and exchanges of value (the idea of local monies gains traction here!).

So I suggest that we start now, and Colin is one little brick in the wall, eh?

Best wishes


Mark Wilson

Fri 15 Jul 2005, 17:40

I think a freecycle/for sale/wanted page on this site would be very useful - that would naturally restrict it to those within spitting distance of Charlbury and a shorter list of offerings would also remove the need for anything too sophisticated.

Sometimes a simple solution is the most useful!

Colin Critch
(site admin)

Thu 14 Jul 2005, 09:41


I want the geocoder so people can have an active search criteria that would tell the server things like:-

I'm only interested in things say 10 miles radius from home "OX7 3TS"
I am interested in items being "offered" that contain the word "Deck Chair" or "Bucket". My email is person@email.co.uk

On the offering side
One could say my area is "OX7 3TS" and I have a "Bucket" with these attributes red, plastic. My email is person@email.co.uk

Both the offering and wanted post can be done by a web form or by sending and email to the server in a particular format.

When the server gets a match it will email the person that is interested with the offered details including email address.

There will be a option to be spammed with a daily digest as well.

People who use the site would NOT be able to ask for payment for anything they give away as it would be in the terms and conditions of using the website. If people want to turn a profit they should use ebay and see how far they get. I want to do non profit work. The source code generated would be under the artistic licence and free to all. I would use PostGreSQL, Apache 2, PHP 5 and Debian Linux and possiblely C# mono to develop the system.

I would Welcome your help on this project. I think you could help on the specification and testing. Testing being a huge part of the project.

Malcolm Blackmore

Mon 11 Jul 2005, 16:38

Geodata?? Waddya mean by that ... quick info for people to see how far away summat is?

Now, you're talking about a website. That might not suit all people ... not that I'm agin it (not at all!!) but what about a simple mailing list, split between "offered" and "wanted"? Oxford freecycle is being swamped with wanted posts and I'd be happy to see them on another list so I can filter them into a seperate mail box. Now Yshoo does the freecycle gratis. No reason why we can't have our own list, but who'd host it?

As for a West Oxon (though I'd be inclined to include East Glos. in it hence suggestion for Cotswold area) site, could this be shared between other town or village websites (if there are any)?

But I can see two distinct "markets", but don't see a contradiction between them (I'd subscribe to a mail list, and also check out a web page when I check out Charlbury etc.). Perhaps the website could become a series of much more closely focussed geographical services, for very local wants and needs, all shared resources between villages and towns to cut costs etc. So one links to say "Charlbury" off the website, Chippy ditto etc.

Or if no onther locale is interested we just do our own anyways.

I'd be up to help, though the last time I did a web page was about 1993 just before I returned to academe! Ironic, one of the first adopters back in the early 90s, then not touched one since and forgotten everything I knew then, although the tech has gone on so much I doubt anything I would recall would be in any way relevant or useful nearly a generation later.

Good grief, the www is nearing a generation old!! Tempes fugit.

Must go back to doing up "spare" room so Aunt has somewhere to stay when she visits her niece and nephew this weekend ... not an easy task with fibromyalgia and a wrecked back... don't bogart that opiate my friend, pass it 'round to me...

Richard Fairhurst
(site admin)

Mon 11 Jul 2005, 13:35

What sort of geodata do you need?

Colin Critch
(site admin)

Mon 11 Jul 2005, 10:17

Hi Malcolm,

I'm still up for developing a West Oxon FreeCycle site and need to tie the requirements down a bit more, so far I have got:-

1) Serachable database with OFFERED, WANTED in with in a certain miles radius. I'm ok with the Geo-codeing for this. Just the Lat/Long data costs a couple of hundred a year.:-(

2) Email notification if the item you are looking for becomes available.
3) Auto expiry of items remaining "offered" expiring a time period.
4) A suggestions and contact area.

Any more suggestions requirements/features welcome

Best Regards


Malcolm Blackmore

Sun 10 Jul 2005, 23:24

Just before I disappeared off the 'net for a couple of months, someone was suggesting starting up a Charlbury Freecycle (lots of info on freecycles via google etc.). The Oxford one is certainly pretty lively!

This is normally done as a simple mailing list. I also think that given the radius around which people seem to habitually travel around here (I'm still adjusting to life in a rural and small town area after some 30 years in big cities, despite a - extremely poverty ridden - rural background from which I ran away the moment I could!) the area should cover West Oxfordshire and into a bit of Glos. as well, roughly a Cotswolds and surrounding catchment .. Cotswold freecycle??

But for something more locally specific and for people who don't want email boxes filled up any further, then perhaps a "free" as well as a "for sale" topic on Charlbury website would be an idea (both a freecycle and this have no conflict of course).

This is of interest to me as we are dejunking and there are quite a few items that aren't worth trying to flog, but perhaps useful to others rather than becoming a resource consuming write off and filling one of our increasingly precious and rare holes in the ground...

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