A year ago, I received a box of mysterious junk. Code-named Quito, it was one of the original eight TGIMBOEJ boxes. Wait, what’s a TGIMBOEJ? The acronym stands for The Great Internet Migratory Box of Electronics Junk, one of the elegantly simple projects that Evil Mad Scientists and wife-and-husband team Lenore Edman and Windell Oskay seem to produce so effortlessly. In this case, the TGIMBOEJ is a way to share, well, electronics junk via boxes shipped from nerd to nerd.
TGIMBOEJ, The Great Internet Migratory Box Of Electronics Junk is a progressive lending library of electronic components. An internet meme in physical form halfway between P2P zip-archive sharing and a flea market. It arrives full of wonderful (and possibly useless) components, but you will surely find some treasures to keep. You will be inspired look through your own piles, such as they are, and find more mysterious components that clearly need to be donated to the box before it is passed on again.
The project is a year old, and for better or worse, it continues to prosper. I got my second box, called Gray-E, last month and passed it on to my friend Pat of Twin Cities Maker, our local hacker collective. Gray-E isn’t one of the original boxes — in the last year, numerous participants have created their own and now the number of boxes tracked on the project website numbers about 40.
On the down side, Lenore and Windell have had to step up their level of involvement due to the large number of boxes that have not been mailed out. My original box (Quito) has been idle for over a year, and the Evil Mad Scientists have had to contact the various recipients to keep the ball rolling. Other than the nagging, they have also streamlined and made more clear the participatory rules, which will hopefully cut down on the number of stalls.