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Some specifications

Hobo cooking his breakfast


Coming up with a set of specifications that are clear, quantified, complete, minimal, and consistent is not an easy task. What follows are only some general specifications for the "Bachelor's Kit".


The goal of the "Bachelor's Kit" is to make contemplation possible. All material activities must be oriented toward spiritual activities. Happiness is the perfect operation of our highest faculty oriented toward its most noble object, i.e. contemplating God.

1) Effective

Of course, the primary requirement is to facilitate the material aspect of our life (clothing, food, lodging, etc.), even when challenged by difficult situations (i.e. the "Worst-case scenarios"). To live physically with a minimum of comfort necessary for contemplation, we need to perform some functions, among them:

1.1) Getting dressed. Not only protecting our modesty, but also staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer, as well as satisfying social conventions (like dressing up for a marriage or a funeral, etc.).

1.2) Finding some sort of shelter. We need a house, or an apartment, or a tent, etc.

1.3) Keeping clean. Brushing our teeth, taking a shower, washing our cloths, etc.

1.4) Eating several meals a day. Eating enough (but not too much!) of healthy foods.

1.5) Going from point A to point B. Whether it's to commute to work, or to go to Mass, or to run away from a hurricane, etc.

1.6) Computing. Writing and answering e-mails, paying our bills, etc.

1.7) Working to earn a living. Apart from children, senior citizens and the seriously handicapped, we all have to work to pay the bills, and to sanctify ourselves through work.

2) Affordable

2.1) If you can't buy it, it can't help you live well. This is pretty basic and obvious, but it's worth writing down because it is so important. The total cost of the "Bachelor's Kit" shall be under 20000$ CAN in 2005 (currently about 24000$ with all renovation tools), and no individual object shall cost more than 3000$ CAN.

2.2) Affordability is also Total Cost of Ownership. When costs are calculated, don't forget to include more than just the initial purchase cost. One of the reasons we make this explicit is that some material goods are apparently inexpensive, but in fact they require a lot of money or time after purchasing.

3) Minimal

3.1) Minimal object count.

3.2) Minimal volume. The whole " Bachelor's Kit" shall fit inside a volume of about 3 cubic meters (currently 3.8, with all the renovation tools). To give a first approximation, let's say it will fit inside the cargo area of a Ford Econoline van.

4) Robust

4.1) Hard to break.

4.2) Low Maintenance.

4.3) Easy to repair.

5) Replaceable

5.1) Objects shall be COTS (Common Off-The-Shelf Components). Current exceptions:

- The "bed-desk-locker" combination. It's the "heart" of my furniture. There is nothing on the market that is as compact, easy to move and handy.
- The integrated bedsheet (in which we slide the self-inflating mattress, and on which we attach the summer sleeping bag). Never seen anything like it in a store.
- The modular plywood bookshelves. Never seen anything like it in a store. Eventually, almost all our books should be in electronic format, which should eliminate the bookshelves.

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