hackerspaces and meta-hackerspaces

Once upon a time I helped start Labitat, and I'm currently active in the sudo room hackerspace and the citizen science and biohacker space Counter Culture Labs, as well as the 20,000 square foot collective-of-collectives Omni Commons all three of which are located in Oakland, California.

hackerspace membership and access control


sudo room is rolling our own membership and access control solution. The main web app is sudo-humans, initated by substack which we've been improving with stripe integration for credit card payments and are now working to integrate with our access control system. The access control is currently doorjam running on a Beagle Bone Black. We're extending doorjam to deal with RFID and pin code entry and we're migrating our old doorjam web app functionality into sudo-humans. We're also extending sudo-humans to handle multiple organizations sharing the same space and different areas that are only accessible by some sub-groups/projets. Physically every door will have an electric strike and an RFID tag hooked up to a Beagle Bone Black running. The BBBlacks have battery backup and ethernet and are contained in physically locked boxes near the doors. The outer doors will have RFID + PIN entry and the internal doors will have RFID only. The libnfc library seems fairly terrible (only blocking reads? gets into a bad state if program exits while blocking?) so instead of a USB RFID reader we're using these $2.30 RC522 modules from AliExpress hooked up to the BBBlack via $2 3.3v arduino pro mini clones via ony of the BBBlack's many 3.3v serial ports.

perk fulfillment automation


With all of crowdfunding campaigns it suddenly becomes a non-trivial task to ship all of those perks. I wrote gogo-labeler which takes CSV exports from IndieGoGo campaigns and automates the printing of labels. It has two modes: Printing basic address labels for letters and printing full pre-paid shipping labels for packages. Oh and we use StickerGiant for stickers as they are high quality and have easy ordering for die-cut stickers. We'd like to use PsPrint since they're both local and cheaper but their stickers just wear out really quick and their interface for ordering die-cut stickers is a pain. We _do_ use PsPrint for all paper/cardboard printed media. For T-shirts we've settled on uber prints as they have really good prices for mixed-size orders of American Apparal T-shirts. We use American Apparal as it seems somewhat likely that we're not supporting completely miserable sweat-shops, though honestly I don't know if the cotton is sustainable/ethically farmed/processd/shipped.

omni commons: best place to get radicalized


Omni Commons was named Best Place to Get Radicalized by the East Bay Express! How very apt :)

hackerspace menu

The hackerspace menu software running a still-assembled OLPC laptop.

Fancy restaurants have pretty menu's in nice wooden boxes outside so people can see what they're getting into. This is basically the same thing but instead of pieces of paper in a box it's an old OLPC XO laptop in a box, and instead of listing food it lists events/meetups. You _know_ your hackerspace probably has at least one of those old OLPC laptops stashed away somewhere. They're too cute and too conceptually beautiful to throw away, but too old to really be of any use so they end up gathering dust. Well, they have one useful feature still: A display that is equally clear and visible in direct sunlight and total darkness. The hackerspace menu takes the display and motherboard of the XO laptop, sticks it in box, adds ethernet and power over ethernet, and runs a modern web browser with an auto-updating event listing, and does so _without_ installing a new operating system, by simply using X forwarding.



I've been working on an electronic donation box that has a magnetic card reader, a knob to select an organzation/project and another knob to select a dollar amount. The idea is to make it as easy as possible for people to donate: Just twist the knobs and swipe your card. In the same vein, I wrote an arduino program that make bill/coin acceptors function as if they were USB keyboards which makes it super easy to add automatic cash payment to any project.



We've been working on a conversion kit for Snackshop vending machines (the kind with big springs that rotate to dispense snacks) that replaces the original control logic with a custom PCB, a Beagle Bone Black and a cheap Android tablet for the buying interface, with payments using either credit card, bills or coins. We're pretty close to a completed conversion but other things (like our hackerspaces not going broke) have been taking priority.

last bart!


People wanting to sleep at our hackerspace is a recurring problem and sometimes people use the excuse "I missed the last BART and now I can't get home until they start running again" (BART is the public transit system in the Bay Area), so I made this program that runs on our server an announces via the loudspeakers when there's 30 mins and 15 mins left before the last BART. Now there's no excuse to miss the last BART!

There should be as many hackerspaces as there are corner stores. A hacker space on every block!

-- Anonymous