New Computer Lab!

Well, it started off as a joke. Justin and someone else brought in a few fully functional computers off the street. I said they’d work great in Turing. They decided it would be funny to turn the room into a computer lab.

They fixed some broken tables, raided Noisebridge for components, and now there’s 16 machines (sans a few keyboards) in Turing for public use.

Justin (laser bong) did a huge amount of work, props to him. As he noted, it’s now Turning, the Computer Lab, as it should be.

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Are those the chromeboxes from the hex table? What goes there now?

Some history: the chromeboxes were originally back by the not-kitchen then moved up front because we had a problem with people coming in and sucking all the good vibes out of the space by camping out in front of these things all day long and not actually hacking on anything. It made the space quite boring and people started feeling entitled to using the machines which really killed the mood and turned people off of the space.

This seems like a great use of this room.

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@tdfischer I mean you are describing the previous state of Turing, but your experience is not falling on deaf ears, change can always be reverted. Turing has been someone’s personal office for at least a year, let’s see what happens?

people camp all day in various areas right now, at least now 1 person can’t dominate that room. campers suck but right now they sometimes take over every computer we have:
vr, collaboration station, 3d printing, basically everything but laser.

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Yeah, I probably should’ve clarified that this is a cool thing and I like it! And yeah I guess I did just describe Turing :E

We should go in and fix up the AV box in the room next. Make sure everything’s still plugged in and working, then reattach the box and re-lock it.

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have them all be able to cast to show work to the class would be great (if we get classes)

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This is amazing! How should we utilize this computer lab? Host classes?

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When I was speaking to @Jared (Python-Jared), it was mentioned that a lot of new users have trouble installing Python. Having an image to copy on to each of the computers would be easier for the new learners, so they can get right to learning Python itself instead of trying to figure our how to install Python in different OS’s with different requirements. :slight_smile:

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I was there when the computer lab was built, clearly. That’s when I took the pictures. I wasn’t partaking other than sourcing a few parts and general encouragement. I even agreed that trying the chrome machines in the computer lab is an interesting change, even if I knew in my gut people would not like it.

So some people did say that they preferred the chrome machines back, but they weren’t moved.

Then the weekend of Jan 25th, Game Jam happened, and they needed every horizontal surface in the space. it was a great event, and went full all weekend. However the computers which were moved off the tables for space weren’t returned and reset up.

Shortly after, Feb 16th, the figure drawing class needed the tables in Church. What a great class to have at Noisebridge as well, but they ALSO didn’t reset the space, aka the tables were never returned to Turing.

The only thing that happened to the computer lab is standard entropy. It was fast in this case. Maybe that means Noisebridge the entity rejected the computer lab. Maybe it means we have a problem communicating what Excellence means. The outcome, however, is that the lab was disassembled without thinking about the lab itself, but how components could be used for other things.

I saw all this happen personally, except for the drawing class. I was at NB the day after the drawing class and saw the tables, and they have not moved back since.

i’m writing this as there seems to be a few stories about what happened and why. Nothing explicit happened, just entropy.

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On the lab…

I offered my opinions to Justin about three weeks ago for his doocractic lab.

  • Two of the six tables, those in the center aisle, could be kept clear for laptop users. Every seat at each table included a monitor, keyboard, mouse, desktop computer. Most of them were not functional.
  • It is very possible 80% of every lab class will bring their own computer. A more modular design could help with other clearing the tables or not needing the desktop computers.
    • Teachers will also likely need open table space for their class materials or personal computer.
  • With some equipment fundraising we could user Intel NUC’s or similar computers rather than the random, assorted desktops in the room.
    • with more powerful machines we could allow them to run virtual machines instead of dedicating each machine to a particular operating system.
    • PXE network booting could also be used to allow any machine to run any operating system.
    • VM or PXE network could allow the machines to be more easily setup, distributed, and maintained to mitigate downtime or other maintenance.
    • Simpler maintenance means a higher chance of success!
      • I asked multiple times if these technical ideas made sense, since they have never been attempted at Noisebridge afaik. It was clear that these suggestions were not understood, and it is also possible that Justin is considering other ideas.
        • The space has an on-going issue with disks being erased from communal machines, included the reformatting of the laser pc running Windows 7, multiple overwrites of hard disks on the NAW mac minis, overwrites of the tux racing pc, etc.

If setup properly, this lab could server as a model for how to improve the maintenance and longevity of Noisebridge infrastructure, but we’ll need to address tampering with machines, rooms being torn apart for other purposes and keep our systems as flexible & modular as possible.

The lab removed all four Chromestations from the front of the space, where they have been successfully been used for the last few years. Moving them makes sense, as these computers do not need additional setup, but it might also solve a problem that did not exist since those machines have worked well in the front of the space (it is good to note the systems that continue to work in the space over years).

  • Having at least two machines in the front of the space, plus the other two in Turing, might make the most sense for ensuring they are available for those at Noisebridge.

The lab itself is a very cool doocratic action, as the room needs more attention, love and use. Hopefully more acknowledgement will go to this excellent contribution from Justin.

This concludes the entirety of my thoughts and feedback shared on the lab a few weeks ago.

As mentioned here, it seems the GDC participants stripped the computers from the room as they had all brought their own computers. Afterwards, a drawing class removed all remaining tables so they could be used the Church. The lab was never restored, as discussed here.

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Hi @rando & @James! ^___^ :praise_the_sun:

Sorry for the delay in answering. I had been too busy to give a proper response.

While I think that a computer lab is a nice idea, I also agree that Turing is not the ideal room for it, or the way it was set up was not ideal either.

  1. Someone (whose name I don’t remember) had pointed out that Turing room also gets very hot since there’s no ventillation. This is very true. Here’s evidence:
    Actually, Gamebridge and the VR/greenscreen setup used to be in Turing. You can evidence of this in Simbridge, the VR version of Noisebridge that was made at that time. But a bit after June/July 2017, Gamebridge and the greenscreen/VR setup was transferred by Ryan, Mark, & Alex to Church, because it has better ventillation and air circulation, which is necessary for people who wear a heavy VR headset that can also get hot. The VR computer itself also generates a lot of heat. While this heat is great during the winter (where a bunch of us used that room to hide from the cold), it’s not good for the other seasons and possibly not good for the respiration and health of people who may already have breathing problems.

  2. Modular Design – mentioned by both @rando & @James. Ideally it would be nice to have the computers on carts that can get wheeled around as necessary. But since Noisebridge needs to move in August, I don’t know if it is wise to buy new things that are large, that would need to be transported to the new location. Probably better to do this at the new location.

  3. I didn’t even know about this:

  1. About having better machines, that’s true that more can be done with them, and they will be easier to maintain.
    Being easier to maintain is important, because even for people like me who want to help, we don’t have a lot of time and need to do our own IRL things. Being easier to maintain is also good in case other people want to join or help out, and the original people who worked on it are not available to guide the new people. The documentation would also be easier to create, and easier to understand. Something that’s more difficult to maintain will get entrophy more easily.
    And besides, the people who will use those computers to learn will be annoyed that the computers are old and slow.
    Again, because we are moving and everything is in flux, probably not a good idea to do this right now.

  2. About the Chromestations and those other computers being on that pillar between the Library, Hackitorium, Collaboration Station, & Fox Lounge – when I was given a tour of Noisebridge before, the way I understood those computers is that they are for people to use if they don’t have internet at home, for whatever reason, or they couldn’t bring their own laptop (either because they are homeless and they need to use the internet to access different services, etc., or they can’t afford one, or their current one is broken and is under repairs, or they forgot/didn’t bring their laptop).
    I always thought that this is a nice thing to do for people, since we want Noisebridge to be part of the local community, and for everyone. (Well, maybe except for sleeping, which is definitely not allowed.) So I like that the Chromestations are back to where they are. :slight_smile:

  3. I agree with this, because even though it was originally a joke, what Justin prototyped had planted the seed of a really good idea and showed us the possibilities!!! ^___^

By the way, I just want to comment that GDC is Game Developers’ Conference, and has not happened yet. It will happen on March 17 to March 22 (and unofficially including March 23). I think you are referring to Global Game Jam (GGJ), which happened on the weekend of January 25-27.

Aside from that, when Mark and I set up for the Global Game Jam, the computers in Turing had already been put under the tables when I saw them, so I didn’t even realize the computers were trying to be a computer lab until someone else told me about them.

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This is a good discussion to have! ^_^ Thanks for your suggestions and inputs! :smiley:

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Ah yes fun times @tdfischer

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