The internet is a hard problem, not really solved yet. Getting the internet into your hacker space is another hard problem. Thirdly making it easy for folks to diagnose their (own) network problems without taking down the internet for others or killing other network hardware is also hard.
At Noisebridge we've got a network rack named Susan The Rack (she might be old but she's got one hell of a rack), she held our internet important network gear. After a month people started throwing their own gear in there (because obviously a free hacker space wants to host your internet/power hungry torrent box), she thing turned into the rats nest of cables and junk and hacker STDs, and we couldn't tell what was internet important and what was just garbage hardware not doing anything. Eventually the DSL modem got shoved off the rack and was just hanging off by its phone cord. One night a couple hard working dedicated Noisebridge members aimed to fix this problem...
Behold, The Wall-O-Tubes! The idea is that everything that involves getting the internet into the building and back out through our wifi is bolted onto this wall. If the wall has power, the internet should work through our wifi network. If the internet goes down, it'll be easy to diagnose, and hard for someone who isn't dedicated to fix (you have to go get a stool or ladder or poking stick to do much of anything). Currently the image shows version 1 of the wall.
One of the biggest problems we had was someone's laptop would stop loading web pages, the person would freak out thinking the whole internet is down, and start unplugging and rebooting device without doing any sort of diagnostics. For version 2 we're setting up a machine called Minotaur! This guy will monitor different parts of the network (our internet links, the router, servers and services on the network, wifi link), and display a sort of heart beat message in plain English on a monitor under the wall. If all is green, then your "internet problem" might most likely be somewhere between you and the keyboard.
Last Monday was the last time I’ll be leading Circuit Hacking Monday at Noisebridge for several weeks. It was lots of fun! There were almost 40 people there, making TV-B-Gones, Trippy RGB Waves, Arduino clone kits, and other cool kits that I created to teach people how to make things with electronics. Several people learned to solder for the first time! Some people brought in their own cool projects to work on. And some people brought in their old, broken electronics that are now working again, thanks to the helpful geeks at Noisebridge.
While I’m gone, Miloh will be leading Circuit Hacking Monday workshops.
Over the next several weeks I’ll be traveling the planet, giving talks and workshops everywhere I go: Lisbon, Singapore, Berlin, NYC, Boston, and hopefully other places out East where I’ll be visiting (Philly, Baltimore, DC).
I’ll be gone till the beginning of February!
Check out what BJ and Zedd did last night.
In addition to countless others who've thrown in random amounts of time into making this amazing little tile art over the past week, BJ and Zedd have thrown countless hours into this really neat thing. The diameter of the logo is about 70cm. Once Zedd gets done building the brick oven in the second bathroom we'll be ready for some giant pizza.