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 Post subject: Re: lounge lizards and code wizards
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:32 pm 
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Location: downtown Saint Paul
I thought the same thing about the airplane room for the longest time. Recently, I was told that is was projects by one of our members, and that he just wasn't doing anything with them for a while, and that that room was, indeed, part of our space.

Can we get definitive clarification on this? Metis, would it be okay if I asked you specifically to clarify this? I imagine you either know for sure, or know how to find out for sure.

I like the space we're in. I'm annoyed by having to keep a path open. I know it's probably part of why we're getting a stupid good deal on the rent, but it really takes a big slice right out of the middle of some prime real estate.

I have a question about the "classroom" space, and I want to address it directly to jwb, but others may join in as well: Do you think there's any way to turn the classroom into a dual purpose space that would be like what you described?

Specifically, if we painted the walls, (metis, I'm not discarding your liking of white walls, just pretedned it doesn't exist for a moment) added incandescent (which I love) as an alternative to the fluorescent lighting that's in there, and maybe put some carpet down, and made it easier to rearrange the tables into a mega table that we could all sit around, or maybe 2 mega tables, then, what would that space be like in compared to the ideal you've described previously?

We don't currently have the kind of room you want. The classroom is where what you describe ends up happening. I'd be very willing to invest a LOT of sweat equity to make the classroom a dual purpose space that would still work as a classroom (I've now seen it used as a classroom a total of 2 times, b ut that's just me) and as a hackerspace kind of room. (You've shown pictures and talked about what that kind of space would be like)

The main reason I think about the classroom for this is, I don't see it happening in our current location outside of that room.

I really, really really want our space to be as inclusive as possible. The type of room that JWB describes might not be where I would most of the time when I'm at the space, but I think that that kind of room is Vitally Important to a hackerspace. I think having something like that would draw in even more people, possibly the type that might not be using wood or metal tools.

So, for me, a lot of this comes down to the following:

1. What kinds of space do we need and want? Wood, metal, classroom, not dusty comfortable hackery space? It sounds like the forementioned poll would go a long way to answering this question, but I for sure would like to see those 4 things included, and my gut feel is thats what I'm hearing too.

2. Is it possible to do all this in our current space?

3. Is it possible to do all this in a different space with our current budget?

4. What is our current budget, anyway? What are the trends for how much $ we've got coming in and going out? I hear the phrase "holding steady at 30 or 35 members" or "we're just making enough to pay rent and bills", but that seems a little vague. When I log on to my internal starbucks site, I , as a starbucks partner, can see exactly how many stores we currently have, how many employees, some basic p/l info, and what the stock is trading at. As a member here, I'd like to know how we're doing as far as having enough members.

I'm stopping now, as this post has a great many words to it. I do want to make sure that everyone knows that I want this to be a space that's excellent for all of us, and that I"ll help make it so.

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 Post subject: Re: lounge lizards and code wizards
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:09 pm 
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I always thought it would be cool to build a small lounge/chill out room on that concrete section of roof to the right of the office.

The Meatspace isn't comfy but it's been a crucial space, we filled it up for hmmm3 and based on remote observation via ustream it looked pretty well occupied for hmmm4 too. In case anyone hasn't noticed, those tables are beasts, you wouldn't want to be moving them around much. They will still be around after the robot apocalypse.

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 Post subject: Re: lounge lizards and code wizards
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:00 pm 
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The wood shop takes up slightly less space then the classroom does. I also cant see how compressing that space helps any other function. I mean what could expand into it. It is also the MOST used space on a day to day basis.

I agree we need a lounge. Ideally on the main floor. The most logical and easiest place for it is in the classroom. Classes tend to be less then 10 students. Three of the work tables is more then enough to handle that. Take out all of the other work tables and half the classroom could be a lounge. Lighting through a drop ceiling is trivial, so a more intimate space could be sculpted with lighting alone. This also would allow the room to increase its carrying capacity for events.


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 Post subject: Re: lounge lizards and code wizards
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:46 pm 
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Location: NE Minneapolis
to the best of my knowledge:

the basement is not on our original lease. the intended expansion was to include it, but i was under the impression that we had been given/abdicated use of the lounge and other room. it may take a day or three, but i'll inquire to it's official status.

carpet in the classroom, given the volume of dust/grime that gets tracked in there now, we'd really want to go with a high traffic industrial one, which really want's an industrial vacuum, residential models don't get aggressive enough to get grit out. good news, is that carpet can be had reasonably cheap if you don't care on color.

classes with 10 people will easily fit around 2 or three tables. classes using laptops will need 3-5 tables for 10 students. events such as open wednesday where we have 4 or 5 projects out, each taking up a table won't fit on 3, recently every table, or all but one have been actively used. i think we do still need all of the tables in there. those beasts, while heavy, slide well when they have all of their glide feet on.

i've suggested a few times putting the tables into 2 "U" shapes facing the center. this would give us edge perimeter seating and the front wall tables folks could sit "inside" the u's for presentations, as well as the inside of the perimeter segment. depending on where the outer tables landed, the inner area could be more open and loungey. i haven't measured this to verify.

i've always loved the idea of a loft over the bunker, but no one has had a brilliant idea on dust yet. any upholstery out there gets gross fast, maybe vinyl or leather, but it'll have to be wiped off a lot. what about putting up plexi or vinyl walls, maybe shower curtains, or the cooler drive through slats to keep dust down. a small positive pressure fan pulling off an air filter would not only help filter the shop, but keep that less dusty.

leaving a 4' wide path i think is crucial, if we didn't have to, in short order we'd have the classroom walled off with junk.

as a professional lighting designer, i'd be remiss in pointing out that with incandescent our costs will go WAY up (for lamp replacement) it'll get hot in there in the summer (that wall ac unit already struggles) and that there ARE fluorescent tubes that don't suck for CRI and color temperature, they just cost more. there are also a BUCKET of LED options, and i may be able to call some old connections and see if we can get some discontinued or demo fixtures on the cheap. can you say video ceiling?

member numbers and cash: the board gets a monthly report, and i'm aware of one big unexpected expense that's going to keep things snug. there's also a on again off again problem of members not paying dues. they get reminded, they catch up, we're ok, they forget, we get close, they get reminded.... you get the idea. occasionally a member will not pay for 2 months, pay 1 back month, and keep going. i don't know numbers off the top of my head, but that we are trending up.


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 Post subject: Re: lounge lizards and code wizards
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:29 am 
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Tables we got!
If We need to more we set them up.
It seems a little ridiculous to have the classroom constantly setup for the occasional case. Those work tables in the classroom could easily be replace by folding tables. There is absolutely no reason to keep all of them in that room all of the time. When was the last class that used laptops? The tables may be occupied on Weds in a way. All the tables may have someone at them but few of them have multiple projects on them and they could easily accommodate each of the kind done in that room. We don't need any special carpeting, just some rugs we don't really care about.

Three or so lamps in one half of the classroom is not going to be an issue.


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 Post subject: Re: lounge lizards and code wizards
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:30 am 
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Judeling wrote:
The wood shop takes up slightly less space then the classroom does. I also cant see how compressing that space helps any other function. I mean what could expand into it. It is also the MOST used space on a day to day basis.

I agree we need a lounge. Ideally on the main floor. The most logical and easiest place for it is in the classroom. Classes tend to be less then 10 students. Three of the work tables is more then enough to handle that. Take out all of the other work tables and half the classroom could be a lounge. Lighting through a drop ceiling is trivial, so a more intimate space could be sculpted with lighting alone. This also would allow the room to increase its carrying capacity for events.


I disagree with that, hmmm3 had 30+ people, so now we're going to limit that? Also those 25 students used up all the space in the class room, 3 tables is not enough for 10 students, maybe if it was lecture, but that's not what we do.

The wood shop has grown into the space that was very nice for performances, so you've lost that flexibility.

Has there been a woodworking class yet, both the metal shop and the classroom bring people into the space, I haven't seen the wood shop do that yet.

Don't get me wrong I think the wood shop is great, I wish I was there to use it, but there needs to be a voice for the other areas too. I will say that wood shop is a bit of a lowest common denominator (not in a bad way) it's the one thing that nearly everyone can relate to on some level.

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 Post subject: Re: lounge lizards and code wizards
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:39 am 
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Location: Minneapolis
I'd be okay with keeping the meetspace in the Meatspace, and I like what Booka was talking about to make it nice. I would consider that a good compromise. Couches, carpet, some floor lamps, fewer tables. We could decentralize the soldering area, people could grab an iron if they needed one. Maybe knock out the ceiling and have a loft in there, PS: One style. This would also be a good location for our crafty area.

Re: Dust: That's the problem of the woodshop contingent. Why should everyone else be punished for your inability to keep your area clean? I realize there is airborne gunk no one can do anything about, but I bet regular shop-vaccing wouldn't hurt. I support having a wood shop, but people who use it need to be on top of cleaning up their sawdust no matter where it goes. Am I being unreasonable?

I agree with Jude that it's ludicrous to keep the Meatspace in permanent classroom mode -- even calling it the classroom -- when it so seldom gets used as one. I like the idea of having classes in the space but they don't have to be in the Meatspace and we don't need to keep the room in constant readiness. Why not use the wood shop as an impromptu classroom? It's big enough. Yeah, people wouldn't be able to use the noisy tools during a class, but that's not that big of a deal. Members can look at the calendar to see whether there's a class going on.

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 Post subject: Re: lounge lizards and code wizards
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:54 am 
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i need to correct a few misconceptions

the soldering area has been in the basement for the last month.

the majority of our dust is not woodshop related (as long as people turn on and use the dust collection) it's metal shop from grinding, and abrasive saw. many of you you may not have been in the shop enough to remember, but early on, before we had wood tools in use regularly, we still had a LOT of dust, more than we do now, in part because the wood dust collection system filters all of the air in the shop.

part of a community shop is sharing noise, mess, and lead fume exposure, i'd appreciate it if we all could accept that as a community that each of us will have varying interests, some that will overlap, but that most of our members actively use the wood and/or metal shops, and far fewer use the electronics bench.

WAY back in our formative days, i was pushing for a really nice electronics bench because most of our members were electronics folks and they all objected arguing that they HAD stuff like that at home, what they wanted was metal tools they could build a face plate with, or wood tools to build a project box or support, or drill a hole in a case. We're seeing that in use of the space. most of our members DO have an interest in electronics, but most of them are usign other tools.

the wood shop actually ends near the middle of the tools area, what has cut off the performance area by the classroom window is CNC and adding in storage shelving on 2 sides. most of the center aisle wood tools can easily be pulled to the side to open up the longer area again, so it's still viable as performance, although the loading dock area may be more suitable as it's wider, and waste cans can go outside or near the office temporarily.


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 Post subject: Re: lounge lizards and code wizards
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:14 am 
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If anyone wants to help form a Meatspace subcommittee, PM me and we'll find time to meat... er, MEET, and plan.

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 Post subject: Re: lounge lizards and code wizards
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:19 am 
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the shop area isn't appropriate for classes as most classes won't use it all of the time. to effectively shut down 2/3 of our work space to members for several hours during prime time, with out teaching aids like white boards and a projector seems absurd. last week during metal AND electronics class there were a 4-6 of us in the shop working on projects. both classes needed quiet desk space at times, so welding repaired to the lounge and used a lappy for a display. for 6 students this was fine.

the classroom sees the most use currently via 4 regular happenings: asterix users group meetings, dc612 meetings, (restarted) HMMM and open wednesdays. we can serve the most people most of the time by having it arranged in a fashion that accommodates those events. i'm NOT opposed to making the classroom more comfortable, but we need to do so in a way that won't significantly limit how we DO currently use it. adding couches dramatically reduces the number of bodies it can hold. a chair is ~4 sqft/person, a couch is <9. most of our members hanging out in the classroom on wednesdays have a laptop or a project with them. that means that they need a table near by. the classroom is currently being used for some crafty things because (as one person pointed out) that the lighting in the basement is terrible, so you can't see your work. we need to remedy the lighting down there for a bucket of reasons.

on open wednesdays, most of the people hanging out in the shop area are clustering around members who are working on a project, and they recently they've been making up half or more of the folks there. as something becomes interesting folks collect around it, and then move on to the next conversation/neat thing to play with.

part of the reason the classroom isn't being used as much as one is a lack of classes. i know we've got a passel of classes in the works(see the wiki), and there's talk of making the electronics and welding classes bi monthly due to demand, but we need folks to step up and teach the classes. i know there's 2 of us pondering getting a intro to wood working and/or intro to shop tools class going.

of note, the term classroom predates our lease, that's actually what the room is called by our landlord.

word came back from the landlord, we can use the basement provided they have access to the locked door, and we don't monkey with their hardware.


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