Talk:December Monthly Meeting Agenda

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General Discussion

I think we need to break the agenda off into decisional items and discussion topics. The meeting should only be needed for decisional items which require money or organizational change. Right? Seems like our meetings get longer, and we rarely make decisions unless the issue is forced. Definitely recommend discussion happen between (or just after) meetings with a decisional vote at the meeting based on the consensus of the discussion. Abyssknight 08:44, 8 December 2011 (CST)

Do-ocracied that division myself. If you don't like it, feel free to edit. Abyssknight 09:31, 8 December 2011 (CST)

abyss's comments

I will be unable to make the meeting, so I'm posting my thoughts here.


  • Space decision: Kitchenette walls, doors & floor (can decide on cabinets & such later) - There is a proposed door cost - Digitalman2112 07:26, 3 December 2011 (CST)
Yes. (Also, IKEA kitchen stuff is cheap and awesome. As is section is very good for this.)
  • Space decision: Ratify classroom is classroom - Digitalman2112 07:26, 3 December 2011 (CST)

* Structure Decision: Reinforce Classroom ceiling with beams or keep 1 post with utilities DWoodsTEC 15:21, 5 December 2011 (CST)

Yes to whichever we can afford and makes more sense.
I'd like wait to see what costs would be associated with this. We're going to be up there modifying the structure regardless. Hopefully Dave Woods can come to us with costs. - Mack 10:40, 8 December 2011 (CST)
  • Space decision: Ratify admin office is admin office - Digitalman2112 07:26, 3 December 2011 (CST)
Yes to all currently proposed donations on the wiki.
  • Space decision: Screen printing area Da3v 12:10, 6 December 2011 (CST)
Yes, if it can be contained. Need to approve funds for "wet room" if we do this.
Yes, lockers are too expensive to scale. (Also, my wife bought me one, and it needs somewhere to live. Don't make my cart homeless.)
  • Audio equipment for lab common spaces and classroom. Direction to proceed, special one time deals. Hybridsix 11:03, 7 December 2011 (CST)
Yes, and willing to pitch in cash to support one time purchases.


  • "Classroom" A/V Setup, Sponsorship, Basic design criteria Hybridsix 11:03, 7 December 2011 (CST)
I strongly suggest letting Hybridsix run with this. We need to set an upper bound on cost, and see who can support it, but otherwise I think we go ahead and move on it.
That was my suggestion too. I think that's his intent, and he'll just outline his ideas at the meeting and recruit some people. - Mack 10:36, 8 December 2011 (CST)
  • High Voltage Electrical Direction : Where to place new outlets, how to divide circuits, automation for Energy Conservation Hybridsix 12:13, 7 December 2011 (CST)
Someone needs to step up and own this. Plot out where things need to go, plan the circuit upgrades, and talk to the electrician.
Need to get the electrician who was in the IRC channel and emailed us out to the space! - Mack 10:36, 8 December 2011 (CST)
  • Low Voltage/Limited Energy Electrical Direction: Networking, Speaker, Video, Control Hybridsix 12:13, 7 December 2011 (CST)
Cameras need 12v. CAT6/5e drops to classroom at a bare minimum. Speakers and other A/V mostly in the classroom -- minimal viable, and expandable system.
  • FamiLab Name Badges / Lanyards for open house events, to differentiate between members and non-members. Hybridsix 12:19, 7 December 2011 (CST)
Let's just do this. I had some before, not sure where they went.
  • Signup computer terminal at future open houses for mailing list / lab signup / more information request Hybridsix 12:19, 7 December 2011 (CST)
Maybe set a station up in the reception area? I know my wife suggested an open terminal for people waiting out there to use.
  • Space/Cost: Budget approval for A/C ducting repair Abyssknight 13:48, 7 December 2011 (CST)
    • Ian's note - needs to be part of a broader "check the AC, ensure everything functions, work with Dave Woods to remedy. If we are MODDING the original system, beyond initial "make sure it works", then FamiLAB may have cost. Ian
Agreed, just needs to get done pretty soon or we will forget about it.
  • Expenses during the month: How will we approve, how will we reimburse, what happens if the person loses the receipt Digitalman2112 06:17, 8 December 2011 (CST)
Yes, this is critical. Also may be good to discuss funding projects with member solicited funds. Just because we don't have it in budget doesn't mean we can't do it -- it just means you have to try harder.
I see a big issue with getting agreement on spending lab funds. A way around this, as I see it, is for dues to only cover overhead (rent, power, administrative) and have people fund acquisitions seperately. However, this is inherently limiting. Mack 10:36, 8 December 2011 (CST)
Maybe do the donation model for large purchases like AlphaOneLabs does? It isn't Kickstarter, but something more for members to vote with their cash for things they want. Abyssknight 10:59, 8 December 2011 (CST)
  • Increase focus by moving to one microcontroller Monday per month, or leave as-is? Da3v
    • I had an idea to make one night a month the "classroom instruction" night and the other more of a "show and tell". Really if people are only interested in instruction one night a month would make sense. Mack
We need to ramp up classes, but I'd say reducing MicroMonday to one a month makes sense. Then we can use that day for another class.
  • Membership levels: Current structure defines "thinker" and "maker" levels. There has been objection to limiting access to tools. Mack
Propose returning $20 level to a "scholarship/sponsorship" only model wherein it is approved on a case by case basis by the board and/or current members and current members are grandfathered in. Remove restrictions in the new model. Abyssknight 12:01, 12 December 2011 (CST)
The value add really needs to be well defined, otherwise no one will pay the higher level of dues. Why would you pay extra for the same level of access? Personal storage is great, but currently not enforced as a "maker" level only thing.
Where are these objections coming from? My assumption is that most of the complaints are coming from non-members or "thinker" level members. Not trying to take a hard stance here, but it seems like people are complaining to complain again.
We can't sustain the lab at $20 a head. 20 * ~30 = 600/month which is barely our rent at the old space. If anything, we need to up the rates so we can make our utility bill.
We need a better solution to this problem. Access control didn't work at the old space, and apparently it isn't going to work here either.
Most of the issues we have tend to be with people who are not as invested in the space, be it time or money. As seen with the fire extinguisher, laser, and other recent issues.
Actually it's Dan. He doesn't see it as fair. To be honest, I see where he's coming from, and I somewhat agree, but don't know how to get around the fact that tools are pricy both to purchase and run. Mack
I get it too, we need to approach it another way I think. We can't control access, and we can't really control storage either. How can we differentiate the value propositions in another way? Good point of discussion for the meeting. Abyssknight 10:39, 8 December 2011 (CST)
Also, I see a correlation between cost of access and perception of value, which encourages people to respect lab property. I think back to how my attitude towards tools have changed since I was a kid and now. Mack
Yep, that's the driver. Perceived value is incredibly important. Especially when the larger tools get acquired. Abyssknight 10:39, 8 December 2011 (CST)
FWIW I think we could do better to provide value even at the Thinker level by having more classes. Classes = free to members (which raises the point of charging for the general public?) Mack
I checked the dues at other spaces of similar size. It varies from about $75-100 for full membership, and around $40 for "starving hackers". We're very nice to our starving hackers, but some spaces also allow free, public access. Its a toss up. Abyssknight 15:04, 8 December 2011 (CST)
Also also, we have members (and potential members) who have joined (or are looking to join) a Tech Shop kind of place. I don't want to discourage investment from these kinds of people. That could be because that's the kind of organization I wanted to create, too. Mack
This kind of ties back to better defining our mission, maybe? - Mack 10:32, 8 December 2011 (CST)

mack's thoughts

I've pared down the agenda a bit in the interest of time.

Biggest concerns I have:

  • How to handle expenses
  • Membership levels

Conversations I'd like to have:

  • High voltage
    • We've already identified a few easy changes. For one, overhead lights on their own circuit *g*
    • A good start would be a sketch/CAD drawing of the existing layout.
    • Will be driven at least partly by the equipment we (hope to) house.
  • Low voltage
    • Classroom A/V
    • In ceiling speakers
    • Network drops (really, lets just use wireless. cat5 is so 90s!)

Regarding the items I didn't include:

  • Space decision: Kitchenette
    • Still need feedback from DWoodsTEC on feasibility of this project. Also need clarification on membership levels and restrictions.
  • Classroom A/V setup
    • Would like to see Hybridsix run with this, make a proposal, put together a team. Only bring up in a meeting as necessary to approve expenses.
  • Low/High voltage
    • Would like to see a small team discuss this, come up with a plan, present to membership.
  • FamiLab Name Badges / Lanyards for open house events, to differentiate between members and non-members.
    • Seems low enough cost to just do this. Get pricing and then approval from membership.
  • Signup computer terminal at future open houses for mailing list / lab signup / more information request
    • Not really a contentious item. Little to no cost. Just do it.
  • Space/Cost: Budget approval for A/C ducting repair
    • Premature. Identify problems as necessary, then discuss with DWoodsTEC.
  • Increase focus by moving to one microcontroller Monday per month, or leave as-is?
    • Really up to me, as host, no? I'm interested in feedback from interested parties. Don't see this as a discussion item in Monthly Meeting, though anyone is free to bring it up.
  • Plan to get the lab "presentable"
    • Seems well underway.
  • Underage members
    • Sorry, no.
    • I'd offer access to groups on a case by case basis (eg FIRST team) provided they have a teacher sponsor/mentor/supervisor. Otherwise, no.

Waterbury's Initial Thoughts:

  • Underage Members:

Allow members under 18 years of age, but as a probationary membership. i.e. The lab has the discretion to terminate membership as seen fit, and the lab has discretion on approving hours, and usage of the lab. An underage member is a huge liability, and is also legally only partially liable for their actions. A parental form should also be required. Also, the lab should vote on allowing of an underage person on a per basis. Emphasis should be expressed to member of the privilege and responsibility being trusted.

  • Donation/leased items:

Set up a donation form/receipt as is done by Goodwill. If items will be leased, have a proposed level of liability set up for item. For an obvious example, if a person lends a drill, and a year later the person desires the drill back, will the person be expecting that the drill has minor or serious wear and tear. Obviously if a person is expecting a power tool will be kept in pristine condition upon a "lease," it could be determined to be an unreasonable expectation, and actions could be taken to deny the item. A certain level of accidental damage should be allowed in all cases to reduce liability to lab. Set up a tiered system for expectation of use.

  • Expected use of Lab equipment/supplies

Obviously FamiLAB is known as a 'Hacker'space, and exploration needs to be encouraged, but core utilities of the lab should be expressed as such, and certain things should have a limited scope of usage. i.e. if a Router says "crack me," hack it, but the permission isn't granted that the router could be taken apart, and have it's RAM desoldered to be used in another project for example. Purposeful sabotage and desecration of equipment should OBVIOUSLY be off limits. I'll have to flesh out my opinion better, but a vocal agreement of "don't be a dick" could suffice to begin with.

  • Donations

Have a donation jar at every open house, also have swag. Even if recouped costs end up being minimal, recouping the costs of operating the open house would help immensely.

  • Expenses for commodities such as paper towels, etc.

Set up web page for desired/needed supplies, and allow people to commit to buy given supply. Present an expected value of item, and request purchaser stay within cost. Maybe even graph trend. Such as if someone REALLY likes a brand of paper towel, but the cost has soared 200% in 5 months, propose different brand be bought. Emphasis on the fact that the receipt needs to be kept. I am guilty of this, but it is important, and with notice I would have made the effort to maintain receipt.

..and a mention to continue to have fun!