Noisebridge has many computer controlled machines, a public internet cafe and some kiosks for info and entertainment. The following is a list of roles and their controlling computers.
- Laser Cutter : all-in-one PC in custom case, Windows 10 for compatibility with <name of laser CNC software app>
- Extruder 3D printers : Black tower PC, Debian GNU/Linux (testing)
- Ember SLA 3D printer : MacMini, MacOS Sierra
- Othermill, Bookscanner : MacMini, MacOS Sierra
- GNAR Digital Audio Workstation : Black tower PC (AMD Athlon) Debian GNU/Linux (testing)
- Ordibooth control computer : MacMini, Debian GNU/Linux (testing)
- Banana Stand : all-in-one PC in a yellow metal kiosk, Arch Linux
- Collaboration Station : Black tower PC, Ubuntu Linux
- Parts kiosk : all-in-one PC, ??? Linux
- Doom Kiosk : all-in-one PC, ??? Linux
- Public internet cafe : all-in-one PC, ChromeOS x 4
- Dwarf Fortress : MacMini, ??? Linux
Tips for the strong who whish to help with IT work
Consider the role before you build. Noisebridge loves free software but is the application you need free software? If not can it run on Free Software? If not is there a free software app that is compatible with your goals? Always choose free software first.
Consider the UI before you build. Is this a computer with specialized apps to control a machine or other hardware? If so, consider crafting a custom UI and removing any apps which do not help you use this computer to reach the goal of controlling the output of the machine. Is this a computer for the general public to use? Consider building out a "guest login" system that doesn't save state or persist data. Even if someone leaves a browser with their Facebook logged in, there is no reason to keep it that way. A simple session teardown (logout the guest user) should perform this action. Is this machine a kiosk to access a database, play a game or show fun entertainment? Ensure the UI to perform these tasks is the only UI visible and if possible, ensure the user cannot break out of this UI in any way other than cycling the power.
Upgrades are a way of life. There are two guidelines
- Will the upgrade continue to offer the same functionality as prior to the upgrade?
- Will the upgrade improve the functionality?
If the answer to both these questions is yes, go ahead!
The force of entropy at noisebridge is strong. Computers break, are disassembled, used as a parts bin and repurposed to browse meme videos. This is not ideal but it's okay. If you built or upgraded a computer, this will happen to your computer. Here are some steps to make maintenance simpler.
- Do not allow, or automatically sweep all user files persisted to the desktop. A window manager called Openbox is recommended on any GNU/Linux machine, since it does not allow files to persist to the desktop. On mac/pc, a custom script run periodically to move all files into a "archived" folder is recommended. Or do this manually without regrets.
- Consider a desktop window manager which limits choice. Tired of someone messing with some random app so you can't use that crucial piece of CNC software to control your fav machine? Remove it by changing the UI so it is not available as a default choice. With Openbox, this is as simple as editing an XML file.
- Consider disabling password authentication and removing any login prompt. Most of the computers at noisebridge are single user in the sense that they are shared among the community for a specialized purpose. This pattern does not lend itself kindly to "logging in". On Linux, this is a simple matter of setting a systemd unit to autologin, starting X as part of the .bashrc and having the correct apps for the role start automatically.
- Don't use Windows or macOS unless it's a last resort. Few community members even know how to install Windows. A few more know how to install macOS but it takes forever.
Due to the chaotic nature of Noisebridge and the public access policy, the state of these computers is only as good as the community. The following is an assessment from good to bad made by --SteeleNivenson (talk) 21:22, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
|Extruder 3D Printers||Moderate|
|Ember SLA printer||Good|
|Gnar Digital Audio Workstation||Good|