Masten Park Network

So, we’ve made some huge headway this afternoon.  We have our outdoor node mounted on The Foundry today, ran the cable for it, and sometime this week we’ll be terminating the cable, and making it live!

And, this is our current node map of nodes ready to deploy:
meshmap_betterAs of now, we just need to deliver these units to their homes, which should happen over the next week.  Hats off to Matt Lehner of BuffaloLab for his hard work getting this put together for us, and ready for deployment.

So, by then end of this week, we’ll have our demo network operating, so we can finally invite people to test drive it, and get a feel for what can be accomplished.  If you are interested in demoing it, contact us via out contact page, and we’ll get it arranged.

April’s Second Saturday

This past Second Saturday went swimmingly!  Matt was able to get a feel for the new hardware he’s purchased, in order to prep it for installation.

This node going up will pave the way for the new installs in the neighborhood, and really help with data speeds on the network.

Also, we learned new versions of the firmware have been released.  It’s the testing version for the new release, so we’ll start testing it soon.

Also, we hosted a demo node, which also was able to provide internet access along with some apps like an eBook library, Web-based chat, and a local copy of our wiki.  I do believe I saw a handful of connected clients, so hopefully we shared some eBooks at least 🙂

Our next meetup will be our monthly Strategy and Planning meetup.  Agenda will be located here, so check back often!

First Friday Meeting

Well, we had a short meeting Friday.  As was expected, we had a low turnout with the holidays and all.  We discussed a really interesting problem we’re facing with the firmware currently considered for production, which is are we building a mesh for services, or for internet access?

It’s an interesting problem, because the Commotion firmware seems to be tailored for mesh networks providing internet access.  Whereas, we are desiring to build a mesh network for internal services.  There were some technical decisions made with the Commotion Wireless firmware which makes it work better for the former.  We’re working on that problem, and may decide on a new firmware to load.

Also, we discussed our articles of incorporation, and we believe they are all set, and ready for a final vote by our selected board members.  We made a couple of small edits.   We’ll be filing with the state once they are voted on.

We do have a meetup this Saturday.  Matt will likely have some work lined up for us, and everyone is welcome to come on down to The Foundry and help out, or just meet up with us to chat it over, and we can even demonstrate how some of this works.

February’s Meet Up

So, the meetup this past Friday went very well!  Lots of new faces here, and lots of great ideas generated!

Some ideas for how to fund the project in a sustainable manner, and ideas to enable end users to have more availability to get a node installed.  Also, ideas for internal applications were bounced around that would be valuable for our end users.

We’re waiting to hear back from a prospective fiscal sponsorship, so be on the lookout for updates there as well.  Meeting notes for the last meeting can be found here.  I’m hoping to prune down the old business quite a bit for the next meeting on March 6th.  Hoping to see everyone there.  If you’re interested in this project, feel free to duck into that meetup, or drop in at The Foundry this Saturday for our “Meet and Play” session.

During the Meet and Play, we’ll be running a table again (Better prepared this time) and also investigating people’s hardware they want to try and use, to see how it can fit into the mesh operations.  We’ll also be there to flash firmware for people who bought devices, and aren’t comfortable doing it themselves.

And, with that being said, we’re always looking for people who want to be involved in this.  There’s lots of jobs for people:  Writing code, installing nodes, doing research, designing materials for the public (Fliers, etc), writing articles, etc etc.  If you want to help, just come to either of our events, and we’ll figure out where you’d be best, or find something you’d be interested in helping with.

Things Happening Now!

So, it appears we’ve been somewhat quiet lately, however, it’s because we’re not meeting every other week “just because”. We’ve switched to meeting once per month to discuss administrivia and strategy. Basically, organizational meetings. On the second Saturday of every month, we’re doing a Second Saturday event where we meet and greet members of the public and explain what it is we’re up to, and what it is they’re interested in.

So, on that note: This coming Friday is our strategy discussion. It’s at 6:30PM at The Foundry Buffalo.  All members of the public are welcome, and tech chit chat will be kept at a minimum.

Second Saturday will be coming up on the 14th of February (Valentines Day).  We’ll be meeting with the public, and also playing with hardware.  Bring your hardware down, and we’ll figure out if we can load the proper firmware, or find some way to deploy it on the mesh.  There’s a job for all hardware 🙂

Some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that’s been happening:

  • Matt has been working to ready hardware for deployment.  We’re aiming to get 2 more nodes in the air over the next month or so in Masten Park.
  • Our GitHub repositories have been getting filled out with tons of projects we’re working on too.  If you’re a software developer, feel free to pop over and give us some pull requests!
  • We’re working on incorporating in some fashion.  Some routes are being explored, including locating a Fiscal Sponsorship.  If you know of an organization willing to sponsor this project, let us know!
  • We’re currently collecting community input via a Google Form to gauge needs and wants of the community, as well as willingness to lend a hand in planning.  The form link is here: http://bitly.com/17KWLEY

So, while it’s been quiet on the site, it’s definitely been pretty active.  If you show up to either of the events listed here, and are interested in lending a hand, let Matt, Kevin, or myself know!

Second Saturday

Well, we attended the Second Saturday event at The Foundy, and it was a mixed bag.  Not a bad experience, but rather a good experience that was a mixed bag.

Some things went well, namely, we had a member of the Buffalo Municipal Fiber group show, and he had some exciting news coming from their direction.  We’re excited to hear the progress they’re group is making.  A new person came, so we could check the hardware he owned for compatibility.  We sadly found it wasn’t, however, we still have options for incompatible hardware.

We also learned that we need a better table display.  Having an AP up, and online was good and all, but nobody knew anything about it, and nobody knew how to use it.  We’ll be working on a pop-up demo AP and service simulator.

But, it was good.  Foot traffic was low, so we didn’t lose much reputation points there.  I see it as a dry run.  Lessons learned and what not.

There’s some notes about how things went, and where we’re going from here located here.  Thanks for all who came out, and thanks for your hard work on this project!

First Meet Up For 2015

Well, we had our meetup this evening, and we made some big decisions.

Our first Board members were voted on, and decided. The following individuals will be board members until we hold our first elections:

  • Matt Lehner.

Matt has been instrumental on this project since day -300. He’s been working on this project as best as he could on his own prior to myself even showing up on the scene. He’s also been key in assembling our first node’s hardware as well as initial clients for installation.

  • Kevin Hayes

Kevin is the guy who knows how to take the group’s “Nerd speak”, and translate that into something that our served communities can understand. He’s also “Been there, done that” in launching both for-profit initiatives as well as non-profit groups, so he brings a huge amount of knowledge in how these things work to the table. He’s also gracious enough to let us use The Foundry as our meeting place.

  • Corey Reichle (Me)

Well, I’m not going to brag about myself. Tech stuff is my game, and solutions are what I bring. Also, toss in a smattering of project management experience. I more or less herd the cats, and sometimes come up with good ideas.

Also, this evening, we have decided that we need to break apart technical discussions and administrative meetings, in order to better smooth the transition into a formal non-profit. Administrative meetings will be held at The Foundry on the first Friday of each month, just like they are today. These meetings will briefly touch on network statuses, budget discussions, and other administrivia. All are welcome to attend, but they will be more structured meetings, with agendas of items we must discuss. Proposed new business from the general membership will be accepted, time permitting.

Our general meetings, where we’ll actually be doing work will be held on Saturdays for now. These meetups will be “fun”. These are the days where we’ll be testing hardware, doing installations, etc etc. If anyone has issues with this, let the group know, and we’ll work around it. Remember: We’re not limited to a single work day per month 🙂 The next meetup will be on January 10th, at the Foundry, circa 12:30PM.

Not too much in the way of progress as far as installation/network expansion has happened over the past month, which is not surprising given the holidays. However, we’ve got a laundry list of things we’d like to knock out in the coming month, so the next few meetups will be exciting to attend. We had Mike from Rocmesh.net attend tonight, and we look forward to helping him bootstrap the Rochester Meshnet group 🙂

Some more exciting news! Speaking of the Rocmesh group. Rocmesh is hosting our Node Mapping solution, and it can be hit via http://map.buffalomesh.net Hats off to Mike for getting this off the ground.

Also, the website will be getting an update over the next couple of weeks. Keep tabs on that, and I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised 🙂


 

First Meetup Of The Year: January 3rd, 2015

Well, I hope everyone’s holidays are/went well. We’ll be having the first meeting of the year on the second of January, at the Foundry.

And, so people know, we’re not dead here, just holidays and family time coming first as they should. Progress has slowed a bit in the Kaisertown network, as nobody wants to discuss hardware with neighbors, just Christmas lights and food.

We have a call in to get some legal assistance for incorporation, and we’re waiting to hear back from that. More news to come after our meet up. Hope to see all of you there!

Meet Up At d!g Buffalo

Friday’s meetup went well, and I got to meet some of the folk from FIKA Buffalo, whose meeting was right before ours. Thanks go out to d!g Buffalo for hosting the meetup, it was definitely enjoyed by all 🙂

We covered some ground, namely planning what the network for Northampton is looking like going forward. Matt is working on the internal wireless network for The Foundry, to allow him some experimentation with hardware, but also to possibly let us piggy-back on that as well. We’re looking on mounting radios facing down Northampton, in order to get coverage down the street, and looking to approach other residents of the street to assist linking in a business down the road.

On this note, I’ll be posting a survey form that we’re looking to employ to get a feeling for two things:

  • What community members want from a community network
  • What communities are most interested.

It’s using Google Forms, and this will allow us to actually find out what the community is interested in, instead of deciding for them.

Also, the idea of doing a Second Saturday event at the Foundry, which we would teach people about mesh networking, the various components of a wifi network, and flashing a router with Commotion. More or less: Show them why they want it, Show them how to make it, and then give them the tools to put a node in the air. We’re looking at our first crowd funding to be targeted at getting hardware for the participants so they can go home, and install the node.

And, we have a GitHub project now. I have every desire to establish continuity for the project, in the event I “quit the internet forever” or some other such thing. The github project is hosting a copy of our website’s code, which would enable anyone to pull down a copy, and instantiate it somewhere else. Also, hosted in that project are the apps being presented in the Kaisertown network at this time.

More details are on the Meetup’s wiki page. Also, Meetup #7 is being scheduled for the 21st of this month at the Foundry.

 

More Services In Kaisertown

Firstly, I hope everyone had safe and fun halloween weekend. It’s been a busy couple of weeks since the last meetup. Matt? has been working on hardware for the Northampton network, and I have been working on sample apps to deploy to the local mesh networks.

Currently, in the Kaisertown network, there are three apps published: This site, an eBook library, and a web-based chat application. The library could probably use some sprucing up, but it is a start for a great idea: Free eBooks to anyone with an electronic device, available completely for free and without the need to pay for an ISP. Steps will be solidified on deploying these apps to any local mesh operator who would like to deploy them.

We’re making great strides thus far: We’ve gotten some nodes in the air, some basic apps for the mesh are now ready to deploy, and we’re finalized on hardware specs. Details and demos will be done at our next meetup this Friday at d!g Buffalo.

Next plans are to get another pair of nodes in the air in the Northampton network, and to add another node in the Kaisertown network. After which, we will start to work hard at getting Northampton “feature-complete”.