Friday, August 15, 2014

Update on Makerspaces / Hackerspaces in Tampa Bay

This week marks one year since we opened Tampa Hackerspace. It's a great time to take another look at other makerspace / hackerspace groups and efforts I know of in the Tampa Bay area.

Tampa Hackerspace (expanded)

Tampa Hackerspace
The one I'm most excited about is Tampa Hackerspace, since I've been a part of it. We incorporated as Inspiration Labs in April 2013, had a lot of meetings, appointed a board, approved bylaws, did some team-building projects together, grew our community, and looked at a lot of real estate leads throughout the spring and summer. Finally in August 2013 we had a great opportunity to move into some space leased by CoWork Tampa. We got enough people together to join as members and we started paying rent there. We've grown consistently since then and have steadily turned into a fledgling hackerspace. We ran a successful $16,000 Kickstarter fundraising campaign and have raised over $24,000 more through grants. We've purchased some equipment and lots more is just waiting on grant processing and the purchasing process. In June 2014 we moved to a new 4,000 square foot location near Westshore / Tampa Airport). We've now grown to over 50 paying members and hundreds have taken at least one of our classes. Not a bad start.

We keep growing our equipment but currently have three 3D printers, two Shapeoko CNC mills, a decent soldering/desoldering/rework electronics bench, a woodshop, welder, small vacuum former, sewing gear, and more. We're getting close to acquiring a laser engraver / cutter, which will be a big step. Update: Our laser cutter / engraver is now installed and running.

We run a pretty busy schedule of events and quite a few classes that are open to everyone - member or not. We run two "Open Make" open houses a week - Tuesday evenings and a special kids one most Sundays. Everything is scheduled through Meetup.

USF X-Labs (expanding?)

USF X-Labs is in a bit of a transition right now. I wish I knew more but my understanding is that they finally have a larger space on campus and some real backing to really grow into a campus makerspace. They've done some great projects and education already so I'm pretty excited to see them expand.

Innovation Lab at St. Petersburg College - Seminole (open)

The Seminole Community Library at the Seminole campus of St. Petersburg College now has a small but nicely equipped makerspace. My understanding is that it's open to SPC students and non-students with a Pinellas library card.

Pinellas Hack Shack (open)

Pinellas Hack Shack is a small but active space in Pinellas Park. They have a great mix of Linux/software hacking, especially to benefit charitable organizations and physical projects like woodworking.

MOSI IdeaZone FabLAB (open)

MOSI's FabLAB is still around and has a good set of gear available to members, including a laser cutter/engraver, 3D printers, a small plastic injection molding machine, a small CNC mill, a small wood shop, vinyl cutter, and embroidery machine. They offer classes for kids and adults. They are generally open from roughly 10-5 or 10-6 seven days a week, though they currently are open on Tuesday evenings for an "Open Make Night".

Community Innovation Center (back in planning)

The big news throughout the past year has been the Community Innovation Center (CIC), which was a collaboration between the John F. Germany Library in downtown Tampa and the non-profit Learning is for Everyone. After several delays, this finally fell apart in June 2014. The library space does live on as The Hive though and Learning is for Everyone has stated that they intend to still open a Community Innovation Center outside of the library.

The Hive (partially open)

The Hive is the new name for the John F. Germany Library makerspace. The CIC plan was for a 10,000 square foot facility with roughly a third of that set aside for makerspace-style workshops and the rest used for robotics center, meeting rooms, etc. I'm not certain if some of that plan will change going forward. They do have a video suite, I believe with cameras, editing gear, and a green screen wall. They also have I believe two MakerBot Replicator 3D printers which will hopefully become available for use soon. The last word I got was that the space is expected to officially open in October 2014.

Update: They had their grand opening Nov 15, 2014 and are now open. In addition to the two MakerBot Replicators, they also have a Shapeoko 2 CNC.

St. Pete Makers (coming soon)

St. Pete Makers is a growing group that is starting a makerspace in downtown St. Petersburg. Tampa Hackerspace helped give this a little push to get rolling but it's got some good momentum now. We're really hopeful that they can open a space in the next several months.

Sarasota Makerspace / Faulhaber Fab Lab (coming soon)

They've been through a rough journey but are back on track. The G.Wiz museum in Sarasota finally closed for good. All of the Fab Lab equipment was auctioned off but the Faulhaber family apparently repurchased most of their donations at auction and they will go back into a new makerspace in Sarasota at the Sarasota Science Center.

NakedMake (open?)

The unusual NakedMake in Land O Lakes is actually a fairly well-equipped space but hasn't really drawn a lot of people. I've heard (unconfirmed) that it is closing.

The Roosevelt 2.0 (closed)

The Roosevelt 2.0 closed in 2013 and hasn't reappeared as far as I know.

Hernando Makerspace (stalled?)

An effort to organize a makerspace in Hernando seems to have stalled.

New Port Richey Makerspace (dead?)

This effort to start a makerspace in New Port Richey seems to have died out though I keep hearing from people with interest in one.



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tampa Hackerspace: Full Speed Ahead

Exciting times at Inspiration Labs and the Tampa Hackerspace. We had a great turnout at last night's meeting, our first since committing to leasing space. We had about 30 people and a great mix of interests - info security to robotics to wearable technology to molded chocolates to cosplay to biotech. We spent a bit too long having everyone introduce themselves but it's so great to hear all the skills available and projects people are working on. We could fill 3 classes a week for the rest of the year just from the expertise in the room last night.

We took a lot of questions and I know a few didn't have great answers. Like I said at one point, it's going to be a bumpy ride over the next few months as we grow the space and figure things out. But I've never been more excited and more certain that we're on track for a great hackerspace - something that's long overdue in Tampa.

I don't really want to completely recap where we are in our plans because we'll be doing that on the Inspiration Labs blog shortly. But we will be leasing space at CoWork Tampa - the big open meeting room that we've been using. It is office / meeting space and can support the cleaner and quieter fabrication work. We are pursuing several options to handle the messier / noisier equipment like woodworking, welding, etc.

Our next steps are to build out the space a bit, starting with a few locking cabinets and workshop tables. We have a good array of donated / loaned equipment that we will be moving to the space as soon as we have storage for it. We have a group working hard to prepare a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a few key pieces of equipment - starting with a 3D printer and a laser cutter / engraver. We will be sorting through the class options and will be offering more classes soon.

I'm really looking forward to looking back at this post sometime next year and remembering when this hackerspace was just 30 people in a room. Just a few months ago it was 3 people talking at the Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Nexus 7 4.3 OTA update failing because of /system/bin/debuggerd

When I went to flash my rooted but stock Nexus 7 with Android 4.3, the update was failing because the /system/bin/debuggerd was not the version it expected. This is apparently because stickmount does some tricky stuff with debuggerd in order to work. You get an error like this: "assert failed: apply_patch_check("/system/bin/debuggerd","1ed6f..."

I was able to fix this and get 4.3 installed. Since I couldn't find a walkthrough for this, here's what I pieced together in case others have the same problem.



First, you need the right debuggerd file. For the 4.3 update (coming from 4.2.2), you can get a copy from this XDA thread (post #4 by tiggggr).

Now to get it in the right place. There are a few ways to do this. I used adb but it can probably be done with most file explorer apps. First copy the debuggerd.rename.zip you downloaded onto your device somewhere:

adb push debuggerd.rename.zip /sdcard/debuggerd-4.2.2

Then you need to be able to write to the system partition, stop the debuggerd, make a backup if you want, then copy the file:

adb shell
shell@android:/ $ su
shell@android:/ # busybox mount -o remount,rw -t auto /system
shell@android:/ # stop debuggerd
shell@android:/ # cp /system/bin/debuggerd /sdcard/debuggerd-backup-old-bad-version
shell@android:/ # cp /sdcard/debuggerd-4.2.2 /system/bin/debuggerd
shell@android:/ # sha1sum /system/bin/debuggerd*
a2323a0c8e245e3879d6b8beff6b2c4802045271  debuggerd
df2e705da097e4d535b4f4d98fab3bd76601e76c  debuggerd.backup

I already had a backup copy of debuggerd in my /system/bin and you can see that now debuggerd has the right sha1 hash so the install will continue.

I had to do a similar thing to restore my build.prop from a backup on my device:

root@android:/system # cp /mnt/shell/emulated/0/build.prop.bak build.prop

[Update] Here is a copy of my build.prop that matches what the install script expects: build.prop

shell@grouper:/mnt/shell/emulated/0 $ sha1sum build*
48f7593c2ff2fa85a147639fd7b77c3bc0607249  build.prop.bak


Now to get root back...

[Update]
Getting root back on my Nexus 7 was easy enough that I didn't mention it earlier, but a few people have asked. I pieced together the steps from this Google+ post and part of this XDA thread into hopefully a clearer walkthrough, if this helps anyone. You could use TWRP instead of CWM, but CWM worked fine. Note that this is for the WiFi Nexus 7 (grouper) and there are different downloads for the GSM / 3G version (tilapia).

1. Download SuperSU from here and copy it (I used adb push) to the Nexus 7
adb push ~Downloads/UPDATE-SuperSU-v1.43.zip /sdcard/
2. Download the latest CWM recovery from here
3. Flash CWM recovery:
fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-touch-6.0.2.3-grouper.img
4. Reboot into CWM recovery and pick the "recovery" option
5. Flash the UPDATE-SuperSU-v1.43.zip file from /sdcard
6. When the device reboots, if it asks if you want to disable flashing stock recovery, answer No.

You should have root back.

[Update]
If, like me, you have the same issue updating to JWR66Y from JWR66V, here is a forum post with the right debuggerd.

I also had a permissions error (set_perm: some changes failed) but following this post, I unrooted before applying the update (using CWM) and it worked.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The New Flickr

The new Flickr changes are a nice step, but very late in the game. I gave up on them two years ago and migrated to Google - Picasaweb at first but now that's been assimilated into the Google+ brand. I'll probably try uploading some new stuff to Flickr because 1 terabyte of full resolution photos is a huge carrot. But...
I went to look for their desktop apps to upload photos and they're still around, unchanged since 2009. Not one single update or bug fix in FOUR years. That's the Flickr I left.
I tried to use the new Android app and I couldn't log in. Looking through the app reviews, plenty of other people had the same problem. That's the Flickr I left.
I tried the Windows Phone app, but it also just errors out logging in. The reviews are full of people having the same issue. The app hasn't been updated in 15 months. That's the Flickr I left.
I tried the iOS app but it hasn't really changed, despite having an update published today. At least I was able to log in. It still isn't a universal app, so it doesn't really support the iPad. That's the Flickr I left.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Tampa Bay "Geek" Calendar

I migrated my Tampa Bay "Geek" Calendar to a Google Calendar. Now it should be a little easier for me to keep updating it and much easier for people to subscribe to it.

Again, I can't catch every event in the area, but I'll try to add all the more unusual and non-recurring events I find. There will always be more Meetups and User Groups than I can cover.