Category Archives: LibraryBox

LibraryBox v2.0 Release

librarybox logoOn July 28th, 2013 the LibraryBox Project got it’s first major public push, with the funding of the LibraryBox v2.0 Kickstarter Campaign. Today, 9 months later, I can finally announce that the v2.0 code is officially done, and is now available for download for installing as well as the source code being available on Github. There are a huge number of improvements, enhancements, and all around awesome things in the v2.0. I recommend you take a look at the About v2.0 page to see the highlights.

This means several things are now possible. First off, it means that the Kickstarter rewards for those that backed at the “get a LibraryBox” level are going to start shipping this week. I’ll be working my way through building and shipping those as quickly as possible. Those that have ordered Boxen directly, those are also going to be shipping ASAP, starting next week. My process will be to build and ship as I go, in the order placed. So those of you that jumped on earliest will start seeing shipping notices hit your inboxes over the weekend or very early next week.

This release is also the beginning of even more development for the LibraryBox Project. As announced just a few weeks ago, the Project has been chosen as a recipient of a Knight Foundation Prototype grant. This grant will fund the next round of development on LibraryBox, making it even better, more flexible, and more useful to more people around the world. More information about this next round of development, including goals and timelines, will be coming soon.

I hope you enjoy the code. Please build your ownupgrade your existing LibraryBox to the new code, or better yet, buy a pre-built LibraryBox and help support the project towards the v2.5 release.

LibraryBox receives a Knight Foundation Prototype Grant

knight-logo-300

It is with an overwhelming amount of excitement that I can finally announce that the LibraryBox Project has been awarded a Knight Foundation Prototype grant. These grants are designed to take a nascent project that has potential to further the Knight Foundation’s goals of engaged and connected communities and help get them prototyped and improved to the point where they are capable of moving into the next stage of their development.

Earlier this month, I attended a series of workshops based on the principles of Human-Centered Design that will inform the process of moving LibraryBox into the next stage of its development. The goals for this next development round will begin with increasing the functionality across more devices, and adding significantly to the internationalization support, although goal setting and needed functionality will be set primarily by the library and education community through a series of outreach efforts.

This is a huge benefit for libraries everywhere, as I hope it illustrates that libraries and librarians are doing important and worthwhile work as community connectors and innovators. More large grant agencies should be looking at what individual librarians are doing, and helping them make their communities better. I am very excited to be able to make the LibraryBox Project one that can help libraries and educators reach communities here in the United States and all around the world. If you’re interested in helping out, you can find out more and join the LibraryBox community at http://librarybox.us

LibraryBox v2.0 Release Candidate 2

Today marks the launch of the LibraryBox v2.0 Release Candidate 2! Now available on the LibraryBox build page, the newest release of the v2.0 of the LibraryBox codebase fixes a number of bugs that were identified in the RC1, including:

  • Chat not hiding when configuration set to “no”
  • Chat not re-enabling when configuration set to “yes”
  • Bug in changing system hostname

At this point, I’m still looking for bug reports, but I’m pretty confident that after a bit of testing, this will be the official v2.0 release of LibraryBox. If you do find any bugs, please file a bug report on the Github repository, and we will take a look.

If you are running RC1 and want to upgrade to RC2, you can do so by following the standard upgrade instructions.

LibraryBox v2.0 Public Beta

librarybox v2.0

Today I am more than pleased to announce the launch of the public beta release of LibraryBox v2.0. From the announcement page on the website:

After months of work, the v2.0 codebase for the LibraryBox Project has reached Release Candidate 1, which means it’s time for a Public Beta! There are a huge number of improvements, enhancements, and all around awesome things in the v2.0. I recommend you take a look at the About v2.0 page to see the highlights.

Just a reminder about what “Public Beta” means. This is absolutely releasable code, or I wouldn’t put it out there…but no code is fully tested until it’s deployed into the world. I’ve built over a dozen LibraryBoxen using this code, tested them, changed settings and set up Sync networks, FTP’d into them, and just about every other thing I could think of to make sure it was stable. There was a private beta among just a very small handful of testers, but to really make sure that this is ready for prime time, it needs to be in the public. So that’s what we’re doing.

Almost certainly this code will be the full release v2.0 code. But if one of you brave souls discovers something that we didn’t, I want to be able to fix it before we are officially at v2.0.

I hope you enjoy the code. Please build your ownupgrade your existing LibraryBox 1.5 to the v2.0, or better yet, buy a pre-built LibraryBox and help support the project towards the v2.5 release.

There’s a lot more coming regarding the release, including a couple of video tutorials and screenshots. But perfect is the enemy of the good, so I’m getting the code out before the website is totally ready. I’ll keep adding to the site as we move quickly towards the full release of the v2.0…if the public beta goes as expected, I imagine that will be very quick in coming.

LibraryBox needs Librarians

Hello all you librarian types! Want to help out on the most awesome open source library project going today? If so, read on…

As a part of the Kickstarter Project for LibraryBox v2.0 (which is literally days away from being available), I asked people to provide me with a piece of content that they wanted included on the shipping LibraryBoxen. Well, they did, and it’s an amazing list of good stuff…unfortunately, it’s too much of a good thing, because even if I worked on it during every free hour I have, it would take me too long to get it done.

Because it requires a bit of knowledge (ebook file types, naming conventions) I can’t just throw it open to the world…but who better to help me sort out a collection of content than librarians? So here’s what I’m asking for help with: Below you’ll see two bookmarks. The first is to the open Google Doc of all of the content that people requested. The second is to an upload form.

If I could get a bit of crowdsourcing help, that would be amazing. Here’s the  way I think it should work:

  1. Awesome Librarian #1 hits the google doc, and marks a row “busy” by making it yellow.
  2. They then click the link and download the content in question.
  3. They check the file, rename it if necessary, and then upload it using the form.
  4. When it’s done, mark the Google doc for that piece of content Green for done. Easy, peasey, and if a few people join in, it will all be done in no time.

Ground Rules

  • Filenames should be Title by Author.filetype, for instance: Dune by Frank Herbert.epub
  • For ebooks, if there are multiple filetypes, grab both the epub and the Kindle version.
  • If the content is not clearly licensed, the link is bad, or any other reason to be concerned about the content, mark the row Red.
  • Use your judgment as to problems or issues…this is why I want librarians doing it instead of crowdsourcing it in general. Use the notes field in the Google Doc for feedback as to why there was a problem.
  • If you would like a Thank You credit in the LibraryBox v2.0 code, drop me an email and let me know how you’d like to be credited (griffey at gmail) and I’ll add you to the credits.

Google Doc for Content

Upload Form

Thank you in advance for ANY help at all, and I’m curious to see how quickly this can be done if it’s run in parallel instead of serial. Thanks for all the help.

LibraryBox store is officially open

As of RIGHT NOW, for the first time, LibraryBox is available for purchase at the LibraryBox online store. Previously only available to Kickstarter backers, individuals and organizations can now pre-order a LibraryBox v2.0 for shipment in March 2014. The cost for a standard LibraryBox (MR3020 based and with 16GB of storage) will be $150, with special editions available for $200 that include a customized 3D printed container for your LibraryBox.

For those techies out there: LibraryBox is and will always be open source. I’m not going to be removing your ability to build your own or anything like that. It’s just that there are libraries and schools where it doesn’t make sense for them to build them themselves, or they would prefer knowing that the LibraryBox they end up with is tested and guaranteed working. The v2.0 code is very close to a release candidate, and as soon as we verify the code and push it to release, I will be posting up links to the repository on Github.

Here’s a link to the press release.

I’m so excited to see this next step in the development of this project. I hope that you are, too.

Lessons from LibraryBox

Presentation I gave a couple of months ago here in Chattanooga as the first event in the Code & Creativity series from Easy Designs. Think it turned out pretty well, if you’re interested in LibraryBox, take a look.

Jason Griffey: Lessons from LibraryBox from Code & Creativity on Vimeo.

Jason Griffey talked about his current passion: the LibraryBox Project, an open source wifi file sharing device that recently had its v2.0 funded on Kickstarter to the tune of $33,000. He discussed the genesis of the project, his ongoing goals for v2.0, and why receiving 1000% of his funding goals via Kickstarter keeps him up at night.

Recorded at Code & Creativity on August 27, 2013.

Atlanta Mini Maker Faire 2013

IMG_0901On Saturday morning, Oct 26th, I set out towards the Georgia Tech campus to be a Maker at the 2013 Atlanta Mini Maker Faire. Way back in August I was contacted by one of the organizers, David, who asked if I would be interested in setting up a table to promote LibraryBox. The organizers saw it as a result of the Kickstarter Campaign, and thought it would be a good project to have as a part of the Faire.

I couldn’t really turn down the opportunity to take LibraryBox and put it in front ofthat many people, especially people who were coming out and interested in Making things. I had with me one LibraryBox running on a 6600mAh battery, and another running off a solar panel (the first that I’m aware of, certainly the first I’ve built). I also had around 300 or so fliers I had printed, stickers, buttons, and other swag to give out to the slavering hoards.

Solar LibraryBox

The Faire opened at 10am, and I was totally unprepared for the onslaught. I know that people overuse the word “literally”, but I _literally_ only stopped talking for 10 seconds or so at a time between 10am and 5pm. There was a constant parade of people in front of me, usually 4-8 of them, all interested and asking questions. As with any tech product, I got a huge range of questions from the creepy (“Are you SURE that the NSA can’t track me if I share files on this thing”) to the technical (“So what’s the clockspeed of the chip this is running?”) to the spot on (“So we could use this to share files with other campers when we’re in the woods?”).

LibraryBox SwagI was totally out of fliers by 2pm, and had to grab the last one to tape it down so people could take pics with their cell phones. I came back with less than 10 stickers total (out of several hundred). And I gave away about $20 worth of halloween candy. It was awesome and cool and exhausting and I definitely want to do it again.

If anyone knows of any similar Maker style events in the southeast (or anywhere, really) that would benefit from having some LibraryBox action, drop me a note! I may start actively seeking out more of these sorts of events to try and get the word out.

LibraryBox v2.0 & the Kickstarter Campaign

ledge wide

Way back in February and March of 2012, I had an idea that was to basically try and take the “pirate” out of the PirateBox project, and make it more friendly to use by libraries. I called this fork LibraryBox, and I rushed during those two months to finish it in time to take it with me to Computers in Libraries 2012 to test it.

That initial 1.0 version was very rough, absolutely a bespoke build and wasn’t something that was easily replicated. It was a proof of concept, though, that was interesting enough that some began to use it, experiment with it, and find it valuable enough to stick with despite its difficulties. But it was clear that making the installation process easier and less error-prone was the primary goal for moving forward.

So I plugged away as I could, and in October 2012 I was able to release v1.5 of LibraryBox, and a complete redesign of the accompanying Web site. The v1.5 was faster, easier to install, and a huge improvement, but only a small step towards what the project could be. The community that sprang up around the v1.5 has also been more robust, and as it grew the list of enhancements grew alongside it. These included the need for anonymous usage statistics, even easier installation, alternative energy sources such as solar, and more direct editing of the pages that LibraryBox serves.

The project has grown from an idea to something that is being used in 14 countries on 5 different continents, by educators, librarians, and technologists trying to distribute digital information in places off the grid. There is a huge list of things that should be done with LibraryBox, and it’s gotten to the point where I simply can’t do them…for both technical proficency and simple logistical reasons. But the project is something I believe in, something that I want to see succeed and be used in even more places. The only way forward that I could see was to find money that could be traded for the expertise and time of someone other than myself.

Thus it is with great excitement that I announce the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to support LibraryBox v2.0. It is a meager amount of money that I am asking for ($3000) and I could easily use 3-5x that amount in various ways…but I wanted to ensure that the project stays true to its open source roots. If you think that LibraryBox is worth supporting, back it for some amount…but more importantly, spread the word. LibraryBox is much larger than just libraries, and the more eyeballs that see the campaign page the more likely it is that it could gather some attention outside of the LibraryLand that we all know and love.

I’m incredibly excited about the project. I’m terrified of seeing how it does on Kickstarter, and if people can grok the potential in the way that the LibraryBox community has. And I’m really looking forward to continuing to work on the project.

Help make LibraryBox great along with me.

LibraryBox v1.5 website relaunch

While this blog has been quiet, I’ve been working away at a redesign of the LibraryBox website. Said redesign is now live, all new content, and most importantly, instructions for how to build a v1.5 LibraryBox. These instructions are far, far easier than the v1 instructions, and I took at lot of time listening to feedback about the Project, trying to find the right tone for the site. What I wanted to do was try and tell the story of why I think LibraryBox is potentially an important project. I think I managed that.

Go take a look, let me know what you think!