Tag Archives: librarybox

LibraryBox mentioned on TWiT’s Triangulation

My friend Nathan Freitas was a guest on TWiT‘s Triangulation this week, and was kind enough to give a little mention to both myself and The LibraryBox Project in his intro of The Berkman Klein Center at Harvard. To be mentioned in the same breath as his Guardian Project and Amanda Palmer (not to mention Zittrain and Benkler and Tufekci and the rest) is quite an honor. Thanks, Nathan!

I’ve queued the video below to the beginning of his discussion of Berkman Klein, but obviously the entire discussion is worth watching.

LibraryBox Stickers Group

LibraryBox v2.1

After a much-too-long development timeline, I am beyond thrilled to finally announce that LibraryBox v2.1 is officially available!

Updates

This release brings with it some long-needed upgrades, including:

  • Multi-language support for the user interface and a dozen languages built-in
  • New CSS-styled file directory listings, including responsive design for tablets and smartphones
  • Even more hardware is now supported, including our least-expensive hardware ever, the GL-iNet router that lets you build a LibraryBox for less than $25.
  • DLNA support for playing media from your LibraryBox on your TV or other DLNA compatible device
  • An improved upgrade process for future code releases that means no more need to SSH into your LibraryBox to upgrade it
  • General stability and speed improvements that make using LibraryBox even better for everyone

Sales

One other change for the Project is that we are moving our “standard hardware” from the TP-Link MR3020 to the MR3040, and from this point forward if you choose to purchase a Librarybox directly from the Project rather than building your own (and we do suggest you build your own!) you will receive from us an MR3040 + 32GB USB drive instead of the older MR3020 +16GB package. Better hardware and more storage for the same price!

Thanks

None of this is possible without the fantastic people that are a part of the LibraryBox Project, but without a doubt it isn’t possible without the patience and skill of Matthias Strubel. Nearly everything good about the v2.1 is because of his amazing talents, and I would like to thank him for being a partner and friend on this project.

The LibraryBox Project couldn’t have gotten this release out the door without support from the community and users. The v2.1 release of LibraryBox was partially funded by a Prototype Grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and couldn’t have been done without them. We would also like the thank the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University for their support and resources during the last few months of the v2.1 development.

The LibraryBox Project is also supported by purchases of the product, and we’d like to thank those that have chosen to buy a LibraryBox from us directly. If you would like to support the LibraryBox Project in its future development, please contact us.

 

NT 100 WINNER 2015 BLUE - RGB

LibraryBox recognized in the 2015 Nominet Trust 100

I’m very happy to announce that The LibraryBox Project has been named among the 2015 NT100 – Nominet Trust’s annual celebration of 100 inspiring ‘tech for good’ ventures from around the world. Among this year’s companies selected for inclusion are Google X’s Project Loon and Open Street Maps…I’m gobsmacked that LibraryBox can be included in a list with those amazing projects.

The included projects all use digital technology to tackle the world’s social problems from lifesaving health tech to knowledge sharing via SMS text messaging.

Following a global call for nominations earlier this year The LibraryBox Project was selected by ten judging partners from the tech and charity world in recognition of our work. The judges included such companies as Comic Relief, Creative England, Facebook, Latimer, Nominet, Oxfam, O2 Telefonica, Salesforce and Society Guardian.

Thank you to everyone involved in The LibraryBox Project, especially Matthias Strubel, without whom it wouldn’t be as amazing as it is. Thanks also to the Kickstarter backers that made the v2.0 possible, and to the Knight Foundation Prototype Grant for enabling the development of the v2.1. If you’d like to learn more about The LibraryBox Project, a good place to start is the talk I did at Harvard Law School for the Berkman Center for Internet & Society earlier this year.

Learn more and and explore the 2015 NT100 here: socialtech.org.uk/nominet-trust-100/2015

LibraryBox talk at Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Here is the video of my talk as a part of the Luncheon Series from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Titled When Online is Offline: The Case for Hyperlocal Webservers and Networks, it’s a look at the LibraryBox project, what it is, why I think it’s important, and what impact it has had on the world.

The full abstract for the talk is:

The LibraryBox Project (along with other emerging projects like PirateBox, occupy.here, IdeasBox, and others) is an attempt at bridging the divide in delivery of digital information in areas where there is a lack of communications infrastructure or where that infrastructure has been damaged or is overly monitored or controlled. As self-contained, non-connected portable servers, these devices can be used to circumvent governmental firewalls, distribute information in areas of political upheaval, reach the most remote areas to deliver healthcare information, and help recovery efforts after natural disasters.

In this presentation Jason Griffey — founder and principal at Evenly Distributed a technology consulting and creation firm for libraries, museums, education, and other non-profits — gives an overview of the LibraryBox project and its current state, goals and development roadmap, and a discussion of possible next directions and needs.

Innovation & Libraries: LLAMA Thought Leader Webinar Series

I was honored today to be a part of the LLAMA Thought Leader Series for Libraries, talking about innovation. I focused on my own career in libraries, and the aspects of things I’ve done that I considered innovative…efforts and projects that I thought were interesting. The conclusion of the presentation was talking through what the commonalities are in those projects, what I think is necessary for innovation in libraries, and how leadership can support said innovation. If you’re interested in downloading the video or slides, you can find those on the LLAMA website, or watch below.

Video

Slides

Install a LibraryBox into a Moleskine

Fantastic guide and video showing how to break apart a TP-Link MR3020 and rewire it to be able to fit, battery and all, into a Moleskine style book from the gang over at NODE. Really neat hack, I haven’t done it yet but it’s totally on my list now.

The original v1.0 of LibraryBox used a book as its case, but that was a large hardback with the MR3020 still in its own case and everything. This is much more elegant. I particularly like the use of a MicroSD adapter as a USB source for the install. Clever!

librarybox1.0

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When online is offline: the case for hyperlocal webservers and networks

Attention Library (and Library-friendly or Library-adjacent) people!

If you’ll be in the Boston area on September 15th at Noon, I’ll be doing a talk as part of the Berkman Luncheon series at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University entitled “When online is offline: the case for hyperlocal webservers and networks.” I’ll be talking about LibraryBox (and other similar projects) and why I think they are interesting. The formal description is:

The LibraryBox Project (along with other emerging projects like PirateBox, occupy.here, IdeasBox, and others) is an attempt at bridging the divide in delivery of digital information in areas where there is a lack of communications infrastructure or where that infrastructure has been damaged or is overly monitored or controlled. As self-contained, non-connected portable servers, these devices can be used to circumvent governmental firewalls, distribute information in areas of political upheaval, reach the most remote areas to deliver healthcare information, and help recovery efforts after natural disasters. This presentation will be an overview of the LibraryBox project and its current state,  goals and development roadmap, and a discussion of possible next directions and needs.

If you want to attend in person, you can register at the Berkman site, the talk will be on the Harvard Law School campus, Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East B. If you aren’t in the area it will be webcast at that same link the day of, and archived for later viewing. But if you’re a library type, I’d love to see you there…would mean a lot to have some friendly faces in the audience.

Benevolent Access Points from DEFCON

Here’s a presentation by Kevin Carter from DEFCON 2015 about the Piratebox project, but almost everything he points out as a benefit is equally applicable to LibraryBox. I would argue that in a few ways, LibraryBox is even better…mainly in the ease of customization for your own uses. LibraryBox puts all of the files for the web interface on the USB drive, which makes customizing much more straightforward.

He definitely gets the variety of benefits this sort of device can bring, from routing around censorship to providing a secure place to communicate in politically charged areas. These issues are exactly what I’m going to be working on as a Fellow at the Berkman Center this upcoming year.

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LibraryBox v2.1 Public Beta

I’m thrilled to finally have the ability to announce that the v2.1 release for LibraryBox is now available as a Public Beta. What does that mean? It means that while we think we have all the bugs ironed out, we can’t be sure, and we need some brave souls that are willing to help us make sure. The benefits of the v2.1 release are many:

  • CSS styled directory listings that are fully responsive
  • The addition of the Mozilla l10n translation engine that allows for multi-language support for theLibraryBox interface. In the initial v2.1 release, we have 10 languages supported:
    • German
    • English
    • French
    • Spanish
    • Croatian
    • Swedish
    • Italian
    • Korean
    • Norwegian
    • Kiswahili

    If you would like to add a language, please let us know.

  • LibraryBox now has a built in miniDLNA server for media playback on DLNA clients
  • There is now an automated updater built-in to LibraryBox that will allow for future updates to be a matter of copying a file onto the USB key and rebooting…no SSH necessary.
  • Even more hardware choices that you can use to build your own.

This is a release that sets us up for even more work to be done. The auto-updater will allow for much, much easier updates to be delivered, and means that we can iterate even faster on our releases. The language support is easily updated to new languages, so if you don’t see one that you speak, use the link above to send me an email and we can make sure that your language is included in the v2.1 official release. DLNA means that you can now use your LibraryBox to stream videos to any compatible DLNA client, including smart TVs, Blu-Ray players, game consoles, and much more.

I’m very pleased with this release, and I hope that you are too. If you have any questions or issues, please use the contact form to drop us a line.  I expect that we will have an official v2.1 release in the next few weeks, after we get feedback on the Public Beta.

LibraryBox at Computers in Libraries 2015

LibraryBox AnimatedWay back in March of 2012, I debuted the very first proof-of-concept for the LibraryBox Project at Computers in Libraries in Washington DC. It was the first time a LibraryBox was tested in public, and the reactions and feedback were integral to moving the project forward to where it is today. The first one was actually embedded in a real book (I liked the irony of the presentation).

Where it is today is amazing! We are polishing the v2.1 release of the open source code that lets anyone in the world build their own offline digital file sharing device, which includes a really improved interface, better performance, built-in text translation of the interface into 8 different languages (with an easy framework for adding more), and support for even more hardware.

Back in 2012 at Computers in Libraries, I couldn’t have begun to predict the success that the Project has had. LibraryBoxen are sharing files to those without reliable Internet connectivity all over the world at this point:

View LibraryBox Around the World in a larger map

On April 26, at Computers in Libraries 2015, I will be giving a half-day workshop on the LibraryBox Project and how it can be used by you and your library for outreach, serving the underserved, and more. I will walk you through commonly-requested customizations (how to customize the look and feel of the interface, add your own logo, etc), walk through an installation so that you can see just how quickly you can build one yourself, and demonstrate all of the more advanced tricks you can do with these hyperlocal networks (from using one as a bridge for controlling presentations to using LibraryBox as a LAN for sharing files privately between computers).

One lucky participant will walk away with their very own prebuilt LibraryBox…I’m going to give away the one we build and work with during the workshop to one of the workshop participants. 🙂

Register now!

If you are anywhere in the DC area and just want to learn about LibraryBox, it is possible to register just for the preconference, full attendance at CiL isn’t necessary.

Come and join me! After this workshop, you’ll be a card-carrying LibraryBox expert.

EDIT

Thanks to a fantastic suggestion from Nate Hoffelder, if you wish to attend the workshop and build your own LibraryBox to tinker on, we’ll do a “build your own” at the very beginning of the session. Here’s a quick list of the things you’ll need in order to do so:

  • TP-Link MR3040 router
  • A USB drive to use in the LibraryBox. I recommend the SanDisk Cruzer Fit line, and the sweet spot for price/GB looks to be 32GB right now. This is the Boxen’s hard drive, so the larger capacity means more things can be shared.
  • A laptop with Ethernet capability, for flashing the router, and the ability to SSH, in order to connect to the LibraryBox you build if you want to further customize it.