Tag Archives: librarybox

FullSizeRender 7

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.

Marriott & other hotels petition to kill non-approved wifi devices

Wifi signal around here
Marriott hotels, along with the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Ryman Hospitality Properties have petitioned the FCC to allow them to kill non-approved wifi signals within their hotels and conference centers. This is of particular interest to me, not only because I’m a Tennessee resident and Ryman is a huge presence here in TN (they own the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, along with the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium). The main reason that this is of special interest to me is that their attempt to kill “rogue” wifi hotspots will also kill the ability to use a LibraryBox in the same manner.

If you would like to read their petition, the full text is available on the FCC’s website, along with the very long list of opposition comments. Major technology players are lining up to agree this is a terrible idea, from Google to Microsoft and even universities. For a really good summary of the filing and the issues behind it, take a look at Glenn Fleishman’s BoingBoing post.

This isn’t the first time that Marriott has tried something like this, but at least the last time they got smacked by the FCC.

Because of their continued attempts to limit persons abilities to use an unlicensed segment of public bandwidth (something that is clearly and unmistakably against the law of the US and, I would argue, firmly against the public good) I have filed an opposition filing on behalf of the LibraryBox Project. The text of my filing can be read here, and I will link to the appropriate FCC page as soon as it is approved. If you or your library, school, or other organization would like to file a comment in opposition to the attempted hijacking of a public good, you can go here and click “Submit a Filing in RM-11737“.

Photo by nicolasnova – http://flic.kr/p/4Exfo2

LibraryBox Installfest @ ALA Annual 2014

Are you going to be at ALA Annual 2014 in Las Vegas? Would you like to build your own LibraryBox for yourself or your library, but aren’t sure how to make that happen? Well step right up, I’ve got your answer!

On Saturday, June 28th from 11:15am until 12 Noon in the Networking Uncommons in the Las Vegas Convention Center, I will be holding the fist ever LibraryBox Installfest! What does that mean? It means that you buy the hardware and bring it with you, and I will walk you through the install process, show you some tips and tricks for customizing, and generally answer any questions about the LibraryBox Project that you might have. I’ll be there helping anyone who shows up, so just drop by anytime during that 45 minutes.

What you DEFINITELY need to bring with you

The install process, from beginning to end, will take about 10-15 minutes. If you show up with the equipment listed, I will make sure that you leave with a working LibraryBox.

Join me in the Networking Uncommons for the first ever LibraryBox Installfest, and learn how to build your own LibraryBox. Or just swing by and ask questions. Or heck, just come say hello and grab a LibraryBox sticker.

See you in Vegas!

IMLS, Maker Faire, and Montana Academic Library Symposium

IMLS_Logo_2cStarting Wednesday, I’m heading out for a couple of really exciting events. The first is an IMLS Stakeholder meeting in San Francisco, CA on May 15th that is dedicated to a discussion of how library spaces are changing. From the press release:

The San Francisco meeting will focus on current trends, challenges and opportunities to consider for framing future investments in this area. The discussion will cover the following:

  • The Shift to Participatory Learning
  • Approaches to Technology and Space
  • Staffing and Mentorship Models
  • Connected Learning
  • Community Engagement: Partnerships and Programming
  • Measuring Success: Evaluation

I’m really excited to be a part of this discussion, and can’t wait to meet everyone involved. The event is going to be livestreamed, and they are looking for lots of community involvement, so please join in. The twitter hashtag is #imlsfocus and if you’d like to tweet me directly at @griffey, I’d be happy to ask questions on your behalf.

makerfaireThe incredibly awesome side-effect of being in San Francisco on Thursday and Friday of this week is that Saturday is Maker Faire Bay Area 2014, the largest Maker Faire in the world. This will be my first time being able to attend the grand-high-holy of maker faires, and I’m completely excited. I will of course have a few LibraryBoxen with me, and will be hanging out with Sparkfun showing it off when I can. Sparkfun is going to be located in the Intel booth, so come by and say hello, or just download some free books from the LibraryBox that will be stationed there.

And to round out the awesome week, I’m going to be heading over to Bozeman, MT for the Montana Academic Library Symposium 2014: Makerspaces, DIY Culture, and the Emergence of the Smart Library Building, where I’ll be delivering a keynote about…Library Spaces! I’ll be talking about how the digital devices that are coming over the next 5-10 years will impact the use of our physical spaces, how we can react to that, and how we can bolster our efforts in appropriately marketing ourselves to stakeholders regarding these issues. I’m really excited to meet the fantastic librarians in Montana, and talk about the future of our spaces.

As always, if you’re going to be at any of these events and want to meet up, drop me an email at griffey at gmail.com, or send me a message on twitter. I’d love to continue any of these conversations, or if you just want a LibraryBox demo, I’ll be happy to do that as well. Let me know!

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 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.

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.