Still Storming


Field Report Image
Field Report Image
Field Report Image

I've almost completed my first goal in developing a system to manage incoming/outgoing technology. I've done some research with how other media centers, libraries, universities, and public access stations do this, and found a useful and free system. Now I'm learning how to become a savvy website administrator!

The system I found is a module within Drupal. It's called MERCI, or Manage Equipment Reservations, Checkout and Inventory. This was developed by the genius minds at who's core mission is to bring people more control of their public access channels. In fact, many of you may be using Open Media's tools. (BAVC, Brookline, Access Humboldt?).

What I need to make sure of is that I will not leave a burden of a system that no one understands how to change, update, or improve. To set up anything besides the basic functions will require an IT position to be staffed at the organization. Expect a screencast or other documentation to help beginner developers get this up and running as a simple, in-house resource for tracking inventory. Any help or collaboration with this is encouraged!

Getting it Done


Field Report Image

Field report time!

I have been putting this report off in hopes to have some great media and artifacts to present, but this will have to wait until my next report. I found some time to give a quick status update of what I've been up to. We really need more activity on here!

I have been working on two major goals right now: developing programming for our evening workshops and establishing a system to track our technology that both stays in-house and are rented out to the community.

Comment from Melissa Niiya on November 22, 2010 - 8:01pm

DIY Steadycam sounds so awesome! Out of curiosity, are most of your instructors staff or volunteers or contracted out or...? It sounds like you guys have a lot of classes and a diverse range at that!

Comment from Chris Anderson on November 22, 2010 - 8:25pm

We've started with three types of tracks: design, audio, & video.
We have a good mix of staff/volunteers, and are planning on doing a major recruitment of interns next year. has joined forces with us and currently is running out of our space. They specialize in digital fabrication and electronics and teach a workshop once a week. FabLabSD is made up of three individuals, which two volunteer their time instructing.

Comment from Bill Brown on November 24, 2010 - 11:31am

Thanks for posting a report Chris! Thats really cool you've gotten involved with the fablab and they are actually working out of yalls space. I've heard we have one in Boston but I haven't really taken the time to investigate. 3D scanners are the best.



Resources for working with the web for your organization.

A couple videos the kids made.


CUWiN-Ware Configuration Webapp


I recently started on a new project to improve the ease of use of the CUWiN network system.  The project is a web application (PHP based) to allow communities and other collaborative entities to create and manage custom firmware images for their wireless nodes.  The first is finished but not live.  It addresses the issue of needed secure passwords node shell users (those with access to the actually OS prompt, i.e.

Community Wireless Maps


One of my more recent projects has been re-working the network map for the local community wireless network. My efforts thus far can be found at Credit for the CSS and the text accompanying the map goes to Ross. This is just the first part. The next stage is to add an admin/management interface.

The map is powered by PHP and the Google Maps API (which uses javascript). The Google Maps API is incredibly easy to use and has lots of features.

youth channel progress


It's been awhile since I've done the blog thing....

My progress with starting a youth channel and youth media program at my access center:

slow. slow. and lacking direction. Though on the bright side, i've got good resources, there are several kids interested, some organizations interested in partnering, and promised youth programming on the way.

To start with, I made a list of most of the youth media programs/access centers with youth programs from around the country. If anyone wants that list, let me know.

I contacted individuals from several organizations and recieved some replys. I contacted Appalshop - (super media program and art collective in Appalachia, I think Eastern Kentucky) - and had a phone meeting with the woman who runs their youth media program (Appalachian Media Insititute). She gave some great advice for starting a program - you can't be everything. Geez oh peet that seems so obvious. Here I am, being ideailistic about all the great things a youth media program can do and trying to encororate everything. So I'm working on hashing out some goals, hopeful outcomes and trying to determine the purpose of this youth media channel venture.

Comment from gariet cowin on October 23, 2006 - 6:20pm

Hey, Lauren. Have you contacted anybody at the NYMAP Video Exchange yet? Portland Community Media just signed on with them, to form a five-station youth media exchange thing. The website is still in the works, and we won't get the equipment for a while, but it sounds pretty sweet. I know they aren't accepting any core partners at this time, but you should look into Media Bridges becoming a secondary partner. If you haven't already, you should contact Andrew ( to find out more.

Also, where please may I find these talking heads covers, as I am a big fan of all three bands in question.

Comment from Rebecca White on October 23, 2006 - 6:48pm

yeah, can you point out a place where those covers might be found?

Comment from lauren bratslavsky on October 25, 2006 - 12:40pm

I've contacted Andrew about the digi distr before but nothing concrete has happened yet. I wouldn't mind getting in as a secondary. Media Bridges has some youth produced stuff, but it's not produced on a regular enough basis - I'm working on that. We just got a new digital playback system and we've got servers and satellite thingers and the fast macs, so I'd like to utilize that and join the network.

Thanks for the advice, I'll email him again and ask if I can get in on that.


As for the covers --- those came from torrent sites, so check your favortie file sharing community (i think these came from and if you need an invite, let me know). The built to spill was a show in 2001, I think. And the arcade fire was recent.... david byrne was at the show and did it with them. If you can't get a hold of them, I'll get the torrents up somewhere common or i can just send you a cd. Email me. My bf is working on an obscure covers project, so if you've got any or are interested in the final product let me know. I'm trying to convince to make it into a podcast. wwhewwww. that's a long tangent not related to anything vista like..

Comment from danielle martin on October 27, 2006 - 4:43pm

Hey Lauren,

Last year Nettrice Gaskins presented at the PSO on how to start a youth media program. She's got a guide from the DAY program that she is willing to share by email with CTC VISTAs with lots of great resources. Also, check out the article and resources in the last issue of the ComTechReview here.

There's also (hopefully) going to be a new VISTA starting in January in Atlanta at People's TV doing the same thing you're trying to do (start a youth channel) so I'l connect you guys too.