Still Storming


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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!

More Workshops, Instructors, & Blogs


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January 2011 is equipped with brand new programming, and February boasts even more programming with new and dedicated volunteers.
January Workshops

Check out all the activity here:

Getting it Done


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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.



It's painfully obvious that I grew up in the south when I get excited over 1/2" of snow (mind yer snickering, Boston-folk), but I should also add that our lab closes when schools close. That means I have at least one day of peace and quiet. Ahhhhh.... Well, apart from the racket caused by the construction next door anyway.

Life at C4K is chugging along nicely. Our recruiting has been up and down (12 last month, but only 4 this month), but the ups seem to have been enough as the lab feels more full than when the year first started. Workshop attendance is still relatively low (3-4 on average), but those that do go seem to enjoy it. I've also started gravitating towards guided activities versus class settings. The more successful workshops have been things like making popup cards, CD art, posters, etc. I've been trying workshops that lead into the tougher topics like digital video and audio with things like dubbing and digital storytelling, but we're still having a tough time getting kids to try them.

Comment from lauren bratslavsky on February 1, 2007 - 1:27pm

Hey Raymond-

what are your guided activities like for your workshops? And are they contained within one workshop day or over a course of time? I'm working on our youth media lab here in Cincinnati and looking for ideas to for weekly, self-contained activities. Do you have anything written up? I have two activities so far, I'ld be happy to share them too.

And great ingenuity with the barcode system!

Comment from Raymond Varona on February 2, 2007 - 11:38am

Workshops are typically 1.5-2 hours in length and tend to be more like guided activities than formal instructional classes. I usually spend less than 30 minutes on instruction with the rest of the time spent with one-on-one guidance as they work through the main project. I've been on and off about writing things up, but can easily dig through my notes and get back to churning out materials. Here's a list of the workshops I've offered thus far, or at least the ones that I still have notes for:

  • Voice Recording and Manipulation
  • Silent Movie Making
  • Poster Design
  • Photoshop Composites (your head on a movie poster)
  • 3D Imaging (using Bryce)
  • CD Burning
  • CD Case Art
  • Computer Hardware (assembling computers from individual components)
  • Digital Photography (camera use, retouching and enhancement, "glamour shots")
  • Dubbing (recording dialogue over movie clips)
  • Fonts (finding and installing custom fonts, text properties and effects in various apps)
  • Greeting Cards (popup cards)
  • iMac Intro/ComicLife
  • GIMP Intro
  • Fashion w/ Photoshop (use of masks/layers to change colors/textures)
  • Photoshop Intro
  • Digital Painting (w/ Photoshop)
  • Music Remixing (w/ Garageband)
  • Webpage Design (basics w/ Dreamweaver)
  • Rotoscoping (Animating a lightsaber onto DV footage)


If there's any in particular that you're interested in let me know and I'll look to getting those written up.