Re: Standard things to solve when opening/running a device lab

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Shaun Dunne

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Feb 14, 2013, 3:52:28 PM2/14/13
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Hi Marc, 

I'll answer as best I can from my personal experience from running London - which I am happy to report is picking up popularity this year and I am dedicating more time to it lately.

I'm running the London Lab as open as possible. I wanted to make it as easy as possible for designers and developers to get their hands on devices, so it might be a little bit different to how some other labs are run.

I am also not around the lab every day, So I can't check up as often as I like.



How do people "register" to use your ODL?
- They don't, it's a turn up and use situation. They have to sign in at reception, but that's about it.
What does he have to provide when signing in? (Name, Adress, Email …?)
- Just a name is needed
Maybe something like a check-in and check-out sheet/book is a good idea for this, so you can track when an who was in the lab.

What are the terms for using your ODL?
- Be kind, don't update the OS, try and not accidently take the device home. 

Does someone have to agree to replace/pay a broken device (if he broke it)?
- I wouldn't ask someone to do that unless I thought they did that on purpose. Breakages are something I guess I'll have to deal with on a case-by-case basis if it ever happens.

Is there a way that someone can book your ODL? (eg someone else is there already, testing and a second person comes in to also use the ODL)
- The devices sit on a desk people can just walk up to them and pick up what they want to test on. If something isn't available, they'd just have to wait. 

Do people simply come and use your lab without "booking" the ODL?
- Yep

How to you organize the opening times?
- The ODL is in a co-op space which is open 9 - 5:30, Mon-Fri
What is the best way to handle the opening times and communicate this?
- The times are on the site.

How do you handle devices that are not permanently donated? What if they brake?
- We haven't had any that aren't permanently donated. I guess that part of the donating/lending clause is that it's known that we aren't making any money from the lab so they shouldn't expect any sort of insurance. In the future, if plausable, then I suppose looking into some sort of cover wouldn't be a bad idea.

What kinds of benedits can you offer possible donators?
- That warm feeling that they are helping others.

Best practices for "how do you maintain the devices in your lab".
- Drop in once in a while, apply updates if needed, remove any un-neaded apps.

Setup for the devices
- Chargers, spare cables. 

Backup & Restore functionality to easily recover a "standard" setup if people test with your device and change sth
- nothing in place at the moment
What is the best way (best practices maybe also) to set up your wifi environment for the lab?
 - The space has available WiFi.

Which problems are those you usually run into when setting up for the first time
 - No real problems. Getting people in to begin with was the biggest hurdle.

Hope some of that helps




On Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 8:24 AM, marc thiele <in...@marcthiele.com> wrote:
Some more thoughts:

Best practices for "how do you maintain the devices in your lab".
  • Setup for the devices
  • Backup & Restore functionality to easily recover a "standard" setup if people test with your device and change sth
What is the best way (best practices maybe also) to set up your wifi environment for the lab?
  • Hardware tips
  • Which problems are those you usually run into when setting up for the first time
/marc

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Andre Jay Meissner

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Feb 14, 2013, 6:31:53 PM2/14/13
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Hey Shaun & all,

Am 14.02.2013 um 21:52 schrieb "Shaun Dunne" <theda...@gmail.com>:
> [...] London - which I am happy to report is picking up popularity this year [...]

Wohoo! \o/ Glad to read that!
*Jay

Jason Grigsby

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Feb 19, 2013, 12:05:31 AM2/19/13
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On Feb 13, 2013, at 2:48 PM, marc thiele <in...@marcthiele.com> wrote:
> • Does he have to "register"?
> • Or does he just show up and use your ODL?


We ask people to schedule time:
http://mobileportland.com/device-lab/schedule

> • What does he have to provide when signing in? (Name, Adress, Email …?)

Name, email, phone, devices they want to test with, requested time to test, any other comments.

Name and email are the only required fields.

> • Maybe something like a check-in and check-out sheet/book is a good idea for this, so you can track when an who was in the lab.

We’re not letting people take devices out so we don’t worry about that much. The form above goes to a database so we have a record of who requested access.

> • Does someone have to agree to replace/pay a broken device (if he broke it)?

We haven’t worried about this yet. People are using the devices in our office where we can watch it. If someone accidentally dropped the device, I don’t think we would worry about it too much. That stuff happens.

> 3. How do people "book" your ODL?
> • Is there a way that someone can book your ODL? (eg someone else is there already, testing and a second person comes in to also use the ODL)

We haven’t had more than one person in at a time, but so long as they were using different devices, it would be fine. There are a couple of places for people to sit and test.

> 4. How to you organize the opening times?
> • Even if you have the lab within an agency space, there is not always someone there to admin the lab
> • What is the best way to handle the opening times and communicate this?

We have had some expectations problems with one person who seemed to not understand that this was a volunteer service. That was strange. But otherwise, it has been fine.

One thing my co-founder Lyza Gardner (@lyza) did which is great is draft an email that gets sent back after someone requests to use the lab. I saw it for the first time last week. It is fantastic. I’ve sanitized the personal information and included it below.

-Jason


Hi John,

Tomorrow, 10AM should be just fine.

We'll make an effort to charge the Kindle Fire(s) before you get here, but there are plenty of chargers here to use, as well.

Here is a quick guide to the space. See you tomorrow!

• The device lab is an independent work environment currently located in the office of Cloud Four in downtown Portland. A small work area, power and WiFi are available.
• Most people come in for one or two hours per appointment, but the length of time you are here is up to you! If you end up needing to stay longer than your scheduled appointment time, we can often accommodate, but we do need to lock (and vacate) the office when no supervising staff are available (lunch, end of business day or off-site meetings).
• If you indicate which devices you are testing on when submitting the appointment request, we'll attempt to charge those devices before you arrive. However, this isn't always possible, especially if numerous devices are involved. There are plenty of chargers on-site in the lab.
• Keep in mind that we're here to help, but overall technical support is limited. In some cases, we don't know any more about the device than you do! The device lab is located in a space shared with Cloud Four developers who will likely be (quietly) working on client projects during your visit.

Getting Here

Address
208 SW 1st Avenue, Suite 240
Portland, OR 97211

Located between Oak and Pine on SW 1st Avenue. Once inside the building, walk up a flight of stairs or take the elevator to the second floor. Cloud Four's office (Suite 240) is clearly marked.

There is no parking on SW 1st (because of MAX light rail trains), but there are two surface lots within half a block. These can be accessed from Pine Street. On-street parking is metered and is usually not too hard to find, especially on Naito. Most meters are for 90 minutes or 3 hours.


--Lyza


Begin forwarded message:

> From: "Mobile Portland" <m...@example.org>
> Subject: Form submission from: Visit the Device Lab
> Date: February 5, 2013 11:21:59 PM PST
> To: m...@example.org
>
> Submitted on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 11:21pm
> Submitted by anonymous user: [168.103.228.150]
> Submitted values are:
>
> Name: John [x]
> Email: jo...@example.org
> Phone: 555-555-5555 (cell)
> Device(s) you want to test with: Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD
> Requested Time: 2/7/13 (Thursday) : 10am
> Comments:
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>
> The results of this submission may be viewed at:
> http://mobileportland.com/node/199/submission/24

Jason Grigsby

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Feb 19, 2013, 2:33:48 AM2/19/13
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On Feb 14, 2013, at 12:24 AM, marc thiele <in...@marcthiele.com> wrote:

> Best practices for "how do you maintain the devices in your lab".
> • Setup for the devices

We have the devices with some cabling for power. I don’t think we’ve solved this.

> • Backup & Restore functionality to easily recover a "standard" setup if people test with your device and change sth

Oof. No answers here yet.

> What is the best way (best practices maybe also) to set up your wifi environment for the lab?
> • Hardware tips

We use an Apple Time Capsule and haven’t had problems yet.

> • Which problems are those you usually run into when setting up for the first time

I don’t know that there is anything that people usually run into. Everything is new for all of us.

Jump in. The water is warm. :-)

-Jason
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