Building Droplabs: A Business Model for the Open Source Community

Christefano Reyes and Lee Vodra will present: Building Droplabs: A Business Model for the Open Source Community

Founded in 2011, Droplabs is a coworking space, classroom and makerspace in Downtown Los Angeles. Our community is made up of members who support each other personally and professionally in a positive environment.

The coworking services and developer programs we offer, like Free Coworking Days, Coders with a Cause, Mobile Device Lab and Developer Boot Camps, were made possible because of our love of open source and a passion for learning.

We'd love to see more places like Droplabs, and we're happy to talk at SGVLUG about how others can replicate our success - and avoid or overcome the challenges we've had over the years:

  • Identifying a space to build a location-based community
  • Traffic and parking in Downtown Los Angeles
  • Making decisions in a consensus-based organization
  • Empowering members to become leaders
  • Disrupting the coworking business model
  • Paying the bills (rent, insurance, staff, etc.)
  • ... and still having fun!

Raspberry Pi Retro Camera

James McDuffie gave a presentation on his Raspberry Pi Camera project. He has hollowed out a film camera and put in a Raspberry Pi, camera, and some other electronics to make a retro-looking camera that actually takes digital photos -and- allows ssh access.

He had close-up pictures of the electronic components and detailed explanations of why he chose a particular component, why he modified it, and how it fit into the project. James' particular focus was on energy efficiency, so he went through a lot of trouble to modify the board to use 3.3v power from a cellphone battery. He also looked for low-power components and ways to save power. Because there is no leds or lcd, he used beeps to provide feedback from the camera during operation. He also has a six-position knob that allows him to do things like turn on the system, turn off the camera portion, or to send the halt command to the Raspberry Pi. There is room for more features.

He has set up a webserver on the Raspberry Pi using nginx and Flask. This allows access to the photos on the Pi. Aside from a serial connection and the controls from the camera, the only way to "talk" to the Raspberry Pi is through the webserver or ssh. The Raspberry Pi is set up to automatically connect to known networks in the wpa supplicants file. The actual camera operation is handled through a Python library called picamera.

Data Roads, Data Flow Centric Networks, and DaFODeL

After over 12 years trying to get the video games studio industry to both create and use more open source software and unrestricted hardware, Jared Hardy finally gave up on those proprietary-minded fools, and started building NELA-ISC.Net instead. In the process of bootstrapping this Northeast LA community utility cooperative (still in progress), he discovered the catch-22 of funding nonprofit community projects that can never take any tax deductible donations or returns-based investments. He then started the deductible- donation accepting Data Roads Foundation to help solve that catch-22 investment problem -- among other issues inherent to all cooperatively owned networks. More about that and his other yak shaving projects are available in the links below:

If the content in these links create more questions than answers, that will provide good conversation fodder for Thursday night 6/12!


You and your family are cordially invited to the SGVLUG & SGVHAK potluck BBQ on Saturday, May 17th from 11am to 6pm in the city of San Gabriel.

Please RSVP by May 15th by filling out this Google form:

You will receive directions to the venue after you submit the RSVP. You can revise your RSVP at any time. Some Google scripting magic automatically updates the RSVP with how many people are expected and what people say they are bringing. Obviously, the earlier you RSVP, the more accurately we can plan.

Hope to see you there!

Show Off Your Projects

This month we will have a focused sort of open mic night. We will be featuring a sort of show and tell for projects. If you have been working on something in your spare time then we can find time for you to tell us about it. Bring hardware, pictures or slides, whatever you need to let us know the cool things you are doing. After getting our dinner orders in we will informally invite people to share.

Open Source in Education and One Laptop Per Child "2.0"

Caryl Bigenho presents: Adventures in OSSIE-land with olpc 2.0

Now that MIT has closed the OLPC Foundation office and the OLPC Association in Miami has slowed production of the XO laptops, what lies in store for folks interested in Open Source Software In Education?

Adventure! Come find out how you can get involved, traveling to exotic places, meeting interesting people, and/or developing and testing hardware and software to continue to grow the OSSIE movement. Deployments large and small around the globe would love to have your help. Come find out what is happening and how you can get involved in your own OSSIE-land adventure!