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A new year, a new Farset

To our members, the hacker community, and the public, I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year.

There’s been a lot of progress in 2014, with wearables beginning to go mainstream, self-driving cars becoming a legal reality, affordable drone robotics changing perspectives, and finally realising the promises of cybernetics. Here’s how Farset has changed in the past year.

Membership & Administration

Pricing for membership has been simplified, with a month’s membership now costing just £25. (£15 for active students and starving hackers) For those unable to access the space frequently enough to justify a month’s membership, we offer £5 day passes and £3 entry to evening events.

We are also pleased to announce, much to the benefit of our coworkers, the office add-on package, giving members reserved desks, personal desk phone access, and preferential web / server hosting (more on that later). Details can be found on our website.

We also can finally provide each member with a membership card! These are currently being designed, and all existing members will be contacted in the near future when these are ready.

In addition to our membership changes, we’ve changed how the space is run too. In addition to our directors, we now have non-executive managers (NEMs) whom are now the point of contact for different areas of the space. If you’ve any general questions email nems@services.farsetlabs.org.uk, otherwise you can contact individual NEMs from our contact page.

Events & Pricing

We have simplified how we categorize events. There are now three types of events that are hosted at Farset Labs.

Farset organised events

Farset runs some of it’s own events (such as Coderdojo, Flacknite, etc.) Events are free for members, and non-members are subject to our daily-fee. Some events are free to the public, which will be noted on the Eventbrite page or calendar information.

Member run events

Any Farset member is free to host events (such as Astronomy night, BelfastJS, etc.) There is no hosting fee for members, and events are always open to members (for free). A member may open up the event to the public, subject to our daily fee (£5 for day events, £3 for evenings).

3rd party events

We host many outsider events, such as the Irish Pinball League, Global Game Jam, or corporate events. These events are not controlled by Farset Labs, and come with their own terms and pricing. As before, any event outside of our default access terms will be noted on our calendar.

You can find out all information about any upcoming events on our website. If you wish to run an event at Farset, member or non-member, please get in touch at events@farsetlabs.org.uk.

Facilities

To compliment the new desks in the coworking space, we’ve had a paint job! There are now 8 full sized desks, 6 with power and network access, and we now have 3 iMacs free for use by all members. Printing facilities are now available to all in the space, and can be accessed via Google Cloud Print by a QR code on each printer.

Our event space has had a media overhaul, with Chromecast, PS3, and media PC provided for entertainment. With an auto-switching projector and sound system, this goes against our traditional rule of ‘complicated as possible’. We apologise for this.

The project space has survived a massive clearout, with more storage space, improved lighting, and more tools than ever before. Every member has access to free box storage, and all equipment is being inventoried in our new system.

Hosting and infrastructure

We now have the facility to provide member server hosting onsite, with a new 42U server rack located in the project space! We’re also providing on-site virtual server hosting, with one free VM available for every member. All of our services now come with external web access, so hosting your prototype website or showing off your projects is now something we can finally offer.

In addition to hosting, we now have a dedicated 100Mbit internet link, distributed WiFi throughout the space, and IPv6 access.

We also say goodbye to Evorack, but hello to ABPNI Computer Solutions, Evorack’s parent company. ABPNI will continue to provide some of our web infrastructure, but in light of our own VPS offering, Evorack’s free virtual servers for members are no longer offered.

Security and Privacy

At Farset there are mixed opinions on the balance of security vs privacy – in order to best suit everyone a general survey is going out to all members soon to better understand what way we should deal with these issues. To clarify some of our current data recording policies:

  • Member data held by Farset consists of full name, email, and payment information
  • We do not perform any logging of internet access apart from our bandwidth graphs
  • CCTV retention has increased from 2 weeks to 1 year as of 12th Oct 2014

Door access to the space has been a calamity over the years, but we are heading to a solution! Soon, you’ll be able to use your membership card to access the space, with guests and external event organisers being given temporary pin codes to access the space. This is an ongoing project, and you can get involved in the discussion over on Discourse.

We’re also in the process of updating all of our core services to use TLS. Discourse and our assets server are already done, but there’s still plenty left to do. If you have any concerns about our online security, please, get in touch.


 

If you have any questions about anything above, you can contact your friendly NEMs at nems@services.farsetlabs.org.uk. It’s amazing what can happen in a year. Here’s to the next.