Statement on #COVID19

In response to the #COVID19 pandemic, Farset Labs has made the following decisions.

  1. We are no longer hosting any public events as part of Farset Labs programmes (CoderDojo, ELi5, DataArt, etc)
  2. All Meetings (Town Hall, Management, Trustees) will be remote.
  3. It is recommended that external/community hires of the space also suspend, but events will over all be restricted to less than 15 participants.
  4. It is recommended that no more than 15 people are in the building at any one time
  5. The facility will continue to be open to those who wish to use it, following reasonable precautions outlined below.
  6. Private Meetings can still take place on site if reasonable precautions are enforced.
  7. Do not visit if you are symptomatic (continuous cough or high temperature).
  8. If you develop symptoms and have visited the space in the previous 10 days, please notify us on admin@farsetlabs.org.uk
  9. Hand Sanitiser and Soap will become available throughout the building. 
  10. Facilities are being made available for event organisers to stream presentations to support sustaining their own communities online free of charge.

Provision of Streaming Facilities for Event Operators

Last week, we set up a two-camera streaming capability in the event space. This capability is being made available to all event organisers; members or otherwise, for the purposes of hosting online events with presenters. We’re currently awaiting delivery of an HDMI capture device to include higher resolution of projected screen contents, but if you’d like to take advantage of this facility, please get in touch on events@farsetlabs.org.uk

Reasonable Precautions 

(As per NHS and WHO Advice)

  • Wash hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds with hot water and soap.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • Stay at home if you’ve got coronavirus symptoms.
    • New, continuous cough.
    • High temperature above 37.5 degrees celsius.
  • Advise social distancing for visitors and members.

Closing comments

There’s a lot of these statements going around, and it is a time of lots of news and statistics and a mix between panic and complacency. 

There is a very high likelihood that we’ll have to shut the facility down completely in the coming weeks. Fortunately, we’re kinda used to that over the past year! If that’s the case we’ll be communicating both openly and privately with members to facilitate safely removing anything they might need from the space while instituting a full “lockdown”.

In times like this, the physical building of Farset Labs is less important than the community; social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Whether you’re a member or not, stay connected on our Slack, Share stuff that you think is cool on our Discourse, and when open meetings come up, please dial in just to chill out.

Stay nerdy my friends.
the Farset Labs team

PS if you want to help with the Coronavirus fight with spare CPU/GPU time; we’ve set up a Folding@Home team #241330 (Be patient, the stats site is under a lot of pressure atm…)

Data Art NI – Open DataNI Outreach Funding

Data Art Northern Ireland is a community of technologists, artists, policy makers and other creatives that regularly come together to show, tell and learn about the collision of Data and Art.

Learn about visualisation techniques, data aggregation, and where to get data sources to create, inform, and excite.

If you want to get involved, join our Meetup Group to be first to hear when we release our schedule of events.

Data Art NI

Belfast, GB
456 Data Artists

Meetup bringing artists, technologists and creatives together to show, tell, and learn about the collision between Data and Art.Learn about visualisation techniques, data agg…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Meetups

Data Art NI is running meetups across Northern Ireland to bring the tech, creative, and public policy sectors together, so share their successes, failures, experiments and experiences, in order to build a shared understanding of how we can make the world, if not a better place, at least a more informed one!

Data Art has been operating as a community-run meetup group since 2017, mostly based in Farset Labs, Belfast.

Thanks to the support of the Department of Finances OpenDataNI Advocacy fund, we are taking the show on the road!

Venues and partners we plan on working with include:

If you’d like to host Data Art NI in your venue, please get in touch with us at dataart@farsetlabs.org.uk

(Also if you’d like to collaborate on running a local chapter of DataArt in your area…)

Workshops

Meetups are only part of the puzzle; we need to learn how to handle the different facets of “Data Art”, and that takes more than a cursory presentation…

Farset Labs are hosting a series of technical and creative workshops to upskill technologists, creatives, and passionate amateurs in targeted capabilities to enable the acquisition, exploration, augmentation, and visualisation of data in one way or another.

This could (depending on interest displayed) include sessions on topics such as:

  • Programming for Data Analysis
  • Embedded IoT for sensor acquisition and data visualisation
  • Machine Learning and Statistics
  • Geospatial Techniques and Analysis
  • Real-time Visualisation and Sonification
  • Typography and Graphic Design Fundamentals
  • Colour Theory and Interactive Visual Arts Design
  • 3D Design / Game Development
  • Physical Programming (aka Knitting and Crocheting)

But we want to listen to you! And we’ll be planning out the workshops with partners based on feedback received from the Meetups.

Hackathons

Over the past years, Hackathons have become the ‘de-rigueur’ way of engaging with the technology community to showcase some technology, problem, or task to be crowdsourced or socialised, usually in exchange for an .

Rather than running a big, high end, one-off, 24 hour crunch-time hackathon, we are running a quarterly series of hackathons instead, all with the thread around the cleaning, use, analysis and ‘artification’ of open data to inform and excite.

This provides time to really understand processes, projects and experiments, and also for relevant data owners in local government to be able to react and engage with the data-user community through platforms like OpenDataNI, and provide space to get real projects off the ground and make real change in our communities.

Open Data Innovation and Outreach Fund

We’re not the only ones being supported in this programme; Seven projects from Belfast, Derry and Newry have been successful from the £30,000 fund which encourages innovation in the reuse of data on the Open Data NI portal.

Allstate Northern Ireland was awarded £2,500 in partnership with Belfast City Council to host hackathon events for the technology community and STEM students.

Also among the winners was Anaeko Limited, who received £3,000 to host events and marketing activities for entrepreneurs to develop sustainable business models leveraging Open Data.

Derry City and Strabane District Council in partnership with Carnegie UK Trust was awarded £3,000 to host cross sectoral workshops to tell the story of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon; Derry and Strabane; and Lisburn and Castlereagh Council council areas.

Newry 2020 received £4,995 to deliver an integrated environmental sensor network to assess the impact of human activities on the environment in Newry and £2,995 to host outreach events.

Xpand Group in partnership with Belfast City Council was awarded £4,960 to create a shared access platform to enable business case development and decision making for large scale regional projects, while Flax & Teal Limited received £5,000 to develop an environmental disaster simulation tool for use in education and emergency planning.

Northern Ireland’s Finance Minister Conor Murphy, who announced the winners, said: “This fund provides entrepreneurs and organisations with a real opportunity to use public sector data for commercial opportunities and drive future economic growth.

“I am delighted to meet the winners and hear more about the range of ingenious projects and events which will further develop digital skills while creating a culture of data transparency.

“It is encouraging to see the collaborative approach the winners have taken, working with community groups, businesses and local councils to optimise public sector data for research, outreach and innovation.”

Farset Labs is receiving £6,000 (as part of a budget of £11,000) to run the Data Art programme, including 6 Meetups, 6 Workshops and 4 Hackathons, and this budget allocation is directly to fund venue, refreshments, travel and equipment costs.

If you’d like to participate in the programme or help run the project, join the Meetup Group below or contact dataart@farsetlabs.org.uk for more information.

Data Art NI

Belfast, GB
456 Data Artists

Meetup bringing artists, technologists and creatives together to show, tell, and learn about the collision between Data and Art.Learn about visualisation techniques, data agg…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Somebody-should: A Good Idea Worth Stealing

TL;DR If there’s something that you think needs fixed/changed in Farset Labs, go to our somebody-should Github Repo and raise an issue.

Over the past 7 years, we’ve had Trello, Google Tasks, Asana, Trello Again, JIRA, Trello again and finally JIRA, as issue-management and tracking systems. All have had loads of bells and whistles and integrations and tracking workflows, and hardly any got used by the general membership to raise issues that were affecting them. 

When I was living in Liverpool, I joined DoESLivepool. They have a very simple system that feeds in to not only their weeknotes bot, but also their machine booking and repair tracking system; a github repo that only stores issues, called somebody-should.

So, for the past month, we’ve been quietly switched over, referring people who raise issues in the Slack to raise an issue on our repo, populating and processing a few sample issues, experimenting with milestones, and generally faffing. 

So now we’re “officially” announcing it. We’re still fiddling with some of the documentation, but as they say, no good plan survives contact with reality, so go raise some hell(ish issues). 

Explain Like I’m 5: 2018/19 with BCS NI

If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself. – Albert Einstein

“Explain Like I’m 5” is our collaborative speaker series, where local developers, technologists, entrepreneurs, artists, performers, scientists, and business people take a concept that may be highly specific to their area of expertise or work, and break it down to a lay audience from right across the STEAM spectrum with a minimal expectation of prior knowledge.

We’ll be running five sessions this year:

  • 12th September 2018 – Eventbrite - Explain Like I'm 5 2018/19 With BCS Northern Ireland
  • 14th November 2018 – Eventbrite - Explain Like I'm 5 2018/19 With BCS Northern Ireland
  • 9th January 2019 – Eventbrite - Explain Like I'm 5 2018/19 With BCS Northern Ireland
  • 13th March 2019 – Eventbrite - Explain Like I'm 5 2018/19 With BCS Northern Ireland
  • 8th May 2019 – Eventbrite - Explain Like I'm 5 2018/19 With BCS Northern Ireland

The Theme:

No themes this time, although if someone wants to suggest something crazy, get in touch!

The Audience:

The target audience is anyone and everyone who loves learning and expanding their horizons. No topic is off limits as long as you are confident that it can be delivered to a lay audience within the constraints of the format.

The event is in two parts; an invited and a free-for-all section, separated by a beer, soft drink, hot food and fresh fruit intermission.

The Rules:

The rules for both groups are the same:

  • Speakers have a maximum of 7 minutes to speak on the subject of their choice, followed by a short open Q&A.
  • No Slides! The use of Non-Projected Visual Aids is heavily encouraged, and projectors may be considered for live demonstrations.
  • Before the event starts and during the break, presenters (invited or unplanned) are asked to put a 3-5 word synopsis of their topic on the blackboard along with their name.
  • The Compère will decide what order presentations will be done, so be nice to him/her!

If you’ve got something you’d like to share, sign up for the “Speaker” ticket type or email events@farsetlabs.org.uk to discuss it with the subject line “ELI5”

See you there!

Eventbrite - Explain Like I'm 5 2018/19 With BCS Northern Ireland

The Support:

Many thanks to The British Computing Society in Northern Ireland for continuing to support this programme for the past 4 years!

Farset Flea Market – Saturday 15th September

It is official. Farset Labs now has a licence to run a flea market. This is an ambitious event to see if there is an demand for a makers run flea market. Markets like this are run all over the world as part of  the maker community.

“The Flea at MIT” have one of the biggest flea markets in the America for 2nd hand electronics. We might reach this level one day if there is demand for it!

The event is allow people to sell unwanted stuff that have tucked away for years, giving unwanted stuff a new life and a new home.

Details:

  • Admission: Free
  • Tables: 12 at £5 each.
  • Time: 11am to 3pm.
  • Place: Inside Farset
  • Parking: 50 free spaces

What you can expect to see at the flea market:

  • Electronics
  • Hardware
  • Comics
  • Magazines
  • Games
  • Movies
  • Clothes
  • Old hardware

Want a table?

Email events@farsetlabs.org.uk with the following details

  • Name:
  • Types of goods you are selling:

(This will be advertised as part of the event)