Farset Labs’ Legal Encounter

UPDATEDThe original letters sent to Farset Labs have been linked to throughout the article for context and transparency. Further questions will be answered via email at admin@farsetlabs.org.uk

Farset Labs has gone from strength to strength since opening its doors in April of this year, and the community has grown and matured quickly, but our summer progress was slower than was hoped for. Our entire model and ethos is built on transparency and democracy, so we publish this document to explain to our membership and supporters the difficulties placed in our path due to litigation launched by Latens/Pace plc.

Out of the blue, on the 14th June, multiple copies of a letter were hand delivered to Farset Labs by Pinsent Masons, legal representatives of Latens/Pace, as well as emailed to several different accounts of the Directors whether they were Farset Labs related or personal, work and university inboxes. One of our members had been accused on their last day of work of stealing sensitive Confidential Information from their employer and transmitting it to Farset Labs. The letter explained that we had possession of their property, and that it it was on our equipment. It demanded that we exclude an allegedly-involved member from the premises and cut all communication with him pending completion of their investigations. Two of the Directors have known the member for almost a decade, having gone to the same school, and so for a demand to come through to sever all contact was seen to be unreasonable. Continue reading Farset Labs’ Legal Encounter

The Latest Flacknite: BBC Micros, Culture Night & more

As our members and followers, will be aware, Flacknite is our semi-regular monthly hackathon, spanning at least 24 hours, which is open to everyone. It provides a bed, a home and an excuse for projects that have been put back, and a lively environment for more time-sensitive ones. As always, they’re catered with food and drink, which this month was generously sponsored by Instil Software.

This month’s Flacknite ran on September 15th and 16th, and brought to life several different projects. Several internal software projects marched onwards towards completion, piecing together our in-house management system and building control network.

Culture Night Preparations
Electronics and LED-testing going on into the night

The more exciting and eye-catching work took the form of some preparations for Culture Night, which has been making news throughout Belfast and scheduled for tonight, Friday 21st September. Robin, an artist attending Culture Night, built and tested several high-power LED array bars, to be used in his project to under-illuminate a table. His work will be on show tonight near the Hayfield Market in Belfast City Centre.

A welcome break came in the form of Opera Pizza, which delivered a substantial order to our door for all to graze on. Beer and pizza flowed plentifully for several hours after the delivery.

The BBC Micro lives!
The BBC Micro lives!

Work continued in other parts of the building, with Dan Reid and Tom Gilmour working with others to bring to life two BBC Micro computers, both of which had dead power supplies. They were successful and much of the remainder of the night was spent programming the Micros, and upgrading their RAM installations. Dan continued in the following days to install more RAM and software, and the two computers are approaching “perfect working order” condition.

Others worked on personal projects and private endeavours, and most stuck around until the daylight hours on Sunday. Numbers waned due to sleep, but recovered later on Sunday. Overall, numbers were good and the atmosphere was great. Our next Flacknite will be next month, on the 20th October, and will be publicised heavily to let everyone know.

Thanks again to Instil Software for their generosity, and for everyone that came along to such a good night!

See you next time.

Flacknite Roundup

Flacknite was a great success, despite being stood up by Red Bull and some questionable sleeping patterns!

All in all, we got a lot done, and have learned a lot about how people work independently in these kind of events;

In terms of ‘stuff done’, probably the best show piece was Ryan Grieve‘s Microid game that he wrote for  Mini LD games jam – 19th-20th May 2012, where he restricted himself to 64×18 pixels, causing hours and hours of lost/distracted time for everyone else! Thanks Ryan!

Additionally, we got alot of work done in terms of our RFID access system, even though our planned external reader turned out to be a ‘useless’ standard that no-one has… But our striker is working and we’re waiting on a new reader to open the space up to all. CCTV is up, but not ready yet, pending the arrival of our capture card. Network is done to Stealthii’s satisfaction.

Andrew Luke got a lot of work done on his great website for his comic about coping with Epilepsy, a project part funded by UnLtd.

Steve Wilkin got a iOS client for his CoffeeTracker project built.

Rob Elkin and co were working on a Native iOS management app for MongoDB instances.

We all ate lots of cupcakes, and Dominos pizza, drank Crafty Devil supplied Beer, and devoured Planzai supplied Boojum.

And of course, Noah built trucks. Long may he build trucks! He’s inspired us to ‘acquiring’ a box-o-lego…

Thanks to everyone for making it as awesome as it was. See you next time!

Planned Event: Embedded Programming; Fun with Boards

Image courtesy of MadLab

Farset Labs is planning on running an event to introduce any person of any age to embedded programming; spanning from building your own controller board that you can take home, right up to programming it with some basic functionality. But we want to get the community’s opinion before we set anything in stone.

Please, take a minute of your time to fill out this survey so we can make the best event for you. Continue reading Planned Event: Embedded Programming; Fun with Boards

Final preparations

Equipment in the storeAnother day of frantic work and continuous driving has brought us much closer to our launch tomorrow. The plumbers have completely fitted the toilets to a great standard and the electricians are making sense of the circuits around the building; the puzzle pieces that were outside our control have pretty much fallen into place. After a long day driving to collect tables, hoovering endless dust and generally cleaning up, we’re about to pack up for the night, exhausted.

We’ve fitted out the reception area with a little more server equipment and a slightly fancier network configuration, and have the water supply turned on, making the space a lot more pleasant to be in. The contractors are finishing up and our outer window frames received a welcome coat of paint. Windows were scraped and the equipment store was further populated.

Tomorrow morning, final preparations include the plumbers and electricians finishing up, the hopeful delivery of our electric cooker, preparations for the rooms and general last-minute cleaning.

We can’t wait to see you all at our launch event tomorrow at 3pm!