From Interlock Rochester Wiki
This is an attempt at just before the three year mark, to organize a history of Interlock. For new members or other hacker spaces this is where you can learn from our trials and our tribulations. It gives a reminder of where we have been and how much we have grown. IGadget
Founding - October 2009
In October of 2009, local groups were visited asking if any of them were interested in starting a "hackerspace" in Rochester. The Linux User Group of Rochester, an RIT organization called Rochester Hackers, Rochester 2600 all got a visit asking this question. At that time, most asked "what is a hackerspace" and by the end many were interested in getting one started. Following the way that the Buffalo hackerspace had started, a Meetup.com account was purchased under the title "Rochester Hackerspace." This was quickly the first hit when searching for that term.
The first meeting ever was attended by 5 or 6 people. AntiTree, Jerel (Buffalo hackerspace), Matt (Buffalo hackerspace), and a few others who names escape me. It took place at Spot Coffee on East Ave downtown. The second meeting was attended by future founding member Berticus and 6 or 7 others. Eventually Alan and Ashley came to visit from Rochester Hackers, and a few from RIT. The group grew large enough that we weren't sure we could just grab a table anymore so we reserved a space upstairs in Spot. Eventually moving meetings to Coworking Rochester who let us set up show while we structured. It was at this meeting that the first group decision was made, to name the hackerspace "Interlock Rochester."
The group quickly figured out how to structure and created a not for profit corporation. This included creating Bylaws, official rules for meetings, and assigning officers and directors. With some convincing, and at least 6 shots of whiskey, Antitree convinced Alan to move into a leadership role as the official president, but also as the person running the meetings and keeping the peace. Antitree was put as the Vice President, Berticus as the Secretary, and Ashley as the Treasurer.
While the corporation was getting approved by the state, the group quickly moved into a physical location at the Hungerford building on 1115 E. Main St. With a limited budget and small membership, the group found the cheapest space they could afford. The lease was put in the names of Alan, Antitree, and Berticus.
The organization was officially incorporated as New York State approved Not For Profit corporation on January 1st 2010.
Temp Space October 2009
Two rooms - the front, about 300sq.ft. and rear 225sq.ft. This small closet of an area was located across the hall from where our first space was being prepped. October 2009 we moved in. Building management was working on segmenting off our space to be, removing a bunch of junk and clearing out a pile of pipeage from the ceiling. We were clearing things off too.
The move date slipped a few times because of delays on their end and scope changes on ours. We discussed the types of meetings we would hold and how memberships would work. Safety issues and the or the lack of safety measures were discussed and a military issue personal field trauma kit was hung on the wall for future need.
A sink and small hot water tank were added to the planned kitchen area. A couple of minifridges showed up to keep necessary things cold.
Planning for what would be where in the new space was a regular discussion point at meetings. An Electrical Diagram was drawn up for the space and a group of people took it upon themselves to put together a well provisioned network. What is Hacker Space without a network? Boring, but more on that later. A member donated cable from a work upgrade so plenty was on hand. It was decided to hang too much rather than have to string wire later. A six drop box would be installed at every 4 gang duplex outlet the kitchen had three drops. Overkill. Some tool-less install jacks were used which while cheap, were touchy to install. With some confusion and much testing there was a working internal network when we officially opened the doors.
During the following months the number of people in the group exploded. Our first Lightening Talks were scheduled in , . Remey from RIT started bringing in students to collaborate on projects. The Temp Space was getting cozy.
There was a pretty major problem with horrific insects that appeared to be the Jurassic ancestor of the cockroach, centipede, and praying mantis. Most pretended they didn't exist but the gasp-stomp was a common dance move at the space.
Basement Space March 2010
At the beginning of March 2010 we finally moved into our first space. Its 1100 sq.ft. size was just about double the Temp Space and felt huge with possibilities. It was also clean and painted white the floor was painted grey, it was bright, very bright. Right away we started changing things. Beardicus put in place the Keyless door system and it was operational 4-6-2010. Plans were discussed to attach it to the yet un-built LDAP server.
The brightness was addressed by taking out half the florescent tubes and a mostly four person crew of Adam, Ashly, Nick and Steve started painting pipes all different colors. One night after some drinking a couch was painted as well.
The two mini-fridges from the temporary space were upgraded to a regular fridge which turned up from an unused area of the building. It turns out that a full sized fridge uses less electricity over a couple of days than a single dorm fridge does. It has better insulation so it cycles on fewer times once it is at temp. The full size unit holds more 'beverage of choice' too.
This led to some chaos and stubbed toes and a surprise mannequin placed just inside the door in such a way to scare some life into the next person to open the space. Later to become Mannequin Ceiling-Hanger.
Network provider - aka The Trouble with Tribbles Choosing a network provider turned out to be harder than we thought. TWTC wanted an arm, a leg, and the first born child. That wouldn't work on our fledgling Non Profit budget. Frontier, the LEC, was willing to work on the price point for a three year contract. We had two POTS lines and a DSL carrier on the secondary line. The first DSL Bridge bit the dust because it wasn't attached to the DeMARC well, A random person moving stuff bumped into it knocking it off.
Later to get us the speed they promised they ended up adding a second DSL line in on a third circuit (blind or naked DSL). A special two circuit bridge was installed which no one at their support knew existed or how to troubleshoot. Only 2 field techs in the area knew how it worked. You don't want to be a guinea pig for your internet provider unless they give you a tech support number for the people running the tests. It kept mysteriously failing. Internet service would still be there, both DSL lights would be active, but only few percent of packets would go though.
After many months we were finally given a way to troubleshoot/test it when it was failing and to get it half operational. The problem turned out to be that the unit didn't handle it well when one of the circuits became noisy, but didn't fail completely. The phone board was rewired so that anyone with a pair of pliers could hard fail either circuit to restore partial functionality to internet access. Neither circuit would remain clean for more than a few weeks. This wasn't working out and we were beginning to look at expanding. The search was opened up for a new space and a new internet provider.