Makerspace IT/Computers

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Current State

Windows

Windows machines are currently manually installed and configured.

Instructions on how to set up a PC in the makerspace can be found on the GDrive.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu machines are installed from a central PXE server, including installation of general packages and makerspace wide settings. These are designed to be easily reinstalled with very little effort if the OS gets broken in any way.

Imaging Server

winston.makernexus is available within the LAN, and acts as our DHCP, DNS, TFTP, apt-cache, and web server.

PXELINUX is used to netboot machines throughout the space, defaulting to booting from the client machine's local disk. Selecting any of the OS Install options will pull down Ubuntu netinstall configured by a preseed.txt from the web server. Preseed currently names machines based on a hash of their Ethernet MAC address, and will run a setup.sh script post-install to set up all of our customizations.

Wishlist

  • Migration to Ubuntu in as many places as possible
  • Automatic imaging of Windows machines
  • Post-install config management (SaltStack?)
  • Regular reimaging of machines
  • Centralized storage solution

Infrastructure Solutions

Some systems are crucial to the day to day operation of the shop. One example is our CRM system. For these systems we have a strong bias to pay a cloud based vendor to run the systems for us. This provides reliability, support, help desk support, and peace of mind.

EZ Facility

We use this for member registration and equipment scheduling. It has a self service portal for members. It also offers a smart phone app, but we have not finished testing that yet. EZ Facility has a lot of other features, but right now they are not tuned for our kind of business. As they evolve the product we may move more functions to EZ Facility.

MailChimp

We use this for email campaigns. It is free for our level of use and has lots of features.

Google Analytics

For tracking our website

Wix

To host our website. Wix has some CRM features, but they aren't that good. Wix offers event management, but it isn't that good. It is good for easily maintaining a rather simple website like ours.

We do sell some classes using Wix "products" but we may move away from this.

EventBright

We use this for class and event signups. They charge us a percentage of the ticket price, but their site is very easy to use and provides a lot of features.

Facebook

We have run a few facebook ads and they got us click throughs for about $0.25 each. Of course we have a Maker Nexus page and group on Facebook; they work great for keeping in touch with our community (or at least those that are on Facebook).

G Suite for non-profits

Google gives us this for free! We host our email services and team drives there.

We do not use

CiviCRM

We used it at first, but there is no reasonably priced (for us) cloud vendor.

WildApricot

It does not offer any API for integrating our door lock system. And their pre-sales support team was not very helpful.