Comment box

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The purpose of this page is to track the comments that come in through our new comment box!

Comments 8/21/12

  • "Some of the little parts that get tossed in the 'everything else' bin could be used for art projects!" :)
    • Thank you for the comment! We actually just constructed a mural with some of the used little parts as a part of our Free Geek Summer Youth Camp 2012. We do some controlled projects like this in house, but the tough thing about letting people take recyclable parts for art making is that Free Geek has a responsibility to make sure all components donated get properly recycled and if we gave parts away to artists, we don't have a way to know they will eventually be responsibly recycled.

Comments 7/10/12

  • "The only things that would make you all more awesome is if you downloaded Flash on the computers and checked out"
    • Thank you for the referral -- Now we know where to go for all our zebra comedy needs! In fact, we've posted a link on our twitter feed @FreeGeekPDX: check it out!
    • As for your Flash player suggestion, we're in process of discussing this with our tech experts at Free Geek. Meanwhile, keep in mind that, while Adobe Flashplayer is free of charge, it is not open-source software. Free Geek's philosophy revolves around open and transparent software development, and we tend to gravitate towards software that lives up to our standards. However, we understand that Flash player is a very common piece of software for popular internet sites, so check back soon for the decision.
      • A message from the Technocrats: Flash is indeed not F/OSS which, among other things, means that an End User License Agreement would have to be "read through" and agreed to by every person who sits down at the computer terminals. Unfortunately, open source alternatives to Adobe Flash are not up to snuff either. In addition to this, most Flash applications on the web tend to use a lot of bandwidth and processing power. As our library computers are thin clients with limited local processing capabilities, this puts excessive strain on our local network and servers.

Comments 3/20/12

  • "Holy crap! 1st day here & I love it! Will volunteer (I want computer and knowledge of Linux & Python). Thank you"
    • Free Geek runs on volunteer support and interest: we couldn't do it without you! We're happy that you're excited to volunteer with us.

Comments 2/7/12

  • I would like to recommend better ways to reward long-term volunteers including gift certificates for 50% off all thrift store purchases upon reaching certain volunteer milestones (starting at 50 hours).
    • We currently have a volunteer recognition program in place that rewards volunteers who have donated many hours to Free Geek. Volunteers receive a special Free Geek mousepad at 500 hours, a Free Geek t-shirt and store gift certificate at 1000 hours and a gift certificate to an outside business that interests the volunteer at 5000 hours. Unfortunately, if we were to institute a program as recommended, we would quickly bankrupt Free Geek. As we would like to see Free Geek contributing to our community for many, many years to come, we cannot implement this reward system. Also, all volunteers who give at least 3 hours within the past 30-day period already receive a 20% store discount.
    • The Inreach Committee will continue to look at our current policy, how we gauge hours and how we reward volunteers. Your suggestion to consider those volunteers who contribute a certain number of hours within a specific period of time (100 hours in a year, for example) is really appreciated in rethinking our existent reward structure.

Comments 12/7/11

  • "It would be nice if the volunteer door is opened 10 minutes early, so the volunteers can start work on time. Better impression that volunteers' time is valued"
    • We do try our hardest to get volunteers processed and started in their areas as early as possible. We decided that 10:00AM is the earliest time that we can open, without sacrificing the preparation time necessary for Free Geek to operate properly. Free Geek staff need this time to prepare coffee, clean an open their workstations, and prepare to receive volunteer work.
  • " Would be nice to have online sign-in for duties too. Seems like check-in process can be faster -- someone must be able to volunteer to do this."
    • This is a great idea: there are several others like you who have also suggested this. It has been conceptualized with Free Geek, but it does pose some severe drawbacks. Our main concern is that Free Geek would be unable to supervise placements, and that volunteers would be less likely to attend if they scheduled online. However, feel free to bring this up in person with one of our staff members, and we can try again."

Comments 6/2/11

  • "Because your schedule is changing to 1 hour earlier, the shifts are not good for school kids. This forces all kids to work on Saturday. To avoid this bottleneck, please consider creating 1 shift during the week that stays open later."
    • This is a great idea; unfortunately, we don't have the staffing resources to stay open an hour later. We apologize for the inconvenience that our hours change has caused.
  • "More cowbell"
    • I got a fever...

Comments 5/19/11

  • "We need more working restrooms!"
    • We apologize for the inconvenience caused by our flooding basement! Fortunately, this has been resolved.

Comments 4/21/11

  • "Assign each step in a flow chart a unique letter/number combination. For example, the fifth step in the blue flow chart would be identified as B5. When a volunteer is pulled away from their post, they can quickly record their place using this system. This will allow them to easily identify the point where they left off when returning to their post. I suggest this because I found that when I left my post, I often had to restart the system evaluation process from the beginning (or near it). If this is the desired behavior, please disregard this suggestion."
    • We definitely understand that learning to follow the charts can be difficult and frustrating. We seriously considered this suggestion, but have decided not to go forward with it. We think that, while it might be of benefit to some people, it would be too difficult to maintain in any way that made sense. We are also concerned that it would clutter up the flow charts and possibly make them more confusing. Sometimes people use post-its to mark where they are when they have to take a break or go to another chart. This, of course, only works if one can reach where one is on the chart, so it's not a perfect solution. Hope this helps!

Comments 4/7/11

  • "Ergonomics: if an adoptee is working the recycling table and is a person of average height, the folding chairs sit much too low for working on the table. There's one stool, without a back, which sits high enough but Free Geek makes volunteering unnecessarily hard, especially on older folks (but really for everyone)."
    • Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We agree. We've forwarded this on to Recycling to see what can be done.
  • "I came back to the library to put two other suggestions in the box, but when I did, a third one leapt out at me: Place some scrap paper (or, better yet, card stock) on the table where the suggestion/comment box sits"
    • We're on it--expect to see some notepapr in the vicinity soon.
  • ""From the point of view of an adoptee, there's a place where Free Geek fails: once the class is held and the adoptee walks off with the machine, he or she is given no guidance whatsoever about selecting an I.S.P., what are cable, or wireless, or dial-up rates, and which corporations provide the best service for folks on a tight budget."
    • This is part of the adoption curriculum, but some teachers may have forgotten so we will remind them to cover this important topic. Tech support can also be of use in deciding which I.S.P. to select.
  • "I think that when someone donates a highly wanted item like a TV for example, it needs to go into the store after testing that it works. Then, it's up for grabs for anyone to buy. I don't think it should be saved or someone allowed to say they will buy it before it gets to the store."
    • To our knowledge, this is the current policy. We will check around to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
  • "When people go through the tour they should be told there are certain times they can pick up their computer after doing their 24 hours. Since policy has been changed and you can't get your computer the day your hours are completed and you can't pick your own computer which you used to be able to do."
    • We agree that the tour should include information on when you can pick up your computer if you choose not to take the adoption class, and we will make sure all of the tour guides make this change. Volunteers that opt to pick up their computers during the "Free Computers" hours are not allowed to chose their computer, because volunteers who take the adoption class are not allowed to choose either. By having set specifications into which our Freekboxen fall, we try to make it so that all of the computers we give out are more-or-less the same on the inside. We strive to be as fair as possible.
  • "I'm a volunteer who comes in early(bird). I logged 3/14/11 on a computer, before opening hours, that had usb access and it was assertively (suggested?) that I was inappropriately using a workstation that was reserved for other purposes and that I should thereby relinquish my activity and submit to the authority, posted where I know not. I would gladly yield to anyone needing use of that or any other station for purposes of Free Geek business (labeling, etc)."
    • We apologize if you feel that you were treated impolitely. Because you say that you were using a computer with usb access, we assume that you were using the computer in the library, not one of the lab computers. The computer in the library is technically for staff use only. We have asked the technocrats to look into providing usb access on the volunteer computers, but right now it's not a service we can provide.

Comments 2/17/11

  • "I have a few concerns about safety at Free geek. Are all volunteers properly trained in safety techniques. (I wasn't.) Are all staff members aware of basic First Aid and CPR?"
    • Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Many of our staff members are trained in CPR. This comment is being forwarded to the Staff Collective for further consideration.
  • "Make a scanner available to volunteers. The files can be uploaded, e-mailed or put onto a flash drive or disc if a machine were associated with the scanner."
    • We are forwarding this suggestion to the Technocrats, our committee that handles Free Geek's technical infrastructure. They will advise us on the feasibility of this request.
  • "We need a Free Geek minecraft server!"
    • True dat!

Comments 2/03/11

  • "While I respect the need for tolerance and inclusivity, I am troubled by the common lack of basic hygiene at Free Geek. Specifically, I think it is reasonable, appropriate, and desireable [sic] (also professional and polite) to expect staff and interns to _bathe daily_ so that their personal odors are not distracting and offensive. Thanks for your consideration, a volunteer."
    • This can be a sensitive conversation and probably uncomfortable and frustrating for the person who is smelling any unpleasant odors - so thank you for bringing it up! I can say with confidence that I have never been blown away by any smells from my co-workers or interns in my area. However, I know there are other places within Free Geek where people are working in close physical proximity. We, as a staff, are talking about this issue. If you continue to be troubled by smells during your volunteer shifts at Free Geek, I encourage you to ask to talk to the Ombudsman. Valerie 19:02, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Comments 1/20/11:

  • "Suggest installing a towel in the small kitchen next to the hall bathroom. It'd be useful for drying hands when you wash them rather than in the bathroom."
    • Great idea! We will look into getting a towel dispenser for the small kitchen.
  • "Toilet seat bolts are often very loose especially in the back bathrooms."
    • Thanks for bringing this to our attention; our facilities crew has checked and tightened the seat bolts.

Comment 11/18/10

  • I would like to find a book in the library, but to my knowledge there is no way to search the library on-line for a particular title/keyword. How can I do this without having to physically search each book in the library?
    • In the future, we hope that we'll be able to staff the library and have software that will make this possible. Unfortunately, that's not the case right now. Sorry!

Comments 7/15/10:

  • "Hire nicer people who aren't rude. Make every worker take a computer literacy test. More geeks, less @$$holes in short. Also, bring back the 50% discount for volunteers."
    • We think we hire very nice people. If you ever experience rudeness, ask to talk to someone else on staff and we will get to the bottom of a situation. Free Geek holds all employees, volunteers and donors to the same standards of respect outlined in our General Conduct Guidelines.
    • Free Geek prides itself in hiring a variety of people with different computer backgrounds. We teach people the computer knowledge they need for their jobs. Education is a big part of what we do. Please be respectful of people's different backgrounds. Also, remember that someone helping you could be either a volunteer or a an employee.
    • The change in the discount was a decision made by a lot of people with a lot of thought. It was something agreed to by Free Geek staff, the Board of Directors, and the Free Geek Community Council. Volunteers were surveyed before this decision was made and volunteers had an active role in this decision through the Community Council.
  • "3 months ago I offered the following suggestion (actually it wasn't me, but it was suggested by me and submitted by someone else): "We need to support an e-book section to the Library. I have thousands (literally) of computer-based/oriented e-books I'd be willing to download if Free Geek would be willing to support such an effort. This includes current magazines 1.e. Linus Journal and Ubuntu Magazine." There are some questions about how we would implement this - we will do some research on our end but in the meantime we do know the Multnomah County Library system has a great e-book section. Has there been any progress on this suggestion (the research)? Yes, the Multnomah County Library has a great e-book section, but it pales in comparison with the library I have. I would suggest allocating a 500GB drive on one of our servers (we get those size drives all the time) as a READ ONLY drive available to the public. My library is focused on the following topics: Linux, Ubuntu, programming languages (C++), scripting languages (PERL<PYTHON< BASH),computer science topics, mathematics, graphics, and database languages (MYSQL, etc). and about 1,000 other topics. All of these publications have been published since 2005 and are currently available for free download online. I just happen to have collected them into one area. In addition, I have most of the books that are currently in the Free Geek Library included in this e-book collection. Here is the support for e-book given in comments: an online library would be immediately accessible to everyone; an online library would negate the problem of book pilfering (theft); these books are available at all levels (newbie to computer science professional); an online library would not require the overhead of maintaining checkout tracking; an online library would require minimal maintenance and if you have more question please publish them in your response."
    • E-books are a great idea. Thanks for suggesting and exploring this with us. Unfortunately, licensing issues make this very difficult to implement. We have decided against it for now, but our librarian has asked us to keep it on our radar as a possibility for the future.

Comments 7/1/10:

  • "HELP! I'm trapped in a dark box and I can't get out!!!"
    • You are freed from the dark box.

Comments 6/17/10:

  • "Back by the computers, it smells like cat urine."
    • While we know it is not cat urine, there are undoubtedly some funky smells that sometimes waft through Free Geek. We have recently hired a cleaning service that comes through twice a week! We also maintain daily cleaning duties on top of this. these steps have really helped things smell rosier.

Comments 6/3/10:

  • "Free Geek is good for your hands and feet to work with everyday. Good idea all the time."

Comments 5/6/10:

  • "People working at front desk/all 'employees' (not volunteers) could wear name tags so we learn their names."
  • "Work bench in evaluation-I have gotten many splinters under my fingernails, fingers, hands, etc. Possible solution: sand down and paint."
    • We are sorry about those splinters! There is the same problem with the Build Room benches. Your comment has spurred us to add new table tops to our list of building improvements. The best kind of surface is being researched currently and we expect to have new improved bench tops in the not too distant future.
  • "Whoever is in charge of keeping volunteers hours is not doing their job. I'm a 1 1/2 year volunteer with almost 200 hours and was not even recognized on the volunteer milestones board. How do you think that makes volunteers who work hard and keep this place running, feel? 'UNAPPRECIATED.' I shouldn't even be having to make this comment. I'm a volunteer who grossly does not appreciate the mere 20% discount. In addition to the diminished discount, I've noticed prices in the thrift store going UP UP UP, a double insult. How do you expect poor people to be able to buy anything?"
    • Once volunteer hours are logged by a volunteer, they are tracked in our database. At the end of every month, the database automatically generates a report to staff about volunteers that have passed a certain milestone. These people are then placed on the Volunteer Milestone board. Therefore, there is a lag time between when a milestone is passed and when it is placed on the board. there is now a sign next the volunteer milestone board that explains this process and why you don't stay on the board for more than a month.
    • The store discount policy was agreed upon after much discussion and a volunteer poll by Free Geek's Community Council, staff, and Board of Directors.

Comments 4/15/10:

  • "My name is ___. I'm from Gresham. I think that if we had a donation center out towards Gresham, it would be very helpful for Free Geek. Not a build center but just an electrical drop off place. My number is ____."
    • left a message thanking them for the comment, and explained the history with trying to establish offsite donation centers, and that at this point it is just not possible.
  • "More vegan dough nuts and cakes. Thank you!"
    • We will try and take different dietary concerns into account when purchasing treats for our wonderful volunteers.
  • "Spam! Would you like SWEET car for LOW, LOW price? click here"

Comments 4/1/10:

  • "We need to support an e-book section to the library. I have thousands (literally) of computer-based/oriented e-books I'd be willing to download if Free Geek would be willing to support such an effort. This includes current magazines i.e. Linux Journal and Ubuntu Magazine."
    • There are some questions about how we would implement this - we will do some research on our end but in the meantime we do know the Multnomah County Library system has a great e-book section.
  • "I took a quite new Monopoly Game DVD out of a scrapped drive (on "table," 3/19/2010). I think that these factory-sealed disks should be DONATED to hospitals and youth centers. They now must buy those and it diverts money from necessities like food and medicines. That's the reason I think the added complications (to be carried out by Receiving I suggest) is well worth it."
    • All games found in drives go to the Classic Gaming Library to determine whether they can be of further use. We shred all other CDs found in drives due to data security concerns.
  • "We Love Y'all"
    • and we love you!
  • "Get more laptops faster!!! !!!for parts!!!"
    • We would love to! Our gizmo flow is controlled by incoming donations and community partnerships, both of which we work to cultivate.
  • "When building/changing specs and areas ADA accessibility needs to be considered all the time (current laptop arrangements of space make it almost impossible for some one in a wheelchair to work)."
    • This is absolutely true, and an unfortunate oversight on our part. We want Free Geek to be a place that's easily accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability. We will work to figure out a different way to make this area work for everyone.
  • "We need a hot tub and a sauna in Adv Test!"
  • "Where is my army of flying monkeys?"
  • "Please provide feedback re: suggestions made - you decide the method since suggestions are usually made anonymously."
    • We have added to the signage on the Comment Box letting people know about this wiki page.
  • A hot tub in Adv test would be a GREAT addition to our testing tool kit."

Comments 3/18/10:

  • "tech support, we love you. please pick up."
    • tech support is working on new layout, job assignments, and maybe another phone line
  • "your shop is really cool - peripherals for less than bus fare. sweet!" - visitor from CA
  • "on build schedule the "day of week" needs to be bolded or capitalized so to be noticeable."
    • build schedule sheet has been improved for easier readability