State of the Onion

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Revision as of 09:20, 15 April 2009 by Matteo (talk | contribs) (→‎Propagation: update)
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This is a list of Free Geek programs and functions organized by the staff committee that is charged with their oversight. We are asking each committee or person responsible to post a brief description of the state of each program.

(For more information on each committee see the Standing Staff Committees page.)

NOTE: When updating a section, please sign your work with the "four squiggles" syntax (~~~~) so we can see when the item was last updated (and by whom). (In theory, reports that are unsigned were created by someone from the committee or responsible for the indicated program before this note was added. RfS 09:06, 26 January 2007 (PST))


Forklift is fixed. We're using it less now. Darryl 10:22, 09 April 2009 (UTC)
We passed the OR state audit with flying colors. Working on getting BAN certification. Darryl 10:22, 09 April 2009 (UTC)
Hardware Donations
Things have settled down in receiving now that we're used to the e-waste legislation and how to handle incoming items and their donors. Darryl 10:22, 09 April 2009 (UTC)
Maintenance and design of the physical plant
The classroom will get a divider. We're working on the plans and getting a grant from the Rebuilding Center for free materials. Darryl 10:22, 09 April 2009 (UTC)
Working on what do with Ken's space as he finishes moving out. Darryl 10:22, 09 April 2009 (UTC)
Building security
We have moved all valuable gizmos away from windows in the store and other locations. We decided not to get blinds for this reason and because of budget tightness. Darryl 10:22, 09 April 2009 (UTC)
General safety
Remember To Play Safe. In the next two months we will be reevaluating our evacuation plans, and get the word out about any changes. Matteo 18:57, 8 January 2009 (UTC)


Policy development
The "policy cleanup on the wiki" project seems to have slowed down significantly.
load balancing of the committees
All of the committees have enough people, but some committees function better than others. It's the intention that the Reuse Committee will be splitting into two separate committees soonish: Sales & Production. The Outreach-y committees/work groups have been altered (again) and now consist of the ad-hoc Events Committee and the following Standing Staff Committees: Inreach= and PR.
liaison with Free Geek Community Council and Free Geek Board of Directors
Developing this page as a snapshot of information hopefully helps keep the council and board better informed about the state of things. Board members are coming to council meetings on a regular basis.
nominations to the various committees
proposals concerning changes to the committee structure itself
We were thinking about ideas expressed in Multi-Collective Free Geek as a starting point for a possibly different committee structure.
accounting and financial oversight
We have moved to monthly reporting of quarterly budgets. We have reorganized the expense categories to mirror the committee structure, have recoded the last three years of income transactions, are working on better income projections based on that. We need to review policies about handling money from time to time. We need to educate the committees on how to spend money when they're not sure how ahead or behind they are vis a vis the budget.


Human resources
We hired a new Front Desk Intern! Please welcome Tim Webster. Tim replaces Renee Harger, who has been with us for the past six months. As Ian leaves the Collective, we are hiring for a Build Program Coordinator in his place. Ali has taken on the role of interim Laptops Coordinator. We are planning a staff collective retreat for May 2009.
volunteer and staff discipline
We have a Volunteer Discipline Policy. There are a few active tickets in our Volunteer Issues queue which is visible to staff only. Active tickets in the queue are reviewed at HR meetings.
procedures regarding theft from Free Geek
This is handled mostly by our Volunteer Discipline Policy. There have been a few incidents in the past that are still open.
mediation between conflicting parties
We do this as it needs to be done. There have been a few formal mediations, but generally we try to get people to talk to each other to head that off. We have set up a rotating ombudsman role to handle complaints from the public.
volunteer and staff scheduling
Volunteer scheduling is done on paper, and works mostly. Tour guides are now scheduled, basic testing is off the schedule, and special volunteering can be written in on the miscellaneous area. Staff scheduling is semi automated but last minute changes eat up time (and money). It would be good to have a program that makes this easier. Staff schedule has changed to http://data/staffsched/ from inside Free Geek (thanks Ryan!).
staff and intern reviews
We have implemented a system whereby staff members get informally reviewed at HR meetings. This way, staff get reviewed more frequently and HR members don't waste time with lengthy reviews. As before, a full review can be called at any time. We will continue with a full review at 6 months for probationary collective members.
health care and benefits packages
Staff collective members have health care (including alternative care such as naturopathy), sick, vacation, and holidays. The health plan was just renewed and costs us approximately $345 per person per month. Some collective members use other plans and are eligible to reimbursed for most of their costs in lieu of taking our plan. We added a retirement benefit, where Free Geek will match up to 3.2% of a collective members salary, providing the collective member make an equal or greater contribution to a 403(b) plan (similar to a 401(k) plan, but for nonprofits). Dependents (one child per staff member) are also included in the health care plan.
employee manual
The Staff Handbook is on the wiki

Knowledge Bees

Beyond Adoption Classes are taught on Wednesdays (4-6pm) and Fridays (12:30-1:30pm or 2:30 for Super Adopter)! Laurel 17:30, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
We're cleaning up the Ubuntu New User FAQ and working on the manual Laurel 17:30, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Technical Support
We have 5 days a week of tech support availability. Laurel 17:30, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
City of Portland Computers
We have a partnership with the City of Portland to get computers into homes of Portland school children. We are working on a plan to carry this out over the summer. More to come! Laurel 17:30, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Free Geek Library
Check it out! It looks just like a library. Laurel 1, Kathies 1 and 2, have been working to get the library software up and running. Until then, we will continue to use the borrow book to check books out. Laurel 20:40, 11 March 2009 (UTC)


Outreach is a staff committee that is open to volunteer participation. We cover a lot of different areas at Free Geek, so to make this more manageable we broke it down into five subcommittees and one over-sight committee called "Outreach", which can be reached by emailing outreach at Each committee has a mailing list that can be joined by signing up at:
FG Events
There are 2 large events on our radar. The first is a large volunteer event in the summer (more like a family day, less (external) community outreach Than a geek Fair). The Second is our 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY. Matteo 16:11, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Inreach is working hard to make sure the front desk runs smoothly. We are also planning a volunteer appreciation event for the end of March. Inreach is extremely excited to welcome our new Front Desk Intern, Tim Webster, as well as our many new Office Volunteer Interns! Say "hi" to new faces at the front desk.Laurel 20:46, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Community Builders
PR will be the contact for our multiple neighborhood cleanups and tabling opportunities around Earth Day.
We Have Formed a Fundrasing Workgroup! they meet officially weekly, and unofficially lots more than that. They are currentley working on creating flow charts and checklists to help sort through the vareious granting oppertunities. Also they are sorting throught the many "Long Term Planning" Documents on the wiki. Matteo 16:11, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
We rolled out the new website! And then rolled it back in! And now it's back out! Check it out. Laurel 20:46, 11 March 2009 (UTC)


Liaison with Free Geek startups (the replication of Free Geek elsewhere)
over the last 2 months we have been evaluating the initial start up Process for Free Geeks and making miner tweaks as needed. We have also been working on defining services that we can all combine to help releave some pressure and spread knowledge faster. Matteo 16:20, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
liaison with GAP volunteers
A list of current GAP sites is on this wiki. Matteo 16:20, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Hardware Grants
We are looking for ways to get more computers to schools, and school kids in the Portland. Matteo 16:20, 15 April 2009 (UTC)


Freekbox, storebox, grantbox production (build)
Build is healthy and strong, emptying all incoming piles and filling all outgoing shelves. Our specs are higher than ever, as we ride along the wake of Moore's law.
Testing maintenance and development
Advanced testing is running under the graces of a few very dedicated volunteers. In order for development and refinement of new procedures, more staff time will need to be allocated. Advanced testing has moved and is slowly rebuilding its infrastructure so it can be more mobile. Basic testing is part of the adoption program and volunteers test keyboards and mice. Matteo 10:24, 11 March 2008 (PDT)
There is a healthy group of build graduates that have joined the Laptop build program. The laptops are dispersed as grants, and sold in the store. The laptop program has moved into its new space, which can accommodate many more people. Koopa 10:25, 6 May 2008 (PDT) K7aay 18:24, 21 May 2008 (PDT)
retail sales
Retail sales has been on a steady increase for the last 5 years. The store is currently staffed full time by staff, and day to day there is usually 2-3 volunteers helping out customers, testing various gizmos, and stocking the shelves. There have been some bumps starting the new year with a new POS system, but over all our accuracy in bookkeeping has never better. The store changed its layout and has a new intern: Jessica Rand.Koopa 10:25, 6 May 2008 (PDT)
Printer refurbishing and sales
The new Printer Archipelago is alive and kicking. We hired Ian to oversee it and to help with production in general. We're testing/refuribishing/recycling all kinds of stuff. The e-plastic harvest will be good this season.Koopa 10:25, 6 May 2008 (PDT)
We are creating a system for better internal reuse of these items. Normal A/V is running awesome. Matteo 14:03, 19 December 2007 (PST)
Online Sales
Ebay sales are presently ongoing under the care of our Online Sales Coordinator. The scope of online sales will include Craigslist. We are now working on setting up a class for those who are interested in learning how to sell on line. Matteo 10:24, 11 March 2008 (PDT)
locate, evaluation, and put oddball hardware into reuse
This is done on a ad-hoc basis. The work is mostly being done by volunteers.
wholesale or bulk sales of to-be-recycled parts
Wholesale (or bulk) sales are surging ahead with new orders coming in. A few more hours of staff time allocated would make it less frenzied.
Legacy Systems
Legacy Systems is now fully integrated into the rebuild program. Matteo 10:24, 11 March 2008 (PDT)
Classic Gaming Library
It's being built! Yess! Laurel 16:05, 30 April 2008 (PDT)
Prebuild has moved to a location closer to receiving creating a better flow for the computers. We have started to get more corporate donations which means more identical systems, most of which are processed more easily.


Liaison with Coders group
The coders group does not function (as a group). Recently, Martin finished a project to rework the entire database to the point of rollout. He continues to add features and hunt bugs, but we are using the new code. We will need to train a core of staff and volunteers to maintain this code during the next year, because Martin has asked for an extended sabbatical for the year 2008. We are trying to reach out to other freegeeks to help maintain the code. -- MW 10:29, 13 March 2007 (PDT) There are currently three to four volunteer coders -- MW 10:48, 11 September 2007 (PDT)
liaison with ASS group
The ASSes meet on the third tuesday of every month. Much system administration work is actually being done by Martin on staff time. -- MW 10:48, 11 September 2007 (PDT)
selection of software commonly used at Free Geek
We are looking at possible replacements for RT. Long ago we selected moodle as software that might work to maintain curriculum and tests for online classes. The Knowledge Bees are still determining whether we will actually use this. Lessdisks has been replaced by LTSP, with a corresponding rework of our system imaging. Gizmo IDs have been ameliorated to only matter among the build teachers and students, and it is planned to "soon" remove the need for any paperwork in the build area. We are looking at Content Management Systems to replace our website. We are currently looking at replacing our current distro with gutsy, as well as changing our current distro installation process. -- MW 10:48, 11 September 2007 (PDT)
computer security
Our ASS group is always looking for ways to improve our security. Nothing particular is bothering us at the moment, and we hope to keep it that way.
technical infrastructure
The ASSes are implementing some technical options that might eventually reduce the physical number of machines needed in there. As it is, it is a bit crowded. We are in the process of updating our systems to have more recent software (debian etch). We also want to increase our bandwidth (or effective bandwidth for our most common tasks). -- MW 10:48, 11 September 2007 (PDT)