State of the Onion

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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))

Action

Recycling
We passed BAN audit and are now an "e-steward".
We have been pretty slammed with material to work on, have to set up areas to store systems until we're ready to dismantle them. Also lots of smaller items, especially keyboards are accumulating.
Our Tuesday group from Central City Concern is know as our "Power Group", only dust is left behind when they're done.
Prices for commodities are going up somewhat, especially gold bearing is on the upswing again. We'll see how long this lasts.
We'll be moving into what was Ken's space soon. McGuire has fixed drywall and painted that big room. They'll be fixing up the middle (smaller room) next. This room, aka the escape hatch, may eventually become the beancounting/bookkeeping room.
Forklift Safety - we ran a "forklift rodeo" in December 20009 to make sure everyone knows and follows safety guidelines when operating the forklift.
Hardware Donations
We have several new volunteer interns working in Hardware Donations! They have been shaping up Basic Testing. Laurel 18:00, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Maintenance and design of the physical plant
UPCOMING PLANS
Phase 1: The laptop area will have a new 'tank' near the hallway that divides the classroom from laptops.
Phase 2: The thrift store's storage area will be shifted toward MacBuild. The storage area will remain the same size, just moved over. This will give Tech Support more space, and make the current tank a bit smaller.
Build Area Adjustment: Build wants some workstations that use a lower work surface that would be accessible to shorter folks and those in wheelchairs.
Building security
Technocrats have taken on installing cameras near exits in the store, warehouse, etc.
General safety
Remember To Play Safe. Lift with your knees! Ask for help! Keep walkways free of clutter and trip hazards!

C7

Policy development
The "policy cleanup on the wiki" project is now in HR's basket.
load balancing of the committees
Some of the committees do not have enough people, and some committees function better than others.
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
huh?
proposals concerning changes to the committee structure itself
We had been thinking about ideas expressed in Multi-Collective Free Geek as a starting point for a possibly different committee structure. The conversation is up in the air right now.
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.

HR

Human resources
The Non-Profit Apprentice (NPA) Committee has been meeting regularly and taking on their own projects such as: Girls2Geeks, communication tools in the Receiving area, and walk-in policies in Pre-Build. They have also created a new sandwich board message to discourage people from dumping their electronics when we are closed.
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. We are currently brainstorming ideas for a formal grievance policy and related procedures.
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 have set up a rotating ombudsman role to handle complaints from the public. There have been a few formal mediations between coworkers: sometimes with an in-house mediator and sometimes with a third party, professional mediator. Generally, we try to get people to talk to each other to head that off.
staff scheduling
We are dealing with the end of the onslaught of summer vacations and scheduling around them. Things are less hectic right now.
staff
We have embarked on a tight schedule for reviews in order to make sure that they are done in a timely manner. Reviews should now be posted on a Wednesday and the deadline for feedback is the second Saturday after the post. We are also working on reviews for all workers at Free Geek, and have already implemented inviting all paid workers to participate in a review (with a choice to opt out for lack of interaction with the reviewee).
health care and benefits packages
Staff collective members and committed non-collective members have health care (including alternative care such as naturopathy, dental, and vision), sick, vacation, and holidays. The health plan was just renewed and costs us approximately $395 per person per month. We also have a "high" plan that collective members may elect. If someone elects the high option, they pay an additional $78.70/month for additional benefits. In addition to the "high" option, staff may now choose a POS plan to access providers outside the Kaiser network. Staff members that choose the POS plan pay an additional $111 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. It is out of date, but we are working on bringing it up to date, albeit a little slower than we would like.

Education

(the committee formerly known as Knowledge Bees)

Education
We are currently offering 2 series classes: Linux and how it works (2-part)and OpenOffice Word Processor (4-part)! We continue to offer a wide array of one-time classes each week - on how to use Gimp to how to burn CDs. We're also working on redesigning the classroom and the museum within it. There's also a python class in the works. Luiz 17:46, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Documentation
We are working on new documentation for Lucid Lynx, and continue to update our Ubuntu New User FAQ. Laurel 01:49, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
We are also working on making the Build program more accessible to visually impaired volunteers. Meredith
Technical Support
We now have techs scheduled from 12 to 6 Tuesday through Saturday. Luiz Sudbrack and Sophia Garcia are working hard in Tech Support, coordinating several volunteer interns and taking care of our volunteers and their computers! Luiz 17:46, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
City of Portland Computers
Our program, Plug into Portland, is off to a good start! We sent a letter to all schools that classify as low-income within the City of Portland, offering a free computer to any K-12 student that had completed 24 hours of volunteer work in the past year. In order to get the computer, students have to fill out this application (http://www.freegeek.org/plugintoportland) and attend a computer class at Free Geek. We have a goal to give away 65 computers through this program in the summer of 2010. Laurel 20:08, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Free Geek Library
Library is currently in limbo. There are no staffing hours to man triaging of incoming books and to keep it tidy. We will in the interim explore volunteer involvement to deal with these tasks.
Coming Up
Free Geek will be partnering with Girl Scouts of Oregon & Southwest Washington in the pilot program Girls2Geeks geared towards getting young women working with computers! This is a 2-day event slated to happen in mid-October. Meredith
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. We are still using the borrow book to check books out. We have a beautiful new library sign! Laurel 17:34, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Coming Up
Free Geek will be partnering with Girl Scouts of Oregon & Southwest Washington in the pilot program Girls2Geeks geared towards getting young women working with computers! This is a 2-day event slated to happen in mid-October. Meredith

Inreach

Inreach is working hard to make sure the front desk runs smoothly. We are also working on upping our volunteer appreciation ways and coming up with great new methods for thanking our wonderful volunteers. Inreach is almost ready to implement our new Volunteer Application, Volunteer Orientation Packet, Build Program Info sheet and Adoption Program Info sheet.

PR

In order to attend to tasks more efficiently, the PR Committee appointed liasons for various PR capacities of the organization. You can see those here.

Media Outreach & Relations
We developed an email list of all of our media contacts for convenient distribution of press releases. We write press releases occasionally.
Ads & Marketing
We have taken out some ads in the Mercury, Bike Portland, etc. to advertise the 10th Anniversary Celebration.
Free Geek website
We roll out a new version of the website on 9/17/10!
Tabling Events and Networking with other organizations
Free Geek is frequently invited to tabling and speaking events, and we attend most of these. Free Geek remains a member of the Association of Oregon Recyclers. We are slowly refining our outreach materials.

Events

FG Events
The 10th Anniversary Celebration is fast approaching! There will be a Junk to Funk fashion show, live music, and SCRAP will have a little table for reused crafts. Tickets are $10 and 100% of ticket sales go to Free Geek.

Fundraising

This committee lasted for about 2 months. Now 2 volunteers are working on some stuff and the committee has been dissolved.

Propagation

Liaison with Free Geek startups (the replication of Free Geek elsewhere)
Free Geek Twin Cities opened its doors on Saturday, October 17, and received good press coverage. Dave visited Free Geek Vancouver, and we will be hosting guests from FGV here in the near future. RfS 00:56, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
liaison with GAP volunteers
A list of current GAP sites is on this wiki. A Chance of Rain is being sold, so we will be looking for a replacement site.
Hardware Grants
Now being overseen by RaD committee. RfS 00:56, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Production (Reuse Programs)

Build Program
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. We also are starting to prepare for the inevitable integration of laptops into Build proper in the not-so-distant future.Build is getting more organized every day and we now have 2 build stations made for wheelchairs and sit-down building. We upgraded to Lucid Lynx 10.04 on Saturday, August 14th. Build teacher trainings happen regularly to improve the educational experience for Build volunteers.
Testing maintenance and development
Advanced Testing is doing well with strong volunteer coverage and continues to be an extremely popular choice for volunteer internships. Advanced Testing training procedures and organization keep getting better and better, including a tally to track gizmos that are not in the database. Monthly meetings with volunteers have also been instituted to figure out how the area can run better, and also working on upgrading to Lucid. Basic testing is part of the adoption program and volunteers test keyboards, mice and speakers behind the receiving area.
Laptop Build
Build graduates continue to join the popular Laptop Build program. The laptops are dispersed as grants and sold in the store. There are now 9 laptop classes per week and laptop production has ramped way, way up. Soon there will be 10 classes per week! We are also starting to gear up for integration of laptops into Build proper - this will be a welcome development, as we have a lot of donated laptops to work through.
Macintosh Build
Macintosh Build production has fluctuated depending on the numbers and knowledge of some hardworking volunteers. We are currently working on creating a self-sustainable system that would make it easier for volunteers to move on to Mac Build and produce rebuilt Macs at a swifter pace. Network install and hard drive wiping continues to become more efficient, as does the flow of Macs out to the store and through grants. Caitlin has recently moved more into Mac Build.
Printer refurbishing
Printer refurbishment and recycling remain under the purview of the Warehouse Masters. The numbers of incoming printers and number of printers that are reused is being tallied now so that we can keep better track of flow in this area. Renee has been working in Printerland as well, which has been great.
Classic Gaming Library
It exists and some folks actually volunteer in there, but mostly stuff just collects (valuable) dust.
Prebuild
Prebuild went from drowning in systems to completely running out now and again. We continue to keep our complicated instructions and flow charts up to date. We have also retooled our Hardware ID station to be more educational for incoming volunteers.
Server Build
Server build has been running on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month (or more), producing server-grade hardware for infrastructure, the thrift store and grants. There is now a waitlist in Build for volunteers hoping to move into this popular post-Build area.
Hardware Grants
Hardware Grants has come under the purview of Production since RAD was disbanded and has also recently become a Post-Build option which builders can apply for. Sophia coordinates the volunteers and workers who help to shepherd grants through our system to get great reused computers out to folks who need them, and Caitlin also works in HWG. Go Caitlin & Sophia!

Sales

The store has exploded in terms of foot traffic since the economy has gone south. Its not uncommon to see 20 people at a time now, and there are rarely times when it is empty. On a recent Saturday, the store sold more than 50% more than the last geek fair (!). Production areas have really ramped up to get a wider range of tested gizmos in the store, which has helped. Additionally, Free Geek has been more active in soliciting larger donations, increasing the amount of good stuff. Unfortunately, many donors still remove hard drives from computers, so there is a persistent shortage of those goods. Tony and Luiz are working on a merit badge system of volunteer training and retention and there are currently a half dozen volunteer interns helping out. Oh, and it looks more and more like a store. Luiz 21:56, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Online Sales
Right now production needs and other, non-sales obligations have been keeping the Online Coord. from handling many sales. We're exploring an idea to create a new commission-based position in online sales on an exploratory basis. Check out the Online Sales Contractor Proposal for details. Discussion is on council list.
Wholesale (or bulk) sales are largely gone excepting printers and phone equipment.

Technocrats

Technocrats meet on the second and fourth saturdays of each month.

Liaison with Coders group
Currently Ryan Niebur is our chief coder and has made many improvements to the database and is working on more.
liaison with ASS group
The ASSes meet on the first and third saturdays of each month. Currently the point person for system administration is Vagrant, who does much of the actual work as well.
Selection of software commonly used at Free Geek
The website was recently changed to use WordPress and we will probably see an upgrade to that soon. We are looking at some software to improve processes, such as Lime Survey for surveys.
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. (Hear the sound of fingers crossing.)
Technical infrastructure
We recently changed our internet and phone system to Integra. We also have changed the credit card machines to ones that use ethernet, relieving the congestion between tech support and the store for use of the analog phone line.
Most servers are server-grade rackmountable hardware. Vagrant 23:08, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
Nearly all servers are running Debian's current stable distribution, Lenny. Vagrant 23:08, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
Cabling parties
On the 2nd sunday of every month, volunteers have been running new network cables and documenting where they go. Vagrant 22:48, 16 February 2010 (UTC)