OPS open device lab at From the front

Me, the brilliant Sandro (aka OPS) and From the Front setup a temporary Open Device Lab (ODL) at the Temple of DOM. It was cool and with this article we’re gonna try to summarise all that happen.

Kick off

Everything started from the conference organisers: couple weeks before the conference Luca from FtF staff came into OPS place and asked us if we were interested in holding a device lab at the conference. We answered this way more or less:

Luca sent us this article from Jay Meissner (Jay is the godfather behind opendevicelab.com) as a reference to guide us through the process. The article is so full of information and it really is THE guide to bring a device lab at a conference.
Referring to that article, here a list of things we did to make it and then other topic specific to our lab.

How did it go

Following Jay’s “checklist for a conference ODL”, we acted this way:

Exhibition space

FTF gave us a dedicated room with two tables. It was perfect for the ODL since people knew what it was, could pop by ad stay there to see what was going on, make some chatting etc.
Two tables were enough to hold the device stand and a computer used to set the url to test.


https://twitter.com/franbertine/status/512520151913472000

For the device stand, since we had no budget for it and we would like to use it on the wall in our studio after the conference, we’ve decided to build our own.
We have no documentation for it but more or less we’ve followed the guide written by Viljamis.

Ghostlab was installed on the computer and it was used to synchronise all the devices at once (scroll down for specs).

Power supply and WiFi

We had a Cambrionix 16 port kindly provided by Jay plus couple power strips.
FtF provided also a dedicated WiFi that worked most of the time. We had some peak of connections so it wasn’t always stable but the overall experience was fine.

Devices

We brought all our devices but everything became way more interesting since Jay sent us a box full of devices to be used during the conference. There was such unusual device and some of them were just fantastic (like the Palm/HP Pre 3. Awesome mobile). Plus we had a couple of people donating their devices as test devices during the conference time and a couple that made permanent donation to the ODL as well (Many thanks @Raibaz and @jsdotcr, we love you).

Trustworthy check-in/-out-process, security

Since we were in an theater full of people and we were holding something like 30 devices (between our and Jays’s) plus the temporary donations, we considered security a serious thing.
We had a camera system always on filming the ODL, always someone (between staff, volunteers an me) physically in the device lab room and we arranged the device stand in a way so people could only look at devices without touching them.
About donations, we had also labels to be placed behind the device and on the guy who donated but truth to be told, donation were so few that we were able to manage them without any checkin/out process.

Communication

We handled communication in the most traditional way: talking. The staff and myself were there most of the time and we were glad to answer question, telling info and generally sharing all we could share.

People

A huge thank you to all who have participated in the setting up and in the mantaining of the temporary ODL, particularly to the nice guys of FtF, all the volunteers, Jay Messner who sent us the box full of devices and chargers, my father that built the device stands and finally Sandro who designed the rollup. Big thanks and big bravo to them.

Can I see my website there?

Last thing: here’s the complete list of all website loaded during the conference time in bare html. Last thank you to all those who passed by.

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