Tech Ops Meeting Minutes 2/29/12

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Tech Ops Meeting Minutes


  • Jake (minutes)
  • Darrell (faciltiation)
  • Dana
  • Lippe
  • Pea
  • Ted
  • Jason
  • Sati
  • Frank
  • Jenny



  • Earth Summit (Ted): Still trying to get initial critical mass to get it off the ground. Been working on bringing email groups into the site as content. Creating filters to convert google groups to forums. Have not yet gotten to the stage of checking with groups first. Aiming to launch by spring solstice on March 20th and be public for Earth Day.
  • (Lippe): I now have access to the dev servers. I won’t be able to be helpful on, but I will focus on news and wiki. We got a contact who is interested in theming a front-end too, plus Liza.
  • The Commons: I have keys to The Commons now. FGA work days will be there on Wednesdays. The space that is being built out for Tech Ops use is less than a week away from being complete. It will not be 100% secure (walls end below ceiling) and we have to talk about keys, access, etc. It is a $600/month space in terms of quid-pro-quo value, so we need to start giving back.
  • I have changed it to digest because it is so full of garbage. Let’s make this an agenda item.
  • Analytics (Dana): its up and usable. it is tracking some subdomains. Shawn is lead on this.
  • Lists (Dana): is up and usable. It is not free. We are paying for it. Drew, Shawn, and Devin are lead on this.
  • InterOcc (Dana): We have put together a global announcement list from GA to GA. InterOcc will be putting out this via their committees of correspondence.
  • Spring of Code (Dana): Patricia will attend call.
  • Civi (Dana): Is up and running. Will be used soon for project list and newsletter.
  • (Dana): It’s now up. It will show how much awesome stuff we’re doing and how many awesome people/collaborations we’re working with.
  • (Jake): It is being built and run by our friendly neighborhood citizen journalists. There may be cross-posting with
  • Personal Travel/Stepping Back (Jake): I’m outta here. Stepping back for most of this spring as I travel the world for work. Peace out, sucka’s!
  • (Pea): Will now be known internally as “streetnet”. The homepage is pretty close to done. The rest of the pages are being built out as well. The backend is there and ready for content. We need to work out who the content team is going to be. Maybe this could be linked with the newsletter team? We need to have the team begin testing the workflow. People need to be trained. This should all be happening in a less behind-the-scenes way since the site and its content are closely related. We should be able to launch within the next TWO WEEKS! I sent out notes from the last development meeting. There is a link to the staging environment. We need to figure out which Livestream we’re going to feature.
  • Laptops (Pea): We only have 2 out of the 4 networks at The Commons. Where are the other two? There is also a Toshiba netback without a power cable and 2 older Dells. Out of the two Acers we have, both freeze on boot, even after a clean Ubuntu install. Neither of them boots up. Wouldn’t even run from a live thumb drive. Trying to get in touch with Phil about it.
  • Server Allocation (Pea): Dan made updates to the server catalog, as did Ed, on the wiki. Info is not complete. I created a new diagram which shows this. One of the 2 new serves is called “db1” and this will house streetnet and We need to develop a deployment plan for streetnet.
  • Occupymap (Virtual Tom): There’s now a full nation-wide tactical communication dev effort underway coordinated by March Hare collective in SF.   I’m also working with Marisa Holmes to add new features for promotion and storytelling.  Via our classifieds posting, I’ve trained one new site moderator, Tracy Lubbhusen from Indiana, who is involved with a lot of Interocc coordination.
  • servers (Virtual Tom): I’ll be working on a new database dump and allocating of web2 while this meeting is happening.
  • Hackers Town Hall (Virtual Tom): Went to the Hackers Town Hall at the “other” General Assembly on Monday (  Met with a few folks who were all ‘what’s up with occupy these days’ and met with some people from Startup Bus who really want to get somebody from OWS Tech on the startup bus (It’s a bus trip to SXSW where you envision and build some kind of technology product during the 4 day road trip – I know some people thru tech meetups who went in years’ past and it would be a good outreach opportunity for anyone who wants to take a last minute trip to sxsw in austin next week).  Probably the most actionable thing that came out of the meeting was some interesting ideas on how to use etherpad as a CMS (turns out that etherpad API + a little jquery makes it super easy to pull etherpad content into an html template.  I’ll have a prototype of this up by Sunday)


  • MetroCard rules
    • Pea says the distribution method changed after the last SC. She thinks the Point Person is supposed to get them and distribute them to the Working Group. Ravi is our Point Person.
    • Let’s ask Ravi to report-back to the group about how this works now.
  • SIS Hardware
    • Can SIS have a G4 Tower and monitor?
      • Which one?
      • Lippe will do an inventory of what is in his Studio. Might not do all serials, but will at least be a tally.
      • We will give SIS: power cord, tower, monitor, keyboard, mouse, VGA cable, monitor power cable.
      • CONSENSUS!
  • Calendaring
    • MayFirst calendar is a good idea.
    • Darrell: I talked to them. The idea is to sync up activist groups in NYC since there are so many and they seem to not know what each other are doing.
    • Lippe: It’s a drupal 6 install with a calendar to which people can add events. They get moderated and vetted.
    • Lippe: How do we avoid hierarchy of what gets highlighted, etc? We could use “teams” so you subscribe to a specific team and let users pick which teams are important to them.
    • Dana: What is this? Is it on one of our websites?
    • Jake: Why would we do something someone is already doing?
    • Darrell: 1) We should post our stuff on a more widely-viewed calendar and 2) if we put something on our sites, people would visit them more. Good outreach opportunity.
    • Jake: Hell no, if you ask me.
    • Lippe: Calendars are hard. Maybe we should let nycal handle it all.
    • Darrell: I think we should continue this conversation with
    • Jake: I will email patrick to see if he can swap it to our calendar. or just make a link.
    • Sati: Why can’t we put an entry field under the calendar?
    • Patricia: The issue is that if you allow people to self-submit, there are many issues.
    • Sati: The NYTimes can do it. Why can’t we?
    • Pea: They have resources to do it.
    • Sati: I could do it.
    • Dana: Build a calendar team with 3 people. Bring them back.
  • Email List
    • Lippe: I need to kvetch. I have the list on digest. The discussion of Timebank…. The list is not informative. My perception is that it should be clear whether it is a discussion list or an informational list. IMO, it should be simple questions and answers, not discussions. Beyond that, there is certainly some amount of ad-hominum. Now that we’ve reached the point of questioning whether someone belongs, we’ve gone too far.
    • Dana: I saw this as a way to communicate internally quickly.
    • Darrell: I don’t know if the question of who should be on the list is completely irrelevant. It’s about relationships. Jill seems like she would be a client, not on the list.
    • Pea: We don’t have product owners or clients.
    • Pea: The intention was this it is for people who are very active within Tech Ops.
    • Jake: It was for a quick, immediate way to communicate with core members. How do we solve this?
    • Jason: I’ve been away for the past month. After a week of not really going to the computer, it was so backed up that I didn’t even attempt to do it. Maybe we should recommend new people do not subscribe to emails.
    • Lippe: that would reduce its utility.
    • Pea: I like the idea, but I often don’t get replies when I want them.
    • Lippe: I just posted something to the FGA and the Tech Ops list, but I blind CC’ed.
    • Jake: How do we change peoples’ culture of using the list?
    • Dana: You can have conversations on the list which can’t happen otherwise.
    • Jake: If we had project lists, that might help.
    • Lippe: What about the Nan conversation?
    • Darrell: Without being on the list, its hard to be involved and know whats going on.
    • Lippe: Keep it 100% Tech Ops related.
    • Jason: Sub-lists?
    • Pea: You can ignore threads you’re not interested in.
    • Darrell: Yeah. That’s what I do. We could also start a conversation about what is or is not appropriate for the list.
    • Pea: I’m sick of policies. Let’s just agree.
    • Jake: let’s just figure it out right now together.
    • Lippe: It doesn’t take a lot of time to ignore stuff, but I like to have lists where its 90% high value or 90% low value. Let’s use the IWG for stuff like this.
    • What is this list?
      • This is a way for us to communicate within the core group of heavily-involved Tech Ops members in NYC. It is for people who are often at real life Tech Ops meetings and participate in the work of Tech Ops on a regular and dedicated basis. Conversations on the list should be grounded, relevant, and concise.

      Things to use the list for:

      • Time-Sensitive stuff (i.e. Where can we have the meeting tonight?)
      • Virtual Report-Backs (i.e. OccupyMap is going to change the world and redefine direct action)
      • The OWS process tends to turn concrete communication into philosophical discussion, so we recognize that this sort of thing is more or less inevitable on the list, just as it is in real meetings, but lets try to keep it as concise as possible.
      • Consistent linear conversations. If you’re going to veer, change the subject line.

      Things to not use this list for:

      • Cool news or events or stories or ideas that others “might find interesting”. Keep these on IWG, or FLOSoutions, the forum, reddit, or somewhere else.
      • Purely philosophical or ideological movement-based conversations. If there is nothing that is concretely relevant to Tech Ops decision making, let’s move the discussion somewhere else, especially a more public forum.
      • Job listings outside the movement.
      • Issues related entirely to one specific project and only affecting a small group of people.
      • Issues related to other working groups besides Tech Ops.

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