Member Meeting Minutes for January 6, 2010

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  • State of the Union
  • Door update
  • Heat update
  • Electrical update
  • January events
  • January classes
  • Make: Pittsburgh
  • Elections
  • Miscellaneous

Minutes by Agenda Topic

Attendees: Val, Andy, Matt M., Jon, Matt S., Marty, Doug, Jim, Bonnie, Forest, Bill, Lori, Amy, Isaac

State of the Union

  • Welcome new members
    • Val!
  • The hackerspace is strong!
    • Financials are good
    • Membership is stable around 20-25 members
    • Tax prep is underway
    • No update on Duquesne Law Clinic status

Door update

  • Door is almost ready
  • Code is done
  • Matt M. will send a message when it's ready
  • The plan is to put the door mechanism up but not controlling the door at first
    • Members should badge in to stress test the build
    • Next month we'll have an RFID hacking workshop :)

Heat update

  • It's cold
  • Leave the heater on full bore all the time
  • The landlord is actively pursuing the heating situation
    • Money from PCKIZ
    • Contingent on 501(c)(3) status

Electrical update

  • Matt M. is heading the electrical team
  • He'll put up a blog post tonight
  • We'll probably fund this ourselves
    • We do currently pay our own electric bill
  • Volunteers are desired!
    • We need more power!

January events

  • This Friday: Bill from the PCKIZ
  • Mondays are back on
    • Ham radio study sessions Monday at 7
    • Ruby study sessions Monday at 8
    • More study sessions are always better; feel free to pick a night and lead one
  • Next Friday: Derrick is hosting a railroad communications presentation
    • Topics will include how you can listen in on trackside communications
  • Sunday the 17th is our next members meeting
  • Tuesday the 19th is DevHouse @ HackPittsburgh
  • Friday the 22nd is Powerpoint Karaoke, hosted by Derrick
  • Friday the 29th will be a synth night (decided tonight!)
    • We'll have kits for sale here
    • Andy to start a forum post to determine interest

January classes

  • Synth night
  • There is talk of a sensors class
  • A LilyPad class is being put together
  • Discussion about class revenues and stocking backup parts, etcetera

Make: Pittsburgh

  • We are going to start a Make: Pittsburgh group
  • It's an enthusiast group
  • It meets once a month
  • It's shorter, and more noncommittal
    • Not membership-based
    • Presentations
    • Talks about cool stuff
  • Presenters and an activity are planned already
    • Web domains are aqcuired
  • Tell everybody you know!!!
  • The hope is that it'll bring members in to HackPittsburgh
    • Events get publicized on Make blogs
    • These are big draws in other cities
    • This may allow a small Pittsburgh-based Maker Faire


  • PCKIZ director will be at the space on Friday
  • He'll discuss what the PCKIZ does
    • Their goal is to bring business to Uptown and the Hill
    • They have money for events and advertisting
  • We're working with them to see if we can find a mutually-beneficial relationship
    • Yes, including funding
  • So far they seem to be favoriable to what we're doing


  • The council's term is expiring
    • Nominations are open from now until Saturday the 16th
    • Nominations will be announced on Sunday the 17th
    • Elections will be Wednesday, February 3
    • If you are interested in running, email your intent to
  • Proposal to reduce the council from 5 to 3
    • Discussion
    • We'll put this to a vote on Sunday the 17th


  • Alternate locations were discussed
  • Timesharing the space was discussed
  • Co-working was discussed
  • Group orders with Asylum were discussed
  • Tie-ins with Asylum were discussed
    • Amy volunteers to be the Coffee Czar
    • Motion passes council vote 5-0
  • Whiteboards!

Volunteer Hours

  • Moving from a finanical incentive system to a social/culture system was discussed
  • Jim spoke on the potential for the financial incentive to be a barrier to new entry
  • Jim discussed some of his frustrations as a "casual member"
  • Jim believes that removing the "pay penalty" may actually encourage people to help
    • You might not be motivated since you can buy out with a minimal cost
    • You might be motivated to help if it's a "moral obligation"
  • Bonnie observed that the first thing potential new members see is the $60 cost
  • Bonnie postulated that prospective new members see this as a "penalty"
  • A few online discussions were held online today
  • Matt S. feels that this is potentially worth trying
    • We still all need to pitch in
    • We want that to be part of the culture
  • The proposal is that dues become $30, period
  • Members will be encouraged to and expected to help out with the day-to-days (trash, etc)

Action Items


  • Get a forum post started for synth night