25 November 2014

I bought myself one of the 14 Fabulous Open Source Gifts For The Holidays: a LibraryBox, or at least the hardware to DIY one.

LibraryBox v2.0 is a combination of a router (a variety of hardware will work), USB drive, and software that, when combined, give you a small, low powered webserver. The webserver acts like a captive portal, and delivers files that are stored on the USB drive.

To use LibraryBox, you simply connect to the wifi SSID "LibraryBox" and launch a browser. Attempting to visit any webpage will push you to the LibraryBox homepage on the device, which has information about the project, and links on the menu for downloads. You can browse the contents of the Shared folder, and download any files you'd like.

It's the result of a confluence of things today: 3 Lessons For Building Tech for Low-Income Americans and What I Learned From Building An App For Low-Income Americans and an email from the CoW's neighborhood liaison with some essay questions for background on a "city-wide project examining the various strengths and deficiencies of each District in regards to communication at a community level" that made me articulate some of the things about my empire that I've been thinking about.

I'm not entirely sure yet what a LibraryBox can do that the empire might need, and I guess that's why I bought it. Sure, there's some value in being able to serve up hyperlocal news pages (since the cadre of volunteers that deliver the paper newsletter are getting too old to climb deteriorating porches), but what I really want is a community BBS, a mesh network, something more interactive.

Also, I'm a sucker for little magic boxes.

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