Playa Interwebz. Huh?

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fresh
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Playa Interwebz. Huh?

Post by fresh » Thu Sep 11, 2014 8:43 pm

Not sure where this belongs, but here is the email I sent to the brc-wifi email group. Only got one response. Curious for what eplayans might think.... if you want to skip the techical bs, start at experience pt II. It is a bit wordy. :oops:

2014 wifi experience

First off, thanks all on the wifi team for doing what you do and making it happen on the playa.   You all deserve a big dusty hug and giant drink with lots of ice.

So here is my experience...

This was the second year that I set up a wifi connection in our camp, Black Rock Roller Disco, prominently located on the esplanade and 7:30.  Last year it worked great except for my SOHO linksys AP failed at some point and the backup I used had a secured network.  This unit was particularly twitchy when trying to access the web utility and I was NOT wasting more than the half hour that I did trying to fix it.  My solution was to create a sign with the SSID and passkey and made sure my camp and my neighbors knew about it.  It was what it was and it worked great!!

So back to this year...  Since I was on a long trip returning just two weeks before the burn, I had little time to prep for the burn, but I still was bring the wifi setup.  I did buy an Ubiquiti UniFi access point after reading posts about it on the list.  After getting it delivered, I realized it was not the outdoor model, but the indoor disk shaped model.  I did configure the AP through the UniFi controller and setup an open access SSID, 'Roller Disco' that had a 2 hour DHCP lease one night prior to leaving for the playa.  I did not get onto the controller setup by pEEf(?).  I saw emails talking about it, but I had no time to read through them in order to set it up.  I also did not notice the request to switch the access point to lower power, so I check and it was set to 'auto'.  I just went back to the blackrockwifi.net site and do see it mentioned towards the bottom of the distribution page, but unfortunately it was not LOUD ENOUGH for this rush job to see.  What I did make sure was to not mount it high, I ended up taping it about 5 feet off the ground on the outside of a box truck facing out towards the man in a 2 gallon ziplock (my way of making it an outdoor AP).  The nanobridge was mounted to the top of the box truck to solar panel mounts.  Being less than a 1/4 mile from the NOC tower, signal strength was of little issue as it was last year.  Please excuse me if any of this caused issues with network operations, it was not any of my intent to cause issues and hopefully I was not one of those offenders. 
So I did plug in the equipment on I believe Sunday (maybe Saturday?).  It connected just fine after i reset the Nanobridge to default settings (it still had config from last years burn).  I did get immediately to the registration page and I did wait to register.  I did love, 'wait 10 minutes and if it does not work WAIT LONGER'.  I did wait longer and over the next hour had no luck.  I closed the pc and went about other things since I refuse to bang my head on tech stuff at the burn.   I did return to it a few hours later and my registration worked!!!  Not sure the magic pill, but I had little issues with the autoconfig.  Sure enough from there we had running wifi open service.  As long as it was plugged in....

That leads to wifi experience part II. 

Since I volunteered at Playa Info on Monday, I was answering questions as an Oracle and continually asked about wifi.  I was proud of having it, so I told them come to roller disco.  I then put it on the white board (BIG MISTAKE).   Once the power grid came back online, I spent the next three hours flirting with electrocution and helping get the PI directory computer banks up and running.  I get back to camp to find a slew of people sitting in under our shade structure eyes glued to their tablets/phones.  A few people complained about the impersonal nature of most of these 'participants'.  I did correct myself on Tuesday and removed the wifi advertisement from the whiteboard, but the word was out about our wifi amongst the oracles.  Not sure if it was through PI or just having an open network on the esplanade that drove in the masses.  The number of people who came to only use the wifi and not to do one of the two things are camp does, ROLL or DISCO, bother a few of our veteran campers.  It bugged me too.  Personally I love to not use technology while I am out on the playa.  i don't need it.  I am a crusty old burner who does not see why we cannot disconnect for one week.  I set this up just because I read about it last year and had a NanoStation sitting on my desk (for which i still ended up buying a nanobridge) and knew it would be beneficial to some. So my friend who was disturbed, got me going and got me upset about the internets effect on our camp dynamic.   Thus Thursday afternoon I declared our camp an internet free zone and I unplugged the access point.    Fuck it, it is burning man, get off your ass and get out on the playa!!!!  It was disturbing the amount of people asking about it, even in my own camp!!!   The one power Nazi with the giant solar trailer finally offered to let me use his power if i needed (i didn't but could have used it last year) to get it back online.   I did not care, fuck it it is burning man go see some art.  

Maybe i was wrong in my 'luddite' thoughts, but to be honest people were infringing on our camp space without even conversing with the camp members, they just needed their internet fix.   I will fast forward to that night.  I was watching camp while the mass of people were at the Vegas Core burn.  I had a frantic girl come up to me asking about the internet.  I kept saying 'it is burning man, you do not need the internet'.  She was quite persistent saying she needed to connect for work and wondering why it was not working.  She had a foreign accent.  She seemed familiar.  I asked her name, she replied 'Ria', and I immediately knew her.  She was one of the few who I did converse with me earlier in the week.  She was so very nice the previous day that I said, just for you I will turn it back on.   I brought her and her boyfriend back to my 'central ops' and plugged back in the AP.  She was so happy.  Turns out she works in some sort of crisis management and took vacation time, but did not say she where she was going.  This was the last time that she needed to check email to ensure there were no crisis.  She so happy.   I even gave her a little flashlight since she had no light, but her boyfriend had the brightest headlamp ever that I dubbed his playa name 'High Beam'.  Really what happens when he loses you???  I left the internet on from then on.  The next day I had an idea to make the mostly unused dome at the front of our camp the 'Wifi Dome'. Anyone who came by to use the internet was told we prefer them to sit over at the dome if they were going to stare at screens.  They were more than welcome to come ROLL, DISCO, or BOTH, but take the smartphone to the wifi dome.  It was a good detente. 


 In reflection, it was a great thing to have the internet.  Most of my campmates thanked me for bringing wifi.  We had one couple who could communicate to their months old infant who was a 'burner in the oven' last year.  Many others were able to take care of the couple of pressing work issues.  Our camp leader was able to communicate with other campers especially with the Monday storm.  Mant just could not stay away from FaceCrack.  I personally did one post on FB, 'Burningman 2014. Meh.' I scanned my email every other day with nothing to respond to, my coworkers know better.  I did play a few rounds of scrabble where I was hoping to beat my usual nemesis whose rv was 20 feet from my van (i beat him beat not on playa!) and sending messages to those who could not make it.   Of all things I could not locate was my laptop charger.  The laptop died at some point and I never turned on the backup laptop...  Thus i never had the UniFi controller running.  As I did little homework beforehand, I thought I could get statistics from the device post-playa, little did i know that I needed a controller running to capture such info.   Oh well, I was curious to see the amount  of clients I had connect to my network and the data used, but such is life. Not sure if NOC has any information on AP usage?  Sorry for the lengthy story, but felt it should be told.....fresh.
"All the worlds indeed a stage and we are merely players, performers and portrayers.
Each another's audience inside the gilded cage." - N. Peart
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some seeing eye
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Re: Playa Interwebz. Huh?

Post by some seeing eye » Thu Sep 11, 2014 8:58 pm

I would say that that group is an insider group with a narrow agenda which could be broadened. They discuss a very important infrastructure for the event. List is hosted at bm but I do not know who moderator is.
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Re: Playa Interwebz. Huh?

Post by otakup0pe » Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:04 pm

Was a great writeup. I only had my unifi kit working for a hot minute mid event week. Definitely going to set it up next year and hopefully aim at the NOC better heh.

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Re: Playa Interwebz. Huh?

Post by maladroit » Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:11 pm

In 2012, I didn't do anything so ambitious as actually providing wifi. I did, however, provide the brief illusion of wifi using an old WRT54G with some tweaks to the firmware: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/610802/Troll-fi.mp4

Over 6000 attempts were logged...

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Re: Playa Interwebz. Huh?

Post by fresh » Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:21 pm

maladroit wrote:In 2012, I didn't do anything so ambitious as actually providing wifi. I did, however, provide the brief illusion of wifi using an old WRT54G with some tweaks to the firmware: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/610802/Troll-fi.mp4

Over 6000 attempts were logged...
Classic!!
"All the worlds indeed a stage and we are merely players, performers and portrayers.
Each another's audience inside the gilded cage." - N. Peart
"SAFETY THIRD" - Some idiot

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Re: Playa Interwebz. Huh?

Post by fresh » Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:26 pm

otakup0pe wrote:Was a great writeup. I only had my unifi kit working for a hot minute mid event week. Definitely going to set it up next year and hopefully aim at the NOC better heh.
Thanks otak. I think I was lucky to connect early since I guess things got fubar after power outage. Seems like many had problems with connecting that I would have just stopped trying.
some seeing eye wrote:I would say that that group is an insider group with a narrow agenda which could be broadened. They discuss a very important infrastructure for the event. List is hosted at bm but I do not know who moderator is.
I am just a occasional gawker to that group. Was surprised that my lengthy techinal story and legitimate debate did not get the attention of anyone but onenguy with a similar story....
"All the worlds indeed a stage and we are merely players, performers and portrayers.
Each another's audience inside the gilded cage." - N. Peart
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Re: Playa Interwebz. Huh?

Post by Ratty » Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:32 pm

Impatient at all? Fresh, you put this thread on at 7:43. It's only 9:21. Not even 2 hours. It has 30 hits and 5 posts. I anticipate a lot of hits but internet on the playa isn't a popular concept here on eplaya. I applaud your gifting even though I personally have no need.
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Re: Playa Interwebz. Huh?

Post by geospyder » Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:35 pm

I try to snag a wifi connection the first day to let my wife know I made it to the Playa safely. Then I turn off the phone and lock it in up in the center console for the rest of the week. If it was your wifi I used - thanks for the connection.
You know it's going to be a bad day when you jump out of bed and miss the floor.

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Re: Playa Interwebz. Huh?

Post by fresh » Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:48 pm

Ratty wrote:Impatient at all? Fresh, you put this thread on at 7:43. It's only 9:21. Not even 2 hours. It has 30 hits and 5 posts. I anticipate a lot of hits but internet on the playa isn't a popular concept here on eplaya. I applaud your gifting even though I personally have no need.
Ratty, I was not talking about this eplaya post but the original email to the wifi group two days ago with this story. I posted to eplaya just cause I thought it was an interesting story. After spending some time writing this, I figured that my email to the wifi group would have a critical or general response to either my technical setup or 'playa interwebz debate'. Nope nothing but same old we need more pipe or bad ap peeps thread emails.

Coming from someone who is great at killing eplaya threads, I am thrilled ANYONE reads this, much less respond! I am not a big internet on the playa either, one of my internal battles....

Then again I need to raise my eplaya post average, I am at 234 posts total over 11 years, yikes thats lame, probably be rejected at the door for eplaya m&g. I should have made it since BDV moved closer to my hood this year
Last edited by fresh on Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Each another's audience inside the gilded cage." - N. Peart
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Re: Playa Interwebz. Huh?

Post by Ratty » Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:56 pm

Sorry for razzing you. I'm sure a lot of people appreciated your hook-up. I'm still having a hard time understanding your writing so I'll just go before I step in it and track it all over the house.
Those aren't buttermilk biscuits I'm lying on Savannah

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Re: Playa Interwebz. Huh?

Post by fresh » Thu Sep 11, 2014 11:01 pm

Ratty wrote:Sorry for razzing you. I'm sure a lot of people appreciated your hook-up. I'm still having a hard time understanding your writing so I'll just go before I step in it and track it all over the house.
Yes, email to wifi group was tech heavy and not edited for this post. I did disclaim to skip mumbo jumbo go to part II, how I went ape shit, pulled the plug, threw it in the back of the truck and declared GO FUCKING BURN!
"All the worlds indeed a stage and we are merely players, performers and portrayers.
Each another's audience inside the gilded cage." - N. Peart
"SAFETY THIRD" - Some idiot

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Re: Playa Interwebz. Huh?

Post by otakup0pe » Sat Sep 13, 2014 11:52 am

maladroit wrote:In 2012, I didn't do anything so ambitious as actually providing wifi. I did, however, provide the brief illusion of wifi using an old WRT54G with some tweaks to the firmware: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/610802/Troll-fi.mp4

Over 6000 attempts were logged...
Yeah we did a similar thing for our deep playa art in 2013. In 2014 only got as far as the "free wifi" sign out there... The computer/AP lived under a truck in our camp all week heh.

Next year I am half tempted to *just* put up a bunch of deep playa "Free Wifi" signs.

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Re: Playa Interwebz. Huh?

Post by GreyCoyote » Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:46 pm

For some real fun, bring a reprogrammed ATM machine, stash it out in deep playa, and make a big sign for it.

See how many folks try to snag a quick C-note. :mrgreen:
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Re: Playa Interwebz. Huh?

Post by fresh » Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:58 pm

otakup0pe wrote:
maladroit wrote:In 2012, I didn't do anything so ambitious as actually providing wifi. I did, however, provide the brief illusion of wifi using an old WRT54G with some tweaks to the firmware: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/610802/Troll-fi.mp4

Over 6000 attempts were logged...
Yeah we did a similar thing for our deep playa art in 2013. In 2014 only got as far as the "free wifi" sign out there... The computer/AP lived under a truck in our camp all week heh.

Next year I am half tempted to *just* put up a bunch of deep playa "Free Wifi" signs.
No you should be fully tempted. With blinking neon lights at night...
"All the worlds indeed a stage and we are merely players, performers and portrayers.
Each another's audience inside the gilded cage." - N. Peart
"SAFETY THIRD" - Some idiot

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Re: Playa Interwebz. Huh?

Post by otakup0pe » Sat Sep 13, 2014 8:42 pm

fresh wrote: No you should be fully tempted. With blinking neon lights at night...
The sign post has a maritime strobe beacon light on top. Visible for about a mile.

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