Paging all coders

  • Classroom

    @arasbm, @pierre, @toxuin, and anyone else who considers themselves savvy with the the magic words that make the computery things do our bidding, I have a favour to ask of you.

    I recently toured the Edmonton New Technology Society, and was impressed by the membership tracking system they were using (aMember pro, I believe it is a 1 time payment of $180, which gets you the source code to the program and licence to modify), and how they had it integrated with their RFID door entry system. They have offered up the code for the system, and I think it seems like a very good idea to implement, but I do not speak the magic computer talk fluently.

    Could you please take a look at the GitHub here and give me some preliminary thoughts on wether or not this could work for us? I don’t want anyone to spend too much time right away, but I would like to open up the conversation on this. I believe MasterControl is the door stuff, there is also an aMember pro plugin (somewhere, not exactly sure where) that allows a credit tracking system we could use for barter and to purchase consumables from the space.

    @kulps-ENTS, has been very helpful and has offered to answer questions about the system that may come up.

    Thanks folks!

  • Looked at MCP. Which is a cool Tron reference. I had Tron on Betamax.

    Undocumented python code with no tests. It’d never pass code review any place where I’d want to work.

    Looking at the code itself, it is pretty simple, but you’d have to figure out exactly what hardware they run, and obtain matching stuff… or rewrite every part of it that touches the hardware. Which is not well isolated.

    I think it would take less time to write new code that does what this does from the ground up than it would to comprehend the existing code well enough to modify it to talk to slightly different hardware. Which, sadly, is frequently the case. I’d be tempted to give it a more thorough read-through to see if they commented the pitfalls, but it does not look like they did. Learning from someone else’s mistakes is huge advantage. (Comment that says: Changed this from … to … because on a leap year it leaves the doors unlocked all night… )

  • Looks like a bunch of other options here:

    I like the idea of adding the fob to something like a pop machine (that can also still take coins). Is there any sense of fob control for machine power, if someone isn’t 101’d? Maybe not today, but an idea to keep in mind for the future?

    RFID is nice, with NFC is starting to show up in almost every smartphone I think it could be a better choice, unless NFC fobs are silly expensive.

  • I dont know much about it, as I didn’t write it or select the hardware. I can tell you that the hardware we use is readily available and very affordable.

    Obviously it’d be best if the code was strongly commented and perfectly written but it’s what we’ve got. The big benefit to us is the integrations with AMemberPro and our chat announce. If you’re interested in helping out with it, that’d be great, it’s certainly of no help to the community to have a fifteenth standard.

    Some information I can link you to:

    If it’s helpful, I’ll ask those who know more about it to stop by. If you’d rather go with another system, no problem.

  • Paging @colin

    We have a couple of electric strikes in the building earmarked for this project. Specifically the kind that can be fitted to a door with a crash bar. I think the readers we have hand are RFID only, I’d certainly prefer NFC capability, but this is where getting it working first then maybe upgrading the reader later is a place for modular code.

    Plan at one point was to put a card-reader behind the wood siding, not visible for vandalism, and add a keypad that does not operate the door… just takes a picture of the person screwing with it and sends the picture to certain members, because it is comforting to know who’s likely to be waiting for you in the parking lot when you finish a project late at night.

  • Is it less work to use the same software as ENTS or is it less work to continue with the project so far?

    If we use the ENTS system do we have more survivability than continuing with our project?

    I understand that their system isn’t ultimate but it is up and running and working and its installed in more than one location. This gives us a support community to tap into if we run into problems in the future.

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