sbrewer's blog

BCRC Hiring

Every semester, the BCRC needs to hire a few students -- preferably with workstudy. If you're interested in working in the BCRC, check with the Director.

BCRC Open Weekend Before Finals Week

We're planning to have the BCRC open at noon on both Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13, in advance of finals week. We anticipate being open regular hours during finals week.

Visual SFM

We've recently installed Visual SFM a GUI application for 3D reconstruction using structure from motion (SFM). It's an application that can create 3-D models from a group of overlapping photographs. To run it, start X-Windows and type "VisualSFM &" at the command prompt.

Library Questions

Ellen Lutz will be in the BCRC on Thursdays from 3-4 for people to ask questions.

Jobs Filled

Our openings for Spring have been filled. Thanks to everyone who expressed interest. And welcome to Jessica, Fallon, and Innocent our new BCRC staff.

The BCRC will probably need to hire some consultants this semester. If you would like to work in the BCRC, please contact Steven Brewer. I will give preference to people with workstudy.

Raspberry Pi Home Theater Media Server

Just In Time For Christmas! Our own Craig Slater with Makers at Amherst Media and the Biology Computer Resource Center invite you join us on Friday, December 12 to build your own HOME THEATER MEDIA SERVER using Raspberry Pi. You will purchase your own parts (~$125), bring them to the workshop, and we will assemble them together! Space is limited! Register today!

BCRC Construction

As of May, the BCRC construction is moving forward rapidly. You can see trenching in the floor where they're creating space for floor jacks for power and networking.

BCRC Renovations Underway


It's not much to look at now, but in August 2014, this space will have been transformed into the new BCRC. Demolition of the old space is currently underway and a new BCRC is being built in Morrill III.

As you wrap up classes and take exams, don't forget to say goodbye to our old space: It's been our home for 20 years.

Good luck with final exams and best wishes for safe and productive summer!

Amherst Media Maker Community Launched

The Amherst Media Maker Community has launched, has set up a mailing list and is now holding weekly meetings at Amherst Media for people interested in working on Maker projects.

BCRC Planning Move

Planning is underway for the BCRC to migrate from its current location to space that will be freshly renovated -- probably next fall. Watch for exciting new developments!

Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey I sent out early in the summer. I'm trying to preserve what you like about the BCRC and give you the additional capabilities you say you want.

Final Exam Hours

You can see when the BCRC will be staffed during Finals week to help you study. Good luck, everyone!

Derpy Day

March 1st is Derpy Hooves Day in the BCRC. Stop by to see our decorations and have a muffin, while they last.

Duplexing fixed on ronkonta

I noticed last week that there was an off-by-one problem with duplexing on ronkonta: it would print the first page of two-sided jobs single-sided and then print the rest two sided. I updated the firmware and the printer now appears to be working correctly.

MAMP and Drupal

I've setup a Drupal sandbox using MAMP in the BCRC. To use it, go to the Application folder and double-click on MAMP. Click the button to start the servers. It will ask for an administrative username and password, but you can just click cancel. Once MAMP is running, if you visit a web-browser, you can visit a local instance of Drupal 7. Read more for details.

Raven Pro updated

Raven Pro, a piece of software used for the Biocommunication class, needed some updates, so I've built a package that includes the updates. If you notice the application behaving incorrectly, let me know.

R opportunities and resources

OEB is organizing an R study group: Studying, Originating, and Understanding R Coding Executables (SOURCE). There is a sign-up sheet for a mailing list that includes a survey of what people are interested in learning about.

I have also installed RStudio in the BCRC after Sheila Patek requested it for her class. I hadn't seen it before -- it looks pretty useful, although I haven't had a chance to play with it much. Check it out!

Now Hiring

The BCRC may have positions available for undergraduates. Preference given to students with work study. Looking for people interested in biology, technology, and other cool stuff. Contact Steven Brewer.

Updates for Fall2012

I have been updating software in the BCRC and Biology computing labs for the fall semester including updates to the MacOS and many software packages, including Adobe Creative Suite, MS OFfice, Firefox, Libreoffice, Scribus, and others. If you notice something not working, please bring it to my attention.

Note that we did not upgrade to the newer versions of the MacOS: We are not using Lion or Mountain Lion. We have several software packages that people depend on that won't work after we update to Lion. And for most things, Snow Leopard (the version we have installed) seems to work better for most people.

New printer: ronkonta

After much discussion, we decided to replace sigelonta (the old color printer) with a new Laserjet 5200 printer called "ronkonta". Our existing black-and-white printer, provizonta, is probably not going to last much longer. In this way, we have a backup printer now and, when provizonta fails, ronkonta can take over.

Provizonta has returned

After an extended tour of the Lederle Lowrise and OIT, Provizonta has returned to the BCRC to great acclamation.

In other words, printing is available again -- thanks for your patience.