San Francisco

Of all the Technology teams, San Francisco Tech Support was probably the most impacted by the Burning Man headquarters office move. Prior to the move out date, all the technology equipment stored and collected over the years was inventoried, assessed, repaired, and in many cases passed along to our Gerlach operations or sent on for eWaste recycling. All the remaining equipment had to be packed up, and then in the final hour, the Tech Support workspace was relocated to the new building. This minimized interruption to the support services provided to the Office Staff, including the Accounting department which required as little downtime as possible, so that all important business functions could continue during the hectic transition.

Most of the Tech staff lent a hand when we had to rewire the new office space and ensure Internet connectivity before we could move in. Then Tech Support had to quickly setup wireless networks, printers, fax machines, conference rooms and sort out a new storage situation, so that the office staff could settle in and get back to business. It was exciting for a few weeks after the move, each time we discovered that yet another important piece of equipment was buried behind yet another small mountain of heavy boxes deep in the new storage area. All things considered, the transition was relatively smooth and the office was functional very soon after move in.

As things settled down after the move, Tech Support continued providing support to the usual parade of staff members with email, printer, hardware, and mystery problems. Webcast and setup support was provided for a few All Staff meetings, which were now held at an offsite location. In addition, VPN access was setup for our Accounting staff so that they can connect to their systems from home or our Gerlach Office.

Nevada & Event Operations

After the event in 2008, our Nevada Tech Support rolled out a shared technology storage facility for use by several departments. This enables us to provide secure and relatively climate-controlled storage for the delicate electronic equipment in use year round and on playa for most of the organization. Previously, the gear had been stored in various corners of shipping containers and trailers distributed around the Black Rock Station production facility. The shared facility will better enable teams to do pre-playa preparations and post event cleanup. In addition, we are hoping the climate control and organized storage will help to reduce the percentage of equipment that must be replaced each event cycle.

As part of our effort to keep costs to a minimum, Nevada Tech Support came to San Francisco and worked for several weeks to lead the team rewiring the new office space. We were also blessed with support from some of our on-playa network volunteers, who lent their experience, tools and time to help.

For the first time in 2009, two additional geeks were brought in to lend a hand with Gerlach and on-playa tech support, as well as to-playa transportation of technology gear. Before, the year-round staff was also fully responsible for supporting the various departments and the network infrastructure in Black Rock City. It had already been an busy year, especially with the office move and budget reductions, so it was a huge boon to the team to have additional helping hands and team members with so much fresh energy and enthusiasm. This is a model we will continue to use for the event each year.

Submitted by,
Heather Gallagher