Training Mr Luck

silhouette or Babar LuckWith a move to Pepys and the general shifting of miscellaneous hardwares, MAZI work has been on an intermittent hiatus. But with a new home in the Pepys Resource Centre (now a volunteer run library), the MAZI exploration restarted. James has been repurposing the MAZIzone, working with Central Saint Martins and aiming to bring in alternative stream of work to the use of the MAZI zone, quite close to the idea YT had about an event mechanism. He approached me to train Babar Luck with an intriguing opportunity for a localised press pack and potential merch store. To describe Babar as just another musician would be to sell Mr Luck short; he has moved between genres, styles and roles in different musical ventures. There is passion, perseverance and an approach wrapped in his own integrity. He’s one of a kind in other words, anyone that knows him would agree. It also must be said that he’s not very technical with computers, and this was going to be a learning journey for all concerned.

What is needed, what is wanted

In my experience, mindset is everything that matters to using whatever kind of digital device. Babar has a small computer which had to be resolved of Windows (installing Linux in other words) as it was unbelievably full of applications to the point where there was literally no space to store anything. With Linux Mint installed, his machine became more responsive (useful too) and had the suite of applications which would allow him to start creating materials for his digital space.

Rpi and Rockets

We sat and discussed what the purpose was – James had already been ‘creatively fiddling’ around with the WordPress installation on the MAZI zone (MZ), pulling in other tools in the tool kit into the pages, attempting to unify the fragments of each tool. WordPress it was to be the framework for presenting the digital press pack- exclusive downloads, images and listings of upcoming gigs. Babar called it ‘Babar Luck’s Spaceship’. Together we explored the Spaceship – starting with the outer layer, the MAZI dashboard. This had to be understood because this is where crucial settings are found. The two most important for a live deployment of a pop up merch store would be getting into the network settings and setting the time/date – the former to enable people to get to the internet through the MZ using a second wifi radio, the latter to make WordPress work properly.

Publish and be heard

After introducing the MAZI zone dashboard it was then time to explore the WordPress installation, setting up access details as we went. Things got complicated for Babar at this point, we were using many usernames and passwords and multiple admin spaces, this then prompted some illustration. Broad brush strokes to begin with, and giving Babar as much ownership of the process was crucial in my eyes wetogether we made a series of blank pages covering the bases for what was the intended outcome; a shop for downloads, a bio page, a contact page; the upcoming ‘giggs’ YT thought would be best used for posts – regular and unregular updates for the events he turns up at. After this we put together a collage of photos to illustrate the man himself, which was later tweaked to accommodate a change of theme, which improved the collage overall. The idea of  the ‘media library‘ was introduced, the place where the music and images reside – the introduction was fine, but Babar had a quiet reticence regarding uploading which decreased as practice improved his confidence. Session 4 was a turning point when we uploaded music into the Spaceship without hardly any assistance from YT. It also seemed the notion of the MAZI dashboard and the WordPress dashboard now had distinct identities and purposes, making the process of making a pre-gig checklist somewhat easier to introduce:

  1. Turn on MZ
  2. Set time, connect into gig network
  3. Hand out fliers
  4. Take money after gig

Flying high with low expectations

One slight problem with the MZ which is also a bonus – the use of a splash page to redirect people to the particular application set as the core utility, in this case the WP installation, ‘Babar Luck’s spaceship’. It is only a slight problem, as getting to the MZ admin area demands a more complete web address to get around the redirect: http://local.mazizone.eu:4567/admin. This wasn’t introduced in the first instance as we had to be acquainted with the MZ dashboard; to add this increment in detail, as well the others demanded a use of an old, trusted and tried technology… pens and paper. YT has been experimenting with trying take an illustrative, mind map inspired style of delivering the details. thankfully small numbers of paper were used in the process, building up appropriate and visual direct links to the information need to manage the situations, and used as prompts for homework. It was also discussed that the whole merch store is pointless if there is no marketing, so version 1 flyers were made. Paper wraps Pi, in an odd game of paper scissors  computer,  so to speak. all things being said, the materials are probably the sloppiest, messy materials I’ve ever created…

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