Where Tinkerers Take Control Of Technology

Eric Michaud | Posted 2009.04.21 at 7:04 pm | Perma

From the recent article in the Washington Post,

At a recent HacDC get-together, Tim Collins displays his latest toy to a visitor. It’s a microcontroller, a $6 mini-computer on a chip smaller than his thumb. “This has more computing capacity than my first computer, which cost thousands of dollars,” he observes.

Microcontrollers are the glue that holds the consumer electronics world together, used in everything from kitchen appliances to cars. These days, the parts are cheap enough so that tech enthusiasts like Collins can afford to play with them as a hobby, but they’re also still complex enough that you might need help if you want to use one to build, say, your own personal robot. And that’s where having access to the collective brains of the HacDC membership comes in handy.

HacDC, based out of a church in Columbia Heights, is a sort of a co-op space for tinkerers, with about 25 members paying monthly dues of $50 to rent out the 600-square-foot space. For the money, members get round-the-clock access to the space and its collection of donated tools. Non-members are also welcome to hang out.

These guys are hackers, perhaps, but not in the bad, steal-your-passwords meaning of the word. Hacking, in the HacDC sense, refers to the act of tearing into the latest technology to build or do something not originally intended by a device’s creators. A couple of years ago, I wrote about a guy who’d figured out how to wirelessly control his Roomba vacuum cleaner with a Nintendo DS. That’s the sort of activity we’re talking about here. Read more…

Categories : hackers  hackerspace  people

The Take Away @ NYCR

astera | Posted 2009.04.10 at 7:25 pm | Perma

Step inside a hacker space, where technology enthusiasts are making the next big inventions
by having fun
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a great video documentation about NYCResistor, by The Take Away.

The whole story can be found here.


Tóg on irishtimes.com

astera | Posted 2009.04.10 at 10:04 am | Perma

Our fellow hackerspace friends in Ireland, Tóg (or on the wiki), made it into the technology section of the Irish Times today!
A short excerpt from the article by L. Antonelli and J. Walsh:

Dublin will soon be home to a permanent space for computer hackers to congregate and get creative. Named Tóg (Irish for build), it will be Ireland’s contribution to the growing international movement of “hackerspaces”.

Sitting in the elegant, if incongruous, surroundings of Dublin’s Westin Hotel and explaining their plans, Tóg’s Jeff Rowe and Robert Fitzsimons emphasise that hacking is about curiosity: the desire to understand how technology works and the creative urge to build and modify gadgets. The only legal issue at stake here is the rather prosaic one of voiding warranties.

Fitzsimons is perfectly comfortable with the word hacker: “I’ll use ‘hacker’ and somebody else will use it, and there’ll be a completely different interpretation,” he says. “My hacking is out in the open. I have the 2600.ie domain – if anybody wants to find out who the hackers in Ireland are, my name is plastered on the site.”

Hacking, Fitzsimons says, is a form of self-education in a fast-moving world: “It’s about learning things about the electronic environment we live in.”

Congratulations, & hack on
/astera