Maker Faire Africa is coming up next month, in Cairo, Egypt. It promises to be a three-day mashup of Africa’s most imaginative makers. And, at least two Americans will be joining them.
Bilal Ghalib (co-founder of All Hands Active hackerspace in Ann Arbor, MI, and hackerspace documentarian) and Mitch Altman (co-founder of Noisebridge hackerspace in San Francisco, CA, inventor of TV-B-Gone remote controls, and recent recipient of the first-ever Maker Hero Award) are going to Maker Faire Africa to create a three-day hackerspace there. This will help the founders of the Cairo Hackerspace establish their forming space into a physical reality which, in turn, will help get other hackerspaces going throughout Africa. We have recently seen how important hackerspaces are in helping people in Africa live more fulfilling lives. Let’s see how much more we all can do with so little!
Bilal and Mitch received seed funding from Maker Faire Africa, and at posting time, 147 backers have raised $6,822 over the past two weeks on their Kickstarter campaign! They need to raise $200 more in the next several hours (and any amount over their goal will directly help hackerspaces in Africa!). If you can give a $1, please do! If you can give more, please do! Any amount is great! (And they are offering some pretty cool premiums too.)
Yeah, it’s that time of the year again – Vienna has been turning from the sinister city covered in grey light and fog to the blooming summer oasis it’s designed to be, and people overflow with glee (or so do we, at least)! Time to be looking forward to PlumberCon 10, probably one of the snugliest and neighborliest hacker conferences ever heard of.
So what exactly should you be looking forward to, you might ask?
In fact, it’s hard to tell. In one paragraph of lifeless and almost anti-emotional text, that is. What could be mentioned, for instance, is that there’s not only gonna be a ton of interesting talks by speakers from all around the globe (which I’m really really excited about btw), but also multiple hands-on workshops and trainings. Presenters you’ll meet at PlumberCon 10 include neighbors like Mitch Altman, Jimmie P. Rodgers, Jeff Gough, Barry van Kampen, Kugg, Allessio Pennasilico, or Mike Kemp. Topics range from Information Warfare to fun with microcontrollers.
Basically, one could call it a schnuffeliges meeting of a very large family… I happen to call it a hacker con (but that’s just me )
Now, as of the bare basics I haven’t mentioned yet:
PlumberCon 10 will be held at WerkzeugH in Vienna, Austria from Friday, July 09th – Sunday, July 11th in the year of the hacker 2010. You can still register for the 3rd round of early bird tickets at the registration site until the end of the month, and I’d advise every hackerspace member to use the promo code ‘neighborliness flows’ to get a reduction on the ticket price – that, already as it is, will not lead us to profit but only cover a part of our expenses ^.^
Don’t forget to sign up for trainings beforehand wherever you find this requirement mentioned.
In any way, if you’re in town, make sure not to miss the epoque kick-off party on Friday night, where Phonoelit aka Mumpi and joernchen will provide us with their superior tunez that shall guide us safely through the night!
Back in 2008 at The Last HOPE, we said that Hackerspaces were possible everywhere and your excuses are invalid. We had an awesome Hackerspace Village and Hardware Hacking Area, and provided inspiration to hundreds of folks who would go on to build their own Hackerspaces all over the world.
It’s now 2010. Hackerspaces are everywhere and our rallying cry from 2008 has been heard all over the world. Spaces that kicked off the movement like NYCResistor and HacDC have matured and moved into larger quarters and spawned very successful startups from Open Source ideas. Spaces like Hive76 and AlphaOne Labs have proven that big cities need more than one Hackerspace. Now that we’re well on our way to “Hackerspaces Everywhere!”, we think it’s time to change the cry to “Hackerspaces Forever!”
“Hackerspaces Forever!” is the theme of The Hackerspace Village at The NEXT Hope and the panel discussion taking place at the next hope. In addition to a Hardware Hacking Area that’s in a prime position in the Mezzanine level, we have an awesome group of speakers lined up to tell you how their Hackerspaces are working on growing, expanding and being around for a very long time:
Mitch Altman (Noisebridge, San Francisco, USA)
Mitch likes to trick people into doing what they love to do
Sean Bonner (Crashspace, Los Angeles, USA / HackspaceSG, Singapore)
We’re not really sure what Sean Bonner does, but it’s awesome.
Johannes Grenzfurthner (hackbus.at, Vienna, Austria)
Writer, artist, director, DIY researcher
Markus “fin” Hametner (Metalab, Vienna, Austria)
Less serious than Nick Farr
Alexander Heid (HackMiami, Miami, FL, USA)
President, HackMiami and Co-Chair of South Florida OWASP
Nathan “JimShoe” Warner (Makers Local 256, Huntsville, AL, USA)
Former Chairman, Charter Member of Makers Local 256
Matt Joyce (NYC Resistor, Brooklyn, NY, USA)
Once Banned from HOPE, twice spoken at HOPE
Carlyn Maw (Crashspace, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Crashpace Cat Herder and canonical source of awesomeness
Far McKon (Hive 76, Philadelphia, PA, USA)
Co-Founder of Hive76, Instigator of weird and interesting projects, and a ginger
psytek (Alpha One Labs, Brooklyn, NY, USA)
Inventor and engineer currently building a Flying Saucer at Alpha One Labs.
The “Hackerspaces Forever!” panel will be moderated by Nick Farr.
You may remember Mr. Michaud delivering a post about the incredible LED sign at the begining of this last month. Since then, there have been a few updates from our Canadian friends at hacklab.to.
First off, they have provided a live stream of the sign for the entire Internet to enjoy.
From all the times I have checked it out, it has been a clock. Too bad Flava Flav is a bit too scrawny to hold that sucker up. If he could, I still doubt he or most people could also carry around enough mobile electricity to make it worthwhile. Maybe if we are lucky, the hacklab kids will see this and make it a reality. Yes hacklab, I’m challenging you.
Second, Andrew Kilpatrick has provided a wonderful technical writeup of the “getting it to work” process. This project is fairly impressive, not because they built out a sign that uses 3,072 LEDs, but because they also had to do a bit of reverse engineering to do so. The sign was built from a number of surplus LED sign panels. This was a good idea as designing and assembling something that size would be fairly expensive, error prone and incredibly time consuming. No matter how much you love playing with electronics, be it for work or hobby, soldering 3,000+ LEDs WILL get tedious and boring. Why re-invent the wheel when you can benefit from someone else’s hard work? Especially when that someone may have been a small team of engineers that over-designed and mass produced something that fits your needs. Even if you have no technical documentation and only your wits and some basic electronics gear to figure it all out, its worth it in the end as you’ve learned something.
After poking at the boards over a weekend they found it required only four control pins and had some pretty neat control options. They ended up using the hacker’s defacto microcontroller (Arduino) and some clever code to light up the daisy chained panels. You read that right, they were designed from the start to be plugged into each other.
I would go into more detail, but like I said earlier, Andrew has done a wonderful writeup of all the details you could want. He and his crew definitely deserve the spotlight. So go check out the writeup already!
That is but one of the questions I get whenever I go out and the topic of what I do in my free time comes up.
So recently I had that same question asked but this time, Dave Hoffman of Davemakes.com had brought a video camera.
From Daves’ site
The time has finally come to unveil my secret project. HELLO is a new series of videos about interesting people. This first episode features Eric Michaud, President of Pumping Station: One, a hackerspace opening up in Chicago. I asked him all about what a hackerspace is, and why you should join one.
Having a blast with your music takes on more than one connotation with Matts’ ( a member of NYC Resistor) MP3 Grenade.
There was much fear and freak out. But cooler heads prevailed and a phone call was made. “Hey Matt, did you order metal objects of a dubious nature?” “Yes, yes I did.” There was a great deal of internal strife over this particular event as ordering munitions to the space is strictly forbidden. Upon review and discussion it was decided that while purchasing decommissioned training grenades was not in fact illegal in NYC (as far as we know), it was not something we would ever do again. That being said. I immediately set forth on a childhood dream project. I put an 1/8th inch jack into the pin hole for the grenade. It looked GOOD. Totally flush… very pretty. So I decided to run with it. I ran the cabling into the grenade… hacksawed it open. Inserted a Sansa 2 GB mp3 player. And then tried to SMD rework it. This ended poorly as the first sansa basically got burned by the rework station and died. The second I avoided using the rework station and instead recruited bre and his arms for a session of intense soldering onto very tiny solder points…
Our friends over at HacDC are at it again with flaunting themselves for the public good. They are hosting their public Microcontroller Mondays, open to the public to anyone who can make it. The first day of the new sessions starts today at 6:30 till 12am on the 12th and each monday until Marche 30th.
What can you expect from such a meetup? Well let me tell you!
*What are microcrontollers.
*What they can do for you and your projects.
*How to code for them. and realize you don’t need much more than cheap readily available hobby kits.
*Plus much much more!
Even if your a seasoned hardware head in using microcontrollers it definitely doesn’t hurt to stop and check it out even if you haven’t been there before. Plus you could inspre a few new people!
As you might know (or have read already), we also held a little competition at this year’s Chaos Communication Congress on the base of and in great anticipation to The Hackerspaces Battle, consisting of a speed soldering and a speed coding challenge (unfortunately, we didn’t get the freaking proprietary Xbox Dance Dance Revolution device get to work with our shiny UNIX machines…).
I know I’m pretty late with posting the results of the competition, but… well, in fact, I cannot even do that =(
Unfortunately, one of my bags disappeared mystically on the last night of 25C3, and with it not only a bunch of cables and T-shirts (if by any chance you come across any of these, please let me know!) but also a bunch of paperwork – including my list of participants in the coding challenge…
Therefore, at this point I can only provide you with the times we took
at the speed soldering competition:
However, there is ONE thing I can remember for sure, thinking of the following day’s speed coding competition – that being an epic accomplishment by a boy called Matvey (if I recall correctly):
This young coder did not only finish the task (Euler problem no. 12) within less than 20 minutes, but also put together a beautiful little piece of programming art.
Now if you got hooked on our coding challenge, why not consider to join TECC, The Euler Coding Collective?
We love Euler problems – and solving them in all different languages. ^^
Again, special thanks to Mitch Altman for hosting our solderers,
and thanks everyone for taking part in the challenge!
You people rock.
PS: And if ever I get my stuff back, I’ll update this post of course =)
We look unto the world today in many lenses. Some rose colored, some
tinted sepia, others… quite gray.
The reason I bring this up is that I recently attended the annual Chaos Communication Congress also known this year as 25C3. Here you’ll find a large presence of people holding those lenses in their sharp minds as they go through the gamut of topics such as new attack vectors in Cisco IOS routers, how to create your own rogue Certificate Authority, utilizing arduinos in interesting ways, and of course, quadrocopters.
The topic I’d like to cover here though this year is the representation of hackerspaces.org. At this conference we ran the equivalent of a workshop/embassy that would discuss the ins and outs of a hackerspace what you should expect in costs/equipment/membership role and oh so much more.
There were several events that took place including speed soldering, speed coding, and hackerspace build out workshops. Each covering the basic elements of a hackerspace in a very fun and entertaining way.
A very special note: during the event, over 10 hackerspaces posted an entry in the hackerspaces.org site, and said “Hello World” to the rest of us, showing an interesting increase during the actual hackerspaces panel talk.
With all these wonderful little pieces coming together in a big way at 25C3 I’m happy to say I’m looking through the rose tinted glasses with the wonderful year we had, and can’t wait for HAR2009 where we are planning on having a hackerspace village.
If you missed any of the talks or more specifically to the point the hackerspace panel; I’ve included the links below.
After the jump you’ll find the complete audio/video recordings of the
congress in a few formats…