Today the news came quite late to me, Len Sassaman lost his life.
I was shocked, I have met Len and Meredith about 6 months ago, they where visiting Utrecht for a crypto (of-course) meetup. Between the meets they had some time to visit the local hackerspace and have some breakfast. I remembered our conversations as intense and awesome. Len inspired me to go on with projects which seem to be endless or almost impossible. I don’t think I’m lying if I say Len was this for a lot of hackers: somebody who was different and a source of inspiration.
Although I wasn’t in contact very much with Len lately, I have chosen to write this blog and let people know what a great guy he was, please feel free to use the comment field as a condolence register.
All the best to Len’s wife, family, friends and everybody else who knew Len.
The world lost another hero….
Rest In Peace Len
*** Update ***
For those who would like to say goodbye to Len, Saturday 9th of July 12:00 (noon) at “De Jacht cemetery in Heverlee” in Belgium there will be the ceremony. Meredith is inviting everybody who would like to come.
Attention all hackers and hackerspace members! Do you like creating with atoms instead of bits? Would you like to win fame and fortune? The Alternate Power Initiative wants YOU to design and build an alternative energy vehicle! Their second annual “Race for the Future” will be held in August, 2011 in Whiting, Indiana.
This race challenges you to:
Build a vehicle that can travel five miles powered by an alternate power source and race it through the streets of Whiting Indiana.
Here’s a subset of the rules:
Vehicle may not be powered solar energy or fuel cells
Vehicle may not be powered by a device based on existing conventional automotive or truck technology. Piston engines, rotary engines or turbines powered by detonated combustion gasses are not allowed. Piston engines, rotary engines or turbines powered by other sources will be allowed. These gasses would include but not be limited to those created by using gasoline, diesel, natural gas, propane methane or alcohol as fuel.
Vehicle must be self propelled (no pedal power)
Vehicle may not be powered by battery or capacitor stored electricity, (brake lights and turn signals may be powered by electricity).
Vehicle may be charged, (fueled or energized) before 5 mile trial but may not be charged, (fueled or energized) during run.
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!
SAN FRANCISCO — R. Miloh Alexander and Seth Schoen are hunched over an old pay phone whose innards are being grafted onto the guts of a Walmart telephone and a voice-over-IP modem.
Right now, the Frankensteinish hybrid looks like a pile of tangled wires. Somewhere in the mess, an alligator clip has popped loose. Schoen frowns.
“We really need to solder these down,” he says.
The two are working on a recent Monday evening at Noisebridge, a collectively operated hacker space in San Francisco. Across the table, Noisebridge member Molly Boynoff is typing on a sticker-covered MacBook, learning to program in Python. Next to her, Noisebridge co-founder Mitch Altman is showing two newcomers how to solder resistors and LEDs onto a circuit board.
“There are zillions of people around the world doing this,” says Altman, referring to the swell of interest in do-it-yourself projects and hacking. “It’s a worldwide community.”
At the center of this community are hacker spaces like Noisebridge, where like-minded geeks gather to work on personal projects, learn from each other and hang out in a nerd-friendly atmosphere. Like artist collectives in the ’60s and ’70s, hacker spaces are springing up all over.
There are now 96 known active hacker spaces worldwide, with 29 in the United States, according to Hackerspaces.org. Another 27 U.S. spaces are in the planning or building stage.
Located in rented studios, lofts or semi-commercial spaces, hacker spaces tend to be loosely organized, governed by consensus, and infused with an almost utopian spirit of cooperation and sharing.
“It’s almost a Fight Club for nerds,” says Nick Bilton of his hacker space, NYC Resistor in Brooklyn, New York. Bilton is an editor in The New York Times R&D lab and a board member of NYC Resistor. Bilton says NYC Resistor has attracted “a pretty wide variety of people, but definitely all geeks. Not Dungeons & Dragons–type geeks, but more professional, working-type geeks.”
For many members, the spaces have become a major focus of their evening and weekend social lives.
Since it was formed last November, Noisebridge has attracted 56 members, who each pay $80 per month (or $40 per month on the “starving hacker rate”) to cover the space’s rent and insurance. In return, they have a place to work on whatever they’re interested in, from vests with embedded sonar proximity sensors to web-optimized database software.
Altman wears a black Dorkbot T-shirt, a black zip-up hoody and olive khakis with large side pockets. His long gray hair features vibrant blue and red stripes, and he’s nearly always smiling. His enthusiasm for hacker spaces is infectious.
“In our society there’s a real dearth of community,” Altman says. “The internet is a way for people to key in to that need, but it’s so inadequate. [At hacker spaces], people get a little taste of that community and they just want more.”
I can most warmly recommend you to read the whole article here!
Congratulations to all parties involved.
And btw: As for today, we know of 101 active hackerspaces, plus 18 uncategorized; besides this, 64 hackerspaces are planned or (17 out of which) currently in building process.
And every time I see a post like this come up, a talk being held, a paper mentioning one of these spaces – every one of these times, more people get interested, and the long list of planned hackerspaces grows a little more.
And this is what makes me so very happy about Dylan Tweney’s article.
Build! Unite! Multiply!
As for 02:50 PM EST today, our good old Apache crashed due to the WIRED article’s appearence on the front page of digg.com; shortly after temporarily fixing load issues, the database was brought to its knees.
So, first off: W00T!!!1!!eleven
Secondly: We’re working on it. For the next couple of hours, however, only static html pages generated from the wiki will be served (besides this blog) – until we finalized the wiki optimization.
Again, thanks for all the interest. You people rock.
Even though I couldn’t attend ETech as I had planned, Rose gave a excellent presentation that unfortunately wasn’t recorded. Even though it wasn’t recorded we here at hackerspaces.org have seen sone interesting trends on the twitter feeds and the blogs. So all I can say is job well done. More to follow next week.
Recently the Columbia Chronicle did a profile of Pumping Station: One, the hackerspace I run in Chicago. I don’t have much to say here other than the article puts across the vision of hackerspaces succinctly.
While twenty people sat around with their laptops and coffee, Sacha De’Angeli stood up to propose a crucial decree for the group.
“The rule I’d like to propose comes from Bill & Ted,” he said. “Be excellent to each other.”
The motion was voted on and seconded. From then on, the organized group of Chicago hackers would have to “be excellent to each other.” After the meeting was adjourned, the hackers scattered and began individual discussions about topics such as knitting and machinery.
Courtesy KAMIL KRAWCZYK
A new Chicago-based hacker space, called Pumping Station: One (PSOne), is ready to set up shop in the city. Since October, the group has been looking for a building to call home. At press time, the group had written a letter of intent and were waiting for the owner’s approval to move into the space as soon as April. Until they move into a space, the group meets every Tuesday night at The Mercury Cafe, 1505 W. Chicago Ave.The members of PSOne aren’t out to steal money or use their computer skills to overthrow the government. Actually, a few of the members aren’t computer experts at all.
Josh Krueger, a member of PSOne, defines a hacker as “someone who makes something and modifies it and uses it in a way that wasn’t originally intended.” His definition can be applied to just about any medium.
“[A hacker space is] a place where people can go to push the boundaries of their form and art,” said PSOne founder Eric Michaud. “It doesn’t relate just to computers.”
The members of PSOne come from very diverse backgrounds. They’re artists, engineers, programmers, bakers and writers. One of the only qualities that binds all of them together is their desire to create. The creations, however, vary from machines to crafts.
So this last weekend I was at NYC Resistor taking in the sun *cough* taking in the sights *cough* taking in the culture *……* well yeah. Anyway I was witnessing the birth of something magnificent. The “sudo make me a sandwich” robot!
Some of you may know the origin of the story, but for those that do not I think a simple cartoon slide will suffice.
Make sure to check out Adam’s photos and his excellent blog called Shadowflux where he’ll post the code for this robot. Adam took the robot home to Seattle with him and I am optimistic that more sandwiches will be born of this robot and set free into the world.
In order to make it all work, Adam set up an arduino to interface with 2 servos and 2 steppers using the RepRap stepper controllers.
I used QCAD to design some bread and cheese distributing mechanisms and the infrastructure is up on Thingiverse.com.
The toaster oven needed a little modification and a servo controlled flap was put into place with some hinges to make it move slowly. Adam found some pretty special stepper motors with an amazing amount of torque fo.r the flap and the tray controls.
This is one of those robots that I swear is alive. The noises it made were like an animal and it seemed that everytime we looked the other way, it was coming to life and changing things with the setup.
I’m not one for posting press releases but this just puts the point across perfectly.
Note – This is the press release which we issued to a number of media outlets. You can watch the schedule of events become more refined by subscribing to our calendar or checking the events page. – jur1st
The Cowtown Computer Congress Opens Their Underground Lab
February 26th, 2009. Kansas City, MO – The Cowtown Computer Congress (CCCKC) is happy to announce the opening of their Underground Lab to the public with a full week of events Beginning on March 2nd, the grand opening showcase the rich and vibrant community of creative minds in the Kansas City area. CCCKC, the first organization of its kind in the midwest, will serve the community by providing technology classes, donating unique projects to local organizations and technology assistance to those in need.
The week will kick off on Monday, March 2nd with an open house for individuals and organizations who are interested in learning more about the organization and how they can take advantage the Underground Lab for meetings, classes and other activities.
The creative talents of CCCKC members will be showcased on Wednesday March, 4th. The member project showcase will be followed by a screening of Make:TV, a public television series which will be shown for the first time in the Kansas City area that night. If you’re curious about what CCCKC and the maker culture are all about, this is the night to come be inspired. Projects to be showcased range from alternative methods of energy generation to a labyrinth game which is controlled with the balance board from a Nintendo Wii Fit.
Thursday, March 5th is the regular member meeting where members come together to discuss group projects being developed for donation to local organizations and plan future community service projects like our monthly free computer repair opportunities.
Friday evening will feature a slate of speakers covering topics ranging from improving home security and information management to protecting data from theft while using public wireless internet.
On Saturday the public is invited to take part in a range of free workshops on basic electronics and soldering, e-textiles and Nintendo Wii hacking. All day members will be available to assist members of the public choose, install and configure computers using the free and open source Linux operating system.
About The Cowtown Computer Congress
The Cowtown Computer Congress (CCCKC) is a not for profit technology cooperative founded to advance technology of all kinds. They are a member supported organization providing technology classes, workshops and services to the public free of charge. CCCKC brings together some of the finest minds in midwest to collaborate on research and projects for other local groups. Through their affiliate program, CCCKC gives assistance to specialized technology user groups by providing them with a facility to hold meetings and work on projects of their own.
CCCKC’s Underground Lab is located 85 feet below the surface of the earth at 31st Street and Southwest Trafficway in Kansas City, Missouri.
Further inquires should be made to:
press at cowtowncomputercongress.org or to
John Benson – President and Co-Founder
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’ll have a small dinner party organized the night before ShmooCon starts – on Feb. 05th, 2009 that is.
Everyone coming to ShmooCon or being around Washington DC that evening and interested in hackerspaces should join in!
Also, we’ll hold the next call-in from there (as we did from c-base – just a little more on time
so please RSVP via over9000 (at) hackerspaces.org, let me know what you think, and if you’ll be able to make it!
PS: If you want to suggest a new topic for this blog or leave us some feedback, see the Suggestion Box – or mail us via blog (at) hackerspaces.org