Hackerspaces on Wired

astera | Posted 2009.03.30 at 12:42 pm | Perma

This morning, our neighbors at WIRED.compublished a really informative and outstanding article about hackerspaces, and NoiseBridge in specific.

wired_frontpage

From the blog post:

DIY Freaks Flock to ‘Hacker Spaces’ Worldwide

NoiseBridge on WIRED

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!
yt, /astera

***

UPDATE!

Apache crashed

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.

digg

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.

Hack on,
/astera

Get Your War On

astera | Posted 2009.02.17 at 10:00 pm | Perma

fffff.a.t. vs. NYCResistor

Starting last Sunday, Jan 15th 2009 at 00.00 midnight, NYCResistor and the F.A.T. lab have declared war against each other.
The expectedly epic battle will last for exactly one month, combat area is – go figure – the Republic Of Thee Internetz.

NYCResistor announced on their blog today:

Fat Lab has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged NYCResistor to a war. From Feb 15th – March 15th we’ll be tracking website hits, YouTube views, Twitter followers, Facebook fans, RSS subscribers… whoever posts the biggest gains wins. Grading will be conducted by Internet Famous Class technology.

Official war page w/ preliminary stats is available here.

After looking at that link, I’m a little nervous, how are we going to compete with the amount of eyeballs that have seen the things they have done?

We’ve got a strategy to create and release awesome projects this month.

You can help NYCResistor win!

* sign up for our new Facebook group
* follow twitter.com/nycresistor to receive frontline dispatches.
* tell your friends

The Rules

The rating is based on the FameLab app, to be accessed via login only, unfortunately.
It’s tracking the spaces’ sites and social networks pages for hits, subscriptions, and – even more importantly – comments, as well as each 10 personal ‘properties’ per member (like their twitter accounts, soup.io accounts, tumblr, digg, delicious, etc.) and thereafter rates their internet fame.

It’s gonna get exciting…

Round 1: Fight!

See the current stats of the most epic battle of our epoque here!

Btw, the date of January 15th also marks the 1 year anniversary of NYCResistor.
Happy Birthday!

And a short note on the header: I’m still a little sad about the fact that David Rees‘ popular Get Your War On video episodes on 23/6 ended by the end of January 2009. With Bush out of his – former – office, I guess there’s no more use for them.
However, he continues to do cool shit.

Categories : fun  hackers  hackerspace

How We Hacked Shmoocon, Or…

Eric Michaud | Posted 2009.02.13 at 2:45 am | Perma

How I Learned To Stop Fearing The Digital DIY Life and Love It!

Some friends of the blog who attended ShmooCon this weekend were tickled pink (literally) when they arrived to find out the badge to the conference was just made out of a single piece of laser cut acrylic.

This lead to rapid phone calls between friends at NYCR and people whipping out US dollar bills to size up the badge for proper scaling.

The end result!

Flava Flav Shmoo Badge

Not 6 hours later they had been hand delivered to HacDC for a trial run as to the quality of the badges by passing it through some of the most stringent on site conference security available.

What rapidly became apparent to us and The Shmoo Group was that even if something that took large initial resources originally, now comes easily to a group of scrappy hackers that want more for themselves than to be beholden to a wealthy singular group.

A recent quote by Bre Pettis, “The future of manufacturing is going to happen in your living room.”, seems to impress the idea of having ability to produce what you want, when you want is rapidly becoming a reality.

What I’m trying to bring across here to you, the hackerspace fans and friends, is that we are in a very interesting time. Where we can in less than a few hours over a relatively large distance, with a device that is costing less than the Mini Cooper (think late 1970′s where a PC cost as much), we can produce something that normally requires machines that cost in the hundreds of thousands only a few years ago.

Let’s think of what beholds us in the next few years.

Groovy times await us,

-E.

Have a blast with an MP3 Grenade!

Eric Michaud | Posted 2009.01.20 at 3:32 pm | Perma

Having a blast with your music takes on more than one connotation with Matts’ ( a member of NYC Resistor) MP3 Grenade.

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Excerpt:

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…

For the rest hit the jump.

If you want to make your own it’s not terribly hard, just acquire the requisite parts.

  • 1 Unique object
  • 1 MP3 player of choice that’s cheap
  • 1 Audio Jack
  • 1 Soldering Station
  • 1 Rework Station

Plus whichever tools you would need for the fabrication of your new dastardly MP3 Player.

-E.

Categories : hackers  hacking  soldering  tools
Tags :             

Upgrades to RepRap?

Eric Michaud | Posted 2009.01.13 at 4:23 am | Perma

So Zach Hoeken, one of the brains behind thingiverse.com has been at work recently on creating a simpler design for the RepRap extruder.

New RepRap Extruder Design

The designs for this new piece of hardware are up at thingiverse.com.

And for more pictures check out his flickr.

For more projects like this and other cool things check out NYC Resistor.

-E.