An interview with syn₂cat

nhitze | Posted 2009.10.04 at 12:47 pm | Perma

syn2cat logo

First of all, please introduce yourself – who is behind syn₂cat and what do you do for a living?

While syn₂cat began as a two men project in August 2008, it has by now developed into a fully fledged non-profit organisation, featuring 4 administrative members and 4 additional officers. The initial founders, Steve and David are a freelance IT consultant and a political science student respectively.

Of the additional people that soon stocked up the syn₂cat office, macfreak109 is a school teacher in information science, xx5y is a microelectronics engineer, Bartek a post-grad physics student, Gunstick a sysadmin and Michel is a student in secondary school. We only now got reinforced by an 8th crew member.

So how did you come up with the idea to found a hackerspace?

The idea of a hackerspace was born out of desperation ;)
David felt that, should he ever have to return to Luxembourg after university, there’d have to be a hackerspace. Visiting the Metalab in Vienna, though only for a short hour and without much going on, was a key moment in filing that decision.

Though the idea of building a hackerspace was initially scheduled for after David’s graduation, we spontaneously decided to do it “right there and now”. Since then, the project has been steadily growing like an open source project, with its “developers” learning by doing how to run such a show.

What are your future plans for the hackerspace?

Bootstrapping the space is still the near future and once we accomplished that, attracting more people and launching projects will be our focus. One group will focus on youth projects to get more young people into thinking outside the box and begin seeing solutions instead of problems.

Another future task is to constantly shift the responsibility of the actual space to other, maybe younger, people. Although we talked about an “administrative” board, we are far from paper tigers and want to keep the complexity as flat as possible.

Why do you think is the movement spreading so fast right now?

It gained a lot of momentum by the Hackers on a Plane project and the incredible amount of hackerspaces growing in the US. The sudden US movement had its spark from some German hackerspace visits so I guess it was the Germans again ;)

Interestingly enough this amalgamate of people starting open spaces backlashed to Europe again to give rise to a new iteration of hacker- or open spaces. The movement is nothing new but currently it sees fit in the hacker culture which sees an imminent uprise. To get to the point: People saw peers doing cool things in cool spaces and thought – “us too!” – and started doing it too.

Another factor might be the rise of social networks which allow ideas to spread quickly, especially amongst technically minded people. Hackerspaces take the connections made online and map them into the physical world.

Are there any fixed dates for events at syn₂cat?

There’s a list of fixed dates on our website. As we use Semantic Media Wiki (SMW) quite extensively, it is even available as an RSS feed.

The next big things will be our OpenWeekend where we show the space to the general public and keep it open for 36h straight. Further, we are also planning regular Python classes and electronics (soldering) sessions, with another focus on attracting other peer-groups such as user groups , the Chaos Computer Club, miniature railway hackers etc…

And the last question, where can we find some pictures?

There are photos on our website – but be ready to be rocked by the upcoming “after syn₂cat” pictures!

syn2cat meeting

Syn2cat Arduino Party

Eric Michaud | Posted 2009.03.02 at 8:19 pm | Perma

Our friends in Luxembourg from syn2cat are having a little get together that is open to the public (as long as you RSVP for the 10 spots), to put together a number of Arduino units for your hacking pleasure.

arduino316

From syn2cat’s wiki post:

What is it about?

On the 15th of March we are going to solder an Serial Arduino Board and a few Velleman Kits to afterwards.
Hack them and make them behave in a different way than originally conceived. (Limited to 10 People! Deadline: 8th of March)

We will provide

There will be approximately 6 full soldering stations
with all the necessary gear (Multimeter, Wirecutter tools, etc…)

These sets will be available FOR SALE. So in case you like what you did
and want to become a REAL Pirate make a future proof investment.

Most of the Kits will be in 3 exemplars, if you are really keen on one, reserve it please.

  • A Room (kindly provided by emQue)
  • 6 30W Soldering Irons with an adequate Tip and stand (but please bring your own should you have one)
  • 6 Third-hands
  • 6 Multimeter (again, you have one bring it please)
  • 6 Ubuntu Laptops with the Arduino IDE
  • Power supplies (some regulated some not, Voltage varies)
  • 500g (yeah) of 1mm and 0.7mm Solder
  • De-soldering stuff
  • Maybe an Oscilloscope (Who can bring one please?)

More details can be found on their wiki.

This event is also a wonderful way to meet the members of syn2cat and possibly even become a member yourself!

Cheers,
/E.

Categories : fun  hackers  meetup  people