Disclaimer: These are opinions. You may not like them. These things happen when you express opinions.
In 2007, at the 24th Chaos Computer Congress the first effort at drafting design patterns was attempted. At the CCC Camp that same year, hackers on a plane brought Americans to Europe en masse for the first time to experience a far more vibrant hacker culture than existed in the US, at that time. Americans returned, and two new American hackerspaces sprung up. The first of many new spaces. The first drops in what would become a worldwide deluge.
5 years on, I find that a lot of the excitement that I was wrapped up in in 2007 has gone. What was once new, and full of promise, is now very much real, and part of the day to day humdrum routine of life. Hackerspaces are now so common place as to afford the term an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary. Hackerspaces.org’s blog hasn’t been updated in a year. Because honestly, what is there to say that we don’t already know? The new hackerspace smell is gone.
At one of the earliest NYC Resistor meetings Bre said “This thing isn’t real until it’s been around for five years.” Bre was trying to make a point about how much can happen in five years and why we’d need to plan for the things we didn’t see as being immediate concerns. He was right, more right I think, than he could ever have imagined. In the next 5 years of Resistor’s existence we saw enough members move to California to start a space there. And others move to even more far flung regions of the world. We’ve seen members marry, have kids, and start companies. One of those companies exploding out into the world, and maybe exploding a bit inside of itself as well. I myself, ended up spending a couple years at NASA Ames working on a wildly successful Open Source project. Something I would never have thought possible at the time. And, now after three years in California, I find myself back in NYC taking stock of things.
I think I have a message for Hackerspaces. One that I think is of critical importance. An addendum to the Design Patterns. Something new, that’s worth saying. At the 5 year mark, I find that my definition of hackerspace has changed.
On the 29th of November 2009 Malmö’s hackerspace Forskningsavdelningen was raided by masked riot police.
Armed with batons and pepper spray they stormed the social center where the hackerspace housed and confiscated computers and other technical equipment.
One of the people detained was a hacker named mackt. With a background in The Pirate Bay, for him the raid was yet another proof of society’s mistrust and lack of understanding of hacker culture.
After the incident he wanted to do something about the distorted image of hackers. He contacted the film collective RåFILM in Malmö and the idea was born to make a documentary that explains the political aspects of hacker culture beyond the simplifications and preconceptions.
The film will take them out on a long trip to the famous and infamous hackers and activists around the world, hackers that express themselves artistically and politically through technology. What are their motivations? What are the politics and activism hacker culture has shaped out? How does this impact our world? The film will feature unique encounters with people that usually elude the public. It will crash land in the middle of the conflict currently taking place between those who want to keep the technology and the Internet free and those who want to control it.
Noisebridge, a hackerspace in San Francisco, as always is open to those looking for a space to work on projects, and resources to make those projects a reality. We’ve been seeing more and more groups coming through seeking aid for things related to the Occupancy. Together we’ve built out interesting ways to recharge car and cell phone batteries, provided internet at camp, had meetings about web presence, document GA minutes and more.
We want to let the participants of the Occupy Movement know that we’re here and open to them. We’ve also started a site called hackupy.org (graciously hosted off of Hackerspaces, thanks!). Hackupy are open hack nights at hackerspaces for Occupy related projects, and the site gives a listing of spaces which provide such nights. So far hackupy has been happening at NYC: Resistor and almost 24/7 at Noisebridge, and we look forward to seeing more hackerspaces jump in and provide time to those wanting to hack for excellence!
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.)
As a mere participant of Revelation Space, a hackerspace (or makerspace, if you will) in The Hague, who also happens to practice law (but not corporate law), I found this article on hackerspaces.org interesting. Interesting but incomplete. Incomplete because it doesn’t really explore perfectly reasonable combinations of the patterns described. Also incomplete, because it reeks of a reinventing the wheel, but poorly. Read more…
Traveling to other Hackerspaces = GOOD
Spending a lot of money on Hotel fees = BAD
Introducing a project brought to you by the The Brain Tank, DC401, and Hackers like you, called “HackerHostel.com”.
*NOTE: This is an excellent opportunity to use your new Hackerspace Passport.
Negate one of the larger expenses associated with travel, namely HOTEL FEES, in order to further promote idea cross-pollination through visitor, ambassador, and Hacker In Residency programs for Hackerspaces.
A website that will allow users to view Hackerspaces with available sleeping quarters and to submit visitor proposals to participating Hackerspaces for review. Tell us about yourself and what you wish to teach during your stay at your Hackerspace of choice.
The website will help Hackerspaces manage their proposals, discuss Best Practices, as well as help raise money for spaces to spruce up their sleeping quarters if necessary.
Also, each Hackerspace would have some kind of profile detailing the space available, the kinds of classes they might be looking for, what tools facilities would be available to the HIR.
What better way to spend a short vacation than to learn something and teach others something new?
We can further innovation and the exchange of ideas over the course of a few days by removing those pesky physical borders.
Whatever you consider a comfortable place to stay for a brief period of time in your Hackerspace. Could be a hammock, place to put a sleeping bag, a couch, or actual bunk bed. If you’ve got a space to crash, you’ve got a Hacker Hostel. The amount of time you allow a Hacker in Residence to stay is entirely up to you.
We’ve begun setting up The Brain Tank in Providence RI as a testing ground already. We should be able to comfortably sleep 2 HIR’s (Hacker in Residence) on proper bunk beds. A volunteer will be living and innovating 24/7 at The Brain Tank helping us work out the bugs and blogging about their experience. It’s a really convenient and safe area to live in.
Things we have:
-The website domain name www.HackerHostel.com was graciously donated to us. Thank you very much, we couldn’t have done this without your generosity.
*If anyone at all wants to be part of this website build please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org , we could really use the help.
-Kayak (The Brain Tank is right next to a river through the city)
-E-bike (great for short distances)
-Servers and Terminals
-Tools & Scrap Electronics (lots of em)
-Hidden urban garden (great for relaxing or grilling outside)
-Tshirts (being designed as we speak. shirt slogan = “Sleep. Hack. Repeat.”)
Things we may need:
-Website (A very simple booking website would be necessary to make this work. I’ve never built one before and could def use a hand if anyone want’s to chip in.)
-Shower (wouldn’t cost more than $150 total to buy & install at The Brain Tank. Once we figure out the cheapest way to build a shower we’ll release the cost and build info to all)
-Kickstarter (we can generate funding and offer cash to other Hackerspaces to improve their sleeping quarters. This will also fund the website maintenance.)
What do you think should be added? Changed? etc…
Note: This project is soooo simple to put together and would have a significant benefit to Hacker Culture. Right now all I think it really needs is a VIDEO, a WEBSITE, and a properly formed statement/description. We’d be helping to break down the barriers associated with the inconvenience and expense of travel. Making it easier for great minds and talents to move around freely teaching each other what they know.
Yes, there’s quite a bit to figure out. Each Hackerspace is different and TRUST is a huge part of the success of this project. Having guests stay at your place is a very personal thing. But if complete strangers on CouchSurfing.com can do it, I think the Hackerspace Community will have even better success as we are in fact a strong Community.
If you have any ideas, questions, or would like to help in any way, please contact me and we’ll get the ball rolling.
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.
In response to recent press coverage of Denial of Service attacks on numerous websites, and the arrest of a teenager from the metropolitan area of The Hague, the hackerspace Revelation Space in The Hague, The Netherlands, calls for a meeting on ethical hacking.
The arrested teenager, who was allegedly involved in the attacks on websites of MasterCard and other companies that obstructed Wikileaks‘ activities, was known to visit the hackerspace and was a regular in its online chatroom. This is what motivated members of Revelation Space to bring attention to the subject of ‘ethical hacking’.
Disrupting websites with a ‘Distributed Denial of Service’ attack (DDoS) or by any other means does not align with the ethics of the hacker community. Koen Martens, founder of Revelation Space, responds to the actions of Anonymous, ‘I liken a Denial of Service attack to slapping someone in the face when you run out of arguments to prove someone wrong.’
A hacker is a creative and curious individual, someone who wants to find out how things work and perhaps tries to find flaws in their design. An ethical hacker will act responsibly with the knowledge gained and will not abuse this knowledge. An ethical hacker is aware of the consequences of his or her actions, or the sharing of the gained knowledge, and will always strive to operate within the boundaries of law.
As such, the attacks on sites such as MasterCard have nothing to do with hacking. Anyone can download, install and start a computer program in order to become part of a coordinated online crime. There is no creativity involved: DDoS attackers generally use existing tools without realising how these work.
Although legal action is part of a proper response to the action of this minor ‘script kiddie’, it must be acknowledged, that everyone has made mistakes in their youth they are not proud of. The young man and his accomplices should not be excluded from the community. They should be shown a better way to reach a goal. One of the hackerspace’s members admits, that as a teenager he also did not always consider the consequences of his actions, and explains, ‘What really helped me was the interaction with real hackers, people with a sense of ethics. We can do much more for this young man in the context of hacker ethics, than the people who raise him.’
The event will be held on Saturday, December 18th, from 12.30 till 06.00 PM CET, at the Revelation Space hackerspace, Binckhorstlaan 172, Den Haag, The Netherlands. The meeting is organised in cooperation with the Hxx Foundation, the Utrecht hackerspace Randomdata, and the Dutch chapter of the international hacker collective 2600.
Contributing to the meeting will be, amongst others: IT lawyers Arnoud Engelfriet (ICTRecht) and Walter van Holst (Mitopics, EDRi board member), internet journalist Brenno de Winter (NU.nl, Webwereld.nl, The Security Update podcast), veteran hacker Hans van de Looy (Madison Gurkha), and Jurre van Bergen (ethical hacker with a special interest in government sites).
Everyone is invited to this session. Members of the press are explicitly invited to attend. Please note that the main language will be Dutch.
Yes, we know software developers are not necessarily hackers, and visa versa. Yes, we know they’re appropriating a word that’s been knocked about for the last forever, one that most of us stand up for and love. But, this event merits your attention because of the limited overlap between devs and hackers – they don’t think like we do, and that puts their potential good works in danger. We’re hoping you’ll attend this event, even for a bit, to help these do-gooders remember security risks and to push them in more interesting and elegant directions.
Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) is all about using technology to make the world a better place by building a community of innovation. RHoK brings software engineers together with disaster risk management experts to identify critical global challenges, and develop software to respond to them. A RHoK Hackathon event brings together the best and the brightest hackers from around the world, who volunteer their time to solve real-world problems.
When and Where for the Hackathon?
The second global #RHoK hackathon event takes place around the world on December 4- 5, 2010. There are multiple organizations in multiple cities hosting the event, so please check here to register and find out where to go! The event starts at 9:00am GMT on December 4th and ends December 5th at 8:00pm GMT.
Who Else is Hacking for Humanity?
Aarhus, Nairobi, Sao Paulo, Chicago, Bangalore, New York, Lusaka, Berlin, Toronto, Bogota, Atlanta, Jakarta, Birmingham and Open Data camps will be connected over the weekend through live video streaming channels, chat servers, Skype, Twitter, blogs, photo and video sharing as we collaborate across time zones, international borders and languages to “hack for humanity” – developing software solutions that will save lives and alleviate suffering.
We Need You
This event all comes down to you – we need your participation and support: sign up, and become part of something truly globally awesome!
The OpenDoor Hackathon is a hackathon to benefit the members of hacker/maker/artist/co-working spaces by creating a standardized, Open Source access and membership management system that can be used by everyone. At the end of the hackathon, the systems (or subsystems) created by each space will be voted upon, and the best system (or combination of systems) will be chosen. Implementing the system afterward is, of course, optional.
Why are we doing this?
I know, the word “standardized” sends chills down my spine too, but I assure you that this is a good thing! Deciding upon a common system would enable the following things:
The ability to share membership between spaces
Crowd-sourced security enhancements and feature additions
Easier membership management
A warm fuzzy feeling of being connected with other spaces
What we’re envisioning (and what many of you already have) is a sort of Reciprocikey or Space Passport system. We believe that the only way to create such an awesome system is to work together on it!
More Focus for your brain meats:
Prize of an Ice Tube Clock from Adafruit for the space who best implements the standardization of interface specification between custom softwares and access control. Each space will review submissions at x time on Sunday and rank the systems they would most like to use (you cannot vote for your own). The runner up will receive a Minty Boost pack.
You can also vote on best hardware system, most elegant code, best independent member management software – the top three of each will receive Minty Boost packs, also via Adafruit.
Software for access control (reads from memory stored users and network user databases)
Create a functional specification for how authentication can be done securely.
Software that manages membership rights (grants rights/features to users based on conditions specified by managers
Standardize an interface specification for how custom software can talk to the access control software interface.
example: 3rd party space has a member visiting, presents auth token.
example: someone wants to create a custom trusted UI (web, phone, etc.) for talking to the auth daemon
Web, phone, etc UI for membership management and access control software
Involve user interface management. See what tools people are using today to manage membership and build hooks in the software to manage access control, or build your own.
Hardware for reading identity (RFID reader, USB stick, etc.)
Build plug-ins to support common hardware (don’t get stuck on any given vendor).
When is the OpenDoor Hackathon?
The OpenDoor Hackathon will begin on Saturday, December 11th at 2pm PST, ending 24 hours later at 2pm PST on Sunday, December 12th.
How do I sign up?
You can register your space’s team at the Eventbrite here!