The world lost another hero….

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.

OpenAMD at CCC Camp: “We totally need these stinking badges!”

Welcome to the future. OpenAMD (Attendee Meta-Data) combines an RFID location tracking system with social networking, and we’re looking to deploy at CCC Camp 2011. You might have seen the project either as the location tracking badge at 2600’s HOPE 2008 and 2010, or as CCC Sputnik in 2006, 2007, and 2008. This time we have a lot of new improvements, and need your help to make the project happen.

For those unfamiliar with the concept: imagine you enter a conference, and put on your OpenAMD badge. Suddenly, you can see yourself on a screen, a dot (or avatar) on a map, moving around in real-time, just like the Marauder’s Map from Harry Potter. Next, you can log into the social networking site, create a profile, and watch as your personal information turns into a dynamic visual. We can do amazing things with this: tell how many people in a talk like “lockpicking” at any given time; suggest talks you might like, based in your interests; allow you to connect with people who have similar tastes, or have been to similar talks; and much more. Really, we are only limited by your imagination.

And that’s just the software side. For hardware hackers, the badge is totally hackable. As you can see in the video, there will be a row of blinky lights you can program to flash cool patterns, and even do persistence of vision effects. The schematics are online, and the software is completely open source. As you can see in the photo, the badge has built-in USB. The idea here is that someone with no experience can download the programming software for free, plug their badge directly into their computer, and hack on their firmware live. We will have lots of documentation, and are happy to teach people all about it.

Future of OpenAMD
Beyond Camp, we’re also exploring creating a kit that will allow people to set up an installation at their own hackerspace (or wherever), to promote using this technology beyond just hacker conferences. We want to see what kinds of cool things everyone will come up with, and will be making a big announcement soon about a semi-permanent installation in the United States. Imagine being able to go to your hackerspace, create a visual, and then watch it work live. We started this community outreach at The Next HOPE with the public API (we’ll be releasing an updated version soon), and the semi-permanent installation will allow people to tinker with all parts of the project, as well as work out any bugs to reduce technical difficulties at future conferences 😉

Kickstarter
To make this happen at Camp, we need your help. We have launched a kickstarter (www.openamd.org/kickstarter), as a way to help pay for the badges and let people guarantee they get a badge at the Camp; if you cannot make Camp, we will even send you a badge once Camp is over. We’re trying to raise the minimum cash needed, as we are supplying all the infrastructure ourselves; and we need to meet our goal ($12,000) by May 1st, otherwise we won’t be able to bring this to Camp.

Hackerspaces Challenge
To make this more enticing, we’ve decided to give back to the community even more: once the kickstarter is successful, as a backer you’ll be able to enter your hackerspace in the form when you enter your name, and the hackerspace that raises the most funds for the project will get their logo featured on the badge lanyard at Camp. Consider this a big thank you from us for helping the project be excellent.

If you have any questions or comments about the project, please check out www.openamd.org, or email aestetix@openamd.org.

Japan in Crisis: Tokyo Hackerspace is helping out

This is a copy from the Tokyo Hackerspace blog:
http://www.tokyohackerspace.org/en/japan-in-crisis

To all the people on the good planet Earth, the crew of Tokyo HackerSpace has a message that we would like to send to you:

By now, everyone knows of the crisis in northern Japan. It will still be a few weeks before life is under control here. We are looking forward to the day that the power plants are safe and the tremors have subsided.

Many of our members have been cooped up in our homes waiting out the storm, but not laying idle.

The Japanese government is doing the best that they can to manage the crisis and help people who have lost loved ones, homes, utilities and possessions.

Tokyo HackerSpace has already begun to lay plans for projects which we feel can help the people of Japan, utilizing the best of our abilities and resources.

Our first course of action has been to order up the required parts for 150 solar powered LED lanterns. We will be assembling them here and shipping them up (or delivering by hand) to aid organizations. These lanterns provide just enough light so that people can feel safe at night without power, find their way in the dark, and maintain the sense of community. They charge during the day via the sun, and will help to light the way for 8 hours each night.

We also have on the way several geiger counters and geiger tubes, from which we will be making community sensors, in order to help to keep the public in harms way informed on a minute by minute and hour by hour basis. While the initial exposure has been low, our concern is the long term effects, food and water supply, and ground soil conditions over the next several months.

Or longer term projects include solar cell phone charging stations, low energy cooking equipment, internet, wifi, and laptop loans, and other technical concerns.

We are calling upon Hacker Spaces all over the world, and friends of Hacker Spaces, and friends of friends of Hacker Spaces, to help out.

Soon we will release a list of critical equipment and supplies which we may have difficulty sourcing locally. If you have access to anything on the list, please contact us to make shipping arrangements. If not, please DO NOT ship us anything not on the list (In some cases, it may be VERY specific). Items not on our list will only crowd our space and waste your shipping money and time. If you have something specific or unique you think we could use, feel free to send us an email and inquire.

In the meantime, we ask that anyone who can, please donate to only reputable charities. Or, if you prefer, you may donate directly to us, and we will utilize it for the above mentioned projects, or give the money directly to Japanese aid organizations known to be doing good work in the area.

You can donate via Paypal to theTHSstore@gmail.com

Good night and good luck.

The game is on!

Get your thinking caps on and prepare for the FIRST EVER HITB Hackerspaces Challenge!
During the Hack In The Box SecConf 2011 several hackerspaces will participate in a team-to-team showdown, LEGO-style. And not just any LEGO! No! The Hackerspace Challenge will be featuring LEGO Mindstorms nxt 2.0 kits!

Each team of minimal 2 persons will be given the same task: design, build and test a construction at the premises. Assembly takes place at allocated times divided over two days. To really test the improv skills of the participants, we will only disclose the details of the actual challenge at the start of the security conference.

Every creation is judged by several experts based on performance, looks, creativity, smart engineering, programming skills etc. The winning team is taking home the honour, glory… and an additional money reward. A generous sponsorship donation of €1000,-, courtesy of ITQ.

A spectacle you don’t want to miss! It’s open to public.
Place : HITB SecConf 2011 – Krasnapolsky Wintergarden, Amsterdam
Date: 19th and 20th May 2011, 11:00 – 17:00 h
Award ceremony: 20th May, 18:00 h

Want to enter your hackerspace into the competition?
Check out the HITB 2011 Amsterdam site how to join the challenge!

Global Hackerspace Cupcake Challenge

For the January Synchronous Hackathon we’re going to try something a little different. Over the weekend of the 15th and 16th we’re inviting hackerspaces worldwide to bake, package and post a cupcake to another hackerspace.

This is a friendly competition so be creative and innovate. Full details are included on the Global Hackerspace Cupcake Challenge wiki page.

Going forward for each hackathon we hope to have a new friendly challenge or shared activity. So get involved or suggest a new challenge.

Race for the Future! Design it, build it, race it!

Attention all hackers and hackerspace members! 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. Better hurry! There are only 20 entries, and hackerspace Pumping Station: One has already claimed two of them! Who will be next?

Race to the Future

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.

For full details, visit their website at http://alternatepowerinitiative.com!

Here are the rules and the entry form.

Better hurry! There are only 20 entries, and hackerspace Pumping Station: One has already claimed two of them! Who will be next?

If you sign up, please post in the comments!

Ethical hacking vs. DoS: a workshop session at Revelation Space

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.

Hack for Humanity! RHoK #2

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!

Announcing The OpenDoor Hackathon!

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.

Systems needed:

  • 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!

Join the conversation at http://groups.google.com/group/opendoorhack-a-thon!

From thursday 22:00 CET: Signal!

Hackerspaces signal

#The first signal was broadcasted! You can find the shows at the Signal Archive

Once upon a time on a campsite far far away, about 2500 hackers came together, they hacked, chat and listened 4 days to one of their most favorite radio channels. Day in and day out they had so much fun, listening to their type of music, story’s and discussions. Everybody was happy and there was a huge motivation along the hackers. The last hour went by, the radio station had to stop and the hackers went back home again, the happiness ended….

Then a few radio hackers came with an idea, why shouldn’t we start our own streaming radio? So we can serve hackers all around the world.
Oke, the real story is a bit less dramatic but one thing is sure, everybody can be happy again during 2 hours every week! We have a streaming radio station. The name of our brand new radio is “Signal”, it stands for a medium, a message, a hack and much more.

We have some show’s planned but the schedule could change off course, for now we have the following program’s and we are broadcasting every thursday from 22:00 CET till 22:00.

  • /dev/random show
  • The Hackerspace hour
  • Room IOI
  • Talking Anthropology
  • Signals And Portents
  • The Maker’s Review

If you have show’s/random idea’s/etc to add, please give us a sign to our signal! Spread the word by using this flyer

So, what’s taking you so long?
Test the signal right here, right now so you are prepared for Thursday’s first live show ever!
We are broadcasting from the Eth-0 and start with the /dev/random show followed by the Hackerspacehour.
During the shows we will follow the IRC channel of hackerspaces and the twitter hashtag: #signal