Mitch Altman completes his worldwide tour of hackerspaces (Welcome home!)
Greetings from San Francisco! As wonderful as my travels have been, I’m really glad to be home. The skies are an incredible shade of blue, every day has been in the 70s, and my cat is very happy (and maybe a bit angry) to have me back in my little one-room studio apartment on top of a house on top of a hill, where I can see for miles through the crystal clear air.
I am still very excited about what I have seen and experienced throughout my 7 week tour of Chicago, the capitals of Europe, Philly, and New York City. The theme for the trip has been community with hackers.
If you’ve never been to a hacker conference or a hacker space, you may wonder what a bunch of hackers would do when they get together. Hackers are a very large group of individuals all around the planet who love learning about technology, making it better, and sharing it with the world. Hackers are a big driving force behind what makes the tech world happen. Think about all the open-source software, and the growing number of open-source hardware projects available. What hackers are dreaming up today becomes the reality we live tomorrow.
Hacker conferences happen year round. There is probably one coming up somewhere near you. Do a search for “hacker conferences”. Why not check one out for yourself?
The annual Chaos Communications Congress in Berlin is one of the highlights of my year. This year too! The hardware hacking area I set up was hopping 24/7, even during the few hours that I managed to sleep each day. The talks were top-notch, and the people I met were some of the more creative, intelligent, friendly people you’ll hope to find. I’m still buzzing from all the solder fumes from people building TV-B-Gone remote controls, Brain Machines, Trippy RGB Waves, and other projects of mine that I taught people how to make – many of whom have never built anything before!
Hacker spaces are popping up all over the world. These past 12 months have seen so many renting their own space: Philadelphia, New York City, Kansas City, Toronto, San Francisco, Montreal, DC, Vancouver, Paris, Boston, Providence, Chicago. And that list consists only of places where I have met the people who started them. Hackerspaces.org
is a new, international organization that exists to promote the starting of and continuation of hacker spaces. A quick perusal through their website reveals a list of well over 100 spaces on planet Earth where people can get together and share, learn, and work on the next cool thing.
is a hacker space that is near and dear to my heart, as I helped start it here in San Francisco. Based on the models that evolved through the experiences of Chaos Computer Club folks in Germany, Noisebridge already has 50 dues-paying members, In a few short months we’ve managed to create a space where you can stop by at 1am and eat home made bread just coming out of the oven from our kitchen while listening to the latest dance music of one of our members being played on our juke box as someone else shows off a years worth of their 8000 photos flashing by as a 5-minute video and someone else solders their latest hardware project upstairs in the new electronics lab while others catch up on their emails. There’s always something happening. If you’re ever in the San Francisco area, please stop by for a visit – you are always welcome.
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