Archive for August, 2009

RevSpace: the hackerspace in Den Haag

Friday, August 28th, 2009

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“Why isn’t there a hackerspace in Den Haag?”. A question frequently overheard during Hacking at Random (HAR2009), the recent hacker camp in The Netherlands. And a good question as well.

Well, the answer now is: because you did not join Revelation Space yet!

There are quite a lot of hackers (which, for purposes of this article I characterize as intelligent people with a critical point of view on
the status quo) in The Netherlands. This fact is evident in the masses of Dutch people that visit hacker conferences, the fact that for a
country as small as ours there is a large number of IT security firms and the realized potential of the four-yearly Dutch hacker camps (HAR2009 being the latest of these).

Now, I do not know much about the history of the CCC, but I do know this club provides structure to the German hacker community. Something that has been lacking in the Dutch hacker community, rooted in the anarchistic Amsterdam eighties. Without something like the CCC, that for all its flaws gives the scene identity and a sense of belonging, the Dutch hackers are a loosely bound community. Hackerspaces might be able to add this structure to the Dutch hacker community, as has happened in Germany and the US already.

Anyway, back to Den Haag, international city of peace and justice. And, on a larger scope, the city-county Haaglanden: Zoetermeer (IT city pur-sang), Delft (home of one of our most well known technical universities), Voorburg, Rijswijk and more. It is only fitting that this region gets a hackerspace, where we can meet, collaborate and come up with great projects.

Not only does such a hackerspace have an inward function, it should also be a center of outreach. A source of education for the masses on how technology touches our lives, and how everyone should be critical.

To make this possible, we need you! Under the name ‘Revelation Space’, a group of hackers from the region are trying to make it happen. Set up the underlying structure, rent a space, decorate it, come up with nice projects and whatever else is involved.

I appeal not only to the hard-core kernel hackers that are out there, geeks who stay up late at night to wrestle through encryption protocols for fun and profit, but also to the artistic among us that play with technology or the social hackers that dive deep into the human mind and find tricks to exploit its design. In other words: hackers of all persuasions are invited to join!

If you are interested, make sure to head over to the RevSpace wiki, join the mailing list or join us on IRC. I hope to be able to say ‘hi’ to many of you in the near future!

Koen Martens (gmc)

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HAR2009: day 8

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Well, what can I say: HAR2009 if going to be f*cking awesome! I planned some early downtime today, but failed hard. Started early, opening up the cashier. I’ve now got a team of dependable and excellent guys&gals to run the back office, the cashier desk and the coin shop.

Then had to coordinate some stuff, among which the harcade. It’s funny in a way, how a 100m walk suddenly takes half an hour, what with all the people asking for your opinion, decision or other input. It’s great though how all the people on the terrain are jumping at every opportunity to help out. That’s what i’ve been doing it for the past year!

Forgot to eat as well. Luckily there was some food left at Sabine’s, which I heated in the microwave and ate during the team-lead meeting at 22:00. After that I went around the terrain to hand out volunteer hats.

At the HARfm area, i found a lot of stressed out people. Turns out I arrived 15 minutes before they went live, so i sat down in the studio and joined in for the first chaotic hour of broadcasting. Looking forward to doing my shows on HARfm later on!

After that, I went to the HARcade, to find my ultimate wet dream. While I was busy doing boring money business, random people turned the large empty space into a gameroom that exceeds my wildest dreams! Great job people, I love you!

I’m so proud to be a part of this edition of the event, and so glad it is turning out to be such a brilliant kick-ass edition. Hope I can keep my eyes dry this wednesday, when i’m delivering the opening speech :)

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HAR2009: day 6 and 7

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Wow, things are really really busy now. We didn’t expect the numbers arriving early to be this big. To think we were afraid that not enough people would show up early. Thinks are shaping up, today we had the first actual run at the cashier. People arriving, tickets scanned (I even had my ticket scanned, finally).

The unexpected masses arriving has led to some improvisation: we basically weren’t ready for this much people. But everyone has worked very hard to get things up to shape. Amazing, really, to see how fast a random group of people can switch into high gear and get everything ready. Of course, sleep is among the first things to be sacrificed. When asking ‘how are things’, a frequent answer is ‘good, perfect, just a bit tired’.

So much happened today and yesterday, that I won’t even try to enumerate. Some personal highlights: the blinkenlights arrived in the HARcade! Next to ST:TNG and Adams Family, we now have Tommy. Tomorrow, a shitload of pinball games will be unloaded. The asteroids is there already, as is the voice-controlled racetrack and i’ve seen the floating ducks being set up. Can’t wait till the metacade is being put up! Some guys even arranged for DDR mats. We had some rain today, but Cinder promised that will clear up at 6AM. There are still tents being built. The HARfm tent is ready though, and the antenna is up already. A/V arrived in a big truck and two smaller ones, and is

The sudden influx sparked an email to our visitors, which prompted some varied responses. Apart from one or two whiners, who forgot that we’re not professional event organisers and are making it up as we go, the response to that email has been very understanding. Of course, people who come from far can’t just change their travel plans (think airplanes), but I think without the email we would have at least a 500 people here already.

I don’t know what to expect tomorrow. Will we have a 1000 visitors by the end of the day?? There is still a shitload to do, so i’ll be running to and from again I guess. I’ll try to keep you updated through the har2009 twitter feed though, as i’ve been doing in the past days!

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HAR2009: day 4 and 5

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

Day 4 went by fast. Lots of people arriving, busy exchanging tickets for wristbands. Lots of deliveries, some very cool stuff (for example 15km of IPv6 compatible UTP, and the har water) and useful gear. Today (day 5) the core routers arrived. Network is making rapid progress: fiber has been rolled out from the KPN shed all the way to the NOC cabin. Some splicing still remains.

Have been twittering like mad on the HAR2009 twitter feed, trying to catch the most noteworthy moments (and doubtless failing, missing a lot of the cool stuff). Hope the ppl at home like it though. Today, the porto’s were handed out. The endless pointless discussions on IRC translate well to the ether.

Tomorrow, the first beginnings of the power grid will be laid out, with the generators arriving. Hopefully at the end of the day I can plug in some UTP in the noc cabin, and catch up on my email. I doubt that there’ll be time for that though.

My personal hi-lite of the day: claiming a bike! No more feet-killing circuits around the terrain!

Anyway, it’s late. I’m signing off. Thanks for listening.

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HAR2009: day 3

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

It was quite hot today, but that didn’t stop the tent builders from working hard on the Birthday Tent next to Monty Hall. Today, i have been posting a lot of pictures of the buildup on twitter.

Almost 1 o’clock again, hopefully I can finally sleep in a bit tomorrow. With the KPN being done with the PSTN lines, there is no need to get up at 7AM. That is. That is, if the first volunteers do not show up too early tomorrow morning. They have been asked to arrive after 13:00, but most are very eager.

A quick run-down of the day. Got up early, shoved some sandwiches with chocolate spread in my mouth with milk to wash it down. After reading mail for some 2 hours, Aldert & Mischa arrive and we head into town to get some more supplies and a bit of banking. Upon return, the KPN engineers are basically done with the PSTN lines. Amazingly. Took a few deliveris. Some last corrections to the tent-building plans, and Mischa left for home again.

A surprise visit by Jan and Eelco (build-up coordinator and security lead), who couldn’t wait another day. A quick bite (lovely service :) at the ‘Boerenschuur’, opposite the KPN shack where currently the uplink terminates. Then back to the field. Darkness descends, but that doesn’t stop us from marking out the firelanes on the big camping fields. I have the hard job of sitting behind the wheel of the car, repositioning the lights from time to time. Meanwhile I work on administration a bit.

Tomorrow will be busy, with all the organisation arriving and setting up shop. I expect to be flooded with receipts and expense declarations, luckily I set up my temporary office in the HAR HQ. Must not forget to mark out the path from the entrance to the Jaap vd Lindehoeve, which is where we are.

HAR2009 is finally happening! See you all soon!

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