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NYC Resistor: DIY Hackers Doing Awesome Things

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the neck-deep-in-nerds dept.

Hardware Hacking 134

HansonMB writes "Founded by a handful of friends who wanted a place to tinker with electronics and meet like-minded hackers for good, NYC Resistor has blossomed into one of the country's most influential hackerspaces. On any given Thursday night, their cozy, cluttered loft workshop is crawling with a diverse crowd of hardcore tinkerers and curious newcomers. Throwing some caution and many user warranties to the wind, they're there to build, refine, break and share everything from toy robots to intricate paper sculpture to open source musical instruments."

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That is... (0)

GeorgeMonroy (784609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942410)

a good thing

Captain Obvious.. (0)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942488)

has made an insightful post!

Re:That is... (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942510)

This is wrong. Do you know how many CXO's they are depriving of yacht time just by breaking apart their device to see what kind of magic awaits them? These notorious thugs might find out how some of this stuff actually works! Not even the engineers that made them know this! On top of it you should know that as you walk by any electronics box and glance you are already agreeing to the TOS and are likely to be keel hauled by said CXO's Yacht?

This is all wrong, lucky thing for us they will likely be sued then disappear on a random boating accident where none of them actually own a boat!

Good riddance says I !!!

Re:That is... (1)

GeorgeMonroy (784609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942930)

You are right. I take it back.

this is not a good thing. =P

Re:That is... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943462)

You are right. There are a lot of poor abused CxO's that want their life back.

Damn you evil people, just let them live their poor wretched lives. Many try and survive on 8 figure incomes... Can you imagine!

Re:That is... (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943868)

It's true. Just imagine not having someone to give you a pedicure every morning or bathe your Chihuahua in $700 bottles of champagne.

This is serious folks. If we just sit back and let these "geeks" figure out how to make things with out over paid engineers then everyone will do it and who will pay the poor CxO?

No one that's who!

Re:That is... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943158)

Not if you happen to be there when Sony sends in the FBI.

Hackerspace? Goat-space is where it's at (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35942480)

I used to run one of the UK's most popular hackerspaces up until last year when the popularity of goat based experimentation made it quite clear that a goat-space would be a far more rewarding and popular event. Now my goatspace events attract a crowd twice as large, and the advances made in goat technology are fantastic. The only problem is that our webserver keeps getting hacked, but that is probably because it runs on Windows. All it takes is a goat to wander aimlessly past it and get the ethernet cable entangled in its horns and down goes our website! We are upgrading to Linux next week and will use some better ethernet cables that Windows doesn't support.

Re:Hackerspace? Goat-space is where it's at (1, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942738)

I used to run one of the UK's most popular hackerspaces up until last year when the popularity of goat based experimentation made it quite clear that a goat-space would be a far more rewarding and popular event. Now my goatspace events attract a crowd twice as large, and the advances made in goat technology are fantastic. The only problem is that our webserver keeps getting hacked, but that is probably because it runs on Windows....

I think you need a web cam to provide security for your webserver. Then you could call it goat-see or maybe goatse for short. I've heard that is a name with a long and glorious reputation.

Re:Hackerspace? Goat-space is where it's at (0)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943496)

Switch away from edible soy based environmentally friendly ethernet cables. OR buy the spicy red ones. I hear goats dont like spicy.

Re:Hackerspace? Goat-space is where it's at (0)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943530)

You moved to Wales?

Re:Hackerspace? Goat-space is where it's at (0)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943728)

Thank you for pushing the envelope in hot grits technology.

over a year old (4, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942486)

This piece originally aired in January 2010.

slashdot: always current

(that's a joke, son)

Labels and Pop Culture (4, Insightful)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942614)

I'll probably feel the burn for this one but I have lots of karma...

I understand that people living in large cities may not get the chance to own a house with a spare room or a garage but is it really necessary to badge themselves? By the loose definition here I know a great "hacker" and I've been to an awesome "hackerspace" (he's my dad, and it's his garage).

At what point did building stuff on your own become something so rare?

I understand the fun in building something yourself, designing/making something new or just tinkering around with something old or broken and making it work but I just call myself a "regular person".

I don't know why being creative in the "industrial arts" has gained hipster status...

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (2)

Whalou (721698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942662)

I don't know why being creative in the "industrial arts" has gained hipster status...

Haven't you heard? "Get out of my loft" is the new "Get off my lawn".

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (3, Insightful)

cain (14472) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942688)

You may have missed the phrase in the write-up that makes highlights the difference between your father's garage and this place: "...crawling with a diverse crowd..." This is where people who build stuff can meet and talk about building stuff.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35942742)

"...people who build stuff can meet and stair at the ground and shuffle awkwardly about building stuff"

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942814)

Well, they're probably more diverse than the crowd that used to come over and talk shop, I will grant you that, but people did come over and talk shop. This was not a rarity.

Again, I can understand the impetus to do so in an urban setting, I don't understand the self-applied labels though.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

cain (14472) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942882)

So they should bill themselves as a place where "regular people" meet? I don't know that anyone would show up. If you're looking for like-minded people, regardless of area, you have to search/find/look for some noun - might as well make it a fun one.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35943202)

It's likely that they're no more diverse, as a collection, than the people who came to your dad's garage. This group simply wears a different uniform, that's more hoodie-, black-framed-glasses-, and ironic t-shirt-centric. Like you, my dad had a "hacker space" he called his workshop - a small room in the basement where he kept all his tools, his projects-in-progress, and a few nudie magazines. He called his hacking projects "farting around"; And he probably created more of actual utility than any 3 of the people in a hipster hacker space in Brooklyn.

Hipsters Ruin Everything. Nerds Ruin Everything. Hipster Nerds are truly an apocalyptic combo, and I think the first sign of that is their compulsion to apply deep and important labels to everything they do. For a bunch of people who are generally reputed to love irony, they seem curiously devoid of any sense of humor about what they're doing. "This is a twitchie. It's an open source robot platform that I developed." Fuck dude, it's a fuzzy, epileptic robotic worm. Stop trying to make it sound like you're doing something serious and world-changing. And don't even get me started on the "bar bot" that only makes Sazeracs .

Jesus, whatever happened to hipsters learning guitar so they can play the latest Arcade Fire song? Now they have to make "Monomes" and call a computer program that plays a looped pattern of simple tones a ground-breaking "open source musical instrument." Go back to analog, hipsters. You were more enjoyable then.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35943846)

Yet there is one universal fact... and it works in hackerspaces or in Car clubs.....

Typically the old guys always out-do the young snots. For two reasons, and one of them huge...

1 - old guys know more from experience, sorry kiddies you cant read that one to learn it.
2 - old guys ALWAYS have more money than the kiddies. This rubs the prima donna kiddies the wrong way bad.

Ay my car club one of the new snots claims he could build a car faster than any of the old guys. we decided to teach the snotnosed punk a lesson so we called his bluff...

Buy a mazda Miata, does not matter what year, and make it as fast as you can in 3 months.

He worked hard on it the entire time, scraped together lots of performance parts.
The old guy that took up the challenge installed a Corvette LS3 engine in his. Outspent the snot by 5X.

Guess what, old guy with a passenger that weighed 250 pounds was 4 seconds faster than the snot-nosed kid in his stripped and turboed performance setup. He learned right there that Old guys will always win because we got more money than you kid.

Get used to that 20 something snot-nosed punks... that 40 year old guy will ALWAYS win because he has more money than you.

and yes kids, you CAN easily fit a LS3 in a miata.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TllaD4VTjCw [youtube.com]

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35943954)

old guys ALWAYS have more money than the kiddies

You have never been to London, obviously

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35944078)

Bravo old-timers. You can outspend us. Your skill and aptitude at swiping a credit card is astounding. Give yourselves a pat on the back.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35944142)

I should add that there are a lot of highly skilled old timers who really can beat younger people with skill and experience - look at a lot of the competitors in LeMans or the GRM challenge. But you and your friends who felt good about bringing an assault rifle to a knife fight (and against an opponent with what sounds like a very finely crafted knife) are definitely not them.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945144)

But I bet that younger guy learned a hell of a lot - both about cars, and about when to stop bragging to, insulting, and challenging the people who are older, wiser, and far more experienced. And a lot of times, the second lesson is the more valuable one. Once you realize that - hey, they might just know more - you can actually start learning from them, instead of assuming that "hey, you old farts don't know anything, I'm way smarter than you."

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945520)

But I bet that younger guy learned a hell of a lot - both about cars, and about when to stop bragging to, insulting, and challenging the people who are older, wiser, and far more experienced.

How could he have learned any of that? The only things that were demonstrated to him were that old guys are unsporting and only know how to make cars go faster by stuffing big expensive V8s into them (which, while it requires a lot of elbow grease, isn't that impressive from an engineering standpoint - especially if you just order all the hardware required).

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (2)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942708)

One important detail the article failed to mention is that they also offer classes. Some are free, other are paid (to pay the rent). So I'd consider it a step above one person in their garage. They're at least reaching out to the community.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942740)

Now see that makes sense, I bet there are a lot of people who'd like to get started tinkering but don't know the basics, that's a great way to link people together.

I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned in the article.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942858)

Indeed. It's too bad that these types of groups don't have the same type of "patronage" that art studios get. If I was a tech mogul I think I'd fund these sort of groups rather than, or in addition to, artists.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943188)

"Wilbur, this here is a screwdriver. You use it like this to get these durned screws out of the cover. This here gadget is a pick - you can use it to move wires aside, and to scratch at capacitors and stuff. This thingamobob is a soldering iron - NO NO IT'S HOT! Don't grab it by that end! Here, Wilbur, this is ice water, it will make your burns feel a little better until they start hurting again. Look, Wilbur, there's the door, why don't you put yourself on the opposite side of the door from all these dangerous tools?"

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35944030)

My name is Wilbur, you insensitive clod.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (3, Interesting)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942722)

I don't know why being creative in the "industrial arts" has gained hipster status...

It's either hip, or terrifying, depending on who you talk to.
That being said, the reason is simple:
The vast majority of people nowadays have no idea what goes on outside their own job, and a lot of them don't even know what goes on _in_ their own job.

The days of most people being able to take things apart and fix them themselves are long behind us. What caused this downfall of knowledge, I don't know, but I suspect it has something to do with Fox, American Idle, partisan politics, NIMBY, and excessive litigation.

Basically, society has been moving in a direction that discourages - or downright criminalizes - tinkering. Most people support this, because it means they don't have to know how things work, and the mental stimulation and exercise that might be required is easier to waste on Fox and American Idle.

The fact that you can get sued for changing a chip out in your own hardware is simply an extra reason to avoid even finding out how to do it. If you're a clueless idiot with technology, you can't be accused of modifying that technology.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (4, Insightful)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942790)

What caused this downfall of knowledge, I don't know, but I suspect it has something to do with Fox, American Idle, partisan politics, NIMBY, and excessive litigation. That might have an influence, but I think it also comes down to increasing complexity and decreasing ability to actually fix things. Even as few as 20 years ago it was very possible to pull something apart, get a basic understand, and maybe fix it. With everything being shrunk down to a few chips that can't really be altered this has radically changed. You can no longer pull apart your iPod, and expect to be able to fix basic problems with it, since most of the inner workings are on a few chips. If it breaks you ONLY option is to throw it out and buy a new one. Contrast this with an old fashioned tape machine where all the parts were sized to be manipulated by a human. For the most part miniaturization has had huge boons, but it's seriously cut down on the number of things that people can tinker with.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942962)

With everything being shrunk down to a few chips that can't really be altered this has radically changed. You can no longer pull apart your iPod, and expect to be able to fix basic problems with it, since most of the inner workings are on a few chips.

Most of the inner workings that have problems are headphone jacks, batteries, buttons/clickywheels, external case parts, and displays. I've replaced those. I've never heard of the chip inside breaking, although I'm sure someone out there has managed to break one.

Its easier now because there is really only one electronic part left, sorta, and it never breaks, and the rest is nice large easily manipulated mechanical parts.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35942974)

And those things you can repair have spare part costs greater than buying a new device.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943018)

That applies just fine to things like iPods and other miniaturized electronics, but there are plenty of things that can't be miniaturized this way.

How about your car? Changing a tire is the exact same process it was 30 years ago, but nowadays pretty much nobody does it, whereas 30 years ago people rotated their own tires in their driveway. Same with changing a taillight bulb. If anything, it's even easier on modern cars, because the lights are held in with toolless plastic wingnuts in the trunk, rather than needing a screwdriver to take the lens out from the outside. But again, nobody does it themselves.

Hooking up a home entertainment system? It's a bunch of cables that go from one component to the next. How is this any harder than it ever was? 30 years ago, people would buy all the components, and spend an hour or two connecting everything up, and be proud of how it all worked when they were finished. Now, they'll call some big box home theater idiots, have them connect it all, and be proud of how much money they spent doing it.

Maybe that's it. Technical knowledge has given way to financial well being as the highest goal of society.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943206)

I know my father stopped changing his own oil when it nolonger made sense for him to do so. Basically it was cheaper and easier to pay somebody else to do it. Not sure about the home theater systems, I know lots of people who have hooked up their own, but even those are getting more complex. Original TV-> Buy a Box, done. Now you have to have the TV+VCR/DVD/Blu-Ray+Stereo+Amp+Speakers, etc. It's a lot more complex.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943726)

One of my stereos that was made in the 70s is a component system with a bunch of inputs and multiple speaker outputs, too. It's also able to be set up to feed to an external EQ. This is also capable of being hooked up to my TV/VCR/DVD, which is no more complex than anything today, other than being 2 channel, rather than 5.1. And if you can't figure out where the speakers go by the labels, you've really got issues.

BTW, who has a VCR, DVD, and Blue Ray player?

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35944280)

It is NEVER cheaper to pay someone to do the work for you. I cannot think of a single location where the cost of oil/filter and the labor is cheaper than just the cost of the oil/filter.

I don't know how capable your father is, but I will bet $10,000 that he either got too lazy to change it himself, or his health failed him, and he was no longer physically able to do the work. I will bet another $10,000 that it was not cheaper for him to pay someone else to do the work - it was just easier.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945336)

I will bet another $10,000 that it was not cheaper for him to pay someone else to do the work - it was just easier.

The determination of it being "cheaper" is only true if you place a negligible value on your own time.

Could I change my own oil? Fix my own car? Sure. I have the mechanical aptitude, I know how to use tools, and I probably already own most of the tools to do it. And I certainly *could* spend the time learning how; But in that same time, I could have also said "Here's $80, I need an oil change," and let a guy who has literally changed hundreds or thousands of cars' oil do it with ease & speed of somebody who has... changed hundreds or thousands of cars' oil.

And while he's doing that, I can be doing something I consider more valuable with the time I would have spent learning how to change my oil. I make decent money, but I can't add a second more free time to may day, unless I delegate some of my own tasks & responsibilities to other people, and pay them for their time, while I do other things that I consider more important/valuable.

Those establishments also don't pay straight retail price for the tens or hundreds of oil filters they go through every month, versus my single oil filter every 3 months or so. There's also the cost of waste disposal; an establishment that handles - literally - tens or hundreds of gallons of waste oil every week can negotiate much better prices for safe disposal than I can with my 4 quarts of oil every 3 months or so. Unless you'd suggest that I should just dump waste oil down the drain, or in the regular household trash, in violation of all kinds of local & state laws?

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945722)

I still change my own oil. I know I don't save much money by doing it, but at least I know what oil and filter is getting used.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

tabrisnet (722816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943512)

There's also various cities that have passed regulations about grey-water, that then means you can't clean your car in the driveway anymore.

Apartment complexes that strictly disallow you to do car-repairs in the parking-lot.

Office buildings and strip-malls that do the same thing (even if there is an AutoZone/whatever in that mall).

I've been accosted before for taking 5 minutes to change out a burned headlight bulb... b/c I was doing it at an office park waiting for my flatmate to get out of work.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943750)

There's also various cities that have passed regulations about grey-water, that then means you can't clean your car in the driveway anymore.

Are you serious? That's the most moronic thing I've ever heard. I've never heard of it before now, so I don't think anybody around me has such a law. And it's not like rainwater is going to be so clean after pouring from your dirty car.

There's an idea: Spray your car with soap before a big thunderstorm hits, then just let it rain.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943918)

You have to keep up appearances, and send the right message to your customers. Breaking away the layer of glitz and convenience to reveal the actual "gritty" technology that underlies everything is obscene. Stuff should be beautiful and Just Work (TM), or it's thrown into the trash for wasting your time. Because you Deserve It! (TM).

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35944940)

Google Colorado laws regarding greywater use. It used to be illegal; recently it's been changed so that you can do it, but it requires a permit. The laws are a little screwy, but the underlying idea is that water that is used by you or which falls on your property isn't really yours. It is, rather, part of an overall regulated water system, in which water is allocated to people.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943688)

"Hooking up a home entertainment system? It's a bunch of cables that go from one component to the next. How is this any harder than it ever was? 30 years ago, people would buy all the components, and spend an hour or two connecting everything up, and be proud of how it all worked when they were finished. Now, they'll call some big box home theater idiots, have them connect it all, and be proud of how much money they spent doing it."

It's because people today are more stupid than the idiots from big box trendy name but low end home theater store.... Honestly, they are. It's easier than hell today, HDMI from Bluray to reciever to big TV. hook up speakers following the color code so you dont have to think... It has connectors so you dont hurt yourself.

People today are simply either really lazy or complete idiots. And from what I have seen, I'm leaning towards the idiot side of the argument. These people don't even bother to research a purchase. Everything they do including cars is all impulse... This is a tell tale of the idiot syndrome.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943820)

I think that's pretty much where I wanted to end up with my comment. I just didn't quite get there....

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35944082)

I don't think it's accurate to say, "Nobody does this anymore." I've been a member on a number of on-line Internet forums where people would share knowledge about working on various cars and motorcycles. There was a very active community for people who owned DSM's (Diamond-Star Motors, i.e., Mitsubishi Eclipse/Eagle Talon/Plymouth Laser). Likewise the Honda Goldwing Forum [nakedgoldwings.com] (SFW, despite the name), the Honda Nighthawk Forum [nighthawk-forums.com] and Suzuki V-Strom Forum [stromtrooper.com] have been essential in helping me work on the various motorcycles I have owned. You'll find people there who have done everything from simple oil changes to completely rebuilding engines. As for me, I have never taken a car to a shop to have a light bulb replaced, I almost always change my own oil and filters, I installed crash bars and luggage carriers on my V-Strom -- and rigged up my own mounting system for the Pelican cases I hung off the luggage carriers. I even replaced the clutch in my Talon with a new one, installed stiffer engine mounts and started rebuilding the engine on my Goldwing project (but ended up selling that project before I finished it). It may not be as common for people to do their own maintenance on their cars, but it's far from dead.

Slightly off-topic, but kind of a funny story: I needed the oil changed in my Talon one time and for whatever reason, I couldn't do it myself this time so I took it to one of the 20-minute lube shops in town. I tell the guys all I want done is oil and oil filter. Ten minutes or so later, the mechanic walks in with a very dirty OEM air filter and tells me that it looks like I need a new air filter. I raise an eyebrow and ask the guy, "That's off of my car?" He says yes. I ask him, "Are you sure?"

"Yes," he says.

"The black Eagle Talon?"

"Yes."

"That's funny," I reply, "because my Talon has a K&N cone-type air filter attached to an aluminum intake pipe. That filter is off of a stock Talon with the factory airbox. There is no airbox on my car, so there is no way that air filter could even be attached to my car."

"Let me go double-check," the mechanic says.

Because I knew my car, I knew the shop was trying to charge me for work they weren't really going to perform. It pays to have technical knowledge sometimes.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | more than 3 years ago | (#35944652)

With jokers like that are you sure they even changed the oil? Another good reason why I change my own. It's cheaper and I'm certain that it gets done correctly.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943042)

You _can_ modify these objects (man I really hate the word "tinker" for some reason) but you need to do it through software these days instead. I'd argue that being able to add functionality to your phone equally rivals or surpasses being able to pull apart your tape recorder in the past. The real enemy of the "tinkerer" (ugh) are walled gardens and OS level locked down devices that prevent the owner from doing whatever they want with the item (and all the BS laws that prevent you from sharing insights when you DO figure out how to modify them).

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943236)

Oh, sure, but compare the COMPLEXITY of the act. Old school tape player: Screw driver a bit of time Android Phone: Computer, cable, software, understanding of Java, Android SDK, Software development, Android OS, etc. The bar has been seriously raised.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945562)

I think you can go either way there - sure, the bar has been raise for some simple type hacks, but its been far lowered to do some really cool stuff. Think about what it use to take to get commands over to a wireless robot, and now how many different ways there are to put a very small computer with all sorts of wireless protocols right in there. I'd probably take higher complexity, bigger/better results over the simpler era.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35942806)

I call it "The Death of Heathkit."

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943078)

And the clueless technical neophytes have no idea what the heck Heathkit is, so the phrase is as meaningless to them as 2N3904.

Reminds me of a Popular Science article from around 1981, where a guy built his own hovercraft. Overcame a bunch of design issues, and eventually came up with a great design. What has PS devolved to now? "Look at this great product from this great company!" Sure, it's a little more indepth than blatant advertising, but not much.

That's a great phrase, though. I'll have to remember it.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943722)

Oh come on now guys. This is observer bias.

There are literally thousands of people doing fun / dangerous / odd things with screwdrivers, soldering irons, plasma cutters, welders and JTAG programmers. Not too many people making hovercraft either now or in the past and that's why it was on the cover of Pop Mechanics. Yeah it's different - there are so many neat things to play with that I tend to run in circles around various projects. You can build thousands of little weird electronic things with PicBasic, Basic Stamp, Arduino's (spelling?), plain ol microprocessors that cost 1.19 apiece. You can download PCB making programs for free, same with SPICE circuit emulators. You can learn TIG welding at pretty much any vocational school, community college or just in your back yard (note to self, get welder out of kitchen before wife comes back).

There is more woodworking knowledge on the Internet than ever existed in any one craftsman's head. You can design a boat, plane or rocket and build one from a kit or from scratch.

And yes, the vast majority of human beings aren't interested in this. My wife is happy as long as 1) I keep the 'stuff' downstairs and 2) I don't trash the network. She's not interested in anything other than the fact that I can keep the cars and boats running (mostly). Talk to High school students about this you get one out of a hundred that thinks anything is interesting. It's a niche interest / hobby / lifestyle, but I was always surprised how many people (men anyway) could be found at the Boeing Reserve Property Center (bits of everything old and aeronautic, eventually killed by the idiot suits who run YoYoDyne^HBoeing these days).

Not to worry too much. If there are people putting things together, there will always be a few taking them apart.

(Damn, that 3D printer looks cool. Wonder where I could put it.)

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943892)

There are literally thousands of people doing fun / dangerous / odd things with screwdrivers, soldering irons, plasma cutters, welders and JTAG programmers.

And there are over six and a half billion people in the world. Thousands is nothing.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35944826)

I didn't realize it was a popularity contest. If you're after social affirmation, go watch 'American Idol'. Most of 'us' are happy being social outcasts.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35944382)

I fully agree!

I'm too young to fully understand how "Heathkit" affected people in the 60s and 70s when those types of kits were very popular, but the world could use more of that... There are far too many people who use devices that don't understand how they work. The iPhone, or cell phones etc. should be sold as a kit that you have to assemble before you can use it. Then you can appreciate the complexity of the device and not take it for granted and not have your head up your ass when you discuss the device and all the magic wizardry going on inside of it.

I repair consumer electronics and I lose patience with people who can't understand why replacing the LCD screen on their iPhone, or repairing an XBOX 360 costs more than $10...No wonder it is a throw away society...More and more people are becoming useless. They should not be able to use technology unless they demonstrate some basic ability to understand it.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35944266)

I went to a lecture last week by Martin Rees, the UK's Astronomer Royal. (It's an honorary title, he doesn't just hold a telescope for the queen, he's a top level astrophysicist/cosmologist too). During the Q&A at the end he was bemoaning the fact that kids no longer have toys they can tinker with and take apart. His example was a transistor radio, and equally I remember getting a cassette walkman for my ninth birthday. Within a few hours it was in bits on my desk, and I'd worked out that if you give the rubber band connecting the motor to the tape sprocket a half twist the thing would play backwards - little hacks like that as a kid led directly to me being known as Mister Fixit at work, and people are always baffled at how I do it. For some reason they can't understand that it's possible to look at something to see how it works, and then fix it.

I'm seriously tempted to start designing kids toys that are designed to be hackable.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

rcamans (252182) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945982)

That's American Idol, you insensitive clod.

Collaboration (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35942766)

The key to this "movement" is, I think, the collaborative aspect. I too grew up with a handy dad, with garage full of woodworking and metal working tools, and a darkroom in the basement and a jewelry studio in the attic. He was always making one thing or another, repairing appliances and vehicles, teaching his four boys how to use the equipment safely, etc., but at the end of the day, it was just us tinkering around the house.

We had some nice tools, but with just my dad's income, we wouldn't have been able to afford a laser cutter or a shopbot or any of the modern design tools that are found in the larger-scale hackerspaces. Also, the pool of creativity was limited to just us. Hackerspaces have room for thinkers, dreamers _and_ makers.

I still have my own tools (not as extensive as my dad's setup), I build and repair electronics at home, but I'm also an active member of The Columbus Idea Foundry [columbusideafoundry.com] where I mix and mingle with metal artists and artisans, and get shared access to tools I could never afford on my own or never take full advantage of even if I did own them.

As for why being creative has gained hipster status - I think you can look at the trend in education for that - with all the emphasis on standardized testing and the denigration of teachers as a profession, who learns how to do this stuff in school anymore? If you've spent your whole life as a consumer, connecting with the "producers" becomes an event.

Re:Collaboration (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942926)

That makes a lot of sense, wish I could mod you up :)

Re:Collaboration (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943738)

I can make things with a turret lathe and a Milling machine that are better than the stuff that comes out of a laser cutter. The laser cutter is for the Lazy or undereducated tinkerer that does not want to learn how to mill metal or delrin themselves to make the products. They want it instant. Dont bog me down with education, I want 50,000 foot hacking.

They have their place, but my robot hand machined from aluminum will kick the arse of your laser cut one.

Re:Collaboration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945164)

Instead of hating, why not take advantage of both? Rough cut your pieces with the laser cutter, and then mill to precision tolerances with your milling machine. That way you can work faster and save wear and tear on expensive bits and cutters.

Or is there something wrong with that idea?

Re:Collaboration (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943934)

I've always thought a great business would be a complete machine shop and wood working shop, along with a small supplies type place. Rent a work space and equipment (and someone who knows how to use it) on a per-hour basis. Lots of projects can be done in a few hours, if you have the tools to do it. Heck, I've got a few that I need to do but the equipment to do one project would make it a $5000 job ...

Of course, the killer here besides start up costs to equip would be the insurance. Of course, firing ranges can get insured so it is possible....

Re:Collaboration (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35944274)

I've always thought a great business would be a complete machine shop and wood working shop, along with a small supplies type place.

in other words "techshop"

http://techshop.ws/ [techshop.ws]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TechShop [wikipedia.org]

The biggest problem is most likely material and distance. Can I haul around my material including the finished project easily? And can you find a place that is centrally located yet has good enough roads to get there in less than an hour of drivetime?

Re:Collaboration (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 3 years ago | (#35944714)

Thanks. However, I'm 3000 miles away in N Florida, and I'll never go back to California again now that my grandparents are dead and I don't need to go have dinner with them a few times per year.

Re:Collaboration (1)

Builder (103701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945836)

I tried to start a business like that in London and failed. Our business plan called for about 200 sq foot of space (including the cafe, safe storage, benches, entrance, etc.) and 1 person to be on site at any time at or around minimum wage. The idea was to have wood and metal areas, as well as an electronics area with different lighting and bench setups. We would also rent tools (plan called to partner with someone like HSS or B&Q).

The plan was to be open from 06:00 (to catch the before work crowd) to 23:00 to catch the after work crowd. We looked at a bunch of locations with easy access (less than 30 minutes on pubic transport) from the city centre.

Then we found that we'd need 2 people on duty at any time for health and safety reasons. And they'd need to have basic first aid training or we couldn't get insurance. So that raises the wages we'd need to pay. We looked at reducing the hours that we would open, and planned to just cater to the regular day and after work crowd. Surveys showed that this wouldn't impact us too much. But our costs were still spiraling.

Then we started to shop for insurance. And then we quit. The rates were just insane, and we couldn't build a single model where we'd be able to turn a profit. The only real cost we could cut to be able to afford the insurance was the rent, but this would put us further away from the centre and easy access, and that would limit our user-base.

I know that the guys who run the Oval motorcycle centre in South London ran into a lot of these problems, but they managed to push through and actually open up shop. I'm watching with interest to see how long they'll manage to stay open without turning into a regular garage.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942886)

I don't know why being creative in the "industrial arts" has gained hipster status...

Conspicuous display of money and spare time. The idea is cool, but around where I live, the cost to join a local hackerspace is about 1/4 an apartment rent per month (which makes sense if about ten people rent a medium size industrial building) and the closest one is 30 miles from my house. There's another one thats pretty big thats only 60 miles away.

Given $100/month to spend on hobbies, I tend to spend it at home on tools and gadgets. And being 30 miles away means I have to invest around an hour of windshield time every visit... I'd rather spend that hour holding a soldering iron in my basement, than a steering wheel.

There's only like ten people, so that "proves" there is not enough demand for a cheap one, or one nearby me. Yet, I think if one opened nearby me for a reasonable cost, I'd join.

One thing that's odd is that as far as I know the ham radio clubs and the hackerspaces do not mix, which is too bad as they'd seem to go well together with substantial overlap, and one club with 30 people is probably a lot more sustainable than two clubs with 15 people. I wonder what hackerspace types would think of hamfest flea markets... probably electrocute themselves trying to "circuit bend" an old vacuum tube linear amp...

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

sherriw (794536) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943030)

At what point did building stuff on your own become something so rare?

Really, you haven't noticed the throw it away don't fix it trend? Finding people who can actually fix or make mechanical and electronic things is becoming very hard indeed.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (3, Informative)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943052)

As someone else pointed out, the difference between your dads garage and a hackerspace is the latter is crawling with all sorts of people tinkering and often willing to help you with projects.

Local one in Copenhagen is called labitat ( http://www.labitat.dk/ [labitat.dk] ), they've build their own 3D printers for instance, first one was build with wood in the shop and from there on everyone who wants to can print the parts for their own. They have some *really* cool machines there and you will find someone tinkering there almost around the clock.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35943072)

The point is easy to spot, when things became more expensive to build/fix than to buy, that is when building stuff on your own started becoming rare.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943116)

Fine. What's your address? Slashdot is coming over tonight.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943568)

"At what point did building stuff on your own become something so rare?"

It started in the 80's, about the time Cable TV became common. The general IQ of humanity has been dropping steadily ever since.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943580)

"At what point did building stuff on your own become something so rare?"

Around the mid-90s.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943666)

I feel exactly the same. It's a lot easier to be motivated in a group though (not neccessarily from chatting and wasting time, but in a motivation and feedback kind of way) and if these places could spawn actual collaboration that'd be nice. But frankly, I'd be (happily) surprised if that actually occured.

People having very narrow/relatively unusual areas of interest (like security, in my case) might also be a factor, as would sheer difference in level of competence and the addition of people without a "technical mindset" (why are all these drunk hipsters here, and would they be very upset if we threw them out so we could discuss in peace?)

I have seen something similar (not a "hackerspace" but a "computer club" at university, where everyone just sat down and mutely stared at screens, like an internet cafe. Really weird atmosphere.)

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

fan777 (932195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943794)

I don't see anything pretentious about it. They call themselves 'hackers' as opposed to painters or writers or photographers. NYC Resistor offers a shared communal workspace, I suspect the label is necessary to inform prospective participants of their modus operandi. On a side note, is it such a bad thing for creativity in the "industrial arts" to be popular? Save the judgement for the hipsters.

Re:Labels and Pop Culture (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35944172)

I know what you mean. It's like the way "creative" now seems to be a noun meaning "unemployed 20-something in a coffee shop with a macbook pro bought by daddy".

Have fun at haxxor clubhouse (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942810)

I'll stick with the garage / blog approach. I don't want to watch you drink Mountain Dew; you don't want to hear my constant stream of F-bombs.

Re:Have fun at haxxor clubhouse (1)

Builder (103701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945926)

It's nice that you have so much money or time that you can afford a house with a garage. I don't, so spaces like this are useful to me.

the last wave of real geeks (2)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942838)

I was just trying to rile you up with the subject line there. Don't worry, I'm sure it's just a transparent generational thing.

I heard folks in their 40s saying their teenage kids aren't creative anymore, that the web and games and shows we made were so entertaining they had no reason to be self-creative.

I really wanna figure they're just wrong, that they dont know how creative their kids secretly are. Maybe as I've entered my 30s now, I've gotten it together mentally enough to actually pull some 'hacks' off, see some things through to completion. Maybe I glorify my teens and early 20s and I never really got anything done at all. Maybe we all spend those years discovering tools for the toolbox, and that in itself was discovery and accomplishment.

But there's no such group I am aware of in Boondock, NH. I see that photo of geeks sharing a table, eating poptarts to stay shiny, drinking 'dew, and probably having a hearty laugh at mundane details. And I just lust for such a thing, available only by the numbers a huge city can push. I probably should live in a city to have geek friends I can actually smell. The 'net does a fine job hiding the aroma, but alas also the arcane body language and general vibe of sharing meatspace.

Sigh

Re:the last wave of real geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35943124)

Ugh.

"But there's no such group I am aware of in Boondock, NH. I see that photo of geeks sharing a table, eating poptarts to stay shiny, drinking 'dew, and probably having a hearty laugh at mundane details. And I just lust for such a thing, available only by the numbers a huge city can push. I probably should live in a city to have geek friends I can actually smell. The 'net does a fine job hiding the aroma, but alas also the arcane body language and general vibe of sharing meatspace."

Go read that outloud to someone. Go right now. I'll wait. ...now do you understand what you've done? Please try harder in the future.

Thanks!
The Rest of the World

Re:the last wave of real geeks (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943572)

I am completely oblivious. Can anyone spell out for me what I have so obtusely missed?

Re:the last wave of real geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35943742)

i can spell it out

you idolize being disgusting and that being a geek is being disgusting. you make it sound like you can enjoy being around people like that. people like that need help, not to be glorified by posers like you.

Re:the last wave of real geeks (1)

Toze (1668155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943204)

I live in a tiny hole of a town, 60K people. I'm used to 1M. But, I've connected with a group of real low-tech hacker types that build things in a guy's garage/workshop. It's heavily SCA influenced, so there's a lot of recreation/sport armour, but there's also potato cannons, sculptures, bells, and we're slowly putting together an honest to god small cannon. I picked up blacksmithing and I'm edging my way (hah) into knives and casting this summer. It might be unique to this town, but there's also a sort of small non-profit robotics research lab that does autonomous and semi-autonomous aerial survey, plays with RC toys, etc.

It's maybe not a hackerspace in the while(Dew()){ code(); } sense, but "people coming together to make neat things" is, I think, a pretty universal human experience. Check your local college for the auto shop, maybe? There's got to be somebody doing something somewhere.

Re:the last wave of real geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35943328)

It's simple: Teenagers of the past 20 years aren't generally productive at "hacking" because schools rarely teach (or encourage participation in, if they do teach) the sorts of things that would make someone useful at supporting themselves (shop classes, home ec, phys ed that builds upper body strength) . Instead, they teach more heady stuff like the sciences, complex mathematics, higher level English, etc. Which is fine, because that's what you'll need to get what society considers a good job nowadays.

However, those people quickly learn that the only way to get their car fixed (never mind modded) is to go to a mechanic, that when you want a garage built you phone a contractor, if you want to hear music you buy it on itunes (play the instrument myself? OMG LOL NO) and that when something breaks you throw it away instead of having it repaired (as it costs more to repair than to buy new).

If you can't do at least some of those things (or similar stuff) yourself, you can't really "hack" anything together because you have no manual skills. Those that want to do that sort of thing that were unfortunate enough to have parents that couldn't teach them (which is generally the case now) will need to pick up those skills later in life and won't start being a useful hacker until, say, age 30.

Re:the last wave of real geeks (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943332)

I bet you could find all kinds of people who build things outside your area of expertise in "Boondock, NH" - carpenters, mechanics, metal workers, artists, sculptors, painters.

Of course if your criteria is that the creativity be limited to "making an array of LEDs flash with an Arduino program", you might be out of luck. But if you want to tinker, and build, and learn new skills, I bet you could find a lot of people building things and making things right in your town, and you could probably pick up some interesting new skills while you're at it. You already know how to program - do you know how to work a lathe, or a blow torch, or a million other tools that you could combine with your Arduino & flashing LEDs to make something truly cool?

Re:the last wave of real geeks (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943912)

There's also the issue of having at least a bit of overlap in skill sets and interests. Sure the "car guy" knows a lot about fixing cars up in various ways but his skills are not only highly domain specific (he doesn't have general knowledge about the things he does, he just knows the applications of the knowledge that are relevant to cars) but he also completely lacks interest in other things. Robotics? Boring. Video games? Does it have cars? No? Boring. Programming? What, like TV? Oh... Boring..

That's not to say that diverse skills aren't necessary, but there's a difference between diversity of skills and unrelated skills.

There's also the fact that you need to find people with the right personalities, people who just "click". That can be hard when there aren't all that many people around (town/city of 60k, assume a "generous" 10% being proper geeks of something (not counting "I'm a total sports/music geek, I know all the baseball stats/names of popular indie band singers..." geeks), that's 6,000 people, now even if we assume there are only say, 20 possible basic fields of interest (with each person having two or three secondary interests) with an even distribution that still puts it at 300 persons per primary interest. Oh, and you have to actually find these people as well).

And let's not mention the part about the majority of computer geeks (which seems to be the biggest group of geeks) being little more than video/computer game geeks who have pulled off a couple case mods and now consider themselves demigods.

In a big city it's just a lot easier to run into someone with a shared interest, or to come across a few people who have already banded together and put up fliers or posted on craigslist...

Re:the last wave of real geeks (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35944936)

Certainly, it's *easier* to find people when you have a large population to draw from, that was never in question.

Your characterization of mechanics as people who are completely unlikely to have common interests with you says more about why it's difficult to meet people than the fact that you live in a "small town" of 60,000 people. I listed a bunch of different "creative" types, and in that context, I thought it would be obvious that when I say mechanics, I'm talking about people who build and work with mechanical devices - i.e., small engines, power tools, etc., not just "car guys." Find a guy who keeps the neighborhood's lawnmowers running - "small engine repair" - and you're likely to find somebody who enjoys tinkering. Find somebody who rewired his house when he wanted to put in a home theater system, and you're likely to find somebody who enjoys tinkering. Find somebody who builds sheds, birdfeeders, decks, planters, etc., and you're likely to find somebody who enjoys tinkering.

Start a small project, and invite some people from the neighborhood to pitch in. Maybe you'll only get 2 or 3 people to join you, but then you ask them to pass the word around, too. Get in touch with your local schools - maybe some of the kids would love to mess around with an electronics kit. Maybe some of the parents would be interested in helping, too. Communities don't get built through some magical critical mass that requires 2 million or more people, or a population density of 300 people per square kilometer - if you're interested in building things, I can almost guarantee that there are at least a couple other people in your community right now who would also be interested, and probably do their own things on their own in their spare time, regardless of the size of the town you live in.

I'm looking (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35944222)

For the best hacker to see if they are really that good in hacking into some things and making money hit me up blacxkcobra@yahoo.com

Del

Watch out. (1)

mc3000 (1875710) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942852)

How long before the DMCA takedown notice arrives at the loft for all the unauthorized use?

The origins of R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R. group? (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942870)

Central Jersey RESISTOR group from 1970s in the Princeton, NJ area - http://www.resistors.org/index.php/Main_Page [resistors.org]

Picture is a fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35942970)

There is a girl in the background... and she's hot..

West Coast Version (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943250)

http://www.hackerdojo.com/ [hackerdojo.com]

Re:Hacker Dojo (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943594)

Hacker Dojo isn'[t a "hacker space". It's more like an incubator for startups. I've taken a machine learning class there, where we did homework from the Stanford class and were taught by a quant from Blackstone Capital. During the day, there are people working quietly with laptops, and a few people rent offices there. It's more like a Starbucks. They have a surface-mount workstation, microscope and all, but I've never seen it used.

TechShop in Menlo Park is more like a hacker space. Most of the members have engineering or technician backgrounds (this is Silicon Valley, after all), and the big, serious machine tools get heavy use. During the day, there are people who are sent there by their employers to get machining done.

TechShop in San Francisco is still trying to find its niche. Mostly I see people cutting art objects on the laser cutters. The big machine tools aren't used much; looking at the equipment sign up calendar, nobody has signed up for the big manual mills all week. The CNC mill (a Tormach) is reasonably busy. SF has enough sewing and embroidery equipment for a sweatshop, but it's not being used.

Both locations have electronics tools, but they don't get heavy use. Sometimes someone will be building some industrial electronics equipment, but that's not a hacker project.

San Francisco does have a "hacker space", Noisebridge [noisebridge.net] . They do everything from Vegan cooking lessons to lockpicking to a high-altitude balloon space program. That's more like NYC Resistors.

hipster garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35943536)

Why is it that all of these Hackerspaces seem to be filled with hipsters? HOLY SHIT AN EMPTY BUILDING WITH AN O-SCOPE AND A TUB OF SOLDER! It's all part of this whole "Geek is chic" movement.

Real geeks are where they've always been: in the basements, garages, and attics of their parents' homes doing interesting shit without needing to fucking peacock it to the rest of the world.

Re:hipster garbage (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945762)

I blame Arduino.

Tinfoilsm (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943862)

I have to wonder if the US security organs or the MAFIAA (is writing both now redundant?) occasionally attempt undercover work in such 'dens of inequity'.

From the Video (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35944466)

How'd they get David Tennant to attend?

Find one near you... (1)

eclipz (630890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35944760)

Hackerspaces are popping up all over the place. I founded one here in Cleveland (We're not detroit!), and hey, even detroit has one. You can find one close to you at http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/List_of_Hacker_Spaces [hackerspaces.org]
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