The Reports of Our Death….

Eric Michaud | Posted 2009.01.31 at 8:43 pm | Perma

…are greatly exaggerated! Well, almost.

Photo by n1nja of the CCCKC Secret Lair. No… seriously!

A short explanation for the lack of posts this week. We’ve brought on two bloggers. One our agent in the trenches Brendan, who is currently running after an interview with one of our friends from Forskningsavdelningen, Sweden; the other one being our new project blogger Josh. The two have been feverishly working on their respective new beats while I have been busy with the creation of Pumping Station: One, the Chicago hackerspace. Coupled with life/work/hackerspaces/blog it’s been quite interesting.

I know this may not be enough to explain the absence but all I can say is that interesting things are afoot. ;)

Anyways, if you have a project you’re working on at your hackerspace you’d like us to report about, or give a (remote) interview about the progresses of your space, please let us know via blog (at) and we’ll get in touch with you!

Stay tuned,

-E & a.

Categories : blog

Call-in & dinner update!

astera | Posted 2009.01.26 at 4:55 am | Perma

Due to our worries about missing a lot of hackerspace updates by doing the conference call on Thu, Feb. 05th as planned (since quite a couple of you hackers might be trapped on a plane on your way to ShmooCon), we decided to reschedule the next call-in to

Sunday, Feb. 01st at 02 pm PST / 05 pm EST / 10 pm UTC / 11 pm CET

Please RSVP by adding your hackerspaces name + handle to the schedule if you are planning to call in & give an update!

As usual, all technical information can be found here.


However, our dinner plans on the night before ShmooCon – Thu, Feb 05th, that is – remain unchanged;
please make sure to RSVP via over9000(at) or add your name to the referring wikipage, so we save a hackerspaces dinner seat for you.

We hope to be able to update the wiki with more info about events happening at and around ShmooCon shortly – stay tuned ^^


Hope to see you there,

Hello World.

josh | Posted 2009.01.25 at 10:48 pm | Perma

I’m Josh Krueger. *waves*

I feel intimidated as my “credentials” don’t sound anywhere near as impressive as our friend Brendan. Oh well… I’m a software developer for a startup in Chicago, I can manage to play with electronics without poppin caps, I used to be an art kid, I thoroughly enjoy spinning electro and I generally have a lot of poorly thought-out ideas that will never come to fruition. If I inspire at least one person here, perfect.

As you can see, I have already made a few changes to the blog design that I hope are appreciated. I hope to make this easier to read for everyone. Enjoy it.

<3 Josh


And with that auspicious post from Josh we welcome him with open arms onto the team.


Categories : blog  design  people
Tags :         

An Introduction

Brendan | Posted 2009.01.23 at 7:34 pm | Perma

PantheonHello, my name is Brendan McCollam. I’m an American who’s traveling around the world visiting hacker spaces in Europe and South America. I am not a hacker myself, just a general-purpose geek.

I went to school in LA at Pomona College where I studied neuroscience. Afterwards, I received a Thomas J. Watson (yes, that T.J. Watson) Fellowship to travel, visit hackerspaces and meet the hackers who inhabit them.

The Watson Fellowship was established by Thomas Watson’s children in honor of their father. Thomas Watson Jr., in particular, had spent a great deal of time as a young man traveling and felt that it was a very important experience in his personal development. After building IBM into the computer-inventing, holocaust-enabling Linux-supporting behemoth we all know and love, he was basically like, “I have more money than god, what should I do with it? I can either swim in it Scrooge McDuck-style, or I can be awesome and fund cool things.”

He settled on the latter, and the Watson Fellowship was born. The Watson Fellowship is not an academic program, and I’m receiving no degree or academic credit for my travels. Rather, it’s an opportunity for lucky individuals to learn more about the world, themselves and some subject they’re deeply, personally interested in. I chose to study hackers because I’ve always been a computer geek and hackers are the coolest computer geeks there are.

When I tell people I’m traveling to hang out with hackers, I typically get one of two reactions. Either, “That’s awesome!” or “Be careful they don’t steal your credit card number!” Which reaction they have usually reveals quite a bit about that person’s attitude toward computers and technology. Sadly, hackers have been so pilloried in the mainstream media that I even had one person ask me if I was conducting jailhouse interviews (I haven’t done any yet).

I’m almost six months into my travels now, and I’ve been all over Europe to many different hackerspaces and conferences. I’ve been invited to come on here as a guest blogger and share some of my experiences. Going forward, I’m going to be posting photographs and interviews from some of the hacker spaces I visit. If you’re interested to see where I’ve already been and some of the other things I’ve seen on my trip, I’ve been keeping a personal/travel blog since I started last August.


With this we welcome Brendan to the team! Everyone thanks for reading so far, and expect interesting articles from this man in the coming weeks and months.


But Will It Blend!?!?

Eric Michaud | Posted 2009.01.22 at 4:07 am | Perma

In my travels around the globe and the tubes I see interesting and entertaining things such as Will It Blend?

Today I got interesting news from an area I didn’t think had any left.  So I get an e-mail out of the blue with people local to me that are as interested in hackerspaces as much as  I am, but they don’t know they even exist until now!

Allow me to introduce the BlueServ Team; A group of  Chicago  high school students with a penchant for remote control and home automation. For those that need complete control in your life when you either need to blend an iPhone on demand, or make a really good smoothie but remotely your all set.

I was equally surprised that they haven’t heard of Roboexotica.  I wouldn’t hold it against them though, they are in the US and are under 21. To conclude, I foresee some fierce competition coming from the Midwest in the next few years pertaining to the international cocktail robotics circuit and back ally gin joint cocktail fights.


I’ll be listing code and plans as they come in.

Have a blast with an MP3 Grenade!

Eric Michaud | Posted 2009.01.20 at 3:32 pm | Perma

Having a blast with your music takes on more than one connotation with Matts’ ( a member of NYC Resistor) MP3 Grenade.



There was much fear and freak out. But cooler heads prevailed and a phone call was made. “Hey Matt, did you order metal objects of a dubious nature?” “Yes, yes I did.” There was a great deal of internal strife over this particular event as ordering munitions to the space is strictly forbidden. Upon review and discussion it was decided that while purchasing decommissioned training grenades was not in fact illegal in NYC (as far as we know), it was not something we would ever do again. That being said. I immediately set forth on a childhood dream project. I put an 1/8th inch jack into the pin hole for the grenade. It looked GOOD. Totally flush… very pretty. So I decided to run with it. I ran the cabling into the grenade… hacksawed it open. Inserted a Sansa 2 GB mp3 player. And then tried to SMD rework it. This ended poorly as the first sansa basically got burned by the rework station and died. The second I avoided using the rework station and instead recruited bre and his arms for a session of intense soldering onto very tiny solder points…

For the rest hit the jump.

If you want to make your own it’s not terribly hard, just acquire the requisite parts.

  • 1 Unique object
  • 1 MP3 player of choice that’s cheap
  • 1 Audio Jack
  • 1 Soldering Station
  • 1 Rework Station

Plus whichever tools you would need for the fabrication of your new dastardly MP3 Player.


Categories : hackers  hacking  soldering  tools
Tags :             

Notacon Ahoy!

Eric Michaud | Posted 2009.01.20 at 3:38 am | Perma

A highly interesting hacker conference that has been taking place for the last few years in Cleaveland, Ohio has been gaining traction since day one as one of the most talked about and need to be attended conference in and around the East side of the United States. Notacon, not like FooCamp or BarCamp is a con yes, but not in the way most know it. It’s a combination Art, Demoscene, Computer Security, Ham Radio fest to put it lightly.

At Notacon you very well might find people playing with model train sets working to pass nibbles of information in the Anything But Ethernet Competition.


Or you may find a little friendly competition in a Hackerspace fight!


And yes we can haz parties!


But you need to know where to look. ;)

Look forward to Hackerspaces from all over having a presence this year in Cleaveland, Ohio at the dates of Arpil 16th – 19th


Tags :         

Benjamin Franklin’s B-Day! With The Hacktory.

Eric Michaud | Posted 2009.01.17 at 9:17 pm | Perma


Inventor, hacker, political maven Benjamin Franklin, an oldschool hacker if there ever was one, is having his 302nd birthday celebrated by no other than The Hacktory.


Today is Ben Franklin’s Birthday, and (if he were still alive) he’d be 302 by now. That would be one old hacker. Ben is in a lot of ways the prototype of the modern hacker/maker, and it’s worth the time to read up on him bit, and think “wow. That dude did a LOT of stuff.”

He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass ‘armonica’. He formed both the first public lending library in America…

If you’re in the Philadelphia area and want to party like it’s 1776, here are the details.


A Message From The Shadow Government Prime Minister of PS:One

Eric Michaud | Posted 2009.01.14 at 11:47 pm | Perma

*cough* What I meant to say was that Paul Mantz, the soon to be Vice President of Chicago based Pumping Station: One today wrote a wonderful blog post detailing the events surrounding the start and current status of PS: One.

An excerpt:

Since Eric, myself, and a few others started drumming up interest, we’ve come along way.  We drummed up an excellent name from a friend of mine at Verecundia; Pumping Station: One.  We’ve started to visit other similar groups, and look at now defunct groups (Dorkbot Chicago, I’m looking at you), garnishing interest.  Things started to take shape, and here we are.  Our evangelistic efforts have now placed our pledged initial membership  group to over 20 people.  This is not far from the target sustainability level necessary to keep the place afloat by membership fees.  We’ve registered as a non-profit organization in Illinois and gotten our IRS numbers in order.  We’re investigating spaces and soon we’ll have our financials set up, collecting membership dues, and vote on our bylaws.  And most importantly, we’re learning & creating.  In essence, we’re not far from having a grass-roots, non-profit, self-sustaining art & technology collective in the span of six months.

I invite anyone in the Chicago area, or anyone who may be passing through, to follow the progress of  Pumping Station: One.  We’ve got a lot planned, and we’re always looking for new members to contribute ideas.

For the original post.

From our last meeting.


Photo by -E.

In the next week we’ll be signing in our bylaws, having our first elections, taking our first membership dues, with  $2400 already coming in as donations to bootstrap the space. All in all it’s looking pretty good. Hope this is a inspiration to many others.


Editors Note: I am one of the founding members of the group.

Willoughby & Baltic Presents: Make: television Screening!

Eric Michaud | Posted 2009.01.13 at 7:44 pm | Perma


Our awesome friends at Willoughby & Baltic (Makers, Crafters, and Hackerspace), have recieved copies of the new Make:television series, and they are debuting it tonight at their space.


If you don’t know the work of Willoughby & Baltic heres a photo list after the jump.

Here’s one of the episodes of Make: Television so you know what to expect.

And here’s what to expect including the details for the evening. It starts at 7pm so you have plenty of time to change the location of your lodge meeting, date, diner, social Wii gathering, and everything else!


P.S. If any hackerspace also wants to have a screening of Make:television. Mosey on over to this link and the details to do it are there.