Hackerspacing in Europe: Technologia Incognita in Amsterdam

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Welcome to Technologia Incognita!

This is Amsterdam’s hackerspace. In Latin it means “Undiscovered Technology” — quite fitting for a hackerspace! It’s been around for about 2 years and has grown to a solid 50+ members, in fact, they are running out of room on the ever popular social nights!

They typically have a policy of no cameras but made an exception for us provided we didn’t photograph any projects or persons without permission, so while the gallery below may look like the space was empty… there was a good 20-30 people hanging out since it was the social night.

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Before entering the hackerspace they have a geeky t-shirt quilt hanging on the wall entitled the 50 Shirts of Gray. The space itself is in an old industrial building that has been sectioned off for art studios and workshops. It’s on one of the outer rings of the city and is about a 30 minute tram ride from the central station of Amsterdam.

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Beware indeed!

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The space is one large room with a few smaller walk-in closet sized rooms for storage and more heavy-duty tools. Shelves cover most of the walls and are filled with projects, members belongings and other random hackerspace goodies.

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This is their arcade machine that was brought back to life. It features a new LCD monitor and computer running all the original games via emulator.

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The joysticks are all good old limit switches — easy to fix if anything ever breaks!

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A bit messy but you can see the hacked together PS2 connectors that the joysticks utilize. The key stroke configuration and keyboard is saved as an external joystick on the system so that the regular keyboard can still be used for debugging/programming.

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This tool label made us giggle.

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A mandatory server photo.

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They also have a bar code scanner inventory system, but most members prefer just paying into the tip bowl.

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And what’s a hackerspace without a roaring LED fireplace? In the original location each LED array was mounted to glass cubes for a much larger and more impressive display — but for now it’s retired to the fireplace.

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This space has several 3D printers, and one of the members is actually one of the original designers for the Prusa i3! This is a shot of one of their delta printers though — printing another delta.

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More delta parts on the way!

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One of the storage rooms — nothing too exciting to see here.

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The workshop, complete with ventilation.

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A key copying machine. Funny story about this. They once posted a picture of their hackerspace key online, and Hack42 (we’re visiting them tomorrow) was able to manipulate the image and extract the key pattern from it to make their own key copy. A prank in good fun, Hack42 gave them new keys after all the fun was had.

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Another fun feature of this space is the member’s storage boxes. Look familiar? Yeah, those are safety deposit boxes! The space used to reside in an empty bank, and well, inherited quite a few boxes!

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Did you know Serbian money has Nikola Tesla on it?

If you’re ever in Amsterdam, check out this hackerspace

Comments

  1. DDevine says:

    Cool place… And it definitely seems like a Hackerspace, none of this namby-pamby Maker business.

  2. lja says:

    I didn’t know Serbian notes had Tesla on it. Makes a nice change to see him recognised for his work,

  3. Erich says:

    It’s actually part latin, part greek.

  4. Rob Elintheman says:

    Tesla was Croatian….

    • I was about to agree, but checked it up – he was ethnically Serbian, but his birthplace is now in modern-day Croatia.

      I once told one of my university lecturers off for thinking that Tesla was Serbian, turns out he was right after all!

      • Whatnot says:

        But wait, back then it was part of the Austria-Hungarian empire.
        Oh and he became american citizen, so since age 35 he was american. Or austria-hungarian-empirre-american, or AHEA for short I guess :)

  5. timmstilley says:

    I’m seriously loving the ‘Tour de Hack’. Funny and inspiring pictures, stories and details. It makes me want to pull out a blow torch or crank up the ol’ IDE. I’m pestering my wife to make my own version of the fireplace for the den already.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, i think i’m gonna do something with that torch already.

  6. Whatnot says:

    Is it me or do many hackerspaces have a noticeable lack of clamps? You gotta have clamps though.
    Also they might need more lights.that you can point at stuff instead of just overhead ones.

    And without wanting to be too negative; why are the pictures so low-res? You go all the way to europe and you take budget-cellphone pictures? It’s OK though, but a little odd.

    Last thing: Is it just the shots or is there very little in terms of fire safety in most hackerspaces? I didn’t see any extinguishers so far.

    • Stoneshop says:

      https://secure.flickr.com/photos/dvanzuijlekom/10474441734/in/pool-1711788@N24/lightbox/

      What James is holding there looks quite a bit more like a DSLR than a cellphone to me.

      And whether TechInc burns down or not won’t be helped by having fire extinghuishers available; they’d be bikeshedding on whether to use one (and if so, what class), or the garden hose, from what direction to attack the fire and if they’d need to take care not to spoil any projects.

      • Whatnot says:

        Well they might have a nice collection of pictures at home, but the ones that come with this article are not DSLR pictures methinks, or compressed and reduced more than once?

        As for extinguishers, that’s the advantage, you can have a powered or CO2 one and avoid water damage to the projects and supplies and people have fun using them. Although those things do cost money of course.

        Oh and I forgot to add to the list (and this is in all countries it seems) that there is a lack of medical aids, you’d need at least a tray with band-aids surely., and maybe some iodine.

        • Moem says:

          I’m pretty confident that all Dutch hackerspaces have a box of first aid supplies. It may just not be in the pictures.
          Here at Hack42, it’s kept behind the bar on top of the fridge and everybody knows this, but I doubt that it will be in the pictures.
          TechInc has one too, I’m sure.

        • Stoneshop says:

          Yeah sure. They’ll go on a tour of .de/.be/.nl hackerspaces and document *everything*, including but not limited to, safety measures such as fire extinghuishers and first aid boxes using a crappy camera phone just to both annoy and satisfy you.

          FYI, we have six or so *full-size* fire extinghuishers in various places: CO2 in the server room and the computer museum, powder (*NOT* powered) elsewhere. There’s an extinguishing blanket in the kitchen, first-aid is in the lounge. There’s a carbon monoxide alarm in the lounge, temperature monitoring in all rooms; the spacestate system not only controls the “open/closed” status on the website, but also most of the lights and more than half the outlets in the space. Stuff like soldering irons and glue guns can only be used while the spacestate is on; the kitchen hob needs the cooking hood to be on, which in turn needs spacestate to be on. *ALL* lab outlets have been fitted with GFI, and there’s a isolation transformer in the soldering lab when you need to check the mains side of devices.

          Satisfied?

          • Moem says:

            Now I want a hi-res pic of the first aid box.

          • Whatnot says:

            Well it’s not just this one, I never saw any first aid hints or fire safety stuff at any hackerspace featured, in the US or these recent EU ones,
            And you’d think you’d see either extinguishers or signs marking their location on SOME picture. Especially if they are all over the place as you say.

            As for ‘everybody knows’, why not make a nice sign with lights and what not? Hack something together…

            BTW, do they have clamps? You didn’t mention those, and I see vices but no clamps on the available pictures (including the overview shot of the workshop) . I find clamps to be handy to have around, and also handy as a source for hacks actually.
            As for powered vs powdered, geez, people make typos you know.

    • Juerd says:

      RevSpace in The Hague has 4 fire extinguishers in the main workspace, 2 fire blankets, and of course a first aid kit. We have emergency lights (we’re in a basement after all) and all power outlets except one (that was already there) are behind residual current circuit breakers. We stock ear plugs, cloth face masks and safety goggles.

      But why would you take pictures of these things? They’re not pretty and not very hackable.

      • Stoneshop says:

        And I much prefer my fire extinguishers, dust masks and other health and safety stuff to remain unhacked anyway, TYVM.

        Those foam earplugs can double as shock absorbers or tube stoppers, but that’s about it.

      • Moem says:

        True. And they’re a staple in all hacker/makerspaces, or should be.

        Whatnot, do you also assume that a space has no toilet if it’s not in the pictures? No? Thought so.

  7. Hoobner79 says:

    At least they’re prepared for the headcrab menace, if someone there accidentally unleashes them. ;)

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