The Gathering: Shanghai’s Hackaday Community

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 12.33.00 AMIt happened! The Gathering crossed the Pacific and landed in Shanghai on Thursday, March 20th. It took place at the venue ironically called ‘Abbey Road’ (it’s the only one we could find on such a short notice) and more than 150 people showed up. The whole scene had a huge Chatsubo feel too it – an eclectic mix of local and expat hackers and engineers, professors, students and all sorts of industry mercenaries from around the world. And everyone with skull-and-wrenches t-shirt or a sticker on.

I can only imagine what Chinese police would think if they happened to drop by. Not to mention if they asked how in the world did all these ‘anarchist’ t-shirts enter the country.

But that’s another story…

We met a lot of exciting people and heard all sorts of weird tales, such as the (off-the-record) one about the real reasons behind certain well-known laptop manufacturer’s batteries bursting into flames. We also got a lot of great advice on smuggling electronic components out of China and other everyday tips & tricks.

d8d27574b02a11e38f1d121190b145cb_8My favorite conversation was with [Alexander Klink] on his research in Denial of Service attacks using algorithmic complexity of collision resolution in (a priori known) hash functions. Though the original paper is more than two years old, its takeaways can still have a huge impact on all sorts of software and hardware devices out there.

The general theme of the night was how exciting it is to live in a place like Shanghai, where rapid urban growth and access to manufacturing resources meets a blossoming technology and art scene. It is even more so thanks to places like Xin Che Jian, which make being a “hacker” a socially acceptable thing on the other side of the Great Firewall.

That said, reading all of Hackaday content still requires a proxy.

10 thoughts on “The Gathering: Shanghai’s Hackaday Community

  1. As much as I hate to bring politics into Hacking…. I often wonder if these kids having electronics are by default family members of party members..

    No sure how many Chinese citizen have the luxury of buying toys, I’m sure they are hacking their way thru life though…. :(

    1. One can learn a lot about electronics without going for the buy-buy-buy route. Some of us learn soldering and electronics by taking old things apart and extracting parts. IMHO one can learn a lot more by not buying pre-made boards and what not stuff that are marked up because one can’t bother to learn to solder.

      No money means one have to go the hard way of learning to do with less and not bother with blinkies to show off on youtube.

    2. But over the past 30 years China has developed a large “middle class”, while they may make only $0.25/hour USD, they can buy some of their electronic components at those “electronic supermarkets” in Shanghai or Shenzhen or Hong Kong for pennies. So, someone with even a tiny bit of “disposable” income can enjoy electronics as a hobby.

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