The folks at NASA are taking a well-deserved victory lap this week after the splashy reveal of the first scientific images from the James Webb Space Telescope. As we expected, the first public release included a lot of comparisons to images obtained from Hubble, as the general public understandably sees Webb as the successor to the venerable space telescope, now in its third decade of service. So for a “let’s see what this baby can do” image, they turned Webb loose on a tiny patch of sky in the southern hemisphere containing galactic cluster SMACS 0723, and sent back images and spectroscopic data from galaxies up to 13 billion light years away. There are plenty of analyses of Webb’s deep field and the other images in the first release, but we particularly liked the takes by both Anton Petrov and Dr. Becky. They both talk about the cooler scientific aspects of these images, and how Webb is much more than just a $10 billion desktop image generator.
The past couple of years of the COVID pandemic have been rough in some unexpected ways, and it’s clear that our world will never be quite the same as it was beforehand. In our community, the hackerspaces are open again, and while the pandemic hasn’t gone away this year shows the promise of hosting the first major hacker camps to be held since 2019. We’re sure a number of you will be making your way to them. To give a taste of what is to come we’ve got a rare glimpse into hacker camps past.
The Netherlands events are held every four years outside pandemic disruptions, and we’re going back as far as 1997 for HIP, or Hacking In Progress, where [Christine Karman] kept a daily diary of the event. 25 years later it’s both a familiar account of a hacker camp and an interesting glimpse into a time when for much of the wider population an Internet connection was still a novelty. Continue reading “Hacker Camps Are Back. To Get You In The Mood, Here’s A Story From 1997”
Sad news from Germany, with the recent passing of a legend in the crypto community: Mr. Goxx, the crypto-trading hamster. The rodent rose to fame in the crypto community for his trades, which were generated at random during his daily exercise routines — his exercise wheel being used like a roulette wheel to choose a currency, and a pair of tunnels determined whether the transaction would be a buy or sell. His trading career was short, having only started this past June, but he was up 20% over that time — that’s nothing to sneeze at. Our condolences to Mr. Goxx’s owners, and to the community which sprung up around the animal’s antics.
It might seem a little early to start planning which conferences you’d like to hit in 2022, but some require a little more lead time than others. One that you might not have heard of is DINACON, the Digital Naturalism Conference, which explores the intersection of technology and the natural world. The con is set for the entire month of July 2022 and will be held in Sri Lanka. It has a different structure than most cons, in that participants attend for a week or so on a rotating basis, much like a biology field station summer session. It sounds like a lot of fun, and the setting couldn’t be more idyllic.
If you haven’t already killed your holiday gift budget buying NFTs, here’s something you might want to consider: the Arduino Uno Mini Limited Edition. What makes it a Limited Edition, you ask? Practically, it’s the small footprint compared to the original Uno and the castellated edges, but there are a bunch of other extras. Each elegant black PCB with gold silk screening is individually numbered and comes in presentation-quality packaging. But the pièce de résistance, or perhaps we should say the cavallo di battaglia, is that each one comes with a hand-signed letter from the Arduino founders. They honestly look pretty sharp, and at $45, it’s really not a bad collector’s piece.
And finally, the YouTube algorithm giveth again, when this infrastructure gem popped up in our feed. You wouldn’t think there’d be much of interest to see in a water main repair, but you’d be wrong, especially when that main is 50′ (15 m) below the surface, and the repair location is 600′ (183 m) from the access hatch. Oh yeah, and the pipe is only 42″ (1 m) in diameter, and runs underneath a river. There’s just so much nope in this one, especially since the diver has to swim into a special turning elbow just to get pointed in the right direction; how he turns around to swim out is not worth thinking about. Fascinating tidbits include being able to see the gravel used to protect the pipe in the riverbed through the crack in the pipe, and learning that big water mains are not completely filled, at least judging by the small air space visible at the top of the pipe. Those with claustrophobia are probably best advised to avoid this one, but it’s still amazing to see how stuff like this is done.
With mass vaccination programmes and careful application of public health measures it almost feels for some of us as though the pandemic is under control. Any thoughts of it being over are illusory though, and if further reminders were needed we have the news that once more this year’s Chaos Communication Congress has been cancelled due to the safety of its attendees and the extra precautions that its organizers would have to undertake.
This event in Leipzig between Christmas and New Year is probably the largest of the European gatherings in our community, and its loss will be a great disappointment. Last year’s cancelled event was replaced by a remote one, we’ll see whether they repeat that feat in 2021. If so, we’ll be there, virtually.
We can only sympathise with our German friends, as while it must be extremely annoying it’s to their credit that they are taking the pandemic seriously. We’re sure that they will be back with the same event in 2022 as the world slowly inches towards normality, and Hackaday will be there to bring you the best of the event.
Somehow we didn’t do a big overview post of the 36C3 in 2019, so if you want to bask in the glory of a Congress, you have to travel back in time all the way to 35C3 in 2018, long before the arrival of COVID-19.
Header image: Yves Sorge, CC BY-SA 2.0.
It’s March, which means Keysight is back in the business of giving away a ton of test gear. Keysight University Live starts on March 15, with daily events the first week followed by a string of weekly live events through April. We always enjoy these Keysight events; sure, they’re clearly intended to sell more gear, but the demos and tutorials are great, and we always learn a lot. There’s also a feeling of community that feels similar to the Hackaday community; just a bunch of electronics nerds getting together to learn and share. If you’re interested in that community, or even if you’re just looking for a chance to win something from the $300,000 pile of goodies, you’ll need to register.
There’s another event coming up that you’ll want to know about: the 2021 Open Hardware Summit. Because 2021 is the new 2020, the summit is being held virtually again, this year on April 9. Tickets are on sale now, and we’re told there are still plenty of Ada Lovelace Fellowships available to those who consider themselves to be a minority in tech. The Fellowship covers the full cost of a ticket; it usually covers travels costs too, but sadly we’re still not there yet.
Once we do start traveling again, you might need to plan more carefully if cities start following the lead of Petaluma, California and start banning the construction of gas stations. The city, about 40 miles (64 km) north of San Francisco, is believed to be the first city in the United States to ban new gas station construction. The city council’s decision also prevents gas station owners from expanding, reconstructing, or relocating existing gas stations. The idea is to create incentives to move toward non-fossil fuel stations, like electric vehicle charging stations and hydrogen fueling. Time will tell how well that works out.
Go home Roomba — you’re drunk. That could be what Roomba owners are saying after an update semi-bricked certain models of the robotic vacuum cleaners. Owners noted a variety of behaviors, like wandering around in circles, bumping into furniture, and inability to make its way back to base for charging. There’s even a timelapse on reddit of a Roomba flailing about pathetically in a suspiciously large and empty room. The drunken analogy only goes so far, though, since we haven’t seen any reports of a Roomba barfing up the contents of its dust bin. But we’re still holding out hope.
And finally, if you’re not exactly astronaut material but still covet a trip to space, you might luck out courtesy of Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. He’s offering to pay the way for eight people from around the world on a planned flight to the Moon and back in 2023. Apparently, Maezawa bought up all the seats for the flight back in 2018 with the intention of flying a group of artists to space. His thinking has changed, though, and now he’s opening up the chance to
serve as ballast join the crew to pretty much any rando on the planet. Giving away rides on Starship might be a harder sell after this week’s test, but we’re sure he’ll find plenty of takers. And to be honest, we wish the effort well — the age of routine civilian space travel can’t come soon enough for us.
Last week we announced the first fifteen workshops happening at Hackaday Remoticon, November 6-8, 2020. The weekend really is packed full of these hands-on events, and you’re invited to participate from anywhere in the world. Today we’re excited to announce the rest of the workshops, all of which are currently open for registration.
Can we get a few hundred people to show off their soldering skills (or amusing lack of skills) from their own workbench during the event? We think we can, so we’re running the SMD Challenge virtually this year. All of this, plus keynote talks, demos, a show-and-tell, and more make for one wild weekend. Read on!
Continue reading “All The Workshops, And The SMD Challenge Happening At Hackaday Remoticon”
It’s like the dystopian future arrived out of the blue. From one year to the next we went from holing up in overly air-conditioned hotel ballrooms and actually meeting our fellow meatbags in the flesh, to huddling in our pods and staring at the screens. I’m looking for the taps to hook me in to the Matrix at this point.
But if you haven’t yet received your flying car or your daily Soma ration, you can still take comfort in one thing: all of the hacker conferences are streaming live, as if it were some fantastic cyber-future! In fact, as we type this, someone is telling you how to print your way to free drinks on USAir flights as part of HOPE’s offering, but the talks will continue for the next few days. (Go straight to live stream one.)
And next weekend is DEF CON in Safe Mode with Networking. While we can totally imagine how the talks and demo sessions will work, the Villages, informal talks and hack-togethers based on a common theme, will be a real test of distributed conferencing.
OK, I’ll admit it: I really miss getting together with folks and having the truly random conversations that pre-scripted teleconferences just don’t seem to facilitate. Lobbycon suffers in lockdown. But if you’ve never been to any of these events, and you just want a taste of the talks and presentations at least, now’s your chance to get in for free. And if you like what you see, and if the virus lets us, we’ll see you in person next summer!