Stay At Home, HOPE And DEF CON Will Come To You

We’ve often heard conferences like HOPE and DEF CON called Hacker Summer Camp (although there are certainly more camp-like camps that also fit the bill). As we get into the hot parts of the summer, heading indoors for security talks, workshops, and untold shenanigans sounds like a good idea… if it weren’t for an ongoing pandemic. The good news is that you can still get a strong dose of these cons over the next three weekends as they’re being offered virtually.

Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) is a biennial conference hosted in NYC. After much drama about the dank Hotel Pennsylvania hiking prices astronomically for the con, a new venue was found and we all breathed a sigh of relief. The best laid plans, etc. etc. — you know how this turns out. But beginning this Saturday, July 25th, over 100 speakers will present in HOPE’s first-ever live online presentation. Hackaday is a proud sponsor of HOPE 2020.

DEF CON happens every year, and every year we tell you that DEF CON has been cancelled. What do you do if it has actually been cancelled when the boy constantly cries wolf? Well it’s not cancelled, it’s morphed into what is called DEF CON Safe Mode — an online offering for all to enjoy. Go head, hook your computer up to the online version of DEF CON, what could go wrong? Find out when the virtual con goes live starting August 6th.

These are not the same as meeting up IRL. There are so many chance interactions and spectacles to see that you simply cannot spark with a virtual offering. However, the platform for presenters, the coming together to talk, learn, and share about privacy, security, and internet freedom are meaningful and worth our time. So support your favorite cons by joining in, even when it’s from the comfort of your own couch.

Quickly Mute And Unmute Yourself Using The Physical Mute Button

With many conferences moving to fully virtual this year, video conferencing will continue to be a mainstay in our lives for the foreseeable future. [Elliot] wanted to spice up his video conferencing experience just a bit and make his experience a bit more ergonomic. We’ve all had the problem of looking for our Zoom window buried behind any number of other applications, desperately searching for the mute button. Furthermore, when we get called on, we’re desperately trying to give the impression that we’ve been paying attention the entire time, even when we haven’t been.

To solve all these problems, he built a physical mute button to easily toggle the mute option on and off during Zoom calls. The device takes advantage of the native USB feature of his Digispark board, and a few built-in keyboard shortcuts in Zoom. With native USB, the Digispark board can act like a keyboard, making it really simple to emulate keyboard presses using the microcontroller. Throw in an arcade-style button and do a bit of handcrafting and you have yourself your own physical mute button.

We were really impressed by the simplicity of the design as well as the elegance of the mechanical assembly. [Elliot] even made a revamped version with a second button allowing him to control his video as well. Cool button(s) [Elliot]!

What’s your favorite work-from-home hack? Check out some of our favorites here on Hackaday.

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Hack.summit(); // A Virtual Dev Conference

If you’d like to spend four days learning from and picking the brains of a big group of well-known developers and open-source wizards for the low, low cost of absolutely free, keep reading.

The hack.summit() conference is a live, global event put on by the  fine folks behind real-time programming assistance service hack.hands(). From December 1 to December 4, a wide range of speakers will present and answer democratically popularized questions over Crowdcast via Google+ Hangouts. Speakers in attendance include wiki inventor and Design Patterns pioneer [Ward Cunningham], Codeacademy founder [Ryan Bubinski], Google Glass creator [Tom Chi], Python Software Foundation’s [Alex Gaynor], and even the inimitable [Jon Skeet].

The goals for this conference are simple and admirable: to educate developers of all stripes about best practices, to encourage mentorship in the programming community, and to spread the joy of coding by supporting coding non-profits.

You can register for free simply by spreading the word through social media, but making a donation to the coding non-profit of your choice is definitely encouraged. There are many to great organizations to choose from such as  CoderDojo (an easy choice for us). A tidy summary of the event is available at the hack.summit() FAQ(PDF).