I had the pleasure to attend this year’s hackercamp in the Netherlands, the SHA2017 (“Still Hacking Anyways”). After missing out on the Chaos Communication Camp 2015, I immediately grabbed a ticket as soon as they were available.
As for the congress each year, I grouped up with the local hackspace Mainframe and became part of the village. We arrived at day -1, so we caught the last bits of the buildup, while setting up our village ourselves. This was the first time I took part on a hackercamp, so I was excited like a little child about the event.
The event itself is too complex for me to describe properly. I will try to give you the basic ingredients of the camp, as I experienced it:
- ~3700 hackers, “nerds”, creative, skilled and open-minded people (and their friends) are camping on the site
- You have a better uplink in your tent than you had at university (and probably anywhere else)
- There are tents and stages where workshops and talks are held
- You receive a PCB badge that augments the event and invites to play around with
- People around you implement funny ideas rather than just brag about it at the regular’s table
- You basically drift about the site all the time, quickly jump to catch the workshops you want to attend, and miss most of the talks you wanted to hear (they’re recorded anyways ¯\(ツ)/¯)
- It’s impossible to realise all the stuff that is happening around you, it’s a proper stimulus satiation (that’s also what makes it hard to describe)
- The event is made possible by an army of volunteering guests (angels)
- It’s pretty much a big knees-up
The infrastructure was pretty good. We hat power on the whole site (well, except for day -1), and the uplink consisted in sum of 230GB/s, plus 10GB/s in reserve. The showers and toilets were usable at most times and cleaned regularly, and were well distributed along with the drinking water.
It was raining fairly much and some areas of the camping site became muddy pretty fast. But not to an extend where you couldn’t deal with it.
You were told to stay quiet though after 00:00/01:00, which was a bit weird. Obviously, it didn’t work that well, but it was probably part of the contract to rent the site.
To list only some of the stuff I was able to grasp during the event:
- The Finn’s brought a sauna, free to use, and wrote an app for the badge showing the current temperature.
- The Bavarians brought and deployed a maypole.
- The Belgians rented and partly disassembled a Tesla X in order to root it.
- The Italians noticed the insecure Artnet configuration on the event’s LED decoration and made them display their national colours.
- The Bällebad got upgraded to a cuddly toy pool.
- Someone owned the badgebar’s flashing station PC to replace the firmware that was flashed onto the PCB’s.
- The Swedes pirate FM station even had a fucking jingle!!1!1 And yes, it played some techno polka in between.
- Someone wrote a ransomware for the event badge, that was unlocked in exchange for a bottle of Club Mate.
I could go on for hours…
I haven’t seen all the talks I wanted to watch yet, but there weren’t many “must see” talks in for me anyways. I hope I’ll catch on over the next few weeks.
All in all it was a pretty fun event to attend, although I noticed some room for improvement. I will visit such events in the future though, and I’m looking forward for the Chaoscamp in two years. I’m unsure about visiting the Electro Magnetic Field though, which will be next year again. Mostly because of the logistics of traveling to the UK.
But first, there will be this year’s congress in Leipzig for the first time. See you there! (^_^)/
For the lulz, some things I learned at the event:
- You can use flamethrowers for percussion when playing melodies on tesla coils.
- A Club Mate crate with full bottles weighs about 20kg.
- I can do a palstek knot now!
- If you go camping, bring long pants ffs! Also bring a sleeping bag with a better comfort zone than 23°C.
- The Bratzenamt are decent guys.