A Visit to 25C3

My son Josh and I made a trip to the Chaos Communications Congress today (aka 25C3). It’s a hacker conference that takes place in Berlin in late December every year. Here’s the schedule of today’s talks. We had our choice of hearing about hacking rich internet apps, flying in unpowered aircraft, and exploiting the Symbian operating system. Josh was curious if he could hack into Facebook but we quickly realized that the hacking rich internet apps talk was way above both of us. The unpowered aircraft talk was easier to take in but it was mobbed and we couldn’t get a seat.

There were some cool things to play with. People were hacking locks in the cafeteria, there was a huge lego project in the back of the cafeteria, and a bunch of electronics projects to look at.

Josh was into the rotary phone that was connected to an old mechanical switch. When you dialed the phone, you could see how the old mechanical phone sytem worked. That was an eye opener for him.

Mostly, however, the conference was about hanging out with other hackers and working on stuff. I’ve never seen so many laptops opened at a conference before. I think Josh and I were the only ones there without one.

I was hoping to hang around long enough to see my friend Christophe who had suggested we go to 25C3 in the first place. But wihtout our laptops and some real hacking to do, we lost interest after about an hour and hopped onto the subway and to the Gendarmarkt for some lunch.

I’m a huge fan of hacking and hackers and it warms my heart to see so much passion and energy for "breaking and rebuilding things" as one of the presenters described the hacking phenomenon. I hope some of that rubbed off on Josh today.

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