Sunday, April 15, 2012

HaxoGreen 2012 - Call for Proposals

After more than 80 satisfied campers in 2010, the long awaited third iteration of HaxoGreen, in its 2012 edition is finally here! After a very successful start into the forays of international hackcamps and hackerfests, hackerspaces and hackerspace-folks from all over Europe and beyond will meet for an informal exchange of knowledge on the this third iteration of our 4-day outdoors summer-camp.

Still cosy at a maximum of 140 people, still at the same perfect setting that offers commodities for shopping, outdoors for camping and areas filled to the brink with adventure and history. The camp will take place from Thursday, July 26th till Sunday, July 29th and be bristling with geeks and their innovative ideas.

Talks, workshops, live music in the evenings, geocaching, fresh food and most of all very interesting people make this an event that is not to be missed.

Whether you're hacking on your project, looking for new and exciting ideas or just craving to share 3 midsummer nights outdoors, socialising with other hackers, artists and geeks, HaxoGreen is the place to be. No need to be a 1337 H4X0r, we welcome all inquisitive people from around the globe.

The camp is organized by syn2cat a.s.b.l., the association that brought you the Luxembourgian hackerspace. We appreciate your participation, be it by holding a lecture, tutoring a workshop or presenting your projects and ideas during a 10 min lightning talk.


The camp is located at the scouts' grounds near the city of Dudelange in the southern region of Luxembourg. The camping ground features adequate restrooms and shower facilities. Indoor rooms for lectures and workshops are also available. The nearby town of Dudelange, near the borders to France and Germany, offers access to shops and markets for all of your grocery needs.

Suggested presentation and workshop topics

Participate with your lectures, panel discussions, workshops, or lightning talks. (Though you can give a lightning talk without submitting its topic.) Your lectures and workshops don't have to be centered on or limited to technology. Lectures with a background in
society, community, science and art are welcome as well. Here are some examples of the inter-disciplinary fields that our audience would be interested in, but feel free to suggest your own:

  • Green IT and Green Hacks
  • Virtualized Environments
  • Mobile applications and malware
  • Radio and Mobile Communications (GNURadio, etc.)
  • QrCodes and other means of XSRF
  • Cloud Computing
  • Darknets and Hackerspaces
  • Computer Security Incident Response and Mitigation
  • Do-it-yourself Science
  • Molecular Gastronomy
  • Amateur Robotics
  • Electronic Art (vj, dj, interactive installations etc.)
  • Net politics, Net neutrality, Intellectual Property and Privacy Aspects (SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, you name it!)
  • Active/Liquid Democracy and Political Activism
  • Sustainable Housing and eco-friendly Living
  • ...and anything that is not on the list.


We invite you to make use of our pentabarf submission system in order to submit your talk, workshop or other event. Please don't hesitate to ask questions via mail if everything is not clear.


Deadline Abstracts: May 15th, 2012
Acceptance Notification: May 22nd, 2012
Papers are welcomed, but not mandatory. Submitted papers can be
published on the camp website/schedule.
Please don't forget to mention any hardware or software requirements
that your talk or workshop includes.
We would be happy for every distributed version of the CfP.


For any questions about this camp, send an email to camp_AT_hackerspace_DOT_lu
or check out our website.


HaxoGreen 2012 SummerCamp is a low-budget operation entirely run by volunteers.
We therefore cannot help anyone but those who present or tutor workshops with their food, travel and accommodation expenses. Contact us for more information.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

HaxoGreen 2010 - A hacker's summercamp

After last year's initial success, the Luxembourgian Hackerspace syn2cat and the Chaos Computer Club Lëtzebuerg, once again organize a summer-camp for hackers and technology enthusiasts from Luxembourg and its surroundings.

HaxoGreen 2010, a pun on the leetspeak term 'h4x0r3d' will take place from July 22nd till July 25th in the southern town Dudelange in Luxembourg.

Whether you want to attend lectures and workshops, hack on your projects or just share 3 midsummer nights outdoors, socializing with other hackers, artists and geeks, HaxoGreen is the place to be. No need to be a 1337 H4X0r, we welcome all inquisitive people from around the globe.

Registration for HaxoGreen is open since February 23rd and early registration is highly recommended as there's only a limited number of tickets available. The camp is a comparatively small and cosy event that lives from its visitors participation. You may submit your lecture or workshop idea on the following or other topics at the camp's Participate! page:
  • Green IT and Green Hacks
  • Virtualized Environments
  • Cloud Computing
  • Darknets and Hackerspaces
  • Computer Security Incident Response and Mitigation
  • Do-it-yourself Science
  • Molecular Gastronomy
  • Wilderness Survival Tactics
  • Amateur Robotics
  • Radio and Mobile Communications (GNURadio, etc.)
  • Electronic Art (vj, dj, installations etc.)
  • Net Neutrality, Intellectual Property and Privacy Aspects
  • Active/Liquid Democracy and Political Activism
  • Sustainable Housing and eco-friendly Living
Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ÖBB - ihr freundlicher Bahn-Dienstleister

Man lässt sich als Bahnreisender ja so manches gefallen und fährt dann doch spätestens zwei Monate später doch wieder mit der Bahn, weil es ja so gut wie keine Alternativen gibt, zumindest nicht für (fast) militante Autoverweigerer.

Die Bahn gibt jedoch immer noch ihr Bestes, dass die Vorbereitung aufs Reisen so nervenaufreibend wie möglich wird. Ich habe heute mal wieder versucht, der ÖBB ein Sparschienen-Ticket abzukaufen. Ok, ich muss zugeben, ein kleines Pebkac Problem hat es schon gegeben, aber wer hätte gedacht, dass man stur auf "Kreditkarte - Visa" beharren muss, auch wenn die ÖBB-Seite die Auswahl freundlicherweise wiederholt wieder auf Mastercard zurückstellt. Ja, Ausdauer und Durchsetzungskraft muss man haben.

Auf jedenfall versuche ich mich hin und wieder daneben auch als Automaten-Don-Quichote oder butlerianischer Jihadist, der gegen die Verautomatisierung der gesamten Finanz- und sonstiger Dienstleistungen antritt und bin daher mal gemütlich (sprich im Eiltempo) zum Bahnhof in die Schalterhalle gelatscht.

Ich wollte ganz unschuldig wissen wann, zwischen Donnerstag und Samstag, ich per Sparschiene am günstigsten Reisen könnte, doch die freundliche ÖBB-Angestellte hat mich darauf hingewiesen, dass ich mich für einen Tag entscheiden sollte, und das möglichst rasch, denn man schließe immerhin in 4 [sic!] Minuten. Die ÖBB scheint für ihre Mitarbeiter ein sehr flexibles System vorgesehen zu haben, bei dem man immer nur eine einzelne Fahrt abfragen kann. Da darf man sich als Kunde schon sehr glücklich schätzen, per Internet einen ganzen Tag auf einmal abfragen zu dürfen und dann auch noch per Mausklick auf einen anderen Tag zu wechseln.

Tja, liebe ÖBB, wenn man das ganze Geld für Manager-Gehälter, dubiose Immobilien-Geschäfte und die Überwachung der Mitarbeiter ausgibt, dann bleibt halt für die Mitarbeiter oder die von ihnen zu bedienende Software nicht mehr viel übrig. Dafür habe ich durchaus Verständnis. Ich habe ja auch Verständnis dafür, dass die Züge der Deutschen Bahn bei Schneefall nicht mehr fahren, schließlich hat man auch da das Geld für die Wartung der Loks wo anders gewinnbringend anlegen müssen...

Auf jeden Fall gab es dann anscheinend auch die von mir ausgewählte Verbindung (Ab 02:17) über Salzburg nicht, weil es Sparschiene Tickets ja nur für "verkehrsübliche" Strecken gibt. Mein Hinweis darauf, dass es dieses Ticket online gibt, wurde mit einem sehr zuvorkommenden "Wenn du's online sickscht, kannst du dirs ja auch da kaufen!" und "Des muss a Fehler im Internet sein." quittiert. Ich armer Tor war mir ja zu dem Zeitpunkt noch nicht bewusst, dass es die Bezahlmethode über VISA nur für besonders hartnäckige Kunden gibt.

Nun denn, ich bin jedenfalls immer wieder froh, mich einen zufriedenen Kunden der verschiedenen europäischen Bahnbetriebe nennen zu dürfen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Optimizing mplayer for interview transcriptions

Yes, transcribing interviews is a pain! But there are several thing you can do on a Unix system that can help you ease the pain.

Although there exists a software out there that is even supposed to work with a pedal: Express Scribe by Australian company NCH Software - which works natively or as a Windows binary with wine, I chose mplayer. First and foremost because scribe didn't load the WMA files produced by my voice recorder.
Interestingly enough though, NCH Software describe a couple of ways to use their software with a pedal, and even offer tips on 'DIY' foot pedal solutions and they also have a documentation on "Writing a driver for an unsupported controller" (for Windows though).

There's a couple of tweaks and treats you can do to optimize mplayer for such a task. The most obvious at first seemed to reduce the playing speed, which can be done in every mplayer installation by the default keys "[" and "]".

To keep the same pitch of the voices however, you'll have to use an audio filter, that is by now part of every standard installation: scaletempo

Which brings us to the following command:
~ $ mplayer -af scaletempo
Now there is one remaining problem, namely the left and right buttons on your keyboard, in their default confirguration, do rewind or fastforward your file by 10 seconds. That is way too far when transcribing interviews.
Luckily, this can be configured as well. What you'll have to do is create a file in your .mplayer directory that holds a new configuration for the right and left keys. I.e.:
~$ cat ~/.mplayer/transcribe
RIGHT seek +3
LEFT seek -3
Now if you start mplayer while passing it that file as input configuration, your directional keys will seek by 3 seconds instead of 10. You might want to add an alias to you bashrc that says

alias transplayer="mplayer -af scaletempo -input conf=transcribe $1"
After sourcing that file, you may then use your customized setup by invoking "transplayer" at the cli:

~ $ source ~/.bashrc
~ $ transplayer

Of course, more than just the right or left keys can be reconfigured. To get an idea of what commands and keys are available, you may use

~ $ mplayer -input cmdlist
~ $ mplayer -input keylist

For more information on customizing your mplayer setup, please RTFM ;)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What Inspiration can ArsElectronica09 be to a Hackerspace?

The 5:16pm train brought me back from Linz/Upper-Austria yesterday. It also brought some blisters, exhausted legs and an innumerable array of impressions from Ars Electronica 2009, some of which I'll try to relay in this blogpost.

I bought a daypass on Sunday, which might or might not have paid off, I'm not quite sure.. 33€ is quite a lot of money, especially when the train ticket already cost you a hundred bucks. To anyone going to Ars in 2010 I suggest to buy a festival pass, spend at least 3 days on the various exhibitions and talks and prepare yourself a schedule (because theirs clearly sucked).

Ars Electronica Center (AEC)
The labs
The Ars electronica center clearly has an abundant array of interesting stuff sitting around. With their Fab-, Brain-, and Bio-labs on the -3 floor, they touch a broad variety of subjects, from cyborgs via sensor-enhanced art to 3D printers and lasercutters. This is actually somewhat like MIT's Medialab in Boston, only that this is clearly more exhibition-focused and less a working space. And clearly a lot smaller.

The picture above is a web made of wire straps.

The sculpture in the above picture does actually sense when you go near it and it reacts by moving its various "body"-parts.

Knock! Music Program (by Novmichi Tosa)
The second floor actually has some cool hands-on stuff that you can't actually touch, which is sad. But anyway, the Knock music machine is a pretty cool concept of an semi-electric music instrument. There were several components to it, the picture below is just one of them.
I actually found a couple of youtube videos of the machine in action. I just hope you understand some japanese ;) (Another resource I found is Novmichi's sketchblog.)

loopScape (by Ryota Kuwakubo)
Another great thing on the second floor was obviously loopScape. In contrast to ordinary computer games, this is one where you actually have to move around the "screen", which is made out of leds. Steering your fighter-jet with a wireless controller, your goal is to shoot down the enemy's fighter. To get all of the action, you can't stand still but have to move around to actually see everything that is happening in this fast-paced game.

Quartet is a huge machine that produces sounds from resonating wine-glasses and golf-balls being projected onto wooden xylophone bars. I hope I managed to capture some of that motion in my still.

Höhenrausch was an exhibition above the roofs of Linz. Walking on a wooden structure, you get from exhibit to exhibit while having a grandiose view over the city. You could even take a ride in a Ferris wheel.

One exhibit was really awesome! If you stood below the sprinklers with an umbrella, you'd hear 8-bit music as produced by the frequency of the water being released. The umbrella's tissue serves as a simple membrane and produces astonishingly clear sounds.

Cyberarts Festival
Tantalum Memorial - Residue (website)
Relay station for a social phone network used by the congolese diaspora in London.
And yes, though this thing is not your most recent asterisk pbx, it actually worked and was relaying calls for people on that network. From the project's website:

"'Tantalum Memorial' is a series of telephony-based memorials by the artists group Harwood, Wright, Yokokoji, to the people who have died as a result of the “coltan wars” in the Congo. The installation is constructed out of electromagnetic Strowger switches – the basis of the first automatic telephone exchange invented in 1888. The title of the work refers to the metal tantalum, an essential component of mobile phones"

Pursuit of the unheard
One of the things that kept me awake on Sunday evening was the "Höllenmaschine", one of the first, if not THE first synthesizer ever. Built by Bob Moog for Max Brand. As it says in the brochure: "The first wiring diagrams for the Max Brand synthesizer by Bob Moog are dated 1957."

On Monday morning, I decided to check out the MIT Impetus exhibition nonetheless, even though I thought I had already seen most of it in the Medialab itself.
And oh and I was so wrong!

littleBits (website)
Again, a little excerpt from their website:
"littleBits is an opensource library of discrete electronic components pre-assembled in tiny circuit boards. Just as Legos allow you to create complex structures with very little engineering knowledge, littleBits are simple, intuitive, space-sensitive blocks that make prototyping with sophisticated electronics a matter of snapping small magnets together. With a growing number of available modules, littleBits aims to move electronics from late stages of the design process to its earliest ones, and from the hands of experts, to those of artists, makers and designers."

Various impressions from Linz

One thing that I noticed already on Sunday were these "stencils". Only, it only came to me on Monday though that these weren't your ordinary stencils. What is so uncommon here is that the stencils are actually areas that are cleaner than the area around it. So what you see here is kind of a 'cleaner's graffiti'. (No, I'm in no way affiliated to Mazda or any other automobile manufacturer)

Finally, a last picture of the "Fassadenfestival":

A couple more pictures will be made available on my soup.
(All images contained herein are subject to the CC-BY-SA license.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bring your tent to the C3L and syn2cat SummerCamp 2009!

From July 2-5 2009, there will by the first Open Air Hacker Convention in the city of Dudelange, Luxembourg.

Whether you're a long standing hacker or have ever wondered what these geeks do, you should pack your sleeping bag and tent and come to Dudelange to enjoy four geeky days with people from all over Luxembourg and the Greater Region.

The camp will feature workshops, talks, 'Spaß am Gerät' and various other activities such as geocaching or 'foodhacking'. Come along, get to know interesting people and enjoy your beer or Club Mate in a cosy athmosphere.

More information on the camp can be found on the C3L SummerCamp Wikipage.
T-shirts can be ordered by sending an email to campshirts_AT_hackerspace_DOT_lu

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A World Free of Nuclear Weapons?

Ever since United States (U.S.) President Barack Obama’s speech in Prague on April 5 2009, there has been growing attention to the topic of nuclear disarmament throughout mass media. The foundations for his speech, however, where set by an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by four elder U.S. statesmen: Schultz et al. (2007) drew the academic community’s attention to a renewed vision of A WORLD FREE NUCLEAR WEAPONS . The article’s impact waves OF have since rippled through numerous institutes and think-tanks to give birth to a number of publications debating GLOBAL ZERO. Governments seem to have been caught up in this vision, as can be seen from the 6 for ATTAINABLE STEPS an eventual ban on nuclear weapons by the BRITISH FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE (see Cole 2009) or JAPAN’ S MINISTER FOREIGN FOR A FFAIRS HIROFUMI NAKASONE’s (2009b) 11 to accomplish global BENCHMARKS nuclear disarmament.


In order to escape arms control dilemmas and attain a, in constructivist terms, viable solution, institutions will have to be reformed and norms created. The possibility of a world free of nuclear weapons needs to be considered under social-constructivist premises. Realist theories would have us remain in a vicious circle of power balancing and extended deterrence and cannot sufficiently explain what role norms, expectations and perceptions play in a state’s (un-)willingness to disarm.


Still, this means that the norm would need to be created by a body capable of instituting, verifying and enforcing such prohibitions and giving it a legitimacy that would be recognized and respected by the international community. Although it has been suggested repeatedly that the UN and its Security Council (UN-SC) watch over nuclear disarmament, they are, by definition, not eligible for that task. One of the reasons why India went nuclear, its seeking of a shortcut to
great-power status, to becoming a permanent member of the UN-SC (Tertrais 2009, 182), is a prime illustration of the fundamental flaw vis-à-vis nuclear abolition inherent in that institution. How can an institution that rewards nuclear weapons with permanent UN-SC membership and veto rights be expected to promote and enforce nuclear disarmament? Also, the 5 de jure nuclear weapons states (P5), as the UN’s norm entrepreneurs, would almost certainly veto the
setup of a nuclear prohibition, should they fear a loss of influence.


Moreover, we have seen that nuclear disarmament must become desirable and thus a norm of the international community in order to keep states from considering cheating as a viable and fruitious alternative to abolishing their nuclear capabilities. It is therefore important to note that, even if the goal of global zero seems to unreachable under the current circumstances, “[...]
invoking the idea [of nuclear disarmament] has political value if it embeds in global consciousness an understanding of the direction in which policies and actions should move.” (Walker 2009, 16)


want to read more? (+ sources)