bm175 UnderReporting the 23C3

At least 4,000 people have gathered here in Berlin at what is often referred to as a HACKERS conference. If one walks around and strikes up conversation, many different types of people with assorted interests can be found. Yet this annual event, which is so unique in the world, goes under reported or badly reported by the major media in various countries. This report I recorded throughout the second day of this four day conference. It includes many fun and wise personalities which you may just recognize. Below you’ll find links for many of them. (not all.. Ive got to get some sleep.)

Nicole Simon
Atul Chitnis
Anders Pollas
Rop Gongrijp
Tim Pritlove

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Privacy, Voting Computers, and Insanity

They actually didn’t cover the insanity part, but that just comes automatic.

I’ve never seen so many laptops in my life.

As one strolls the outside-conference environment, you may encounter the many different collectives of the Chaos Communication Congress. In this corner, with laptop and internet cable strewn everywhere, it’s the mesh network kids. Over there, below the wikimedia banner, a bunch of people are allegedly working for wikipedia. (maybe they can un-ban me, those bastards) Down the hall, its the Deck phone guys who do cool shit with phones. I can’t even get into the lockpickers, lego-robotics, RFID mapping, and solar robot creating corners. It’s all just too much. I get tired very quickly as the senses are overloaded with this creative energy that bursts from every corner.

If you come to a hacker conference.. one thing not to forget.. which I just happen to have… ethernet cable. Its important. Take that bit of wisdom with you, free-o-charge.

Smoking Lounge.. pretonight.

As the evening wound down, after a whole day of god knows what, I found myself in this room, (photo taken yesterday, tonight it was bustling with people), sitting next to Rop who just slammed home a presentation on the Dutch voting computer battle (which I covered in my podcast way back when), drinking ze beers with Catarina.. who taught me all kinds of hacker history and general communication factoids this evening. She also awarded me with a rare PRess Pass… yehaw.

All this is my excuse for not doing a podcast or a vlog tonight. Too much to tell.. too much to do.. and the night is almost over… so I’ll get on it tomorrow, at some point.

I’ve said it alot lately, but this conference is one of those things in life.. not to be missed and not likely to be forgotten.

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Just Flew Into Berlin… Ouch

A little over 24 hours ago I was celebrating xmas with family in a tiny town in Portugal.

This morning I awoke warm and happy in Amsterdam.

And now I write to you from somewhere in the heart of Berlin.

A-Ren fights Fire

As you can imagine.. I can’t think straight at the moment. I’ve focused on small tasks.. like making sure the hot water works here in the most unique and spacious apartment Tim has let me use. (Tim is, of course, the greatest)

I’m here for 23C3… the amazingly circus-like hacker conference that brings hordes of people together for the last days of the year.. right here in Berlin. So that’s where I’ll be all week and I planned some additional days as well since Ive got lots of time on my hands and work I can do from anywhere in wonderfully WIRED Berlin.

There’s lots more to tell, but I need to figure out where my pajamas are and maybe add some layers as this place has a pretty limited heating system.

Prepare yourself.. all week you will be bombarded with reports from Berlin filled with the participation of some very special people.

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Less Reality For the News Reports

Back in action here in soggy and cool Amsterdam. As I catch up with my news feeds, I notice, especially in respectable sources like Germany’s Spiegel online, a dominance of world cup related stories. Where once they addressed issues regarding people’s lives around the world, since the world cup began it is endless “match reports” and photo shows of who lost against who. And while I realize my blog has had a little of that lately, I expect better from respected news sources that people depend on to know what is happening and why, in the world around them.

berlin0606211It actually reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend in Berlin who works for a very respected news radio network there. Normally my friend researches and records segments regarding the lives of immigrants in Germany and the issues that are of major concern in those communities. – An important line of reporting, needless to say, to give voice to the often voiceless.

Yet as I sat having lunch with my friend, I was told about how since the Cup began, her bosses have turned many of her pieces away. Making “room” for world cup related content, they told her. Nevermind which children’s school is in a state of chaos or dissaray, we need to hear more from fans who have painted their chests in black, yellow, and red.

I tried to console my friend by mentioning a little sign I saw in many extra-alternative cafes near the Kastanien Allee, which read: “world cup free zone”. These places looked empty, but admist all the obsession and ignoring of real things happening to suffering and struggling people everywhere, a world cup free zone might do us all some good.

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