I just came back from the annual hacker conference in Hamburg, Germany known as the "Chaos Communication Congress" (or CCC for short). It was the first time I was there for the entire venue and the first time I was able to go at all since 2008. So yay!
It was a lot of fun and I have a lot of nice memories to hold onto now. I talked to a lot of interesting people, learned new things, got inspired to do new things and continue on old things.
More importantly, I loved the chance to get in touch with some other women in the tech industry (via Haecksen & Queer Feminist Geeks), talk about problems, attempt to come up with solutions and just generally rant about things :)
I also found out that I am in no way, shape or form a dancing person. Although electronic club music is fun!
Following is a non-comprehensive list of the talks I went to. I am filling this from memory, so some talks might have been missed or dropped. And maybe I'll just edit them in later without anyone ever knowing.
A really quite epic lecture about using glitching to extract keys from a very dated security layout. Not that anyone should do this (it's not worth doing it anyways...never anything good on) but it will teach you a lot of stuff about hardware security
A talk about the flip-side of TAILS which aims to introduce trusted computing into a world where the machine can't be trusted. HEADS on the other hand uses coreboot and cleverness to create a verifiable machine environment to build an OS on top of. Made me want to get an old thinkpad on ebay to play with 😊
A relatively short talk about the creation of a musical instrument. Learning by doing and failing. Quite interesting for me as a hardware designer (as a hobbyist) but also a musician.
If you have a bank account with N26...stop having a bank account with N26. Their security is absolutely horrible. And while, yes, all of these security issues have been fixed, it shows a rather lacking attitude towards security from their engineering team. Best demonstration of client-side security gone wrong. And why ReST APIs are fucking aweful!
This was a great talk given by a close friend of mine about one of his super crazy projects. The idea being to construct an FPGA powered PCI-E device for laptops and/ or desktop computers that intercepts messages to the display, encodes and decodes text into them to provide an interface for encrypted messages without using the CPU. It's really quite interesting and I can't wait to see what he does with it.
One of my favourite talks was about an engineering toy kit that was aiming to be more inclusive. The problem it attempts to tackle are the incredible low numbers of women in computer science and engineering (significantly lower than in other scientific fields). There are a lot of reasons why women aren't well represented in the fields and they are all cultural. This talk was about trying to change the culture around teaching people about electronics and code to be more inclusive towards groups of people (mostly girls/ women) who would otherwise be missed.
I really enjoyed the talk on a lot of different levels. One was the technical aspect of creating a childrens toy on the cheap that is inclusive and universally programmable through audio encoding. Quite worth a watch.
I don't think that just with projects like this the culture around women in tech will change. But it's a start. What we realistically need is a change in culture throughout all layers of society. I think the problems around women in tech are quite complicated. And unfortunately usually result in a bunch of assholes starting to shout either about how feminism is evil or how diversity isn't important. And biases aren't actually thaaaaat bad, right? 😝
I could rant here forever and it's questionable how many people would actually care 😅 I can recommend this talk. Let's leave it at that :)
Those were just the first two talks from a series of space talks. The first one was from one of the heads of ESA about their plans to colonise the moon for profit! And science of course... It was quite funny and definately worth watching.
The second one I almost liked more, though mostly the first part of it. Liz George manages to explain incredibly well in a very short amount of time what challenges exist when discovering exo-planets. The second part (by somebody else) is a bit more vague about how to actually get there and is less science, more fiction. But hey 😝
So in short: 33C3 was pretty epic! And I honestly can't wait for next year. It's not clear yet where it will be held but it will be epic non-the-less. And who knows, maybe I have a talk to hold by then 😊
Which brings me to this year. Last year was fucking shitty. Politically...On a personal level it actually went quite well. And I got a lot of shit done. I did Google Summer of Code, I made huge progress on my game project (yes, I will post about that at some point). And especially in the last months of the year, I redesigned and rerouted the Open Plantb0t board. On january 1st, 2017 the revision A2 design went into production.
I hope to get all my parts together soon and build up a second prototype series which (hopefully) works better than the last 😉 I will keep y'all updated on that. pel Until then, I hope you've had a happy new years eve and not an all too terrible year...yet 😉