The 2nd Annual HacDC CryptoParty is Nov 16

cryptoparty

Date: 16 Nov 2013
Time: 4 – 10pm
Place: 1525 Newton St NW
Washington DC 20010
(16th St entrance)

Subscribe to HacDC’s CryptoParty list for more interactive info and updates.

The HacDC CryptoParty will cover topics aimed at helping you keep your data safe by learning how to use basic cryptography tools to protect the content of your data and — of particular interest because of recent revelations— to thwart common forms of surveillance.

Like most of us, your life is probably pretty normal and of course you have nothing to hide. You may even think that allowing the government to read citizens’ email is the price we all have to pay for security.

But what if increased surveillance actually doesn’t keep us safer? What if the mere specter of surveillance suppresses your free expression? And what if you do have something that you want to keep private — for instance your sexual orientation, health status, political views, or that you’ve decided to stop practicing your religion?

Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom. —Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo

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aaronsw Memorial Hackathon

On Saturday, February 2, 2013 from 11am – 11pm (planned) HacDC will be hosting one of many, self-organized, global hackathons to memorialize the late computer programmer, writer, political organizer, and Internet activist Aaron Swartz (November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013) (Wikipedia article)

Participants will be asked to advance solutions to issues that were near to Aaron’s heart.

Activities for the day will center on furthering work on his repositories, opening access to information belonging in the public domain, developing or contributing to countermeasures to Internet censorship, and exploring code-driven methods to enhance social justice through access to data.

Among the like-minded participating groups will figure HacDC’s resident Project Byzantium and the organizer and team from the District Commons project.

Those interested in participating should register via our MeetUp event.

Those wanting to arrive after 2pm should make note of our telephone number, 202-556-4225, to gain entry as the building will be locked. More location information on our homepage’s sidebar.

Participants are encouraged to bring food and drink and practice good neighborliness. There are a variety of carry out options available around Columbia Heights though some may suit individuals more than others. There may be a group purchase at some point(s) but nothing has been set as of this writing. We’ll update this post as needed.

Related: An event taking place on Capitol Hill, on Monday, 2/4/13, at 7pm, this event memorializes Aaron Swartz and seeks to raise awareness about the urgent changes that are needed in the CFAA. These changes are part of Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s draft “Aaron’s Law” (PDF here).

Mini Maker Un-faire DIY Fair @ MLKJr Library

MLK Library“The Adaptive Services Division of the DC Public Library will host a Mini Maker Un-faire DIY (Do It Yourself) Fair in the Great Hall of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sunday, Nov. 18 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The Library is accessible from the Gallery Place and Metro Center subway stops.” More…

HacDC will be among the participating organizations at this event.

Admission is free. Register at http://dcdiyfair2012.eventbrite.com/

 

HacDC Rocks SciFest

Last weekend, HacDC hosted a booth in the USA Science and Engineering Festival at the DC Convention Center. HacDC members who volunteered at the booth report that festival participants kept them plenty busy throughout the duration of the festival. Thank you to everyone who stopped by!

The HacDC booth demonstrated a variety of gadgets including a 3D Printer, the chassis of Spaceblimp 5 (or, “This lunchbox has been to space!”), a montage of beautiful Spaceblimp photos, a pen plotter writing portraits of people, various LED hacks, and a tank of water with a bubble ring generator.

A picture of our booth at the fest in case you missed it. Not quite the same, but we try.

I asked the volunteers and festival attendees to tell me about things they saw that they found particularly interesting:

  • Baby hacking, or in other words, how babies learn to distinguish speech sounds that are present within the language of their environment.
  • Ever want your own personal submarine? (Only if it comes with a periscope, right? Same here.) The Personal Submersibles Organization has one that is light enough that it can be carried on a trailer and lowered into the water on a ramp.
  • Extracting Banana DNA and wearing it on a necklace was a highlight.
  • As one member said, “There was probably something for every kind of geek.”

It sounds like everyone had a great time and we’re looking forward to attending more festivals in the future!