HacDC’s Project Byzantium wins InformSec grant

Project Byzantium pomegranate logoWe’re proud to share the news that HacDC’s Project Byzantium has won a grant from the Information Security Coalition to continue research and development for the next six calendar months! Project Byzantium is an effort to develop Byzantium Linux, a live distribution of Linux for rapidly and easily constructing ad-hoc wireless mesh networks during emergencies. This distribution aims to assist relief efforts by providing flexible networking infrastructure and services. Byzantium developers will be putting the grant money toward additional equipment on which to test and debug Byzantium Linux as well as hardware to experiment with integrating Byzantium Linux into amateur radio-related data communications networks. The project’s final milestone will be v0.4 of Byzantium Linux “somewhen in August of 2013.” Congratulations to our Project Byzantium team!

In related news, Project Byzantium was a recent runner up for an Access Innovation Award, a set of grants to accelerate projects working in several problem spaces including making networks resilient to blackouts. The team traveled to New York City for the awards ceremony in December 2012 and report that they were honored to have been selected as finalists.

UPDATE: Byzantium Linux v0.3a is out!

HacDC’s commitment to diversity and a harassment-free environment

The HacDC membership is proud to announce our adoption of two new policies reinforcing our commitment to providing a welcoming, safe environment. In drafting these policies we drew heavily from Dreamwidth StudiosDiversity Statement and the example conference anti-harassment policy from the Geek Feminism wiki, created by the Ada Initiative and other volunteers.

Diversity Statement

We welcome you.

We welcome people of any gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, size, nationality, sexual orientation, ability level, neurotype, religion, elder status, family structure, culture, subculture, political opinion, identity, and self-identification.

As a U.S.- and District of Columbia-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization we’re obliged to follow applicable laws, but we’re serious about knowing and protecting your rights when it comes to free expression and privacy.

We support maximum freedom of creative expression, and only restrict that when we must for the safety and sanity of other folks. We think creativity is one of the greatest accomplishments of the human mind, and we want to enable that creativity in everyone from pro to amateur. We think neurodiversity is a feature, not a bug. We believe in being inclusive, welcoming, and supportive of anyone who comes to us with good faith and the desire to build a community.

Anti-Harassment Policy

HacDC is dedicated to being a harassment-free hackerspace for everyone. We do not tolerate harassment of members or visitors in any form.

Harassment includes but is not limited to offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion; sexual images in public spaces; deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; inappropriate physical contact; unwelcome sexual attention; or violation of any applicable laws. Members and visitors asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

If a member or visitor engages in harassing behavior, the board of directors or event organizer may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the space or event with no refund. Members violating these rules may be subject to termination of their HacDC membership. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the board of directors or the event organizer immediately.

Members of the board of directors and event organizers will happily help members and visitors contact building security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe and prevent harassment for the duration of their visit at HacDC. We value your attendance.

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Building security guard hours: Monday – Thursday 6pm – 10pm; Saturday 9am – 2pm
DC emergency services: 911
National sexual assault hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673)
DC Rape Crisis Center: 202-333-RAPE (202-333-7273)
DC Yellow Cab: 202-TAXICAB (202-829-4222)
Howard University Hospital: 202-865-6100 / 2041 Georgia Avenue NW
GWU Hospital: 202-715-4000 / 900 23rd Street NW

We expect members and visitors to follow these rules at all HacDC-organized events, in the space itself, and in our online spaces including mailing lists and the official IRC channel.

Posted in Uncategorized

Tea Night on Tuesday, March 5

matcha whisked with hot water - yum!Starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, join us at HacDC for an evening of tea – we’ll have a demonstration of traditional Japanese tea (chanoyu), and we’ll have equipment for brewing other teas. You’re welcome to bring an interesting or favorite tea of your own to share. No coffee allowed. :) This event is free and open to the public.

Posted in Uncategorized

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).