Restate my assumptions.
One: Mathematics is the language of nature.
Two: Everything around us can be represented and understood through numbers.
Three: If you graph the numbers of any system, patterns emerge. Therefore, there are patterns everywhere in nature.
The above is a quote from today’s “Hackers in movies” talk at 28c3 - which amongst others also showed a brief snippet of the movie Pi. For several years I stayed well away from that one famous Hackers’ conference in Berlin that takes place annually between Christmas and New Year. 23C3 was the last congress I attended until today. Though there were several fantastic talks and mean presentation quality was pretty good the standard deviation of talk quality was just too high for my taste. In addition due to limited room sizes with 4 tracks there were quite a few space issues.
In recent years much of that has changed: The maximum number of tickets is strictly enforced, there is an additional lounge area in a large tent next to the entrance, for the sake of having larger rooms the number of tracks was reduced to three. Streaming works for the most part making it possible for those who did not get one of the 3000 full conference tickets to follow the program from their preferred hacker space. In addition fem does an amazing job of recording, mastering, encoding and pushing videos online: Hacker Jeopardy - a show that wasn’t over until early Thursday morning (about 3a.m.?) - was up on Youtube at least on Thursday at 7a.m if not earlier.
Several nice geeks got me talked into joining the crowd briefly this evening for a the last three talks in “Saal 1″ depicted above: You cannot be in Berlin during 28c3 and not see the so-called “fnord Jahresrückblick” by Fefe and Frank Rieger, creators of the Alternativlos podcast.
Overall it is amazing to watch BCC being invaded by a large group of hackers. It’s fun to see quite a few of them on Alexanderplatz, watch people have fun with a TV B Gone in front of large electronics stores. It’s great to get to watch highly technical but also several political talks 4 days in a row from 11 a.m. until at least 2p.m. the following day that are being given by people who are very passionate about what they do and the projects they spend their time on.
If you are into tinkering, hacking, trying out sorting algorithms and generally having fun with technology make sure you check out the 28c3 Youtube channel. If you want to learn more on Hacker culture, mark the days between Christmas and New Year next year and attend 29c3 - don’t worry if you do not speak German - the majority of talks is in English, most of the ones that aren’t are being translated on the fly by volunteers. If you are good at translations, feel free to volunteer yourself for that task. Speaking of volunteering: My respect to all angels (helping hands), heralds (those introducing speakers), noc (network operating center), poc (phone operating center), the organisation team and anyone who helps keep make that event as enjoyable to attendees as it is.
Update: Thank you to the geeks who after staying in our apartment for #28c3 helped get it back to a clean state - actually cleaner than it was before. You rock!