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CommonFest talk

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CommonFest talk

τοlabάκι hackerspace - An open community for unusual innovation, learning and sharing
OpenOffice / Libre Office



Are you Hackers???[edit]

  • Myth: Cyber-criminal
    • From popular media, TV, Newspapers, etc.
  • History:
    • 1960's: MIT/TMRC Technology enthusiasts
      • Playful exploration of possibilities
    • 1970's: Home computer scene
      • Home-brew PC hardware
      • Video games


  • The term "Hacker" has been popularized by the media as someone who breaks into security systems to do damage and commit criminal actions. This is a mythology rather than a history of the term "Hacker". At best it's a very narrow, specific meaning of that term.
  • There are some theories about where the term really comes from, but the origins lie somewhere in the early days, when the first computers were accessible to the public:
  • In the 60's and 70's the Students of the MIT and the "MIT Model Railway Club" and later when the first computers could be found in private homes the word "Hack" meant to make something unusual or in an unusual way.

What's a Hacker?[edit]

  • Today:
    • Hardware: D.I.Y. / Home-brew / Open Hardware
    • Software: D.I.Y. / Open-Source Free Software
    • Security: White-hats "ethical" / Black-hats "crackers"


  • Today the communities of hackers are mostly made of people interested in a kind of Do-It-Yourself way of understanding, changing and building things:
  • Firstly Hardware like electronics or machines. This can be for fun, as a proof-of-concept, as art or useful.
  • Software maybe to control the hardware they just built or changes, or to make something that's impossible with commercial software, or just for the learning process of it.
  • And Security and Privacy is also still a very popular subject in the hacker communities, because "Computers" are not only calculators, but information-processors. And as we say "Knowledge is Power" and these days "information" is digital gold. And more and more information about everybody is stored on-line. And that's both a chance and a challenge for people who try to find, report and eliminate security and privacy problems (usually called "white-hat or ethical hackers) as well as less noble individuals who try to break into systems for fun, damage or for personal profit (usually called black-hat or crackers).
  • At τοlabάκι we discourage Black-hat activities and encourage openness.

Example "Hacks"[edit]

  • Fun: Blinkenlights image video
  • Useful: 3D-printed door lock
    • Open Hardware (Arduino)
    • Free Software (Linux / Asterix)
    • Documentation (Wiki)


  • In collaboration with the "Haus des Lehrers", the Chaos Computer Club in Berlin has put a lamp behind every window of the building so people could send image or text messages to display on the building or play "pong" from their mobile phones.
  • Because we had only a small number of keys to our room at the university....

What's a Hackerspace?[edit]

  • Meeting place
  • Infrastructure


  • Although some of us hackers may seem to be unsociable computer freaks, we still like to meet and have fun together. So the hackerspace is first-of-all a place to come together. But not only this.
  • Hackerspaces usually provide the hackers with some tools for hacking. Such as computers, electronic components, a network and tools such as soldering irons or drills or even 3D-printers.

What's τοlabάκι?[edit]

  • Meet
  • Hack
  • Share


  • Τοlabάκι is both a meeting place and a place to do stuff.
  • It's open to anyone who is willing to share his experience and knowledge with the fellow hackers.
  • We have a couple of PCs available, a workbench for building electronic projects, another workbench for wood and metal works, a place for meetings, a video projector and a good connection to the Internet.
  • There is no cost or membership fee necessary, because everything in τοlabάκι is based on donations and voluntary work. Here's a big "Thanks!" on the guys that keep the place working!

Why τοlabάκι?[edit]

  • Inspire
    • Share ideas
    • ...
  • Enable
    • Educate
    • Provide tools / space


  • Someone might say that there are the University and the Institutes to do research, and that's where innovation happens, and they are more successful. But hackerspaces are not an alternative to the Academies, they are a complement.
  • When we make a project at τοlabάκι, then we do it in a relaxed way and at our own pace. There's no pressure to finish a project at a certain deadline. - Well except last night when I had to finish this talk! ;)
  • There's less competition and more collaboration.
  • There's no fixed subject to follow. We do whatever interests us.
  • There's no failure, just experience.
  • It's the place where we can realize the crazy ideas that we can not do at work.

On the larger scale[edit]

  • Community collaboration
    • Human interaction
    • Dissemination of know-how
  • Decentralization
    • Empower the individual
    • Fault resilience
    • Independence from Big Corp.