Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Calgary Hackerspace

I've frequently called myself a Hacker [1]. This may immediately disqualify me from ever deserving the title, as one of the rules is that other people must refer to you as a Hacker, not yourself.

However, if there is one group of people that I identify with more than any others - it would be the hacker community. Recently a friend of mine, Paul Brodeur [2] wrote up a compelling request to the people in Calgary to help him setup a Calgary based Hackerspace [3].

I'm doing what he asked, and I'm sending this out to everyone I know. If you're interested, join the google group [4] or the facebook group [5] and figure a way to help out.

Now that I've made the pitch, I feel I need to explain why I haven't joined either group, nor am I likely to attend the meetings or make use of the space. Please don't construe this as an argument against the Hackerspace. I think it's a brilliant idea, and I support them in their effort to make it happen.

I'm a fairly specialized hacker - I deal almost completely in the intangible. I'm not a hardware hacker, I'm not an electronics hacker - I prefer to stay in the realm of math, software and computer graphics. Now, I'm not saying that other specialized hackers like me won't be able to make use of, or enjoy the space. In fact, I feel that it's likely that many (maybe even most?) will find it a welcoming and nurturing environment in which to learn, share, and create.

I already have a Hackerspace - the internet. I spend my days in IRC chat rooms surrounded by people of a like mind who like to learn, share and create. I am very frequently learning from them, helping them, working with them and growing because of the experience. This isn't for everyone - but for me it's where I feel at home, it's where I find myself the most creative.

In addition, I'm not a people person. If you get more than 3-5 other people in the same room as me - and I shut down [6]. I don't say much, I get extremely self-conscious and my mind immediately begins to think of excuses as to why I should be elsewhere. I avoid movie-theatres, shopping malls, food courts, meetings, and coffee shops for this very reason. The hackerspace, if successful, and I believe it will be, is likely to be filled with more people than I'll be comfortable being around.

In closing I should also mention that I'm willing to be convinced or shown how I'll benefit from the hackerspace. I'm also willing to help out to ensure that those who will benefit may realize their dream. However (unless convinced otherwise) I won't be an active participant.

[1] -
[2] -
[3] -
[4] -
[5] -
[6] - the number is variable and also depends on how well I know them. But if everyone I know came over for my birthday party, even tho I know them well I'd be very uncomfortable in that situation.


Mike said...

I'm not going to try and convince you to be any more involved then you feel comfortable. If your are not interested, and i can't peak your interest, no worries.

I'll ask you to join one or both of the existing groups. In fact, consider this a personal invitation to both. I'm also going to ask you to be involved in and help extend whatever virtual component the Calgary Hackspace has.

eg. Hang out on #calgary-hackspace

That's just one example, and maybe not the best one.

I don't want you to be uncomfortable, but I'm sure we could use your help. Thanks for all the help you've already provided.

I wouldn't know any of these guys if it wasn't for you.

Lakin Wecker said...

It's not a bad suggestion. I am now hanging out on #calgary-hackspace on