Hackathon 4

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March 19 marks the fourth SkullSpace Hackathon, and is looking to be our biggest yet! Everybody is invited to come hang out, work on projects, see some talks, or just wander around and meet new people! Saturday will feature a few talks/projects that you can participate in, if you choose. The point is to get together, meet new people, and have some fun!

The event is completely free, but we'll be happily accepting donations (and new members). If you can afford $5, $10, $20, or more, you can help support the cause! We take cash, cheque (made out to SkullSpace Winnipeg Inc), and paypal.

Not only is this free, it's open to anybody who wants to come, with any interests, at any skill level. The most important thing is having an interest in technology and the desire to learn more and meet people. So, everybody is welcome to come out! Bring friends! Bring family!

  • Date: Saturday, March 19, 2011 (corresponding with the Global Hackerspace Challenge
  • Time: 12:00 (noon) - 20:00 (8pm)
  • Location: LES.net - 130 Portage Avenue East at the old Nutty Club building (big red door by the #130, use the doorbell, listen for the click)


Having set projects will be an experiment that I'm hoping will work well for us. The idea is that we have a few projects going on during the day, led by somebody who can answer questions and get people started. The "leader" won't necessarily be working on their project, but they're the person to talk to if you need help/advice.

We strongly believe in learning and teaching, so no matter what your knowledge level is, feel free to get involved!

Leader Name of project Description
Andrew Launchpad Launchpad is a low power, low cost, programmable device made by Texas Instruments. It's a great way to get into embedded development! Andrew is also doing a talk on Launchpads, see below for talk times.
Mak Nmap Scripting Writing scripts for the Nmap Security Scanner tool. This includes reverse engineering protocols, learning how software works, and finding security vulnerabilities.
Martin Arduino Embedded, programmable, and highly sophisticated devices. Martin will also be doing an introductory talk about Arduinoes (see below for talk times)
Ron BreachDB An online site to archive and track data breaches. This will be written in Ruby and MySQL. It uses an aggressive caching mechanism due to the speed of queries, and manages a huge amount of data.
Mark Bo-Keep memberfee plugin for entering/tracking SkullSpace memberfees
(open) Quadrocopter Les has a Quadrocopter that's controlled by iPhone software. We're hoping to look at the protocol it uses and see if we can control it ourselves!

Other miscellaneous projects that won't be "officially" led (unless somebody wants to): Possible projects

  • Wireshark plugin development
  • Gameboy / DS hacking
  • SkullSpace Challenge
  • Intro to Djing Workshop (Fernando)


We're hosting a few talks during the day. These will be short and informal (except for Mark's, which will be interactive and breaks new ground).

If anybody is interested in doing talks for April's hackathon, please let me know (info @ skullspace.ca) as early as possible and we'll add you to the list!

For this month, these talks are very basic. We're hoping to ramp up and do some more "advanced" talks in later months!

When Who What Details
13:00 - 13:15 Ron Welcome to SkullSpace A quick introduction to SkullSpace, our members, our mission, and our current situation. A great time to ask questions about what we're up to!
14:00 - 15:00 Mark Plone Mark will explore the obscurity separating an announced Plone security vulnerability from actual exploit steps; and slowly unveil (what may be the first public) exploit steps. Audience will be invited to race to attack a test installation.
16:00 - 16:15 Martin Arduino What is an Arduino, how are they used, and what kind of cool stuff can we do with them? Martin is also leading the "Arduino" project, so you can ask him questions here or track him down all day.
18:00 - 18:30 Burke Fuck Yeah Nouns! Burke, Stef, and Tim created an Internet sensation earlier this month with the launch of FuckYeahNouns.com. Burke's going to talk about how he built, maintained, and promoted the site, despite repeated issues with being banned from image searches and copyright violations.

Talks for next hackathon (or that will be given if a speaker can't make it):

  • Russ - GIS (Mapping) - Help with any mapping related questions.
  • Andrew - Launchpad
  • Ron - BreachDB

What we need

If you have any of this, or can borrow it, please let us know! info @ skullspace.ca

Some things, like food, we may have to get everybody to kick in some money unless we find somebody who's willing to sponsor.

Item Status
Projector/screen Mike will bring
Networking gear Provided by LES.net
Food Still needed
Snacks Ron and Russ will bring snacks
Drinks/coffee Still needed (BadLad: Cola)
  • LES.net has about 10-15 seats
  • Mike will bring what we need
Recording gear Andrew and Mak will take care of recording the talks (and possibly streaming)
Photography gear Mike, Ron, and (if he makes it) Brian should have camera gear
DJ Equipment Mike + Fernando
Nintendo 64 + Goldeneye Ron's bringing w/ 2 controllers - we need 2 more
Powerbars Ron + Mak

Donations and new members

Part of our goal is to raise donations for getting our own physical space. Anybody who wants to bring a cash or cheque is welcome to! We'll record how much you donated and add it to our startup cash.

The other part of our goal is to get the word out to more people. Bring friends, co-workers, and anybody who might be interested. They don't have to come all day, just long enough to get some free stickers!


The main feedback we received (in person and in our survey indicated):

  • We need more tables
  • We need more wireless routers
  • The talks were good, people want more
  • Another structured workshop would be beneficial (with more planning beforehand)
  • Music was too loud
  • Everybody overall enjoyed it

See below for the raw feedback!

Raw feedback

1. What did you like about the hackathon?

  • The hacking.
  • sharing of ideas
  • Socializing with others, lockpicking, and 007.
  • Meeting new people, having like-minded discussions, the presentations, fun events - all around awesome time
  • Haven't been yet.
  • The people - social aspect - meeting people interested in skullspace - hearing about project ideas, hanging out for an extended period - playing video games - exchanging files with mak - listening to some talks
  • The (short) presentations
  • party atmostphere

2. What did you dislike about the hackathon?

  • The DJ stuff.
  • flaky internet (and at an ISP, no less!)
  • A little loud with the music
  • Internet connection needs to be unlame.
  • Haven't been yet.
  • Not enough proper seating/table area.
  • I found the music was too loud for the type of event. Only a minority of people were interested in the music, yet everyone was forced to be subjected to the high volume, making it harder to talk/listen. Lack of introduction or organisation to make new-comers feel more welcome/comfortable.
  • the (long) presentation
  • party atmostphere hard to hack in

3. What would you change for future events?

  • More hacking.
  • large(r) community projects
  • No music while people are doing talks
  • people need name tags!
  • Haven't been yet.
  • More cowbell
  • Have our own space! :)
  • More small talks; more demonstrations or workshops
  • two parallel spaces, one quiet, one party, party

4. Would you be interested in more workshop type events (like Mark's talk on the database software) on different topics? Can you suggest a topic you'd like to hear about?

  • Yes. Reverse engineering. Protocols. Embedded Systems.
  • yes
  • Yes, interested. I like the arduino ideas floating around.
  • Arduino, programming for Arduino, electrical engineering/circuit board making tips
  • yes, I want physical things I can do participate in. Things like microcontrollers or how to build a catapult, how to lock pick, etc.
  • I would be interested in a hands on work shop. Perhaps we each pay 5-20 bucks for some hardware and learn how to build/solder it up as a group.
  • yes, but they need to be better organized if they are complex.

5. What were your thoughts on the talks? Would you suggest more or less? More advance or more basic? More technical or more general?

  • Burke's was awesome.
  • I think having a good mix of advanced and basic, technical and general talks is important.
  • More workshop-esque
  • Talks have been very good, more advanced would be nice.
  • Good talks, but have two areas. One for people who are interested and care in the talk, and one for people to just chill and work on whatever.
  • Having a wide range is good. Maybe asking how much interest there is in a topic beforehand would be good. Have a quick anonymous poll of "I want to hear that", "I'm not interested". We could have smaller scale tutorials for talks that have less interest.
  • 20min talks (small) seem to work really good. The mix of general and technical needs to be balanced

6. What did you think of the location? Any changes you'd recommend to how we set it up, etc?

  • RRC sucks. LES.net was okay.
  • more accessible power outlets and seating
  • Great location
  • Location was awesome, would love to go there again.
  • les.net was awesome. This would make the perfect skullspace imo.
  • LES.net space was very nice. Needs more seating, a table or two for laptops small wired network.
  • Good. Create a more central presentation space
  • Super great

7. Anything else you want to say?

  • More group projects.
  • Ron's awesome
  • Looking forward to the next one! -Justin
  • pikachu
  • dude.