The long-awaited "post"-pandemic German hacker campPublished on September 06, 2023.
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The four-year cycle for the CCC summer camp has returned this year, luckily completely skipping any pandemic related regulations. And for the third time (CCCamp2019, MCH2022, CCCamp2023) I felt honored to be a guest at Frubar Island village.
It really felt like a lot of creative energy was still bottled up from the past years in lock-down, which now exploded in this event. We were located right next to C-Base who brought a very nice sound setup, including lots of lights and a strong fog machine. Even late into the night they played awesome music, I enjoyed it a lot. So the party areas are spreading even outside of Geraffel village. On the one hand I can kind of understand some people complaining about the constant noise, but on the other hand I was right next to it and could sleep fine. And I think it's an important part of the event.
Surprisingly I slept very well each night, without using any earplugs. The only downside was the sun shining on my tent reliably at 07:30 in the morning, kicking me out of bed each day. Most days were very hot and sunny, so until the late afternoon not much was happening anyways, with basically everyone just lounging around in the shade at the villages or bars.
As usual I didn't really go to any talks, opting to watch the recordings afterwards. I think this time is better spent socializing and taking in the event itself.
Like at many villages, the situation at Frubar is continuously escalating 🥳
Apparently there were some issues around the usual waffle sale of C3WOC. Because they were not allowed to offer waffles on camp, they instead opted to rent out their industrial waffle baking machines to villages.
Frubar took up the offer, so we had access to a double-waffle machine for one day. One of the famous C3WOC recipes is the Dönerwaffel, with meat on top. We decided to iterate on this idea and made Steakwaffle with cheese. It was very tasty.
Of course we had the traditional Kässpätzle session as well. In my opinion this is really one of the great highlights of Frubar village. It's always unbelievably tasty and makes me remember my childhood 🧑🍳
This time we made four of the trays visible below.
I initially bought a 32x32 RGB LED matrix in 2018. Back then the idea was to fit it onto a bag, as some kind of wearable device, for 35C3. But it never really worked out. So in preparation for this years camp I noticed the LED panel again and decided to buy some more of them.
Of course I tried to do far more than was possible in the given timeframe. I built a ~30x30 cm, 64x64 LED matrix with a Raspberry Pi 4. A smaller 32x32 matrix with a Raspberry Pi Pico and battery operation. And the plan was to build another large 32x32 1x1m matrix with a Raspberry Pi.
The only thing that was really used was the 64x64 matrix. It worked well and people had some fun with the included games.
The final breakout high-score was 218, achieved by Wiedi!
I also got a patch set (1, 2, 3, 4) from Jannis that fixed the collision behaviour of the ball in breakout! We met on the camp and had a very nice time together. And soon afterwards the patches appeared in my inbox and actually made the game playable! This was really awesome 😊💪 Thanks again!
You can read more about this project on the 'RGB LED Matrix visualizer' page.
As usual we also brought the UbaBot cocktail machine with us.
I was hoping to port last years MCH badge app to the new flow3r badge, but unfortunately WiFi features were not implemented in the firmware until day four. Also the requirements for app development changed a bit, so the code could not be reused as-is without modifications. And for just half a day I wasn't really motivated to do a lot of work... 😅
Someone from Chaosradio also was there to interview us, so maybe something will appear there in some future episode.
We also made a plan of connecting Frubar island to the POTS network, some citizens even brought modems for that. The idea was to offer a BBS-like interface for ordering drinks on the cocktail machine. Unfortunately there were some problems with running the cable across one of the camp "streets", so Frubar did not end up getting connected to the wired phone service. Just one of the many project ideas for which there wasn't enough time left 🤷
Of course I got this years flow3r badge. It's a really nice design, I like the idea of more interactive elements and also the general idea of inter-badge connectivity. The problem is time. Last years MCH badge had the "fortune" of the event being moved back a year. This gave much more development time, so when the badges were handed out, a comprehensive API, documentation and app store infrastructure was available immediately. This was not the case for CCCamp23, so many apps only appeared on day four or so, understandably. So unfortunately I didn't really do that much with the badge, except for updating the firmware when new releases appeared and trying out some small apps on the last day.
Besides the usual servings of pasta, espresso, grappa and, as we now learned, corretto, some of us also got a little NFC tag gadget from the Italian village.
It's the MuTag from Muhack,
The first hackerspace in Brescia.
It's quite nice. I've never used NFC before, so I was a bit surprised when a webbrowser immediately opened after just holding the PCB near the phone. Maybe I'll just let it link to my website, to avoid having to spell out the unpronouncable domain name to people I talk to 😅
This time I also brought my 3D printer and offered printing services. Transport and setup went without any issues and I didn't have to repair or modify anything, either there or back home afterwards.
It was actually used by a couple of people, both Frubar-internal and from other external people. A model train set group needed some track separators, someone required a holder for a mate-tea cup, another group had some project case design and someone else lost a part of their e-cigarette. Also I designed and printed an adapter for a hoverboard-robotics project for a Frubar citizen.
Unfortunately I forgot to export the PrusaSlicer configuration I'm using on my desktop PC at home. And of course I only noticed I never put it somewhere online when trying to slice something on-site. So I quickly had to create some kind of sensible config, choosing safe but not super-fast speeds. I didn't actually think of taking the values from the end of a g-code file on the Pi.
The only problematic print was a file that already failed in the exact same way before at home. Of course when something doesn't work, just try again without changing anything... Predictably it failed twice.
I'm honestly not quite sure why just this specific 3D model fails at the point where the diameter reduces. But I also wasn't motivated yet to really dig into it.
Hopefully I'll be able to also visit 37C3 at the end of this year in Hamburg. It would be my first time not being in Leipzig for the Congress.
And the next camp will probably be in the Netherlands. It's unclear if they will shift their timetable. The "usual" year would be 2025, to keep in the two-year step with German camp. But as MCH2022 was shifted by a year, they could also keep their own 4 year step, and hold the next event in 2026. Either way the wait will be quite long.
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