Hackerspace In Review: 4 Year Anniversary

This last Saturday, we had a members (and friends of members) only annual meeting. Normally this is a time for everyone to hang out, eat, drink, and give presentations. Previous years, I give my personal presentation about things I wanted to do, things I failed at, things I succeeded, and things I’ll be attempting the coming year. We invited everyone this year to give a similar style presentation and the results were pretty interesting.

Our Past

A quick review of where we’re at. The organization started in September-ish of 2009, where we met in coffee shops around Rochester, to try and come up with whether or not we should make a hackerspace in the area. We came to the conclusion that we wanted to do everything from the ground up, receiving no outside financial help. At the time, we were pretty adamant about not having it called a “Makerspace” because the membership had a much wider range of interests than just making (software development, hardware reverse engineering, network security, radio, art, etc). So our bylaws stated that we will create a space focused on the interests of the members at that time. This gave us a lot of flexibility to interpret what the space would be used for. We received our New York State articles of Incorporation just about January 1st of 2010. From there we have expanded spaces starting out at a meager 200 sq ft temporary space, moving to a 500 sq ft space, and eventually to our current home which is over 1200 sq ft. Our mission statement has been the same since its inception, to provide a space to its members and the community, as well as be an organization that helps individuals developer their skills in science, art, and technology.

Our Present

As always, we had a wide range of accomplishments from our members. Here are a list of things have been working on recently:

  • Reverse engineering Ms. Pac-Man
  • Using thermite and tannerite in fun ways
  • Take EdX, Coursera, classes together: Cryptography, in-line power supplies, calculus, basic electronics
  • Creating a high power antennae with low amounts of money
  • Security research using open source intelligence
  • Using a Raspberry Pi and home sensors to graph and monitor temperature changes in your fridge
  • Artistically building a gigantic light bulb array (without burning down your apartment)
  • Converting your Perl scripts over to BASH (as an excuse to hang out with your kid)
  • Skip’s Adventures in 3D printing

This might give you an idea of the completely different background that our members have, but with the common denominator of expanding and learning more than they do right now.

from on January 13th, 2014Comments0 Comments

Unexpected googling win

So, pursuing goals too convoluted to explain well on a lazy Sunday, I went to see what I could find about a certain type of data structure (trees) in a certain awesome but increasingly obscure language called Forth



I’m not exactly sure why I find this hilarious, but I do.




from on January 12th, 2014Comments0 Comments

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

So at our last Lightning Talk at Interlock I shared my secret for making the best chocolate chip cookies ever. I’ve since had a few requests for the recipe and I’ve hesitated to give it out not because I think it’s a secret but because baking is a science and with all science it’s not always exact… the recipe will get you close but with so many variables to consider(1) you’ll have to experiment and take notes… just like in real science class.

Also if you are someone who expects perfection the first time then I suggest going to the nearest bakery and just buy your cookies. It’s easier and I won’t have to hear your complaints about how the recipe didn’t work for you.

So here are the recipes and the links for where I originally acquired them. Thank you Alton Brown for teaching me to love the Science of Baking. http://altonbrown.com/

20130430_152452  CCCookies-50

Notice in my image of the recipe they list cups instead of weights for the ingredients… if you want accuracy and consistency in your cookie then use the weight measurements… if you just want to make cookies then consult the photo. For larger view click on the image.

The Chewy (The inspiration for the best chocolate chip cookie ever) http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/the-chewy-recipe/index.html

The Puffy http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/the-puffy-recipe/index.html

The Thin http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/the-thin-recipe/index.html

My secrets:

(1) Humidity, how loose or compact is your flour, what type of butter are you using, how many chocolate chips do you want to use, the size of your cookie scoop, how hot does your oven get, how much patience do you have, who will be eating the cookies (let’s face it you want to impress but not everyone deserves the best).

from on December 21st, 2013CommentsComments Off