Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Greetings Fellow Hackers,

Our group has leveled off at 10 new members. I know that many of you that signed up may have done so out of curiosity. I think that we all probably share the same desire to establish a reliable, local HackerSpace in Katy.

I am reaching out to you to find out, precisely what interests you the most about having a HackerSpace here in Katy and what your expectations are.  It would be very helpful to know what equipment you are most interested in using. What classes would you like to see? Tell me about a current project you are working on or something you have completed and would like to show off to people. Do you need support, materials? Maybe what you need is something I or other members don't need and can give or sell to you or perhaps we can provide support in other ways.

Those of you interested in imbedded systems and coding, could you be more specific? Which micro controllers are your personal favorites. What are you interested in but haven't pursued yet?

My personal interests currently revolve around SDR (Software Defined Radio) cellular base band chips and SBD (short burst data) satellite modems, Arduino, Android, car computing systems, linux, learning C++ and java.

Are there projects in your pipeline that you would like help developing? I know Richard has an online programming course he is developing and he would love some volunteers to give him feedback.

Also, if you have friends, acquaintances, coworkers who might be interested in starting a HackerSpace or belong to other groups who live West of Houston who might be interested; please encourage them to either join us through meetup or our Google groups. We now have a google+ and  blog. Feel free to bring them with you to our January 23 meetup. Just be sure to amend your RSVP so that I know how many to expect.

I know that some people who are reading this message were initially confused by a second group with the word hacker in it. There is a group called Katy MakerSpace. I am a member of it. I think that they are really good people and I would encourage you, if your main interest is in crafting and non-technical hacking, please leave our group and throw your support behind them! Or better yet, stay in both groups. We need all of the creative spaces we can get. I plan on making a personal donation to their cause in the next day or two.

My main focus for the first quarter of 2014 is to establish a Technology and Science based HackerSpace here in town. Your support is vital to achieving this goal. You may want to give your support but you are unsure how to do it. Well, support can come in any number of forms.
Right now the most important thing you can do for our group is to come to our first meeting on April 23 (see the meetup for details) and talk, text, email, your friends. Get them to stop by also.

Other things that your can do include:

  • Donating your special skill set. Are you great at something? Tell us about it.
  • Donate Space. Do you have a HUGE garage or a commercial space we can use after hours? Do you know of a place we can meet or are you willing to host an event?
  • Donate your services. Great at web development, how about coding up our website? Marketing Genius? Help us get the word out!
  • Help fund raise. Have an app you are about to launch? How about donating a portion of the proceeds to our cause. Have a fundraising idea? Share it.
  • Would you like to learn more about a specific topic or share what you know? Please speak up.
  • Are you great at creating syllabi? Are you a great teacher or public speaker? Perhaps you could train others with more technical knowledge than you to teach classes.
  • Are you a great technical translator? How about translating geek speak to Lay-Ease, technology and information should  be accessible to everyone.
  • In real estate and know the perfect place for a HackerSpace? Let me know about it.
  • Have thoughts on dos and don't for where the space should or should no be? Share them.

Our HackerSpace will be precisely as cool and interesting as the members make it. So please, take action! Get involved. This is one of those times where your efforts, no matter how small or big, can create and actual difference in the quality of life for both you and your community. Getting involved and helping will not only make you feel great about yourself. but you will be giving a gift to your community that will last (hopefully) for decades.

Just a reminder that I will be teaching an introduction to Lock Picking class at our first meeting. There is no fee for attending. The pizza and soda/water will also be free. Just show up, have fun.
I'll be sending out another email to the members who RSVP including an ethics statement and some background information on lock picking including, cultural issues regarding hacker meetups and the Texas State Laws regarding the possession and use of Lock Picks. If you can print this out and bring it with you. I will ask you to sign and turn in the ethics statement before class begins

If you think you would like to own your own set of picks, email me (katyhackerspace@gmail.com) and I'll have a kit you can buy there for what it cost me (about 30 bucks or so). Otherwise you may borrow some of mine and share with a friend and of course you are welcome to bring your own.

Bring some LOCKS! everyone has an old padlock or door lock sitting around somewhere. Just make sure that the lock itself isn't totally rusted. I have wd40 on hand to lube the cylinders.
Bring your children, siblings, grandmother, spouse and your friends! Locking picking and pizza is a great combination. If you have never done it before, it is really fun. There are a lot of national organizations dedicated to promoting the hobby.

I started a discussion on meetup, and feel free to start one on the Google groups channel or send me an email regarding suggestions, for the name of our HackerSpace. I'd like to get a sufficient list so that we might put it to a vote. The person who submits the winning entry will win a small bag with some cool (hopefully) stuff in it. If anyone has anything they would like to donate to the "SwagBag" please let me know.

To those of you how have RSVP'd to the meetup, please send me an email confirming that you intend on going. Think of it as a filter to improve the quality of the RSVP turn out.

I am interested in hearing ideas for our next meetup. I kind of think that we should have different types of meetups. Educational, Social, Show and Tell and club business. What do you think?

Thank you to everyone who has been so patient and generous with their time and energy. Especially a big thanks to Richard, who inspired me to get off my butt and read about the proper way to start a HackerSpace.

If you need to get in touch with me immediately, please feel free to give me a call. I can be reached directly at katyhackerspace@gmail.com

-D

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