HacktionLab 2009/01 workshop details

From HacktionLab: A UK-wide network tech-activists providing meet-ups, events, workshops, national skillshare gatherings and hacklabs
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This page is still under construction

The workshops will be simply facilitated discussions and hands-on skills-sharing activities based around a technology or a way of doing something. The aim is to enable a free exchange of ideas based around a theme, and not too much time should be spent in their planning.

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Here is a working list of topics for workshops. We have plenty of space for more workshops and the current itinerary is still being jiggled about, so please feel free to add to this list or propose yourself and a workshop you'd like to facilitate. Please also consider signing-up to the mailing list and send us your proposals for workshops.

Going Viral

Proposed by Richard R

A whistle stop tour of the current trends in internet videos covering

  • how to get viewers to act
  • key ingredients to wide appeal
  • examples of popular videos


Proposed by Peter S

"LASER Tag is a system invented by the artist Theo Watson and the Graffiti Research Lab and used by tech-based artists, activists and trouble makers around the world. This workshop will be a demonstration of the LASER tag system and lots of time to play with it as well as a discussion about how it might be used and developed in the future. There will also be a description of how to build a new LASER device from the GRL, the LASER Stencil (as very nearly used by GRL founder James Powderly in Beijing during the Olympics)."


Proposed by Mick F

Flossmanuals is a community of people writing manuals about Free Software and things you can do with Free Software. It is also an amazing wiki to book technology that allows you to publish your content incredibly cheaply and with a minimum of work. It's a great way to document what you are doing. This workshop is an invitation to use and abuse floss manuals and to get involved in the project - http://flossmanuals.net - feel free to join the email list before the hacktionlab. http://lists.flossmanuals.net/listinfo.cgi/discuss-flossmanuals.net


Proposed by Mike H

  • Linux and other free software (viable alternatives for alternative media, Kino, Cinelerra, iTheora, GIMP, OpenOffice)
  • renewable energy and how it works (AC and DC theory)
  • using the web for collaboration - wikis, drupals, crabgrass, etc.

Big Brother

Proposed by Mike H & Nanas

  • Is Big Brother really watching?
  • Who is he/she?
  • A beginner's guide to using privacy and encryption techniques (Nanas)

I suggest to split this into:

1. Background - examples of why security is needed in activism 2. Theory - underlying principles and what some of the threats actually are 3. Practicalities - what can I do?

very brief initial discussion together with an interactive workshop will show how to put this into practise in your work.

(additional notes by gdm)

Key-Signing Party

Proposed by GDM

It would be really good to have a gpg-key signing party. Best if this takes place on (early!) Saturday evening or whenever there are most people around. It could be coordinated by gdm.


Proposed by Peter S

  • Live video broadcasting techniques for 'hostile' environments - eg. Beijing

DIY media in a Web 2.0 world (Saturday 13th)

Proposed by Planet M & Mike H

Following the recent G20 protests in London and the plethora of free media published through sites such as YouTube.com, Blip.tv, Flickr, Picassa, as well as the usual DIY news sites such as Indymedia, should we be evaluating what Indymedia means ten years after it started in the new Web 2.0 world?

  • What is Indymedia becoming?
  • How can Indymedia embrace new tools on the net and use Web 2.0 concepts to its advantage.
  • Is the monolithic portal site approach as the public face of Indymedia really the best approach in the days of Facebook and MySpace?
  • Are we all being the media already?
  • What are the new activists doing with DIY media activism?
  • Do we need to review our relationship with the mainstream media?

Video Websites

  • IfiWatch update (Mick F)
  • VisionOn.tv update (Undercurrents)

Friendly Tech Environments

What makes a friendly tech environment?

Sometimes geek environments can be really cold and alienating to non-geeks. Sometimes they can be terrifically welcoming. What are some of the things we can do as enthusiasts to communicate our enthusiasm and share our skills in a friendly way?

Have a look at this blog post about the recent Transmission gathering in Asia http://burningbulan.multiply.com/photos/album/17/TX-AP

The workshop will focus on a 'virtual field trip' created using a Multimedia Wiki by a small group of first year undergrads to Auschwitz via Paris and Berlin mainly by train in April 2009. Those involved will talk and show their experience and invite advice and comments in the planning and doing stage.

Everything and the kitchen sink

'Proposed by Ben'

Here are some things Ben would be interested in learning/skill sharing/playing with - there is probably quite a bit of overlap with other peoples suggestions.

  • Providing temporary internet connectivity via 3G or other means.

inc. demo of various 3G routers: proprietary (Draytek) and mod'ed firmware (Asus with DD-WRT) plus. unlocking the E220 3G modem to any network / add external antenna


  • Ways to send/stream video/stills from cut-off/hostile places.

eg. 2.4 ghz AV senders | wifi NAS | 3G uplinks inc. demo of live video streaming via 3G mobile phone (N95 plus qik/kyte) plus. demo of relaying content via wifi network attached storage devices


  • Social media and it's implications, applications and uses

inc. clever and useful things to do with twitter and rss plus. Crabgrass - activism 2.0, a brave new world or hopeless wishful thinking

  • Mobile publishing gateways to alt media platforms and others.

Can we make it as easy to publish on indymedia etc as it is to upload to flickr and co?

  • SMS for activists in a post twitter world

inc. implications, costs, practicalities, software and hardware

  • VoIP Asterisk etc and neat things to do with ordinary phones

inc. Blasterisk is dead, can we host a UK solution?

  • Geeks and activism - how to improve communication and understanding
  • News toys, actual and virtual. A chance to talk about / show off the latest gadgets and explain how they could be used.

inc. covert digital video recorders.

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