Back in early October a tweet by someone I follow alerted me to the fact that the deadline for submissions to the 26th Chaos Communication Congress was less than 48 hours away. In a lunch break I whipped up a quick proposal for a lecture called “After the Hype – The current state of One Laptop per Child and Sugar Labs”. A couple of weeks later I learned that my submission had been accepted.
So just like last year I spent the time between Christmas and New Year’s having a great time hanging out at 26C3. For those not familiar with the Chaos Communication Congress: it’s a yearly event organized by the famous Chaos Computer Club (Wikipedia entry) that brings together hackers, researchers, artists and many other interesting people.
I saw a ton of great lectures, got introduced to many interesting projects and learned about research into the scary security issues of GSM and the mobile phone eco-system in general. But almost more importantly I met tons of awesome people, some of which I had known previously but hadn’t seen in many months and others which were strangers only a few days ago.
It’s hard to describe the atmosphere at 26C3 to people who have never been to such an event. Things that come to mind when I think of it are energy, pure awesomeness, liberation, deep thought, an urge to understand, thinking outside the box, challenges, etc. (Oh and it’s also hard to think of 26C3 without being reminded of the perpetual sound of Club Mate bottles falling over;-) To me personally 26C3 is definitely one of the coolest spaces I’ve been to in 2009.
One thing that was also great is that all the talks were streamed over the Internet so even people who couldn’t attend the congress in person or simply didn’t make it into the often packed lecture halls could watch them. Additionally the videos are being made available for download, you can find more details and the download links here.
Two talks which I consider to be absolute must-sees are:
I saw many other great talks and more that I couldn’t attend in-person but hope to watch over the coming days and weeks.
As for my own talk I have to say that I was quite happy with it even though I literally only finished the slides 10 minutes before I went on-stage. The feedback I got after the talk - in-person, via Twitter and via the 26C3 Web site – was also very encouraging. Of course after a quick look over the recording of my talk I found a number of areas I should definitely improve on in the future but I guess it’s always an iterative and evolutionary process. If you’re interested in watching After the Hype – The current state of One Laptop per Child and Sugar Labs you can do so by downloading the video (~700MB), the slides are available for download here.
In the end I want to thank all of the people who made 26C3 happen, especially the organizers, angels and volunteers behind the scenes. Here’s to you for an awesome event!