This weekend we were finally free to work on the bromograph, and we’ve leapt forward: Aljaž solved a bug in the LCD library, and we were able to write out to the display. After a short while we were able to read from the encoder, too! Then, we tried to read the encoder using interrupts instead of polling, and we hit a small obstacle: the LCD library and printf combo were too heavy and we hit a stack overflow. We didn’t have time to resolve that, too, but it’s time to take the axe to the library, take away unneeded parts and simplify as much as possible!
This is the test that finally did it. It works!
As always, code is available on github.
This is the point where I stop reporting and start writing as myself, Aljaž, one of the founders, because this saturday kind of important: it was our first anniversary. Yes, the talk that set HaSGO in motion was held on Towel day, 25/05/2012. It’s nice to look back and see what we accomplished, so enter the hackmobile now, time to go down the memory lane!
It started as a dream, as it was my dream to have a hackerspace in my town, Gorizia. In the end I decided that the easiest way to it was to start one myself. I started looking around, see other people’s experiences, looking up hackerspace design patterns and chatting in the #hackerspace IRC channel.
In the beginning I was alone, and I knew I couldn’t do it by myself, so I started looking for others willing to join me. After some unsuccessful months, in which I learned how difficult it is for people to commit and willingly “sacrifice” their weekends for something, I found the first member: Riccardo. That gave me an instant motivation boost: there was some interest to have a hackerspace after all! With his help, the core group grew quickly. We found Simone and Martino, and started working on a talk to introduce the hackerspace to the public.
First HaSGO meeting ever. Aljaž’s basement.
Of course this wouldn’t be possible without the people that believed in me, and believed in us: Vesna Tomsič and Nataša Paulin. The former was the one that immediately bought the idea of a hackerspace, and actively helped us to find a suitable space. The latter is the president of the organization we’re a part of, Kulturno Društvo Oton Župančič, and provided us with a space and electricity, which is everything a hacker needs to start working!
Well, we got our first and youngest member, Philip. We got him easy, as he’s Vesna’s son! He was very interested in electronics and robotics, and he was willing to learn everything about those topics. But there was a problem: we didn’t have any tools whatsoever (and no actual money to buy them)! Our start was slow, but we were lucky enough to receive a lot of donations of old or unused hardware, and once the word spread, we had quite a lot of computers; some too old, some broken, but others were good and usable. So we started with what we had, and built some tools, I donated a soldering iron/hot air rework station and some tools I didn’t use, others donated too, and suddenly we had enough to tackle some electronics!
From there on we did some talks in high schools hoping to attract some more members in order to start our first project. Unfortunately, it didn’t work as expected. However, when we got word out in the university the response was better, and we had some people’s interest.
Things got a little more serious when I went to ESC, a three-day hacker meeting in Venice. I did some marketing and met Alessandro, an electronics engineer who was by coincidence from Gorizia, too!
Wake me up when september ends
September was not the best for our hackerspace. It’s an exam period, so all the students (including myself) were pretty busy, and that’s when I got the news that Martino and Riccardo wanted out. Well, that wasn’t a real surprise for me as they didn’t come to any recent meetings, but still, I felt the ground tremble a little under my feet, half of the original founders were now gone.
New year, new stuff
In the following months we met with Arturo, a system administrator, who become our networking guru and local wisdom source (he’s the oldest!). I also made contact with e-hiša, an experiment hut in Nova Gorica, just over the border. There I met the girls that work there, Lea and Andreja, and their boss Luka, who liked our hackerspace so much he donated some of his (not so) old hardware! There we got our first two real servers, which we repaired and put back into commission. About that time we got ADSL, too, and things were looking swell.
We just finished the seismograph project and presented in during the Festival Znanosti in Nova Gorica. We are in the final phase of our bromograph, and things look really good. We are catching more and more members and starting to leave a mark. I really can’t thank enough the amazing team that formed in this year, for the wonderful things we did together, our mistakes, laughs and the hard work everyone put in this.
I really think we’ll succeed in our mission to bring back the positive meaning to the word hacker!