Networking is amazingly potent right now in our field. We have an amazingly growing number of XXXsec get-togethers in major parts of the country where like-minded geeks and security nuts can get together to hang out, share war stories, push technology to new limits, or just make new friends. Cons are still popping up here and there, and I think they truly are some of the highlights of the year for many a geek.
This has been growing on me, and I am enamored by the concept. Dan Kaminsky has been espousing the idea of “hackerspaces” on his romp through Europe. Hackerspaces are basically places set up where like-minded people can go and hang out, do things, fraternize, and all in a creative and supportive environment. Basically if you like coffee, you hang out at a coffeeshop and chill out; if you like reading, you hang out in a bookstore; if you like video games, you might try out a cyber bar or two with the buds or adopt someone’s basement as your playpen. Why not a hacker/geek/technology sort of space? It is an amazing idea, especially for someone like me who lives in a “networking-starved” middle of the country.
Metalab is one that Dan posted a link for. This concept is also a project of the Hacker Foundation. I hope Dan and the Hacker Foundation both continue to bring this to our attention; heck, the idea of presenting slideshows of his romps might be a nice shift of pace for Dan to present about! 🙂
I also think there is room for hackerspaces as a smaller concept. For instance, I bet many of us have decked out our offices (either cleanly or cluttered and dark!) at home in a way that best suits our work and helps our creativity. For instance, I tend to have black lights and other glowing things in lieu of lights (alone with the glow of monitors or course), in my workspace.
As a side thought, it is interesting that for such a virtualized culture as we have, and as much as we work and live on the net, we still (for the most part) desire physical proximity with like-minded persons.