We’re Still Hacking Anyway!
I was very lucky to have the chance to join the SHA 2017 Hacker Camp this year and I would definitely consider this an amazing and unique experience. Going for camping in an event with an interesting content sounded promising and fun, but SHA was so much more than that. Before I go into more details into my experience during the event, I’m gonna make a brief intro for those of you who haven’t heard about the camp before.
Still Hacking Anyway or shortly SHA2017 is an outdoor hacker camp which took place in the Netherlands on August 4th to 8th. This camp was the successor of similar events which have been taking place every 4 years and thousands of visitors have been joining it. The camp was organized in villages (or sub-camps) where people or communities would organize themselves and host their own events there and invite other people to join. Multiple villages would form a Cluster and they could share resources together like the tents, power, network etc.
Thousands of activists,free-thinkers, hackers, geeks, scientists, makers and others from all over the world joined SHA2017 to share their ideas, thoughts and knowledge, to discuss, build and hack with others. It felt nice to be one of them…
The event took place on Scoutinglandgoed Zeewolde, Netherlands. This was a very good space for camping and the weather was quite nice during the days. I joined SHA on 4th of August on the afternoon and getting there was easy especially with the help of the organizers by providing the transport from the nearest train stop to the entrance gate. First things first, I had to pick up the tent I ordered from the ticket shop and set it up. I loved the idea of being able to order it since it would have been hard to get one there. The Kartents were made by a water resistant material which was 100% recyclable, and they were one use only. I found it a very practical idea and it gave you a lot of thinking inside the box 😀
I managed to be there (though a bit late) for some of the talks of Friday evening and was very happy to be on time for Bill Binney’s and Kirk Wiebe’s talks, whom I also had the chance to meet on the previous day and really found their stories remarkable. The upcoming days of SHA were quite intensive, there were lots of talks, workshops, hacking sessions, plenty of room for volunteering and also for meeting people. While trying to efficiently manage my time and make good decisions on what I was going to do next, I managed to attend a lot of very interesting events, though I’m sure I also missed so much!
A very cool thing about SHA was also the badge, a great platform, very well designed and full of useful information and every visitor would be able to pick one. The badge was very easy to set up and for further additional help there was a badge bar in one of the tents where you could hack it together with other people and also offer to help others if you had the the skills and desire to do so. I joined the badge bar in order to put the LEDs on it, and apparently, no matter how bad you can be when it comes to hardware stuff, with the right instructions you will be able to make it!
I joined the Free Software Foundation Europe Village at the camp which resulted to be quite fun. There were many activities planned by the guys of FSFE and one of the coolest was of course Free Software Song sing-along.
I also did some volunteering hours, the funniest one was as a bar-keeper since I had never done that before! It was amazing to see the volunteering spirit during SHA, there were so many cool people who stood there helping for so many hours, they were very responsible, helpful and fun.
— Silva Arapi (@ArapiSilva) August 6, 2017
Hanging around the camp during the night would give you great vibes too. Great light projections on each village, music, people hanging with their lightening badges, and some very cool moving vehicles created quite an atmosphere at the camp. And of course the temperatures during the night totally reminded me of the winter days in Albania, had been missing that for a while.
Those were 5 great days of camping, I did catch a cold but totally worth it! 😉