From 4 to 8 August 2017 the four-year-old hack camp (this time called SHA2017) took place. During this five-day festival, nerds from around the world could hack, discuss and party together. BIT has dropped a ticket to interested parties via Facebook and Twitter. Marlien Vijfhuizen was the happy winner and reports!
After a nice little stroll down a huge driveway, I arrive at the SHA2017. Upon entering I am presented with a plastic bag with some hardware in it. I sit down with a group of some acquaintances and am told to assemble my hardware – which turns out to be my badge. After trying this and that, I get it working and am surprised by how cool it looks, how well it works and what you can do with it – play Tetris and set reminders for talks you want to attend for example. You can have some LEDS and motors soldered to it, but I don’t have the time to have that done: I absolutely have to come to a talk that has everyone very excited.
When I arrive at a spectacularly big tent, I find a nice place to sit. At the start of the presentation, the speaker is met with a lot of noise. A lot like a DJ on a music festival, only the public will not be rewarded with loud beats and breaks, but with slides full of interesting matter on DNA and its similarities with software code and Megabytes. It is a remarkable story that I did not expect to find on a hacker festival. This thought turns out to be de theme of the rest of my visit as well. While walking around, I hear a happy ‘kling klang’ sound coming from one of the tents, which turns out to be a workshop for forging gold and silver where you can make your own “One Ring to Rule them All”. A little further down, someone is racing past in a big armchair with a remote control in his hands and a big smile on his face.
You will not have to go hungry, since food is freely available all over the terrain; there is a Pancake Village, a Free Pizza tent – run by Italian Hackers – and at the Finnish Village you can try fermented herring or shark. The latter is really only suited for hard core taste lovers but truly produces great facial expressions on hackers that are desperately trying to keep a little piece of fermented food down.
After dinner, it starts to rain and I find shelter in a tent named ‘Food Hacking Base’. I am not entirely sure what is happening there, but in no-time I was washing dishes and helping to make mayonnaise and a Cheese Spread; something I normally would not do since I hate doing dishes and am lactose intolerant. But I had an excellent time, laughed a lot and had a lot of great talks with the most diverse people.
By now it is almost midnight and it is time for me to find out what the SHA has to offer at night. At the Main Village, my attention is drawn to the sound of a Tesla Coil and we are treated with the coolest performance I have seen in ages; beats by huge flamethrowers, melodies by a Tesla Coil. What an impressive and spectacular show! The rest of the night consists of walking around, meeting people, a spontaneous marshmallow burning at a campfire and first and foremost loud music from the many tents until early next morning.
I spend most of the second day talking to new people and recovering from the night before. I enjoy some time on the beach, where – after a quick dip in the water – a long-haired hippie hacker with a guitar in his hand is standing in the water playing soft, nice music. I had a really great time. SHA2017 is a very elaborate festival with a very diverse audience that can be enjoyed in so many different ways; I am definitely there next time to enjoy the entire programme.
BIT, thank you so much for the ticket! I had a blast meeting you all at the blue BIT-bus and find out what it actually means to be at a hacker festival.
By: Marlien Vijfhuizen