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NBW Haddington student soldering an odometer kit

Durryah soldering an odometer kit at the NBW-Haddington shop. Photo: S. Alarcon

Loyal readers will remember that back in May we had a table at the Trenton Ave Arts Fest to raise loot for a project with Neighborhood Bike Works (NBW).  Now that the project is well under way, it’s time to share the fun.

Hiver Jack Zylkin designed an adorable blinky odometer, and we’ve been teaching 8-14 year olds at the NBW summer camp how to build and solder them.  We’ve had a blast, and maybe even inspired a few mad scientists and junior engineers.  Many thanks to Cat, Alison, Joe, Brandon, Mustafa, and all the great coordinators and students at NBW.

If you’re interested in this fun and very basic electronics project, let us know.  We might be persuaded to run a class.  And if you’re feeling generous and want to support more programs like this, feel free to make a donation and note that you’d like it to go to youth education, bikes, rehabilitation of troubled robots, etc.

Intro to Reversing

Hive76 is hosting an Intro to Reverse Engineering class on August 28th. Reverse Engineering is the art and science of taking a program apart, and understanding how it works. Reverse Engineering a program may seem like a bit of black magic, but it’s not. All of the instructions for a program are right there on your hard drive, and with some tools and tricks, you can figure out what the program’s doing and how it works.

This class is an introduction on how to take a piece of software apart, see what it is doing, and maybe even change how it behaves. To take this class you should be familiar with programming basics in *any* programming language, have a laptop, and be willing to sit still for a couple of hours. The class is 5 hours long with a 1 hour lunch break with food included in the price. We will be giving students a VMWare image of tools to use and examples for the duration of the class. If needed we can help you get VMWare installed and working. After this class you’ll have all the knowledge you’ll need to start reverse engineering.

Requirements: A laptop, curiosity, and experience in some programming language.

Aug 28th 11AM to 5PM
General Admission Tickets: $75 (suggested donation)
Hive76 Members and Students Tickets: $55 (suggested donation)

(Photo is CC by our very own PaintJob)

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With the recent formation of Hive76’s Flickr pool, I thought I would take the opportunity to post some of the great pictures we’ve been capturing during our Teh Art of Electronics (sic,TM) sessions!

Originally designed to be a book study group, our introductory offering on the subject has morphed into quite the full-fledged intro course! Thanks to our resident gurus, the curious world of electronics has begun to unfold for some of Philadelphia’s creative minds. As a starting point, our students have learned about the relationships between charge, voltage, current, and power. We’ve since moved on to more complex topics and hope to finish out with learning about creating sensors!

So, if you’ve got some pictures of the space, or the the folks here at Hive76, and would like to share them with us, take a minute to hop on Flickr and join the group!

Hope to see you at our next [ open_house || class || event ] !

Disclaimer: These particular photos were taken with my phone, so please excuse the graininess for now. I’ll be sure to improve their quality with a better camera in the coming sessions.

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Beer Brewing Classes

The University Arts League has tons of cool classes this summer…everything from pottery to “Reggae Aerobics”. Saturday was the first session of a 10-class series on Beer Brewing! hopefully some slots are still open for anyone who wants to sign up late. Go to for details.


skipfish studygroup anyone?

Hey hackers, I (Far) have wanted to play with Skipfish for a while, but I don’t know anything about it, and I don’t know where to start. Skipfish is a web security scanner from lcamtuf . It allows it’s user/installer to scan domains for issues, and creates interactive crawl results, highlighting flaws, and more.

This is an outgoing call to see if anyone wants to have a ‘skipfish’ studygroup night in April to get together, and play with this awesome web-security tool. If you want to mess with skipfish for an evening, then pick a date you can join us. When we get 5 people for a specific date, I’ll let our Events Coordinator know, and we will have a studygroup for that night!

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Details for Linux Install Class 3/28/2010


On Sunday, March 28 from 10am-3pm we’re holding a basic Linux install class. This class is perfect for total Linux beginners and people who want to take the plunge and install Linux on their computer. We’ll talk about what an operating system is, what free and open source software mean, implications of using proprietary software, and differences among distributions of Linux. Then we’ll install Ubuntu on computers that people bring, or for people who aren’t quite ready, we can install free software programs like Firefox and Open Office. This class is open to everyone, and woman- and trans-friendly. The class is sliding scale/pay what you can $0-$30. A donation will make it easier for Hive76 to provide snacks and keep hosting affordable classes.
More detail and some caveats after the jump.

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Part of running a hackerspace is doing classes, events and workshops. Classes generally involved a teacher (and TA) and slides or a presentation. Workshops and Events are different from classes, and aren’t covered here. It’s sometimes hard to set rates and costs for classes, and it’s a tricky thing to make classes easy and affordable, but to make enough to support the space, and give people giving the class satisfaction of doing something worth the scratch.

I’ve heard some advice from different spaces on how to plan classes and costs, and (for me) one of the toughest parts was coming up with a decent cost for classes. My personal guidelines for the ‘don’t-expect-to-make-money’ classes (take it or leave it) is below. I use this for my own classes and events, and find it useful. If you also do classes or events, feel free to give us feedback on how you price yours, either by leaving a comment on the weblog, or updating the page on our wiki with your guidelines.

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To paraphrase the course description for MIT’s Practical Electronics Open Course Ware:

“You can build most any damn thing if you understand a few basic electronics concepts and follow a few basic rules”

“Teh Art of Electronics” (sic,TM) is about teaching you those concepts and rules.  Each class will present basic electronics material and conclude with a lab period where you’ll build actual, working devices in order to learn practical fabrication and debugging skills, while reinforcing your intuitive understanding of the course material.

The course will be based loosely on MIT’s “Practical Electronics” course.  By the end, you should be able to design and build your own circuits (up to a surprising level of complexity) and the world of electronic design will be substantially demystified.

We recommend that you purchase a copy of “The Art of Electronics”, by Horowitz and Hill, but it’s not mandatory.  We’ll furnish all components, reading materials, tutelage etc. that you need to perform the coursework and the corresponding labs.

We are currently planning five Sunday sessions, 1 PM to 4 PM, starting April 4.   See “Intro to Electronics” in the Hive 76 Calendar for preliminary, session-by-session details on course content.

Tickets here

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Linux Install Class Sunday March 28


Click here for updated class info!

For people curious about Linux and looking for a friendly environment to give it a go, we’re offering a Linux Install class. We’ll go over what Linux is, why open source software is Kind Of A Big Deal, and help get new users up and running. The class is woman-friendly, but open to all. Instructors are Maggie Avener, Technical and Training Organizer at Prometheus Radio Project, and Stephanie Alarcon, sysadmin for UPenn and Hive76 hanger-on, with help from other Hive76 Linux enthusiasts. Cost is free to $30, sliding scale/pay what you can. It’s all happening on Sunday, March 28, 2010, 10am – 3pm. We’ll post a syllabus soon. Any questions, feel free to write to .

Class Requests

Hive76 is gearing up to talk about classes over the next few days, and figure out exactly what we want to offer for classes. This post is an Open Thread to give us feedback on class ideas. (‘Open Thread’ means there isn’t much to say in the post, but we would like people to give us input in the comments.)

Classes we’ll probably do:

  • Makerbot
  • Python (easy and complex)
  • Guitar Effects Pedals
  • Basic Microcontrollers
  • how to teach a class

Classes we’ll try to do (but could use some help):

  • Blender 3D
  • Basic server wrangling
  • Fabrication with several fab machines

Do you have other class ideas for us? Do you want to teach a class here (for free, or for some extra scratch?) Leave us a comment, join the mailing list, or just email us your ideas.