Category Archives: Uncategorized

Noisebridge’s Reboot Fundraiser

This is a link to Noisebridge’s reboot fundraiser.  When they’ve finished the project to reboot their hackerspace, we should take a MACH 925 field trip over there to check the space out together.

Noisebridge is a preeminent hackerspace that helped start the international hackerspace movement!  We’ve won awards, we host hundreds of people each week, we have lots of free classes and workshops every day.  We’re always open, and there are always way cool people at Noisebridge working and playing on way cool projects.  Everyone is welcome!  After 7 years, we’re now improving our infrastructure for the next many years.  Our IndieGoGo campaign will help fund this much needed improvement.

FixIt Clinic

About FixIt Clinic

FixIt Clinic is a group that organizes events where people bring broken devices to learn more about how they work and (hopefully) how to repair them.   They asked if MACH 925 would be interested in organizing such an event, and I said I thought we would be.

I’ll bring this up at the next meeting, but if you get a chance to read about them ahead of time do check them out.  I think this would be pretty cool.

New Ways to Interact with MACH925

We’ve got some new stuff!   :)

Our wiki is up at is now a redirect to – if you’d be willing to help out with rebranding the site and expanding it, please drop Joseph an email at

We now have a Community page on Google+

We are now registered as a Microsoft Internet of Things developer group.  When I receive a dev kit and Galileo board, I’ll bring it to the meetup.  We can unbox it as a group, and if you’re interested in making a project with it you can take it home.

IRC for mach925

Let’s keep in touch. We’ll do that at our meetings. But between meetings someone might have something to discuss. Let’s hang out online for that. We’ll keep open a chat room use for this purpose.

For the most part there will only be dead silence in the chat room. But every now and then someone will want to discuss something. Feel free to ignore it or not even notice it. I don’t usually even say hello when I log in since probably no one is paying attention at that moment (and I don’t want to feel hurt that no one says hi back). But please hang out to help build the Mach925 community.

To participate you’ll need a small bit of software. There are many choices. I’ll walk us through two choices for Windows and two for Mac. Two of these are applications exclusively (almost) dedicated to IRC. These are XChat and Colloquy. The other two, Adium and Pidgin, handle other kind of messaging as well. So, for those, you could use that same application to stay logged in to Google Talk or other services at the same time as staying logged in to the IRC channel.

The following instructions are bare-bones. They are a work in progress. Comments and edits would be fabulous. I’ve only covered launching and configuring the software. I didn’t show the installation of each application since they are straightforward. Also, the configuration steps will only have to be done the first time the application is launched. Thereafter it should log you in and open the chat room automatically.

You should be aware that logging in to the IRC server and chat room can take a bit of time. Sometimes up to 10 seconds. You’ll see that delay in the following screen casts.

Also, when setting up the software you can choose any nickname that you want. No password is required. Choose a nickname that seems unique and does suggest who you are. If you encounter an onslaught of imposters grabbing your nickname then we’ll do another post with instructions on reserving one permanently. Unlike nickname the choice of username is irrelevant.

XChat for Windows

Download XChat and install it. You can accept all the defaults during the installation. Once the program is installed take a look at the this screen cast to set up the program.

Pidgin for Windows

Download Pidgin and install it. You can accept all the defaults during the installation. Once the program is installed take a look at this screen cast to set up the program.

Colloquy for Mac OS X

Download Colloquy and install it by dragging it into your Applications folder. Once the program is installed take a look at this screen cast to set up the program.

Adium for Mac OS X

Download Adium and install it by dragging it into your Applications folder. Once the program is installed take a look at this screen cast to set up the program.

For the Brave

Or if you’re really cool you might love connecting to our IRC channel right from here!

Meeting Three Notes and Updates

Hey, welcome Francisco, David, Will, Helen and John!  It’s  great when new people come to the hackerspace meetings.  We’re glad to have you and we hope that you will come out to future meetings as well.

Update on looking for a space — Jen, Matt and I checked out two spaces over around the Detroit St. part of town.  Both were pretty close to CostCo down on Monument Blvd.  The first space we looked at was in our budget range — around $2000/month but not in the best shape.  Still, it serves to give an idea of what’s around the area in our budget.  Lesson learned for next time: take pictures.

Regarding places to host future meetings — E.J. Phair’s I thought was a good idea, but it turned out to be a little bit loud in there for comfortable conversation among a group of our size.  Also, they didn’t have free wi-fi.  David had a portable hotspot he was generous enough to let us use so it was all right but it would probably be better if we could meet somewhere with free wi-fi so we don’t have to use part of someone’s data plan.

Concord Adult Education center was proposed as a possible future meeting place, so was the Concord Library which Jen and I will check out tomorrow and possibly somewhere on the D.V.C. campus which Will is going to look into.  If anyone has suggestions, please let one of us organizers know and we’ll book it and post the location in Meetup.

We worked on the names and we’ve broken them into categories.  I’ll send around a Survey Monkey on this topic in the near future.  The categories are: 1.  Some variation on Contra Costa (ie: CC or CoCo) 2. Some variation on MetaSpace  3. Some variation on the acronym M.A.C.H. (Makers, Artists, Crafters and Hackers)  4.  Region based names like Diablo, Black Diamond, Concord or Walnut Creek Makers, Todos Santos  5.  leaving 5 for a wild card category.

Progress Updates

Hey all, I received some O’Reilly books and I’ll bring them to the meeting on Sunday.  The topics of the books are Java, Drupal and Raspberry Pi hacking.  They’re free for people who would like them, with the caveat that they’d like us to write a review of the books.

Also, we received a response from the California Department of State about our Artices of Incorporation!  We’ve completed the step of initially filing with them, and now I will have to fill out a Statement of Information (Form SI-200) with them.  I’ll get on that this week and keep you posted about how its going.

Also, Concord Wiki is launched.  Our first meetup is coming up on Monday the 14th at 6:30pm in the Concord Library at 2900 Salvio St.  The link to the event where you can RSVP is here.


Minutes of Our Second Meeting 3/30

East Bay Hackers Meeting – 3/30

Next Meeting – 4/13 at 2 p.m. – location tba


  • Victor Liuz
  • Arnel Comis
  • Matt Brody
  • Josh Cohen
  • Barry Weinstein
  • Bryan Siemon
  • Jennifer Bilafer
  • Joseph Connolly


Meeting Places
Zen Toolworks has offered meeting space at their facility – checking out space on Monday
University of Phoenix Entrepreneurial Program
EJ Phair
Concord Library

Hackerspace To Do’s
Members to post short bios
Come up with new name – possible have more than one brand. Name ideas:
Walnut Creek Makers
Innovation Lab
M.A.C.H. (stands for Makers, Artists, Crafters and Hackers)
C.C. Metaspace

Start Up Costs

Dale Dougherty — We Are All Makers

This is a good companion video to Mitch Altman’s.  Mitch is very good at articulating the hacker philosophy.  The Maker movement is more recent, something of an alternative to the word hacker that’s unencumbered by some of the baggage the hacker label is unfortunately stuck with.

Dale talks about how all of us make things and how a makerspace encourages that creative spark that all of us have, and how the space empowers people.

TED Talk About Hackerspaces

This is a talk by Mitch Altman.  In it, he explains what a hackerspace is and why he wanted to start one in San Francisco.  His space is located in the Mission District, just south of the 16th and Mission BART station.   Mitch is a professional inventor perhaps best known for TV-Be-Gone.


Agenda for Meeting Two (work in progress, please comment)

Great Ways We Could Promote Our Hackerspace

  • Flyers in Coffee Shops, Schools, Etc.
  • Post on Local Event Calendars, Blogs, Reddit, Etc.
  • MeetUp
  • EventBrite?
  • Reddit Bayarea
  • Craigslist
  • Local Magazines, Newspapers, College Papers, Etc.
  • Other Related Meetup Groups
  • What else?

Network/Cross-Promote with Other Spaces

  • Benicia Hackerspace (opens in June?) — Joseph and Jen going to Nicci’s meetup on April 7th
  • Noisebridge, TechShop & Other S.F. spaces — visiting March 23rd
  • Sudo Room, Ace Monster Toys & Oakland spaces — visiting soon
  • Liberate Ourselves Locally (Oakland)
  • East Bay Makerspace (edit — unfortunately now closed)
  • Hay Hackers — they’ll be at Maker Faire in May
  • Hacker Dojo & South Bay spaces
  • Hackermoms Mothership
  • Hacker Scouts Guild (Lafayette)
  • Techliminal
  • The Crucible (Oakland industrial arts school)
  • Hack the Gallery (Berkeley)
  • Counter Culture Labs
  • NIMBYspace
  • Liberate Ourselves Locally (Oakland)

Let’s Borrow Good Ideas from Other Hackerspaces

  • Ideas I Like:
  • Nerds for Nature
  • Hacker Scouts
  • Linux/Computer Classes
  • City of Walnut Creek/Concord Wikis (based on Davis Wiki, Santa Cruz Wiki, Oakland Wiki)
  • What else?

Meeting 3/16/2014

East Bay Hackers Meeting – 3/16

Next Meeting – 3/30 at 2 p.m. – location tba


  • Joseph Connolly
  • Jennifer Bilafer
  • Ryan Idryo
  • Maria Chang-Calderon
  • Don Wexler
  • Josh Cohen
  • Barry Weinstein
  • Bryan Siemon

Meeting Places

  • Concord Library
  • Laptop Lounge
  • 3rd Workspace
  • Liquidspace – (very affordable meeting place)

Hackerspace To Do’s

  • Create structure and assign roles
  • Create a vision
  • Define what a hacker or maker space is
  • Recruitment
  • Profile talent of members
  • Start local wiki
  • Advertise at existing hackerspaces for members

Member To Do’s

  • Create Short Bios
  • Engage others with online projects and have categories for projects


  • Zulapp – share files, media, videos and conferencing

Possible Partnerships

  • Dow Chemical
  • Chevron
  • Local Businesses and

Okay, I’ve got and set up now to point at open LocalWiki projects.  For Walnut Creek wiki I went with one that has been open but inactive for quite a few years.  The city of Concord did not have its own wiki previously, so I created one for it but it’s presently empty except for some links to other nearby cities.

I am going to spend some time learning the ropes of using LocalWiki and adding some free content to the wikis.  At the next meeting I will plan to have a fact sheet to pass out explaining the project and giving links to content on the subject.

Edit:  I’ll start posting helpful links here as I come across them.

This is  a link to the LocalWiki Community Toolkit for helpful “getting started” information.

This is a WikiMedia picture of Concord Square that I plan to use to represent Concord on the front page of the wiki.  If anyone has a better, non-copyrighted, recognizable picture of something famously from Concord please let me know or just feel free to add it to the wiki yourself.

Posting My Hackerspace Notes

For a while now, I’ve been reading up on hackerspaces around the United States.  I’ve been interested in the different purposes they’ve found, the things their members do, the different reasons people have had for starting them, etc.  As time permits, I’ve made an effort to communicate with their founders to ask them about their stories.

This is a list of hackerspaces I’ve looked up, and a little about each.

Hay Hackers in Hayward, CA — Not exactly local to me, but not terribly far away either.  This hackerspace is something like a STEM education program for young people.

Hacker Lab in Sacramento, CA — A huge space over in Sacramento.

Interlock Rochester – Interlock ROC is Rochester’s oldest hackerspace.  Their site also says “only” hackerspace which would probably be news to their neighbors.

Rochester Makerspace — Rochester’s other hackerspace.  These guys are pretty cool and actually answer their phones unlike Interlock.

Ace Monster Toys — One of Oakland’s hackerspaces, I’ve dropped by but it seems like no one is ever there.  Now, they post scheduled open houses but they only seem to run them during times when I’m at work.

Sudo Room — This is my personal favorite hackerspace in Oakland.  It’s in a walk-up space just off Broadway in downtown that’s also used as a church.  The location is right near BART.  Everyone I’ve met there is extremely friendly and cool.  The culture of the space seems very civic and activist oriented, which is something I like about it.

Hacker Scouts Open Lab – Okay, so I just called Sudo Room my favorite Oakland hackerspace.  Maybe I was being hasty but in my defense this one is close enough that I sometimes think of it as being in Berkeley.   TL;DR — It’s like Boy Scouts but for hacker kids.  Hacker Scouts just an ingenious idea and you should go to their site and read about it right now if you haven’t.

Hack the Gallery – Hack the Gallery is a newborn Hackerspace located at North Berkeley’s Open Fine Art Gallery.  I have not been to it as of this posting, but it sounds like a good idea.

Hacker Dojo — This is a very big, well-equipped space near where I used to work in Mountain View.

Hackermoms Mothership — Another Berkeley/Oakland hackerspace.   Hackermoms is oriented towards female hackers.  Their space is pretty close to the Ashby BART stop.  It’s fairly easy to find decent parking over there, which is also nice.

SLO Hackerspace – Hackerspace in San Luis Obispo

East Bay Makerlabs — This was an experiment with a retail hackerspace in the Bay Fair Mall.  It was open for a while, but closed this past December (’13) because it did not do very well financially.

The Crucible –  This is a huge industrial arts school in Oakland.  They teach things like blacksmithing, metalworking, etc.

Einstein’s Workshop — This is a youth-education oriented hackerspace over in Burlington, MA near where I used to live in Arlington.

CT Hackerspace — This is a hackerspace based out of Watertown CT.

MELD Workshop — This is Fargo North Dakota’s hackerspace.  They offer a ton of open space and machines.  It sounds really nice and the founder was helpful when I called to ask him questions about his experience in starting it.

I’ll post more from my notes later.

New hackerspace forum

I added a forum to the site this morning.  It’s a fresh installation of Drupal at the moment of this posting but we’re working on it.

If you’re reading this in the future (relative to 3/19/14), please head over there and introduce yourself.  We’d love to know about you, what you’re interested in, and what you’d like to see in a Contra Costa hackerspace.


East Bay Hackers logo; my first try



The logo is based on the constellation Einstein’s Cross.  It was named after him because the phenomenon which creates the pattern is gravitational lensing, evidence that Einstein’s theory of gravity was correct.  The four lights are images of a quasar which from Earth’s perspective lies behind the galaxy which is in the center of the constellation.  The light is bent by the gravity of the galaxy so that from Earth we see four images of the quasar positioned around the galaxy forming the shape of a cross.