Mitch Altman on Hackerspaces, and the Pluses and Minuses of Technology

Mitch Altman, one of the co-founders of the Noisebridge hackspace in San Francisco, was recently in Bristol talking about the pros and cons of technology.

Here’s an excerpt of his presentation at the Pervasive Media Studio in which he encourages us to be aware of the implications of the technologies in our lives.

If this is your first encounter with the idea of hackspaces, then we think Noisebridge is as good an example of any to show some of the possibilities involved.

Here’s the wikipedia definition of a hackspace:

A hackerspace (also referred to as a hacklab, makerspace, or hackspace) is a community-operated workspace where people with common interests, often in computers, technology, science, digital art or electronic art, can meet, socialise and/or collaborate.Hackerspace

…and here is a passage Noisebridge had on their wiki:

Noisebridge is a space for sharing, creation, collaboration, research, development, mentoring, and of course, learning. Noisebridge is also more than a physical space, it’s a community with roots extending around the world. [...] We make stuff. So can you.

We love this video, too:

QUEST on KQED Public Media.

All of these put the emphasis on community and the uniqueness that comes from the people involved.

We’re running some fortnightly Maker Nights at The Public over the summer. Think of them as mini hackspaces.

Come along and be a part of the community.

Getting started


Although we’ve been plotting towards this summer of great stuff for a good few months now, yesterday felt like an official beginning.

I went to The Public to check out our new home for the next couple of months and start getting to know people. There was loads going on, but I managed to meet lots of the staff and also the resident knitting group who were busy working away in one corner of the café.

I had to ask one of the ladies to show me what she was doing, but really, really slowly – my eyes just couldn’t keep up with what her fingers were doing! I learned about ‘tatting’ – not something I had come across before and also had some really interesting conversations about our plans for skills sharing and mixing up tech and traditional crafts.


There’s got to be something we can do with these at some point too!

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