Hacker Dojo – my review of a hackerspace in Silicon Valley

September 3, 2009 at 11:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

(note, this was actually written on the 28th/29th)

I’m currently in a new hackerspace in Silicon Valley called “Hacker Dojo“. Here:
hacker_dojo

For good measure, I donated some cases of soft drinks and snapple for the community here. For the readers who don’t know what a hackerspace is, here’s a basic description from Wikipedia:

A hackerspace is a real (as opposed to virtual) place where people with common interests, usually in science and technology, can meet, socialise and collaborate. A hackerspace can be viewed as an open community lab, workbench, machine shop, workshop and/or studio where people of diverse backgrounds can come together to share resources and knowledge to build/make things. Hackspaces provide the infrastructure needed for these activities: rooms, food and drinks, power, servers and networking with internet-connectivity, audio equipment, video projectors, game consoles and various tools.

Typical activities in hackspaces include:
– learning and sharing knowledge
– presentations and lectures
– social activities including games and parties
– work on individual or team projects

When I arrived there Saturday, the lady at the front desk was kind enough to take me on a tour. The building is about 4700 square feet, which is huge for a hackerspace, and it even has two stories. There is a large room in the back for larger projects, parties, and barcamps. They plan on putting a billiards table and some arcade-style video game cabinets in the back as well. Hopefully, they’ll be MAME-cabinets so we can play a 1000 different video games in the same cabinet.

Most of the hacking activity seems to be happen in the front of the building. I’d say there are about 7 people here, including me, so there’s plenty of space. I am currently sitting at a large table which gives me room to spread out all my stuff, which is great because normally I’m used to working at these teeny-tiny tables at starbucks. There are also some real, cushioned, sit-down office chairs in here, unlike those uncomfortable library-style wooden chairs at starbucks. Air conditioning is present in the building which makes it all the more refreshing (it’s hot outside).

The great thing about this place is the people that you can meet here. Most of the people here are bright, young startup guys. It’s close to Stanford, so there’s a lot of that crowd here (or, at least, it seems that way). You can exchange tips with other programmers and even pitch in with their project. Since everyone here is basically a hacker, you tend to have more serendipitous encounters if you work here than if you were to work at home or at a coffee shop.

Anyway, I recommend you check this place out if you ‘re in the san francisco area. Suggested donation for the use of the dojo is $10 a day. If you really want to help the hacker community, though, you can become a full member for $100/mo.

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