10 Tips for Creating Your Own Small Hackers Group

Communication is really a great observational sport. It always amazes me what people pick up in what has been said or written. The late Sam Kinison had a great joke about the former "Rev." Jim Baker where he takes the Bible and says; "...Where in here did I say build a water park..." The last post I did, was on GSM hacking that I picked up at our small hackers group meeting. The blog was not really on GSM hacking but on the USRP and the accessibility to once expensive gear and licensed frequencies. The VAST majority of email I got on this post was on the small hackers group and not the technology. I was so grateful to receive it, since to me that just shows technology while making the world more flat, still can not duplicate the human touch. For the folks interested in forming a Small Hackers Group in your area, here are the guidelines we used to form ours. Your mileage may very, some assembly required... 1. Be of like interest. We all met at a Linux programmers users group and just found each other. Do not have a recruiting drive to bring in new folks. New members are found by a group member and recommended to the group. The group decides. One bad blood group member can destroy a great group. Be careful on your selection. 2. Keep it small. No more then 12 members. 3. Define an objective. Our group is what is know as a HOPE group. (stealing from a 2600 term) Hackers Of Planet Earth. Our goal is knowledge. We reverse and hack anything. Computers, digital cameras, printers, vending machines, video games, DVD Easter eggs, embedded systems, locks etc.. 4. Define a statement. Nothing written down or a boring human resources snoozer mission or vision one but simply what you really are; white hats or black hats. They do not mix and will cause problems with each other. Do not invite white hats to black hat meetings and vica versa. It can cause distrust and folks will not be as open. 5. Keep it informal. Have a coordinator to just keep track of meeting locations and basic processes. Do not rush out and create a website, email alias, group name, keep minutes etc. It will just burn you out and cause problems ("I do all the website updates and nobody else wants to...") If you need it in the future, it will be obvious to all and everyone will pitch in. 6. Take turns hosting the meeting. Nothing out of pocket money wise. Just who's turf the meeting is hosted at. The host picks the restaurant and the place to chat. But always start with a place to eat. Folks are more relaxed and wind down after eating. 7. Let folks be creative. Have 2 or 3 folks prepare to present a topic on something they are interested in for each session. Sometimes nobody has anything to present, so just talk about whatever in security. 8. Meet only once a month, but be flexible to cancel during prime holiday months. 9. Put out a reading and blog roll list the group members subscribe to and read. This is also a great topic to discuss in your meetings. 10. Be cool with intellectual property. Nothing will split a group and cause bad blood quite like stealing. If someone shares info with the group, that is their info, not the groups. If you feel it should be shared to the outside world, talk to the person who shared it first. If they do not plan to share it and are cool if you do, DO NOT post it under your name and take credit for something you did not discover. Sometimes we use a common group alias to publicly post more detailed info. Like, "How to unlock a disposable digital camera" by Rd8tr. (example only...) 11. Follow a format. It reduces confusion, sets expectations and allows meetings to always flow smoothly. This is our meeting template: - We meet up to eat supper somewhere cheap. Like White Castle, Popeye's Chicken, BW3, etc. - Get the all the how's Work, Family, Life chit chat done over supper - Start the meeting either there are go to the location to start it. - The speaker of the group just says "Alright let's get started, who is up" - Folks present on whatever they want to to advance the knowledge of the group. - The speaker of the group ask if anyone is working on a project they could use the groups help on. Sometimes, this is the majority of the meeting! - Anything else to add? - Designate the next meetings host and assign any topics. - See ya next month We have been following this format for the last five years and it has worked great. Folks have come and gone, but the group keeps moving forward in knowledge. I hope you can use some or all of this to start your own group. It is very rewarding and something we all look forward to each month. Jimmy Ray Purser Trivia File Transfer Protocol In 565 AD the Irish Monk and Missionary St. Columba reported seeing a creature in a Scottish lake. The world's first and not last sighting of the Loch Ness Monster was born.

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