Saturday, 21th November - a gray, wet and cold day. Just the right weather for some tinkering and soldering I think at about 14 o'clock as I approach the autonomous school Denkmal where the workshop will take place. I'm a little bit nervous, after all, I'm organizing the very first workshop at the Chaostreff Bern. I wonder how it will be... Will there be enough equipment? Will the workshop meet my own expectations?
At the entrance I meet the first familiar faces. I'm told that more people are waiting upstairs. Let's go then - occupy a room and unpack: soldering irons, screw drivers, pliers, battery holders, Switches, sensing detectors and some food are covering the table a short time later. Even more people arrive, it's getting cramped in the small room. In the end, there are about eight people - railroad-nerds, electronics engineers, mathematicians, programmers and other freaks.
To get started, I prepared a short presentation that explains the most important working steps. I decided against a lecture since it was not necessary: immediately after good to go, people broke out the soldering irons and started disassembling the cameras. Soon everyone was busy. A short glance at the presentation from time to time, the soldering fume started filling the room, the sizzling noise of capacitors discharging. This all went without a single person getting hurt. The participants supported each other. I liked the spirit: People just went ahead and tinkered - no reservations, questions got shouted into the room, someone would come over to help. A workshop just the way it's supposed to be, with pep and maybe even a bit of fanaticism. After about 2 and a half hours it was over. Over that time period, we created 5 working RFID zappers. It sure helped that most of the participants were using the same model of one way camera. As was to be expected, the zappers got tested instantly. The highlight of this was the overcharging of two Swisspasses which worked just fine.
Everyone helped cleaning up the chaos - as it should be - and soon we were done with this too. Some last discussions and exchanging of information, then everyone went their own way again. And so did I, tired but happy: everything went fine, a comfy afternoon of tinkering with the chance to learn a lot and meet interesting people.
This article, including the pictures and the presentation, are being released by macmaniac under the CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.