33C3: Day One

By The Literate Programmer, Wed 28 December 2016, modified Tue 17 January 2017, in category Nerdery

33C3, CCC, Hacking, Society, Tech, Volunteering

First Array

I went to bed early and it paid off, as I get up early to go translate the opening ceremony1 together with a much more experienced angel.

Of course, I need some time before that to properly wake up but an early morning walk through Hamburg does nicely. I spotted some nice sights and had a good start to the morning, which continued through the opening ceremony.

The intro was incredibly well done again, and I'm happy with my contribution to the translation. It wasn't as much as it could've been, but it was good.

I proceeded to see a very interesting talk about cache attacks: What could possibly go wrong with <insert x86 instruction here>2. I learned a lot about covert channels and side-channel attacks via kernel cache.

Afterwards, I skipped a lecture slot and went to hang out with some friends, planning out which talks I wanted to go see and which sessions I wanted to attend.

Second Array

In the afternoon, I first went to see a talk about Chaos macht Schule, a project aimed at bringing greater awareness about the issues of privacy and tech literacy to schools.

The talk described several initiatives and examples of what they did, but for me it felt light on conclusions and lessons learned. It seemed to celebrate what they achieved without learning from it.

Still, interesting.

Then I went on to attempt to translate two more talks, which were a lot more painful to deal with... The first, because I didn't click with the guy I worked with. The second was just a terrible speaker. The other Angel and I worked well together quite well, but the speaker used partial, disconnected and jumbled sentences, making it supremely hard for us to form coherent sentences for our translation.

Third Array

After that, I was exhausted and took a longer than planned break, going for dinner with a friend. We had a great conversation about how the hacker culture and community deals with technical and non-technical solutions to societal issues. That turned out to be a good segue into the next talk I worked on - Netzpolitik in der Schweiz.

Actually, before that there was the next meeting of the translation angels, where the dice I still had with me helped resolve a 6-way and then a 5-way split, with a d12 and a d10 respectively!

I stayed around a little while after my talk to help out the Austrian translators translating their own version of the Netzpolitik talk, but they did their jobs well and I went back to the Swiss table in the big assembly hall.

There, I got a funny little issue with my computer diagnosed - my ethernet port's broken. Oh joy. It's a well-isolated part, so there's no danger, but it's still a shame. My laptop is 7 now, and it seems that it won't make it for too many more years. That's a pretty good run.

At the Swiss table we had more great discussions and then someone projected a strange message onto a nearby wall.

Pixelflut and an IP-address. What was that?

As it turns out, it's a game - where the server provides a canvas to be drawn on, pixel by pixel sent through HTTP requests. Suddenly there were people furiously whipping up scripts to draw whatever they want onto the projected image.

At that point however, it was getting quite late, and I decided it was time to turn in after an exhausting and fun day.


  1. AAAAH 

  2. The talk was actually a lot broader than x86, since the demo was of a side channel reading keystrokes on Android. 

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