25C3: Total Overload

In my 10+ years of CCC congress, I've never been trying to run any significant project at the hackcenter so far. In the first couple of years I was just hanging out there, chatting with people and working on stuff here and there, operating FTP sites (like the trial we once had with then-experimental ext3 vs. Reiserfs on machines with Gigabit Ethernet interfaces [I was operating the ext3 one]). The years following that I was trying my best with the audio+video recording and streaming - with mixed results, as all people from that time remember. I was just trying to help, digital A/V not being my particular area of expertise.

So this year I decided it would be a good idea to do some serious GSM protocol side development at the hack center, which would complement the talk I was giving on running your own GSM network.

So far so good. The only day where I really could hack the way I wanted was on Day 0 (the day before the event officially started) and Day 1. Friends with various backgrounds started to join and help with issues here and there. Everyone was excited by the numerous new possibilities a project like this provided.

However, starting with Day 2, and particularly Day 3 and Day 4, the amount of constant interruptions by various people was simply unbearable and brought the development close to a complete halt. Not only that, it caused severe lack of sleep, stress levels even beyond what I had ever experienced before, and I developed a cold and even some fever.

In general, I am completely disappointed by many of the crowds. I would have assumed that most people _know_ that frequent interruptions lead to inproductivity, and that they would also know and understand that a project that literally hundreds (if not thousands) of people are excited about cannot answer RTFM style questions that everyone would have been able to read up by themselves on wikipedia or similar sites. Sure, there were some exceptions to that rule. But overall, it was a very unpleasant experience.

So from next year on, I will certainly refrain from running any kind of project in the hackcenter. I will be a regular attendee, possibly speaking on some kind of subject or the other, preferably on the last day so people won't drive me nuts with their never-ending questions.

The DDoS attack on the GSM/BS11/OpenBSC hackers, combined with the overcrowded 25C3 has in the end led to a point where the only two talks that I've been able to attend were the ones in which I was speaking.

"Thank you" :(