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Hacking Windows and Hucking Throwies at HOPE

Here at the Hope Number Six conference in New York City, hacking windows is a popular pastime. But hackers who didn't bring their needle-nose pliers to the Hotel Pennsylvania may have had a harder time of it. You see, the windows in each room are tethered with a pair of wires on either side, preventing guests from opening the window more than a few inches.


HOPE attendee "Karen" hacking her windows.

Hackers tend not to like restrictions of any kind, which is probably why -- from the vantage point of my room on the 11th floor -- I saw so many people trying to hack their windows. But sometimes when you're hacking windows, unexpected things can happen. Like, sometime before dawn this morning, a huge crash jolted me awake: It seems someone's windows had crashed.

Not a whole lot going on here that's newsbreaking, but I am having a ton of fun meeting lots of smart hackers. I spent a few minutes at the table set up by the Graffiti Research Lab, which provided an assortment of tiny batteries, magnets and a colorful array of light emitting diodes (LEDs) for anyone who wanted to make their own "throwie," a non-destructive and eye-catching form of digital art.

GRL describes throwies as "an inexpensive way to add color to any ferromagnetic surface in your neighborhood. A Throwie consists of a lithium battery, a 10mm diffused LED and a rare-earth magnet taped together. Throw it up high and in quantity to impress your friends and city officials." More info and a cool video of what you can do with throwies is here. Mine stuck beautifully to an air duct about 20 feet up from one of the conference room floors.

I caught an interesting and in-depth talk on lockpicking and then headed over to the lockpick village to test my skills. Picking locks is not that hard, though some locks prove more stubborn (re: challenging) than others. After that talk, oodles of people swarmed the table two guys had set up to sell lockpick sets. But I wonder how many people paid attention to the warning during the session that merely possessing a set of lockpicks (without being a bona fide locksmith) can get you in trouble in most states.

Stay tuned for more updates ...

By Brian Krebs  |  July 22, 2006; 3:17 PM ET
 
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