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Kortrijk, Belgium
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I'm thinking about going to CCC this year. This will be my first real touch with the hacker community as I'm not a member of a hackerspace nor have I gone to a convention before (I'm only 15 years). Can anyone tell me what it is like? What kind of talks and workshops (I'm interested in web developement, web security, general security, and, of course, electronics (actually I'm interested in pretty much everything))? And how expensive is it?
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It is my general impression that most "hackerspaces" cater to the more general definition of "hacking" (building, electronics, software, modding, including arduino and similar devices), while most of the "hacker conventions" are more geared to the security-minded subset (cracking, privacy, etc.)  There is of course overlap, but I wouldn't expect CCC to have a lot of interest to the general Arduino community.  See this list of 2007 talks, for instance: http://events.ccc.de/camp/2007/Fahrplan/track/Hacking/index.en.html  I've never been; the whole security arena is a big turn-off for me.

2007 was about 150 euros (about the same as a good-sized science fiction convention, and MUCH cheaper than the average commercial for-profit technical event.  But more than a Maker Faire.)  Depending on where you live and how you travel, I'd expect travel, food, and lodging to be the major part of your expenses.)

I'm getting all this from the web; have you watched the videos describing the previous CCCs ?

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Kortrijk, Belgium
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Yes, I have. I could carpool with someone from a hackerspace in the area, but it's still expensive... I think I'll make a deal with my parents, "can I go if I have good grades?"...
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I went to CCC a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I'd like to find my way back again sometime. smiley

When I was there, there seemed to be a reasonable amount of interest in hardware--quadrocopters were just starting to get big at the time.

In terms of hands-on geekery it seemed a lot more round-the-clock than an event like DEFCON in the US. I've been to both and DEFCON seems to be a lot more about the parties in the evenings. I'd suggest you look at the schedule and videos and see what appeals.

I didn't know anyone at CCC when I arrived and didn't speak German but volunteered to help setup the day before opening and meet some nice people who helped take care of the visitor from the other side of the world. smiley It's probably fun if you find friends to go with too. I'm not sure if your age would be an issue or not for getting admittance.

Another option you might want to consider is the Chaos Communication Camp that's scheduled for this year as well--but you'd have much less time to save: http://events.ccc.de/camp/2011/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
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