A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

AgoraFest 2017

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The date and location have been set for the Midwest’s celebration of counter-economics. AgoraFest 2017 will take place at the Buffalo Ridge Resort in Gary, South Dakota on September 7th through the 10th. We still have to finish some backend work before we can take registration live but you can set the days aside on your calendar now.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 14th, 2017 at 10:30 am

CryptoPartyMN Meeting Tonight

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For those of you who don’t know, CryptoPartyMN is a group that focuses on teaching individuals how to utilize secure communication tools. We meet every other week and host a few hands-on workshops each year. With the sudden concern about privacy as it related to Internet Service Providers (ISP) tonight’s meeting will discuss Virtual Private Networks (VPN).

If you’re interested in learning about defending your privacy against your ISP please feel free to join us.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 4th, 2017 at 11:00 am

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CryptoPartyMN Meeting Tonight

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I don’t have a lot of material for you today since I was busy prepping for tonight’s CryptoPartyMN meeting.

Tonight we’ll be discussing how cryptography can be used to defend against phishing scams. Everybody is welcome. We’re meeting at Rudolphs Bar-B-Que at 6:30 pm.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 7th, 2017 at 10:00 am

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AgoraFest 2016

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I’m happy to announced that AgoraFest will be happening for the fourth straight year in a row. It’ll be at the same place, Villa Maria, during the same weekend, September 22nd through the 25th.

For those of you who haven’t heard of AgoraFest (which, realistically, is probably a majority of you) it’s a small yearly festival for celebrating, discussing, and participating in agorism. I’ll post more about it as we get everything solidified. Suffice to say, I will be giving a few presentations on technology as it pertains to agorism.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 19th, 2016 at 10:30 am

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Taking Action

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An an AgoraFest organizer I’m sometimes asked what makes it different from the other freedom festivals out there. I decided to pen a postmortem of AgoraFest 2015 that explains what makes the event unique.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 30th, 2015 at 11:00 am

AgoraFest’s Mesh Network

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AgoraFest happens at Villa Maria, which is a retreat in Frontenac, Minnesota. There’s a lot of things to like about the location but Internet connectivity isn’t one of them. For the most part the only Internet accessibility is in the castle. None of the cabins have Internet connectivity and you’re out of luck getting it via your phone unless you have Verizon.

Because we’re modern day agorists we want Internet connectivity. After all, how else can we use Bitcoin or quickly look up the spot price of silver and gold? To solve this I was charged with creating a mesh network.

Mesh networks, for those of you who don’t know, are networks where each node is capable of connecting directly to every other node. The advantages of this kind of setup the lack of central failure points. It also allows you to expand a wireless network as far as you have nodes.

Commotion Wireless is a firmware built on OpenWRT that aims to make setting up mesh networks simple. I loaded this firmware onto a series of Ubiquiti NanoStations and PicoStations. The NanoStations are directional and have an advertised maximum range of five kilometers and the PicoStations are omnidirectional and have an advertised maximum range of 500 meters. Both are outdoor rated so weather conditions such as rain don’t require us to shutdown the network.

In all we used four NanoStations and five PicoStations for the setup. With this setup we were able to extend the Internet connectivity at the castle to all three cabins and a tent we setup for flying drones and launching model rockets. Speeds weren’t great because the Internet service at the Villa isn’t fast but we managed to get a reliable connection spread across a pretty wide area.

Setting up a mesh network wasn’t only a good idea technically, it helped demonstrate the feasibility of mesh networks to attendees. I gave a talk about mesh networks at AgoraFest, which included my overarching plan to get networks to establish mesh networks and eventually interconnect them to bypass centralized Internet service providers. In other words I want what Guifi has accomplished in Catalonia. Obviously that will take a great deal of convincing, resources, and effort but there’s no better place to find a group of willing people than AgoraFest.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 29th, 2015 at 10:30 am

CryptoParty On August 30th

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I don’t have much for you today because I spend my evening at a meeting hammering out the final details of an upcoming CryptoParty. On August 30th CryptoPartyMN will be hosting a CryptoParty at the Hack Factory. We’re still figuring out a few final details but we will be discussing public-private key cryptography, Off-the-Record (OTR) messaging, full disk encryption, and Tor for certain. We may cover other topics as time permits.

For those who don’t know these events are meant to be hands-on. You bring your laptops, tablets, and phones and learn how to utilize secure communication tools. Hopefully I’ll see a few of you there.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 19th, 2015 at 10:00 am

CryptoPartyMN Meeting Next Tuesday

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As some of you may be aware I’ve been working with a group of individuals on an initiative we call CrytoPartyMN. The idea is to have an organization that meets regularly to help people learn how to use secure communication tools. So far we’ve held two CrytoParties and have been trying to regularly hold meetings every other week. Next Tuesday we’ll be having a meeting at the Wedge Table (it’s kind of like the Wedge Co-op but with sit down space, you still have to dodge hipsters on fixies to get there though).

During the meeting we’ll be discussing our upcoming CryptoParty slated for the second or third weekend in August (depending on venue availability and such). If you’re interested helping with the event feel free to stop by. The meeting starts at 18:30 and we’re usually there until the place closes down.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 30th, 2015 at 11:00 am

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CryptoPartyMN Meeting Tonight

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For those of you in the Twin Cities who are interested in learning about cryptography CryptoPartyMN is going to have a meeting tonight at The Wedge Table (it’s not The Wedge but the clientele are surprisingly similar so you’ll probably have to dodge at least one hipster on a fixie to get there) start at 18:30. Details about the meeting are at the link.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 21st, 2015 at 10:00 am

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Look at Me

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Look at me, my name is in the news!

Binney was joined by a panel that included Todd Pierce, a retired U.S. Army judge advocate general corps officer, cryptographer Christopher Burg and moderator Tony Styles to discuss the controversies surrounding the Patriot Act and NSA surveillance.

This is my fifteen minutes of “fame”, bear with me. It’s actually a good overview of the panel discussion I had the privilege of being on. If you haven’t and don’t want to watch the video this article gives the thumbnail summary. By the way, I’m not actually a cryptographer and am not sure how that title was attached to my name. Oh well.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 12th, 2015 at 10:00 am