Wow, it's going to be hard to keep up with the blogging. Also, all of my photos are terrible, but I'm going to post some of them anyway. Also also, I mostly don't have pictures from 28c3 because CCC policy requires that everyone depicted in a photo at the Congress give explicit consent, which is generally not possible in such a crowded space.
I do have this one photo from outside the bcc, showing Fairy Dust (the name of the rocket, which is one of the iconic images of the CCC) and the CCC flags on display. I've taken the time to blur every face, or I wouldn't post it.
After having stayed up until something ridiculous like 0800, the fact that I was awoken at 1500 when the hotel called asking when they could come clean my room should come as not terribly surprising. I told them to give me an hour, during which I showered and discovered that all of the clothing I had worn the previous night reeked of smoke. For the record, I have not particularly appreciated that there is cigarette smoke nearly everywhere in Berlin. I picked out fresh clothing and obtained food and attempted to purchase Birkenstocks, but found the store closed (presumably, 31 Dec is a holiday or something). The S-Bahn was much busier than it had been the past four days, and a cursory web search suggested that people were probably heading to the New Year's celebration at the Brandenburg Gate. With the next search, I discovered I was a pretty short walk from the Brandenburg Gate, so I put on my warm clothing and set out on foot.
I arrived quite early; well before most of the crowd of a million.
I laughed as I heard "Take me back to San Francisco" on the speakers. I thought to myself "nope, not for another couple weeks." Turns out the DJ was playing Cascada's remix of "San Francisco." I enjoyed watching the DJ at work. This guy was practically rewriting songs on the fly. He either had split-track sources, or was using equalizers to separate bassline from melody, or something, because he just flat out added the bassline from one song to another, in realtime. It was impressive. (Aside: it's fun knowing a little bit about everything, because then you can properly appreciate the skill of a master.)
I eventually wound up with quite a good view of the stage; about 10m from stage left. Why there, in particular? I managed to find four other CCC-goers in the crowd, and one of them happened to have brought his giant plush Tux (the Linux penguin):
As the hour grew later, the space grew much more compressed. I wound up packed near these three girls from Brazil who had travelled to Berlin primarily to see Kim Wilde sing "Cambodia" (I knew the song only by the trance remix by Pulsedriver, which I quite like) and "Kids in America." They brought a sign:
(still taken from 2DF's live TV broadcast of the event)
The music selection was interesting - a wide variety of cultures and languages were represented. The program included:
Right after the clock struck midnight, the Scorpions played "Rock You Like A Hurricane." Willkommen 2012!
Hugs were exchanged all around, and dancing continued for a while until I decided that I should go to sleep so I could wake up and figure out my plans for tomorrow before all the Munich-bound trains left the city.
I woke up at 9AM. My tasks for the day were as follows:
with the constraint that after leaving the hotel, there's no phone nor internet available until you arrive at the place you find in task 1, so you'd better have everything you're going to need when you check out.
Airbnb.com is pretty cool. It's a website designed to let people rent out extra rooms in their house/apartment to travelers that want a more human experience than a hotel stay (often at a much better price). They have a "standby list" feature which allowed me to say "I need a place to sleep from tonight until the 4th in Munich, and I need to finalize my plans in the next two hours. Oh, and if I can find a place with Wifi near the Deutsches Museum, that'd be awesome too." And no joke, within an hour, I'd worked out a place walking distance from the museum for the duration of my stay. So I went to Berlin Hauptbahnhof, bought my train ticket to Munich, slept darn near the entire ride, found the address, and was warmly welcomed. The fact that I could make such a booking at all is a testament to the power of the Internet and innovation, but also to the kindness and flexibility of people in a world that can seem cold and uncaring.
I was invited to join Arne (my host), his Italian girlfriend and their Italian friend for a delicious feast. There was ham, salami, olives, potatoes, pickles, corn and babycorn, beets, and a huge wheel of cheese that was placed under a heating element to melt the top, at which point the melted part was scraped off onto each of our plates. I believe this style of cheese-serving is called Raclette. Oh, and we all drank a Helles that Arne described as the most popular beer in Munich - I'll have to look up the exact name later. Apparently, they do no advertising - their popularity is strictly from word-of-mouth. Anyhow, dinner was fantastic, and a welcome break from the subsistence eating regimen I'd followed during CCC. (It's okay, I gained ~6 pounds over winter break; I can afford to lose them.)
I went to the Deutsches Museum! It was nothing less than amazing. I managed to make it through what I believe are almost all the exhibits, but that only happened because some of them were only in German, so I couldn't read everything. That museum covers pretty much everything you need to bootstrap a civilization:
Seriously, is there anything important missing here? I need to learn more about all of these now.
I came home and crashed, and then ate dinner and started working on this blog entry.