The Soda Factor – Monthly Review January 2024

The Soda Factor – Monthly Review January 2024

Another month has passed, time to look back on January! With 18 public events, one official visit to us and at least one away mission, we set a new record at the start of the year.

The bi-weekly Maker Mondays continue to take place regularly, and on both dates in January they once again pulled crowds with 30 to 40 people working in the wood workshop, on the 3D printers or on the laser cutter. On January 8, Maker Monday also coincided with the Sewing Café, so that cutting and sewing took place at the front, while people milled and glued in the workshop at the back. The working group for The Things Network/LoRaWAN met three times for their open evenings. A playful approach to the principles of IT security was twice the topic for Capture The Flag/PPP, and five times we dealt with topics revolving around current computer game culture at Live Let’s Plays

Of course, Free Knowledge was also on the agenda in January: we took an Introduction to Wikifunctions with several interested parties to explore this powerful tool, which works almost like magic in combination with Knowledge Graph. One such knowledge graph is the Free knowledge database Wikidata, and at Wikidata loves Basketball, several active people were grappling with the question of how they could use the Basketball Bundesliga player ID to automatically import properties such as height or weight of thousands of basketball players into Wikidata. And last but not least, the OpenStreetMap Stammtisch met again in our rooms.

On January 10th, 2020, the first F.U.C.K. first took place for the region. And as well attended as FLINTA* Und Computer Kram (that’s how it’s spelled out) had been right from the start, only a few weeks of normality remained back then before… you know. So it’s all the more amazing that almost exactly four years later, on January 7th, 2024, F.U.C.K. started up again at our new location. Two dates took place in January, and this meeting now takes place every two weeks at our place - and we are very happy about that!

A visit from Offenbach

Gruppenbild mit anwesenden Aktiven und der BesucherInnengruppe aus Offenbach unter dem Flipdot-Anzeiger

In January, we also continued the long-standing tradition already established at Weinhof of showing what we do and what we stand for: A delegation from Offenbach from the Stabsstelle Digitalisierung, the city library and the Digital Retro Park came to visit us and let us tell them why we do what we do, how we worked together with the city of Ulm from the early 2010s and how we now want to support and promote digitization in the twin city. Thank you very much for the open exchange and the gifts! Anyone who would like to find out first-hand what we do and how we do it: We are happy to receive visits, as we have been from the very beginning! :)

Away mission in Fürth

Gruppenbil der Teilnehmerinnen beim Workshop in Fürth. CC BY 4.0 Kaethe17

Photo, by Kaethe17, CC BY 4.0

Not only did people visit us, but activists from our space were also elsewhere. Eli was at the workshop on dealing with antifeminism in the FürthWiki-Laden, another local community space supported by Wikimedia Deutschland. The FürthWiki, as one of the still active and very busy city wikis, is a totally exciting project that is mainly about preserving the city’s history (for example streets and their history and historical naming) – but also about digitizing artefacts and historical documents so that they can become part of the collective Free Knowledge.

Anyone interested in such events: The WikiMUC in Munich will be hosting an editathon on female artists of the Villa Stuck in May!

We also continued to network with hackspaces from our region at the Chaos Communication Congress, including Heilbronn, Tübingen, Backnang, Aalen and, of course, freiraum in Ulm. There have already been reciprocal visits here, which we will continue to expand in the coming months.

Even more construction work at SpoSo

Blick auf die Eingangstür. Dani montiert auf dem Boden das Schienensystem für die Molton-Montage.

In addition to all the public events, there were, as always, a whole series of internal work meetings, time for experiments and rebuilding efforts. We are still working on the building infrastructure, and in January we added a heavy molleton stage curtain on a rail system to the glass entrance door, among other things. The glass doors have impressive gaps, through which the wind literally blows in winter. The curtain will hopefully ensure that not too much heat is lost unnecessarily through the door when the rooms are closed.

Vor der Montage standen die Tischbeine mit Wackelaugen ausgestattet bereit

We also assembled and installed some other arrivals from the DSEE funding: We assembled ready-to-use tables from the collection of table legs and table tops. Several mobile tables and chairs now complement the existing seating and work areas in the Hackcenter.

Der Trinkwasserspender in all seiner Pracht. Sein Display und die Zapfnase leuchten blau, Karaffen für das Wasser stehen daneben bereit.

And there is now a drinking water dispenser in the kitchen by the entrance area which had been built by the Haus der Nachhaltigkeit crew during the past months. Anyone who simply wants to drink chilled, filtered and, if desired, sparkling water can now get it for free from the water dispenser - this was a long-cherished wish that we were finally able to realize thanks to the funding.