Almost all 2600 meetings happen on the first Friday of the month at 5p.m. unless otherwise noted in the 2600 meeting list.
I got to the meeting shortly after 5 p.m. and I was pleasantly surprised by a sign on the table which said "2600." I had been wondering if I would have to wave an issue of the magazine around the coffee shop in order to identify the group and gain admission to the table. That was not necessary.
Occasionally an F.B.I. agent "undercover" is sent to?/assigned to?/takes it upon himself or herself to? infiltrate or otherwise spy upon such a meeting, it is alleged. I immediately was drawn to a man sitting nearby with a laptop who looked like Chris on The Sopranos but in spite of dorky jeans I took to be a suit. At any rate, nothing illegal was talked about at the meeting and in a general way such talk is discouraged at 2600 meetings.
There was a small group of us gathered around a table, a few with laptops out, with coffee mugs and animately discussing techy things. Someone threw out a package obtained at a grab bag and invited anyone to take a look and take it for their own if interested. Someone else showed off a homemade router, and a third a holder for a laptop (also homemade). The conversation traveled through Gentu vs. BSD, learning C or Java, Hackerspace, conventions and contests, taking things apart, classes, LISP machines and Solaris. Although the folks there obviously had much more knowledge than I possess about techie stuff, I felt almost instantly at home. At last, a whole group of people locally who thought about and did some of the things that I think about and do. We had a good laugh over the ThinkPad (IBM, no copyright infringement intended blah blah blah) that I blew up once. Someone located a vid showing a floppy disc driver spitting out spinning floppies across a floor and up a wall.
Midway through, a Luddite showed up under the guise of wanting to work with us regarding getting an article of his published in 2600. I pointed out that he didn't "need" us to submit it and another fellow told him that we were just a bunch of folks who read the magazine. The Luddite talked about some Mars simulation purportedly happening in either the Arctic Circle or Antarctica (I forget which he said) and seemed to be proposing that we all enter his group's contest (for which funding was supposedly turned down) in order to possibly win creating a challenge for this simulation thingy. We rather crudely informed him that we were pretty much mavericks in our style of working on projects and that we just weren't interested in his proposition. He was also told that 2600 and Make and Ted were all available at the bookstore. Someone suggested that he or his group publish his idea on Word Press. He started talking about disabled people using what he called solo-switches but he had never heard of R.J. Cooper nor of the computer services available at M.I.T. He ignored my reference to M.I.T. but wrote down Cooper's name to look up on the web "later." When he realized that money was not forthcoming from any of us for his cause and that we were in fact techies, he feigned having to go back to his wife who he had left alone to watch the grandkiddies and split.
After he left, I said, "Dude wanted to fly off to Mars or something or what?" It was then that it was revealed that the dude was indeed a Luddite and a member of a known Luddite-type organization as his website which he had mentioned (and that I will not, sorry Luddites) was indeed ludditious (or perhaps even ludicrous) in outlook. The particular organization in question proposes that the members rocket off to Mars upon burning up the Earth and then live happily ever after in non-technological bliss. I figured that dude was at the bookstore asking for copies of Make and 2600 and Ted and Word Press.
After three hours of enjoyable stimulating conversation, I left with plans to make 2600 meetings part of my regular haunts.
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