The L0pht was not the first hacker space, in fact at the time of its creation in Boston there were at least two other such spaces, Sinister House and Messiah Village, which later moved and became New Hack City, or simply New Hack. L0pht wasn’t even the cause of the recent explosion of hacker spaces across the globe. I like to think that as an early trail blazer L0pht had at least some influence in that explosion but I have no evidence to support it.
A few years ago I read about the Hacker Space Passport which I thought was a really cool idea except that my, and most peoples, do-it-yourself craft abilities are mostly sub optimal meaning that if I attempted to construct the Hacker Space Passport it would look like total crap. So I promptly forgot about it and went along with my day. But the idea was still sound, as you visit different Hacker Spaces or cons you would get a stamp in your Passport verifying your visit and giving you a sort of memento of your stay. Almost exactly like a real passport without the freedom grope, personal questions, and suspicious looks.
At some point when I wasn’t paying attention the Hacker Space Passport became somewhat popular. So much so that the online electronics store started by Lady Ada, who had visited the L0pht on several occasions, Adafruit Industries, has had some Hacker Space Passports professionally printed and is selling them for a whopping $2.95. As soon as I saw them I promptly ordered four. I am very impressed with the quality, almost exactly like my real passport, obviously without the RFID (although I am sure someone will find a way to hack one into it). It has multiple pages where people can get travel visa stamps for the hacker spaces they visit and a section in the front for identification, which is blank when you receive it. The visa pages have watermarked logos in the background of some famous hacker spaces and hacker cons. Trust me, it looks really cool, and I can’t wait to fill it with stamps from all over.
Of course the fact that the ID section of the passport was blank left me with a bit of a problem. I wanted it to look professional, which meant finding a typewriter to actually type my name into the passport. Umm, yeah, typewriters have pretty much fallen off the face of the planet and it requires much more effort than I am willing to expend on this project to find one. So I went to the arts and crafts store and picked up a .1mm fine art pen and wrote ‘SPACE’ and ‘ROGUE’ and ‘L0pht’ in the appropriate spots. I will print out my twitter avatar and stick it where the photo belongs. I also ordered some sticky hologram paper off eBay to cover the ID page to make it look all official.
On the Adafruit website Lady Ada has a video showing how your hacker space can create an official visa with a rubber stamp using a laser cutter. Which is cool and all, if you happen to have a laser cutter. I do not. So I spent $25 at one of those online rubber stamp companies and had one professionally made.
Now the L0pht doesn’t exist anymore, and hasn’t for over a decade, but in the eight or so years of its existence there were a large number of visitors, many of those visitors where from down the street and around the corner, some came from across the country or across the globe. Some came from government or big business. Most came to attend one of the L0phts legendary New Years parties, (always thrown on the absolute coldest day of the year) others came to just visit or talk about our latest research. To any of those people I say, get yourself a Hacker Space Passport, and I will stamp it with a historical L0pht visa to commemorate your visit. Now if you never had a chance to visit the L0pht and you have Passport, and really really want a stamp? We might be able to arrange something, especially if I am thirsty. (beer) I will carry the stamp around with me when I go out to cons so feel free to ask for stamp. I will be at Source, Thotcon, and YSTSCon as well as a few BSides in the next few months, catch me there and get your passport stamped!