We are getting an early start on planning this 2600 meeting because we have something a bit different planned. Next month we are going to have a Pirate Box Build Night!
What's a pirate box? Well a pirate box is a kind of wireless dead-drop that allows everyone to anonymously exchange files, messages, and other media.
It works by creating a small file server accessible locally by wifi. The server itself otherwise remains offline. It's great fun to find one of these boxes hidden somewhere and finding what digital treasures await you.
The device itself is pretty simple. It's a small little wifi router with some USB storage and custom firmware.
To learn more about the Pirate Box, you can read up on the projects website. -- http://piratebox.cc/
Now Pirate Boxes are the most fun when there are a lot of them out there for everyone to use. So to get as many boxes out there as possible, we don't just want to show you how to find or use a pirate box. We want everyone to build one!
So here's the plan: We are going to try and place a bulk order ahead of time for everyone interested in building their own Pirate Box. The team that developed the Pirate Box software recommends a TP-LINK TL-MR3040 so that's what we are going to use. It's small, is battery or USB powered, and has as USB port to connect storage too.
If you look at the Pirate Box site you'll see that you don't have to use this specific router. They have versions for Raspberry Pi, Android, and anything that will run OpenWRT. If you'd prefer to use one of those, go for it! We'd love to see it and learn how you did it!
In addition to the router (or other device) you'll need some USB storage. If you have a spare USB stick that you can use, then great. Otherwise, we have a basic 16 GB drive you can order along with the TL-MR3040.
Our ultimate goal with this project is to get everyone to spread these around the area, running autonomously, creating a whole offline network of these devices. Make note of where you've setup your Pirate Box (preferably GPS coordinates) and we'll create a map of all their locations.
We've also found a solar panel that should be powerful enough to power the router and keep the battery charged. With that, you should be able to setup your pirate box just about anywhere.
The cost of to build isn't all that expensive. The router is $35. About $8 for a 16 GB USB drive. And if you decide to opt in for the solar panel, that's $30.
To put together the bulk order, we've setup the Google spreadsheet linked below:
Just fill in your name and an X under which pieces you are ordering. If you want to just order the parts yourself, the spreadsheet also has links to each item on Amazon.
To make sure we get the order shipped in time for the 2600 meeting, you'll need to get the money for your order to me by June 29th, so I can place the order on the 30th. You can PayPal me or arrange some way to get me cash.
If you plan on building a pirate box at the next 2600 meeting, ideally you'll be able to bring a laptop with an ethernet port. If not, no worries. We've got a couple of machines we'll be able to use if you don't.
If you do bring a laptop, it runs Windows, and by some chance you have no idea what SSH is, then download this so we'll be able to help you configure your pirate box:
Finally, once we've all built our pirate boxes, we can sneak up to the roof of the building, where there is some great viewing of fireworks going off around the city.