[Q] What does VHS stand for?
[A] Vancouver Hack Space. Our full, official, name is Vancouver Hack Space Society (as we’re a not-for-profit society), Please note that it is “hack space”, not one word – this often a source of confusion.
[Q] What is “Hacking”?
[A] VHS is founded on the concept of Hacking, which is defined as, “The re-configuring of a system to function in ways not intended by the owner, administrator, or designer.” For example, circuit bending is a way of creating different noise patterns by taking apart children’s toys that make noise or speak, and literally bending the circuits. Their manufactured purpose may be a learning device for children (as in the “Speak and Spell”), but hackers have re-appropriated the toy as a sound-making machine, which has been used as a musical instrument. The applications of “hacks” are endless and still being explored. Hackers generally spend most of their time tinkering and exploring, which often leads to new inventions or innovations.
[Q] Can you help me access someone’s computer, email account, or find my laptop?
[A] No, absolutely not. Do NOT email us your request. VHS is not a service for hacking in to your girlfriend’s computer, or retrieving personal information that may be criminal in nature. We will also not retrieve your stolen laptop for you. We hack on gadgets, crafts, and the world around us – we make and improve, not crack and destroy.
[Q] Is that Vancouver, BC or Vancouver Washington?
[A] 270 East 1st Ave, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Access & Facilities
[Q] Is there a front entrance?
[A] Yes! We have a ground-level loading bay door that opens onto E 1st Ave, however it may be closed during bad weather to keep us warm. Our main entrance is at the rear of the building down a short flight of stairs (the building is on a grade, hence why the front entrance is ground-level but that rear is not), but you can call the space if you need the front door opened: +1 (778) 330-1234
[Q] VHS’s location seems sketchy – how safe is it?
[A] Very safe! VHS is located in a semi-industrial area, on a well-lit street with frequent foot and bike-traffic due to being a bike route, and is also directly opposite the Brinks Security main office which is staffed 24 hours a day. If you have concerns when coming to the space, please call the space phone number and somebody will come to meet you.
[Q] What is the Vancouver Hackspace’s phone number?
[A] +1 (778) 330-1234
[Q] Do you have an IRC channel?
[A] Yes, irc://irc.oftc.net/vhs
[Q] What does the space look like?
[A] Awesome! We don’t have a video of our current space to view as we have only recently moved in, so for the time being you can check out Super Happy Hacker House 0E that was held at our old space. The two spaces are vastly different, but you should still be able to get a feel for our community.
[Q] Do you have parking for bikes?
[A] Yes, But not much. We have space for 10 cramped bikes. We can also help you carry your bike up the stairs if you need us to.
[Q] Do you have internet at the space?
[A] Yes we have wireless and wired internet access
[Q] Do you have a toilet?
[Q] Do you have a baby change table?
[A] Not yet, Feel free to build us one
[Q] Do you have a shower?
[Q] Does VHS have a coffee machine?
[A] No – the coffee pot broke and nobody has replaced it yet. Tea will quench your thirst.
[Q] Is your space wheel-chair friendly?
[A] Somewhat. We have a ground-level loading bay door, but the main entrance is down a short flight of stairs. If you need the loading bay door opened, please call the space phone number and we will open it for you. Unfortunately the washroom is not wheel-chair friendly due to a narrow door and hallway that cannot be widened – but all other interior doors in the space are wheel-chair friendly.
[Q] What are the acoustics like, echo, etc.?
[A] Its pretty good, No echo.
[Q] The door is locked. How do I get in?
[A] Ring the door bell, call the space number, or become a key-holding member so you can open the door yourself, 24/7!
[Q] What do I do if I hurt myself in the space?
[A] There are several first-aid kits in the space, all of which should have been pointed out to you during your orientation on your first visit. If you need more than a band-aid then maybe you should seek medical help.
[Q] Where are the first aid kits?
[A] There is one on the pillar near the fridges, and one in the machining room by the main entrance.
[Q] What is going on in the space next to VHS?
[A] The front of our floor is occupied by Kokoro Dance, our adjacent neighbour is Talon Books’ warehouse, and the floor above us is Catriona Jeffries.
[Q] Who organizes the calendar?
[A] The members; anyone can update the calendar after they become a member.
[Q] How do I host a night?
[A] Suggest it on the mailing list or to some of the members down at the space. If there is interest it will be added to the calendar for a future date.
[Q] Are there any plans for daytime meetings (for those that work nights/afternoons)?
[A] Yes, we have the ability to have daytime meet-ups if members want it.
[Q] Do you have videos/podcasts for those who are unable to attend in person?
[A] Soon and only for some talks.
[Q] Some of your nights go very late – is there anywhere close by to get food/drinks?
[A] Several, but most are not open late. Nuba is on the other side of Main St, but closes at 10:30. Plan ahead unless you want McDonalds, Burger King, or Tim Hortons.
[Q] What equipment do you have available for use in the space?
[A] The list is exhaustive and ever changing. Come down and see for yourself. We’re big on electronics, crafting, machining, and programming. Expect to see plenty of related tools.
[Q] Do I have to pay to use any of the equipment?
[A] Generally, no. We might cough and discretely point to the donatio(n) jar. Tools that require special training or certification are unavailable to the public though (but these are only the larger tools like the CNC milling machine and laser cutter).
[Q] What should I bring with me to the space for the first time?
[Q] What do the regulars bring with them to the space?
[Q] Do I have to cart my stuff to/from the space every time?
[A] Most likely, yes.
[Q] If equipment is broken, can i try to fix it? Even if its broken after my attempts?
[A] If it’s broken you probably can’t make it worse. Please clean up after yourself when you are done.
[Q] Can you cut something for me on your laser cutter?
[A] VHS is not a laser cutting service (we will not cut it for you). VHS has a laser cutter that can be used by our members after they get fully trained on the equipment (then you can cut it yourself).
[Q] Can I pay you do cut things on your laser for me?
[Q] Do I need to become a member?
[A] Members help us pay our bills, if you show up for more then a few nights we would suggest that you become a VHS member and help support us.
[Q] How can I become a member?
[A] Show up for a few nights and introduce yourself, then ask to become a member, or see the Membership page for details. Its that simple.
[Q] Where can I find the membership application forum?
[Q] VHS a co-op?
[A] No, VHS is a non-profit society
[Q] If I pay the $25 fee per month, without a key, how do I get in?
[A] Ring the door bell, or call the space number.
[Q] If I pay the $50 fee per month, where do I get a key?
[A] From the Membership Coordinator after the other key members have approved you
[Q] What benefits do I get as a member?
[A] As a keyholder you get 24/7 access. As a voting member you get to vote at our annual general meetings. Members are allowed in the space at any time there is a keyholding member present, even outside of regular open nights.
[Q] What can I do if I’m not a member?
[A] Come down on an open night and find out.
[Q] If I’m a member of another hack space/maker space, is my membership good here?
[A] No, we do not have reciprocal membership policies. You are most welcome to visit and hack with us though.
[Q] Are children allowed in the space?
[A] Yes, supervised by you.
[Q] Can I pay for my membership with equipment? Tools? Bear hugs?
[A] Sure! Sell them and use the money to pay your dues.
[Q] I already have the equipment necessary for what I want to do; what are the advantages of being a member in that case?
[A] The VHS is a great place to collaborate, show off your work, or get help with something you are stuck on. Sometimes a change of perspective is all you need.
[Q] I want to learn something specific, will someone teach me?
[A] Teach in the classic sense of lessons and tests? No. Help you with a problem you’re stuck on? Probably.
[Q] I want to teach a subject, can I?
[A] Ask on the general mailing list to gauge interest.
[Q] I have made X, do you do show-and-tells?
[A] Show and tell for us is the Vancouver Mini Maker Fair.
[A] Email the vhs-general mailing list describing your project. If there is interest, then bring it down on an open evening and show it off.
[Q] How to I unsubscribe from the mailing list?
[A] Please read the instructions here https://vancouver.hackspace.ca/wp/mailing-lists/
[Q] Can I bring food and drink to the space?
[A] Yes, BUT we work with a lot of tools and chemicals that might be harmful if ingested. Watch your food.
[Q] Can I take pictures at the space?
[A] Yes, but please ask before taking pictures of people or people’s projects.
[Q] Can my kid join your group?
[A] Yes, with your supervision. Our space has tools and chemicals that might harm someone if used incorrectly.
[Q] Can I bring my really big and powerful laser down to the space?
[A] Yes! We like lasers.
[Q] Can I just show up?
[A] People are not always at the space during the week. Please check the calendar or call the space first.
[Q] I’m from out of town, can I visit?
[A] Yes please, visit us!
[Q] May I bring music to the space to listen to? What format? Will people get mad at me if the music isn’t to their liking?
[A] Yes. Bring your music. VHS has a communal MP3 playing jukebox that you can upload your digital audio files to.
[Q] May I try to repair things at VHS?
[Q] I am a gay bashing, Nazi that believes in things that you don’t, Am I welcome at your space?
[A] Everyone is welcome, but please read about VHS Principles of Unity. Specifically:
1) Be excellent to each other. No racism, no sexism, no homophobia, no classism.
5) Full Disclosure. Disclose your motives and affiliations.
We may ask you to leave if it becomes a problem for some of our members.
[Q] Can I use an open flame at the space? Torch, Pottery kiln, ect..
[A] No. We have a no open flame policy.
[Q] Can I store my stuff at the space?
[A] No. “Pack it in, pack it out” is one of our rules.
[Q] Will you help me do this illegal thing that I have always wanted to do but don’t have the technical ability to Google how to do it
[A] No. We are not a group to help you do illegal things.
[Q] Can I talk about blowing up/killing/hurting somebody/doing something illegal at the space?
[A] No. We will not help you and our space is probably bugged. Don’t talk about that stuff here.
[Q] Did you hack my sisters/friend/mother/father/girlfriend’s facebook/gmail/hotmail/g+ account?
[A] No. Their account got hacked because they used the same password for everything.
[Q] Will you hack my sisters/friend/mother/father/girlfriend’s facebook/gmail/hotmail/g+ account?
[Q] Can I bring a gun?
[A] No guns. We are not equipped to handle guns. We don’t want them at the space, Don’t bring them. You will be asked to leave.
[Q] Can I wear a wire?
[A] No wires. We want to have a welcoming environment. Having people recording what they say does not enforce this principle. We do not check people as they enter the space and we do not monitor for bugs at the space. You should only talk about things here that you would in any other public space.
[Q] What should I not bring with me to the space?
[A] CRTs. Also guns, drugs, or any other illegal material.
[Q] Can I crash here?
[A] No. There is a no sleeping policy. People found sleeping at VHS will be given Sharpie facial tattoos.
[Q] I have this idea for a startup, are you interested in working for me?
[Q] I’m looking for people to fund my new startup, can you fund me?
[Q] Are you looking to create a startup?
[Q] Can I buy you out?
[Q] Can I purchase more than one membership?
[Q] Are you an incubator?
[Q] Can I rent co-working space?
[Q] When is your IPO?
[A] No. Go away.
[Q] Is VHS a good place to pick up women/hot bearded men/hot bearded women?
[A] No, VHS is not a Save-On-Meats market. While we are extremely loveable, at VHS we basically want to hack. Be respectful, especially of VHS women. If you are creepy, persistent, or touchy, we will be happy to help you leave.
[Q] Can I borrowing/take stuff for projects?
[A] Please don’t. We’re not a library.
[Q] How does VHS pay the rent?
[A] VHS pays its rent and utility bills via membership dues only. No grants, donations, sponsorship, etc. We use donated money for extras for the space.
[Q] What is “hackers in space”?
[A] We want to go to space. Our governments have failed us and now it is the time of the individual to attempt to explore space.
[Q] Do you have synergy?
[A] Coming out of our ears, we make it in a drum out in the ally. You’re welcome to as much as you can carry.
[Q] Are you an incubator incubator?
[A] Yes, but only for 8 seconds a day.
[A] VHS should be treated as a public space. As such you have little expectation of privacy.
[Q] I talked about my super secret project at your space and someone stole it.
[A] Anything you say at the space should will be treated as thou it was spoken in the public. It sucks that they stole your idea and we don’t condone that but if it was a secret it should not have been talked about in a public space.
[Q] How do I donate awesome things to VHS?
[A] Offer the items on the mailing list. If you are leave something at the space for someone, please label it so it doesn’t get thrown out.
[Q] I have a question that has not been answered here, Who do I ask?
[A] I would suggest joining the mailing list and send the list your question. Or coming down to the space during one of our events and asking us directly.
[Q] What is this Do-ocracy thing?
[A] If you see something that needs doing, why aren’t you doing it? - A do-ocracy (also sometimes do-opoly, which is a more obvious pun on “duopoly”) is an organizational structure in which individuals choose roles and tasks for themselves and execute them. Responsibilities attach to people who do the work, rather than elected or selected officials.
[Q] Where can I find the VHS rules of membership conduct, fines and expulsion?
[Q] What is tl;dr
[A] [T]oo [L]ong [D]idn’t [R]ead, for people that send walls of text to the mailing list.