Piratebox Running

I was hoping to catch up with the Webmaker teachtheweb mooc and get some DS106ing done this weekend, but I got carried away hoisting a jolly rodger.

Almost two years ago I had a go at getting a PirateBox going.

A PirateBox is a self-contained mobile communication and file sharing device. Simply turn it on to transform any space into a free and open communications and file sharing network.


The PirateBox solves a technical/social problem by providing people in the same physical space with an easy way to anonymously communicate and exchange files. This obviously has larger cultural and political implications thus the PirateBox also serves as an artistic provocation.

PirateBox site

As I wrote then Obviously TeachMeets do not need the subversion of tracking and preservation of user privacy that a PirateBox offers. Nor would sharing of copyrighted material be desirable, but It might be fun to have a PirateBox at TeachMeets.from: A PirateBox for TeachMeet?

I thought a teachmeet pirate box:

would allow folk to share files with others at the meet. If it was a traveling project, the box could go from TeachMeet to TeachMeet spreading files as it went. This would provide a sponsor-less goodie bag. Folk would be free to share what they liked, perhaps presenters would share presentations, digital musicians give away background music etc.

Obviously lots of the TeachMeet crowd already share many things online, A TM PirateBox would be a fun side project that might add to the buzz during a TeachMeet and be a concrete way of connecting different events.

I ask for donations of a fiver on twitter and several folk stepped up. I then started trying and repeatedly failing to sort out the router I bought. It turned out to be the wrong model (not apparent on the box) and it left me with a bricked ruler and a little guilt.

I mostly forgot about it except when visiting CogDogBlog where the links to The StoryBox rubbed a bit of salt in my wounds. Then as part of the webmaker mooc I read, Open Web Projects on Vibrant Outlook which had some details about LibraryBox an offshoot to the original pirate box. I ended up on the pirate box site again and saw that there was a new router in town

As I was shopping for some hard drives on Amazon I added a TP-Link TL-MR3020 Router to my basket.

Yesterday I went through the instructions and they worked. Apart from one wee problem when I made a mistake in setting an ip address (exactly the same problem @cogdog had, so I am in good company). Today I set out to customise the interface a little, I used some of the files from Nargren/PirateBox · GitHub and manage to do some. I found this quite an unusual way for me to work, using the ssh command in the terminal and the vi editor. After a few gulps I managed to start work on the interface.

I am hoping that someone might try the box out at TeachMeet TMTablet the week after next….

Thanks to

The folk who supported my initial router, I have a PirateBox TeachMeet sticker for you, in no particular order:

Neil Winton, Caroline Breyley, Olivia Wexelstein, jen Deyenberg, David Muir, Ian Hallahan, Katie Barrowman, Doug Belshaw, Drew Buddie, Drew Burrett and David Noble.

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