bits of berlin en Sun, 23 Jul 2017 16:38:26 +0000 Sun, 23 Jul 2017 16:38:28 +0000 This is a podcast about tech in Berlin. Hosted by Tam Eastley and Bodo Tasche All rights reserved bits of berlin This is a podcast about tech in Berlin. bits of berlin no This is a podcast about tech in Berlin. Hosted by Tam Eastley and Bodo Tasche bits of berlin Episode 11 - SignDict Sun, 23 Jul 2017 16:38:27 +0000 a786b97cfda75e08ca41e331e62aec60 Open Sourcing Sign Language

This week we did something a little different. Bits of Berlin co-host, Bodo, has been working on SignDict for the last few months with the help of the Prototype Fund. With the six month long funding round coming to an end, it's the perfect time to check in on what he's been up to.

SignDict is an online dictionary for German sign language that anyone can contribute to. Bodo is a CODA, and originally had the idea for SignDict ten years ago. Finally, thanks to other technologies like Google Hangouts, modern browsers care equipped to handle his project.

Similar to a search engine, users can search for words and are presented with corresponding videos. If a word has more than one sign due to dialects and slang, users can upvote, and if the word isn't there or you know a different sign for it, you can upload a video yourself. In the future, Bodo hopes to add other languages, playlists, and of course, a large community.

Take a listen, and learn all about how SignDict is a one of a kind, continuously evolving representation of a thriving and beautiful language.


A picture of Bodo

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Episode 10 - The satellites above Berlin Thu, 23 Feb 2017 09:37:34 +0000 2b97a9c623ae5e2cda551c93443d84cf The satellites above Berlin

A satellite is an artificial object that orbits the earth and can be as big as the International Space Station, and as small as (and sometimes even smaller) than 10 cm cube shaped objects, called cubesats.

Weighing in at slightly more than a kilogram, cubesats fulfil a number of important missions while passing high above our heads, such as scientific reasearch, education, and earth observation. Currently there are thousands of these little cubes in orbit, many of which were brought up into space via piggy back launches like the record breaking launch from the Indian Space Research Organisation just last week.

In this episode, we sat down with Sascha Kapitola, research assistant at the Chair of Space Technology at the TU Berlin to talk about his work with these fascinating little cubes of communication.

Take a listen, and learn everything you've ever wanted to know about satellites, like how they go up, how they come down, and what happens inbetween.


Sascha Kapitola and a Beesat

Satellite dish above the TU

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Episode 9 - Arduino in Berlin Tue, 13 Dec 2016 07:46:59 +0000 736af6e8283c5d7b81374463c3933176 Arduino: Fun with electronics

On Saturday Dec 10th, we headed over to Prenzlauer Berg to the AllKnow Maker Store for the unveiling of their Arduino section. During the grand opening, we munched on pizza, added numerous items to our christmas lists, and chatted with store manager Michael Knieling, and CEO of Arduino, Federico Musto.

Take a listen to learn all about how arduino makes electronics fun and easy, its important open source community, and about the fantastic maker community that has brought arduino to Berlin.

For those of you new to Arduino, Arduino is an open-source computer hardware and software company, project and user community that designs and manufactures microcontroller-based kits for building digital devices and interactive objects that can sense and control objects in the physical world.[1]

Many thanks to Mario for alerting us to this great event!



[1] Wikipedia


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Episode 8 - FrauenLoop Tue, 22 Nov 2016 08:54:37 +0000 ab66603b45a9e07b95e91a78102d3e7c Teaching newcomers to code

FrauenLoop is an organization that joins asylum seekers together with European women and teaches them how to code over a nine month period.

But FrauenLoop isn't a bootcamp. For many of the students, FrauenLoop represents a safe space where one's background doesn't matter. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, software development is demystified and made tangible with the help of a small, but dedicated group of volunteers. Faced with an opportunity to re-invent themselves professionally, the women are introduced to the tools that are needed for today's tech jobs as well as undergoing cultural and social training for when they decide they are ready to (re)enter the job market.

In this episode, we sat down with Dr. Nakeema Stefflbauer, founder of FrauenLoop, as well as with two students, Abeer and Oana, and learned all about the difference and impact FrauenLoop is making in the lives of everyone involved.



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Episode 7 - Heart of Code Mon, 04 Jul 2016 16:33:53 +0000 a2cd38e8f69c1f1108c55d181ba4a724 A place for all the kickass tech ladies

Last summer at the Chaos Computer Camp, Kat and Marie met many wonderful women in tech who were doing exciting and interesting things. Amazed, the two wondered to themselves, 'where have you all been!?'

In response, Heart of Code, a Berlin-based hackspace for women, was created. Yes, other hackspaces are open to women, but the two founders discovered that when places are explicitely for women, women show up. When they're not, chances of having a large female presence is often smaller.

After less than a year, the group boasts a slack channel of over 400 members, weekly meetups, and funding for workshops for teenagers. Kat and Marie are proving that there are not only hundreds of eager & active tech ladies out there, but also that this hidden community was just waiting for an opportunity to support and frequent such a space.

In this episode we talk to Heart of Code founders Kat and Marie about their hackspace for women, why these types of communities are important, and their hopes for the future.

NOTE: This episode was recorded at the beginning of June, so all dates mentioned relate to June.


  • every Thursday - the Heart of Code Damensalon at Xhain Hackspace. See the Heart of Code Calendar for details

Kat and Marie

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Episode 6 - Freifunk Tue, 15 Sep 2015 00:00:00 +0000 tag:soundcloud,2010:tracks/223990891 A right to access the internet

Have you ever checked your phone for available wifi and were then pleasantly surprised to see there, just waiting for you?

That's thanks to Berlin's Freifunk community, a non-commercial grassroots organization based on the idea that the internet should be free for all. Routers placed delicately on balconies, church towers, and anything high above the rooftops, connect to each other using mesh technology.

Not only is Freifunk great for the average user, it's also received lots of press due to the high number of refugees coming to Germany. With the help of Freifunk, refugees entering the city of Berlin have been able to connect to their families and loved ones after a long trip and difficult trip to safety.

In this episode we talk to Carsten about his love of Freifunk, and how it works.

Glossary/German words

  • Förderverein = association
  • Störerhaftung = liability for interference
  • Verein = club/association


Carsten and his Freifunk Box

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Episode 5 - Code For Germany Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0000 tag:soundcloud,2010:tracks/197841267 Amazing things are being done with data

According to wikipedia, "open data is the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control." Whereas some forms of data collection are downright creepy, others can be used to help us explore the world around us, and make contributions for social good.

This is where Code for Germany comes in. The organization's goal is to support programming in the areas of transparency, open data and civic technology. In eighteen cities around Germany, developers, journalists, and designers meet once a week to develop applications to inform and positively influence our society.

Berlin has a particularily active group, and this week we interviewed two teams about their projects. We first spoke with Claus Höfele about the Stolpersteine App, and then with Magdalena Noffke and Jochen Klar about Bürger Baut Stadt.

Glossary/German words

  • das Amtsblatt: government gazette
  • der Stolperstein: little gold plaques found embedded in sidewalks throughout Germany to commemorate victims of the Holocaust
  • die Koordinierungsstelle Stolpersteine: Stolperstein coordinating committee
  • Bürger baut Stadt: Citizens building the city
  • der Bezirk: neighbourhood/borough


  • Those interested in participating in Code for Germany projects are encouraged to attend weekly meetups. Information about when and where can be found on the website.
  • Easter! Go outside and enjoy the sun!

Code For Germany Logo

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Episode 4 - Cryptoparty Thu, 23 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0000 tag:soundcloud,2010:tracks/173530696 So you say you have nothing to hide...

But that doesn't mean you don't deserve, and are entitled to, privacy. Whether it's writing emails, chatting with friends, or even making video calls, the world of cryptography is tackling all facets of online communication. Whereas using tools for encryption was once a lengthly and annoying process, manoevering silently online is getting easier and more accessible by the day, due in part to CryptoParties.

CryptoParties got their start in Australia in 2012 in response to the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011. The community driven gatherings have helped bring crypography and its tools to the masses, and are popping up all over the world. They are guided by four main principles:

  • free to attend,
  • public,
  • commercially and politically non-aligned and
  • absolutely against sexual harassment and discrimination.

It comes as no surprise that the scene in Berlin is booming. Barely a week goes by without a meetup somewhere. This week, we spoke to Lisa Passing, friend, RailsGirl, and CryptoParty organizer/advocate, about why everyone should encrypt their online communication, and just how easy it is.



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Episode 3 - Rails Girls Summer of Code Sun, 17 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0000 tag:soundcloud,2010:tracks/163507845 Let's talk about the Rails Girls Summer of Code...

It's a program started by Rails Girls Berlin, and helps women from all around the world get into open source. This year, 10 sponsored teams and 6 volunteer teams are working on open source projects from home-grown project group apps, to Diaspora, to Bundler.

It's not just an interesting program, it's also one that we're both very involved with. Bodo is a mentor to the Code Padawans, and Tam was a member of a volunteer team last year, is helping to organize this year, and is also a supervisor to team RapidRailsGirls.

Rails Girls Summer of Code is a fantastic program that is changing lives. This week we sat down with two teams in the program, Brigitte and Kathi from RapidRailsGirls, and Ute and Magda from Code Padawans, to talk about how their summer is going, how it all started, and their plans for the future.

correction - Bodo is a mentor to the Code Padawans not Team SeeMeSpeak


Team RapidRailsGirls


Team Code Padawans

Code Padawans

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Episode 2 - Robots play football too Sun, 27 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 tag:soundcloud,2010:tracks/160479369 It's not just people that play football...

Robots do it too! In this episode we spoke with Lutz Freitag about the FUmanoids, the humanoid robots of the Freie Universität Berlin. Together with his team, Lutz builds and programs kid sized robots that compete in international robot football competitions. But as you'll soon hear, it's not really about football at all. Instead, Lutz and his colleagues are working towards solving real world problems with robotics, and are eager to discover how humans really work and interact with their world.


Extra Reading

Emmy, a football playing robot

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Episode 1 - Cyborgs, with Rin Fri, 11 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 tag:soundcloud,2010:tracks/158324049 Welcome to our first real episode!

In this episode we spoke with Rin Räuber, a real life cyborg! What makes one a cyborg you might ask? Well, that's up for debate, but Rin has two magnets in her hands (one in the fingertip of her ring finger and the other on the side of her palm) and two RFID chips in her hands as well. Not only do they make for awesome party tricks, but she has also used her implanted technology to turn on her computer and open a safe full of candy. Take a listen and hear how you too can become a cyborg, or maybe just learn a little but about this growing and incredibly interesting tech community.


Cyborgs with Rin

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Episode 0 Welcome to our first ever podcast Wed, 04 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0000 tag:soundcloud,2010:tracks/152821271 Welcome to our first ever Podcast. We don't really talk about much, but give it a listen and suggest a new name.

Get in touch if you do something really cool that the world needs to know about.

We are currently in the process of getting the RSS Feed working and adding the podcast to iTunes. Follow us on Twitter for updates.

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