Meet fPenguin and EvilMoFo (their hacker handles). These are the two sterling dudes that bought a 1956 GM 4104 bus in 2007 and courageously named it the Hackbus. It’s primary purpose: transporting hackers to Def Con.
fPenguin, left, is a data center operations engineer. EvilMofo, right, is currently a student. They are both from the Bay area. When they are not Hackbusing around, you might find them shooting targets at “Cabin Lan,” attending the 2600 Club or hosting the Syn Club, another hacker meeting, at the end of the month. Aside from that, they hack the Hackbus. I was amused/shocked/impressed/stunned/mortified/honored/amazed to be given an inside look at the world famous beast.
Getting a California vanity license plate was a mandatory action.
Salem and Shazbot point out the Hackbus license plate in case you missed it. In Detroit, they have gorgeous automobile models do this type of thing. At Def Con, it’s hackers. By the way, Shazbot serves as the in-bus entertainment master as well as the de facto public spokesperson for the bus.
Inside the Hackbus, it’s not stylish but it’s guyish and it’s hacker-friendly. Hackers are free to take their shoes off, throw their backpacks on the floor, litter and anything else they would normally do at home.
Notice the storage racks on the top and the cabling. The bus comes supplied with 120 power outlets, including 8 outlets under the benches, to keep those laptops running during the trip. The owners also put a few 15 amp circuit breakers on the inside of the bus so a glitch doesn’t shut all the fun down.
If the men are hungry or thirsty along the way, they can always hit the mini-bar.
Hackbus refrigerator, obviously.
The back row seat is nice and roomy.
I could shorten fPenguin and EvilMofo to “Evil Penguin,” or maybe even “Penofo,” but I prefer “The Hackbus owners.” There’s respect in that. I suspect every hacker I know is a little jealous that they don’t have their own Hackbus yet.
The compartments below the bus are used for fascinating and unconventional purposes.
Here’s a 10,000 watt 16 HP power generator that the guys took apart and modded, adding a 20 gallon fuel tank. The generator lasts about 2-3 days while providing non-stop use. Not bad. And in the compartment next to it…
…an air conditioner, of course. Not a bus air conditioner or a automobile air conditioner, but a home air conditioner which has been hacked to meet the demands of the Hackbus. fPenguin and EvilMoFo are contemplating replacing this with three roof units to provide even greater comfort to the hackers they transport. How cool.
In the normal storage compartments, you can see equipment, cords and tools. I never did see a suitcase full of clothing, a bottle of cologne or a shaving kit, but maybe I was just blind.
The bus is equipped with its own wireless network. They use a wireless cell network through data cards for Verizon, Sprint & ATT – which they hook up to router, and they have two hot spots – one on front of bus, one on back of bus. The passengers enjoy wireless the entire trip. The wireless network extends beyond the bus as cars following them are able to use the Hackbus wireless too.
The Hackbus is equipped with its own media computer and DJ master control center. Music, movies? Your wish is Shazbot’s command. The media computer has a 700G drive and a 1.5 terabyte drive. Shaz mixes music videos on the fly as well. While the hackers didn’t watch many movies this year, they did watch plenty of episodes of the British comedy “IT Crowd.”
Who needs ear buds when you have a Kenwood on board? This is not part of a wimpy car stereo system, oh no. The Hackbus is equipped with a full-blown 300 watt home surround sound system.
The big screen HDTV.
Shazbot at his magic station.
This may look like a pillow sitting uselessly in the upper storage rack, but look again. It’s actually an upper storage rack which has been converted into a bed. With a pillow.
At night, the front view of the Hackbus looked as if the Hackbus license plate had paranormal powers. I didn’t dare stand in front of it in case it was radioactive or channeling Houdini or doing body scans or something. At any rate, it’s clear to me now why the Hackbus is such a legendary mode of transportation.
Kudos to EvilMofo and fPenguin for one rocking, hacker-toting transportation miracle.
So when do I get a ride?