Make Your Own PirateBox Workshop: August 18, 2013

I’m holding free, informal “Make Your Own PirateBox” workshop on Sunday, August 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Confederation Landing Park in Charlottetown.

If you’d just like to go ahead and register, see the registration form down below.

I’ll help you take a TP-LINK MR3020$38 from – and turn it into a PirateBox, a small self-contained fileserver that allows you to easily share files (music, books, movies, whatever) with those around you.

Why Would I Want a PirateBox?

Some possible reasons:

  1. You want to share files in a classroom or workshop where there’s no access to wireless Internet but people are carrying wireless devices (iPods, iPads, laptops, mobile phones).
  2. You want to share files with your family or friends or neighbours, but not using the Internet.
  3. You want to create a system for people to anonymously share information with you; perhaps you’re a journalist, for example, and want sources to be able to share with you anonymously.
  4. You run a resource library and want a simple way of providing access to digital resources without the complexity of a website, Internet access, etc.
  5. You maintain a small remote cabin on a mountaintop and want to be able to provide instructions, maps, and other resources to visitors digitally.
  6. You’re interested in the notion of a $38 wireless computer.

There are myriad other uses that a PirateBox can be put to.  Take note, however, that it’s not a device that solves any sort of “I need to connect to the Internet” kind of problem: it’s a standalone, disconnected from the Internet device that is designed to share information with those that are within a 15 metre radius.

What You Need to Bring

  1. A TP-LINK MR3020 (not available, as far as I know, locally, but available from, and online; if you need to order one, make sure the shipping option you select will get it here in time for August 18th!)
  2. A USB stick. These are available almost everywhere; I recommend you get an 8GB one or larger. Shop around because prices vary and these often go on sale.
  3. A Windows, Linux or Mac laptop that is wifi-capable and has a (a) USB port (looks like this) and (b) an Ethernet port (looks like this). It doesn’t have to be super-powerful, it just has to work. We may or may not have electricity in the park, so make sure your battery is fully charged before you come!
  4. An Ethernet cable (one comes in the box with the TP-LINK MR3020, so you should be set if you’ve just bought one).
  5. A willingness to learn and share with others.
  6. A chair.

If you’re interested in coming, but are missing any of the above, please drop me a line and I’ll see if I can help connect you with what you need.

What You Need to Know

This is a workshop for everyone, regardless of experience. We’ll go slowly, and I’ll walk you through the process step-by-step.

My hope is that you’ll then be able to show others, so if you’re a good “explainer” you’re especially welcome.

What You Could Read Beforehand

David Dart’s explanation of the past, present and future of PirateBox is a good place to start. Don’t get bogged down in technical details: just read it for the spirit.

There’s also the explanation of how to install PirateBox, but you don’t need to read it in advance if you don’t want to.

When and Where

Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. Please be on time as we’ll walk through things together so it’s better we all start together.

At the end of Confederation Landing Park in Charlottetown (PirateBox, on the wharf, get it!). Plenty of parking (you might have to pay for parking; you can enter from Prince Street or Great George Street). Follow the boardwalk to the gazebo at far end of the park by the water. It’s wheelchair accessible – no barriers from the parking lot to the gazebo – and there are washrooms at Peake’s Quay down the boardwalk.


Please pre-register for this workshop. I’ve limited registration to 20 people, simply because that’s about the maximum number of people I think I can project my voice to.

If you’re registering more than one person at the same time, please select the number of “slots” you’re using (i.e. two people coming = two slots).