Arts + Culture

Top Tech Destinations

by Cliff Kuang


Plugged in: For a few years now, Berlin (view slideshow) has been a hotbed of art, attracting expats with its promise of cheap rent. Its tech boom has had a similarly arty bent, with a rash of music 2.0 start-ups like Hype Machine, Hobnox, and Soundcloud. More traditional ventures have been aided by initiatives like the Adlershof, a science park 20 minutes outside the city that has drawn billions in government investment. Siemens already calls Berlin home, while Rolls-Royce and General Electric are among many that have made big new investments.

Homeport: The nearly brand-new Ritz Carlton Berlin (view slideshow) has aggressively styled itself for picky business travelers. It's set near Potsdamer Platz, and, despite all the brass and marble, has techno amenities you'd demand, such as heated bathroom tiles, a bedside touch-screen controlling the room's lights and electronics, and an in-house "technology butler" for any PowerPoint glitches. Meanwhile, the suite amenities are mogulworthy: stocked library, fireplace, telescope, and tripod.

Social networking: Berlin is filled with bars that double as hacker clubs, and their denizens are the pauper kings of the city's techno elite. C-Base is a regular bar/club upstairs; downstairs, crowds gather nightly to work on joint projects. According to the group's own goofy creation myth, its members are resurrecting an abandoned spaceship. Outside Eschschloraque, a bar that doubles as a lounge for hackers, hangs a pneumatically powered, coin-operated batlike creature.

When to interface: The most famous hacker club is the Chaos Computer Club, which organizes the Chaos Communication Congress, Berlin's biggest tech event of the year. Since 1984, it's grown into the world's premier hacker convocation, with thousands of attendees from around the world. The next one is December 27–30, 2008. Though it no longer hosts the World Lockpicking Championships, the event still gets rowdy. Kind of. Recent workshops included ragers such as "Practical Quantum Cryptography" and "High-Frequency Sniffing."

NEXT: More lessons in nerdom >

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