HackTECH 2014

 Post authored on April 27th but backdated so its order in the list of posts matches the chronology of the events.

Hacktech

HackTECH was January 24th to 26th, 2014, at Santa Monica Place.  The event was organized by several students, led by a group from CalTech.  Attendance was around 1,400 hackers, with many sponsors, including Progress Software.

This was the first hackathon I participated in as a Progress employee and it was fun to be back at this type of events.   I’ve been involved in many JavaOne (archive) and CommunityOne (archive) events, and organized and participated in internal and external events at BlackBerry; each is different.  The audience at hackTECH is college students, often Freshman and Sophomores, and that, combined with the format of +36 continous hours of hacking, made it feel more like a long college all-nighter.

hackTECH-happyhacking

hackTECH-Pizza

The venue was an empty local at Santa Monica Place.  The semi-industrial space actually worked very well for me, though I know this was “plan B” and the organizers had a bigger venue as “plan A”.

hackTECH-panorama

Participants arrived through the evening on Friday, to collect the goodies and bring their equipment, including sleeping bags and stuffed animals, and started hacking.

hackTECH-Lobster

 

hackTECH-HackStation

 

The challenge I brought for this event was to use IOT devices and Rollbase.   I had brought some Qualcomm Gimbals (I drove down to San Diego to get them from Qualcomm’s HQ), as well as some Philips Hue SDKs.  I evolved the theme a couple of months after that, at LAHacks.

hackTECH-Gimbals

My main goal in this event was to experience the flow and audience and start getting our story ready, which we did for LAHacks.  The attendees are from many top schools and I made many very good contacts, including some I expect we will build on this summer.

A longer photographic report of the event is available at my Flickr Album.  All-in-all, an very useful trip, including some excellent croissants.  This was the first hackTECH event and the organizers did an outstanding job.  Special kudos for a relatively very high percentage of women in the attendees – whatever they did to encourage their participation, it worked.

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