Progress was a sponsor for LAHacks and I was our representative.  The event was at the UCLA Pauley Pavilion, April 11-13th and it had participation from 1,400 hackers.  It was a great event; I arrived late Friday afternoon, stayed through Sunday and captured some of the ambiance in this Flickr Album.

This was our second hackathon after hackTECH in January and this time I came better prepared.  We paid for a sponsorship level that included a booth (doh!) and I brought a quick screen and they both worked very well.

The flow of the event was similar to that of hackTECH (full details in the info package).  Hackers arrived Friday evening, the sponsors a bit earlier to set up their booths; the opening ceremony started at 9pm and hacking started around 11i.



Fri evening was a lot of fun.  I had structured the challenge around IOT + node.js ( + Rollbase).  I initially had planned a lending library that included Pebbles and Philips Hue but soon realized the logistics for this was too complicated and just settled into Qualcomm Gimbals (Series 10).   The booth was quite busy as I explained how iBeacons work, gave away Gimbals and gave an overview of Progress and of Rollbase.  Since I was our only rep at the event I didn’t try to cover 24/7 and I left Sat around 2am.  Hacking was going very strong (pict) by the time I left, and it didn’t seem to slow down substantially through the event.

LAHacks-SleepingBag LAHacks-Bleachers

Saturday was all hacking and I went in and out of the venue.  Hacking continued until around 11am on Sunday.

The rest of Sunday was getting ready for demos, doing the actual demos and  judging and awards.   The demo setup was a tad crowded – I liked better the arrangement at hackTECH.


The quality of the hacks was very high.  I had brought 3 prizes planning 2 plus an optional extra, but ended up giving away prizes to 4 teams: BlicketBloodhoundMixr and Pindow:



Downtyme Pindow

Bloodhound used Qualcomm Gimbals and Apple iPhones.  Blicket also used those plus node.js on the server side.  Mixr used iPhones (using the iBeacon protocol) connected using node.js and PHP on the server side.  Pindow used Gimbals, iPhones and Rollbase.  All excellent hacks that I plan to describe in future posts.

All in all, an excellent trip.  I learned a lot, educated some folks on iBeacons and Rollbase, and, most important made some new friends. I am looking forward to incorporate new ideas into future events.   I also realized that the flow of these events is great for impromptu juggling sessions so I’ll pack more props next time.


8 thoughts on “LAHacks

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