SaferRoads @ the AT&T Mobile Hackathon

Posted by Jen Tong on May 11, 2015

I love hackathons. I like running them. I like volunteering at them. I also love hacking at them. There’s nothing quite like spending a weekend hacking out some code with new friends.

This past weekend I attended a hackathon hosted by AT&T at their office in Palo Alto. This was the third AT&T Palo Alto hackathon that I’ve attended. They’re great events.

  • They hit the sweet spot on size: 100 to 200 hackers
  • Great diversity in turn out: people of all experience levels and backgrounds.
  • I can always find a great, friendly pick up group.
  • The Foundry space has a great mix of small rooms, couches, and standing desks to work on.
  • The wifi works the whole time.
  • The organizers are a pleasure to hack with.

As a side note, despite attending three of their hackathons, I don’t really understand the AT&T developer program. Most of their APIs require a paid premium developer account, and they don’t have a feature set that that’s very hackable anyway. Yet, this mystery does not detract from their events.

SaferRoads

Somehow I convinced a group of 6 awesome people that it was a good idea to work on the project at the top of my to do list: A way to tattle on Uber drivers illegally parking in my bike lane. We named it SaferRoads.

After a day of hacking with the Myo, the YouTube Data APIs, and Android, we got something working:

interface for next version

No, that’s not really it. That’s a mock of the UI that we didn’t have time to implement. The real app has an engineering interface that does not look nearly as nice. But, we achieved a lot.

  • It is indeed possible to write an Android app overnight, but only barely.
  • The YouTube Data APIs are kind of tricky to use from Android.
  • The Myo is really fussy, to the point of being useless beyond technical demos.
  • I registered my first alternative TLD domain name!

We also made a couple shameful achievements

  • We checked a hard-coded OAuth refresh token into a public GitHub Repo (yes, it’s already disabled)
  • We used an InVision mock as part of our demo

You can read more on the marketing website or see the shameful code on the GitHub repo.

Until next time, happy hacking everyone :)