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.
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:
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
Until next time, happy hacking everyone :)