What’s with Hackathon, loud music, and monochrome t-shirts freebies? And why large laundry bag (I think it’s actually taller than me. But then, I am only 4 feet 10) as freebies? Wait, this is a college Hackathon prep day, so I guess I can understand the idea of more laundry bag and more dark-shaded t-shirts to delay laundry duties. Aw, the good old days of living in campus-related housing.
Hacking EDU is coming to California in October. In preparation, Hacking EDU Training Day was hosted at Paypal last week. The event starts with a lunch at 12. Upon entry, I was greeted by 2 tables of t-shirts, as mentioned earlier (more shirts! Yeah for free t-shirts, though my drawers now have a distinctive collection of blue, gray, and black shirts). Then I grabbed some pizza and drink (Hmm… seems like Red Bull or some Red Bull fans had taken advantage of the event to spread the drink around. Coffee company had not. *sigh* I missed good coffee so bad that day.)
The place was packed and there wasn’t any empty seats. Fortunately, one of the booth people waved me over to borrow one of their chair. The “town-hall”, where the lunch and opening ceremony was held, also hosted several tech booths. The person I sat with was Mark from Gun.io, so his booth was the first one I talked to. I just started MySQL database this semester and is still new to CS overall, but Mark was enthusiastic about his work and ready to explain. Essentially, he wanted users to be able to travel between different browser or servers without losing the integrity of their data – to be able to sync in real-time effectively.
Next to us was the Pebble booth. I enjoyed using a regular watch, so I was curious about smart watch as well. When I had finished lunch, it was the first booth that I went over. The watch looked smaller that I’d imaged. Turns out we can purchase the original refurbished Pebble for only $50 at the event. They also have a Giveaway, but I didn’t won.
For the first workshop, I had planned to go to the one about apps on clouds. After looking at the Pebble watch though, I got interested about their workshop instead. In their workshop, I got to start a basic exercise. Pebble codes are mostly based on C (C again! I really need to study it this summer. But I also want to learn C++… choices, choices…), so I was a bit slow in typing it at first. Turned out I was not the only one – one of the attendees asked if the presenter, Kirby, can show one of the steps again. Kirby then informed us that the code was also located in Github. After a vote among the attendees in the room, it was decided that he would focus on the concept during the presentation, and we the attendees will try the practice later using the code in Github.
Chegg’s workshop was the second workshop I attend. They focused on security issues. Semi-quoting here because I was standing and couldn’t take notes – True to the nature of Hackathon, they have build a website (which displays the code that users type in, and allows multiple users to have their own place to code and demonstrate their result) for this event in 24 hours! The presenter used the website to show us ways that website codes can directly inject things, such the image of their dancing co-worker – if we are not careful. Then, they have a small competition set up, with winner being those who can creatively use the coding website. The first winner managed to make the browser screen into a ping pong game! I tried to make a hopping rabbit icon with a “taking over the world” message, but for some reason my HTML5 animation didn’t work on the website *sigh* I wonder if it is because I didn’t do much HTML coding this semster.
The presenters also did several hack demo. While my eyes were totally preoccupy on why my animation wasn’t working, it was still entertaining to listen to what the presenters were doing and what hackers are capable of. Some of the things reminded of what I learned in CS network class, except I get to see it happen in real life!
For the last workshop, I decided to see what gun.io was like in actual demo after hearing all the talks at the booth. Following the instructions on gun.io’s Github page, I successfully got gun installed. I am not sure I got Node.js working though. When I installed that, the terminal outputted several errors message. I tried to follow along the demo, but I think either my installation wasn’t correct, or I missed a step, since the demo result didn’t look the same as mine. But then, the codes and instructions are on Github, so I can always try it later. I decided to focus on listening to the demo. Go Github! The event group would also send out videos later, so I can catch up on both events that I attended and events that I missed.
After that and some dessert (free ice cream!), we had the Closing Ceremony, in which the event people had total fun embarrassing two individuals that were fortunate enough to have their birthday that day. Then we had a founders talk from Boostrap and Twitter. The two converse well together, and I enjoyed the talk about how good design plays into the development of a good tech program and company.
After that, the days ends – It felt shorter than expected, although it was an eight hours event. Can’t wait for the actual Hackathon this October!