October 17-19th, 2014 – Anchorage, AK
With a bevy of coffee, computers and cables the 5th Semi-Annual Alaska Hackathon kicked off. Attendees of the event are the ethical hacking kind. Groups assist government, non-profits and start-up projects to come to fruition. HTML & CSS classes had a great group that even included a local teacher and a notable author.
This year’s event saw the most viable and completed projects come out of the hAKathon
yet. One favorite is Boop! Created by
one of the event founders, Shane Spencer. It is the ultimate Customer Service Web-based App but works on your mobile browser. With the press of a button you can contact a business or facility nearby and request to have your customer service needs met. Try Boop!: http://boop.link
One mega-hackateer, Brendan Babb with Code for Anchorage, created and facilitated over 5 completed projects. My favorite is the @CutePetsANC Twitter Bot that randomly tweets available pets for adoption. www.twitter.com/cutepetsanc
Other incredible projects include the Trails App. A map to showcase and highlight various trails and features in Anchorage Municipaility as well as Hatcher Pass, Eagle River and Girdwood. The CFA meets every other week every Tuesday evening at the Boardroom downtown. Free pizza and beer.
Cute Pets Anchorage unofficial mascot, “Cutie” Follow on Twitter @CutePetsANC
Another great project is the text notification system that updates real time election results. ‘Alaska Election Updates’ is set for completion. One member from that project, Joe Fox, Copy Editor with the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, traveled over 200 miles to participate in the 5th Hackathon.
All in all, deemed as the best Hackathon yet. For complete list of projects and teams visit Alaska Hackathon on Facebook.
Plans are in place to continue more events and meet-ups via the Anchorage MakerSpace. The Alaska Hackathon has now affiliated it’s events and services with MakerSpace to offer more resources for hackateers. Currently the establishment is holding a membership drive and offering steep discounts for Hackathon participants. For more information visit Anchorage MakerSpace.
So it’s days like these I think back to watching the movie ‘Hackers’ where the mystery and sexy lure of the term ‘hack’ was new and exciting. Fast forward a few short decades and now 13 year old life hackers are speaking to huge crowds at TED talks.
I never thought I would see ‘hacking’ accepted so openly by public sector but sure enough, we now have hAKathons. The distinguished term of developer allows to add validity to our ever overcoming brains but I for one am excited and enthralled by the great realization that ‘hacks’ can be used for good. In April, 2013 in the Mountain View Service Center, several eager non-profits as well as eager developers sat down to Anchorage’s second hAKAthon.
Numerous amazing and mind boggling programs were developed from readily available programming to new tech augmented reality. I certainly remember the many hours as a teenager watching the virtual reality show V5 awaiting for the day to enter a digital realm physically. It has taken on a much less theatrical appearance than I first thought but I am all the more intrigued by the relationships that are being built in this close nit community. Tech is here to stay. Trepidating a modem bill or the fret of demagnetizing a floppy disk is gone. We now scour the Internet to Google everything. As we press forward with life’s daily needs, business ventures and dreams we can see the relationship technology and community can foster.
I am excited to see where this all leads. The possibilities for Anchorage as well as Alaska are endless. It is the dreams of yesterday that will fulfill the needs of tomorrow. May we listen closely today.
Read More about Alaska’s hAKathon: http://www.alaskahackathon.org