Hackathon Wrap Up!

wrap_hackathon copyOctober 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 boopone 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.

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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.

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hAKathon!

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

Business Gifts

Seward, Alaska   Friday, April 5th, 2013

After the chaos of herding kids into the car, I started my 2 hour voyage to Seward. I was super excited to get moving as the schedule was tight. I had a speaking engagement with the SewaImagerd Chamber of Commerce on an amazing opportunity from Google.

In February, Google sent myself and a colleague, Andrea Nicole CEO & Founder of Lolihanna Training Co., to Washington, DC for a Get Your Business Online Ambassador Summit. It was amazing gift and we were indoctrinated with web building, advertising and SEO in their “digital boot camp.”

The resources learned during the trip are invaluable for business owners and now I feel compelled to share a snapshot of info learned! Hope you enjoy these gifts just as much as I enjoying sharing.

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Free Resources For Small Businesses

In 2011, Google launched the Get Your Business Online campaign in partnership with Intuit, DudaMobile and the SBA to give small business a free website and mobile site for one year. In addition to these free main platform business tools, Google also offers tools to get business found online through Google Places and Google Plus. This is the fundamentals of search engine optimization. A phrase endearingly used by SEO companies for years. $300 for guaranteed SEO? How about FREE!

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Google Places is a great chance forImage businesses to edit their online search results. This tool helps list and highlight your business name, location, photos and phone number as well as offers customer reviews. Also Free! You cannot delete customer reviews but can respond to them. Google+ is a profile page much like Facebook Fan Page, you can also link your Google Place listing here. So start today! Get online and get mobile!

For more info on mobile sites, visit GoMo