Molly White
Software engineer, editor and arbitrator on Wikipedia, feminist, Twitter bot commander, unabashed cat lady.

HackBlogpot

I'm on the core team for HackBeanpot, a hackathon for Boston-area college students. It runs from 6pm on Friday to 4pm on Sunday. Like straight through. For 46 hours. I'll be there for much of this, where I'll be staffing the event (not hacking). I figured I'd keep track of some of the highlights, and my eventual descent into madness!

Sunday

5:27pm
Home and time to do errands, then sleeeeep. The end of liveblogging!
4:16pm
Cleanup ends! Record time.
3:35pm
Cleanup begins!
3:25–3:30pm
Winners:
  • "Most Technically Challenging" – AYFS
  • "Best Visual/UX Design" – GitMe
  • "Least Likely to Make Money" — Outweigh Hemingway
  • "Most Innovative" — SnowPea Me
  • "Most Fun Idea" – Hot + Cold
  • "Judges' Choice" – Pointr
  • DigitalOcean prize – AYFS
3:23pm
My extra-special "best tweeting" prize goes to Matthew Coleman: his very own @coleman_ebooks bot!
3:18pm
HackBeanpot Finale begins! Prizes are about to be announced!
3:09pm
Dancing is happening in the Venture Cafe... Not sure if excitement over HackBeanpot or if it's a no-snow-dance with T minus 50 minutes until the parking ban...
2:48pm
Bettor: Allows you to make bets with your friends using Venmo, with a friend as a witness.

"Is this illegal?"
"Everyone's been asking us that! But we've gotten a lot of suggestions on how to make it legal..."
"Currently the money in escrow is just being held in my personal account..."
2:44pm
Mamma's Boy: Web-enabled alarm clock that allows your mother to wake you up with an audio recording of herself.
2:39pm
Hot + Cold: iOS and Android app (and great trailer video!) that allows you to get horribly lost while going places by telling you when you are getting warmer or colder.
2:35pm
FrankenPokemon: Creates new Pokemon, along with names and descriptions, out of the existing original Pokemon.
2:31pm
Blurber: Create randomized book descriptions from real book descriptions on Amazon, complete with its own API.
2:25pm
AYFS (Are You Fucking Serious): A network-based file system that stores files by continuously sending files between four servers.
2:21pm
Attention Passengers: SMS-based routing and scheduling system for the MBTA. Text a query to a phone number number, and receive a response with the next three trains.
2:16pm
SnowPea Me: Allows you to buy and sell food grown near you.
2:11pm
Pointr: Android Wear app that points to the restaurants near you and shows you the data from Yelp.
2:06pm
Outweigh Hemingway: Composes stories out of 10–20 existing tweets, tweets from @storybotOH.
2:00pm
GitMe: Visualizes your Github contributions.
1:55pm
Co-Pilot: Invite someone to be your "copilot" and advise you on a conversation you're having with someone else.

"Can you add three or four people to help you out?" "Well, our target audience isn't that desperate..."
1:51pm
CertainT: Phone/Android Wear app that uses location tracking to notify you of arrival times of nearby trains.
1:46pm
Jamr: Tinder-like iPhone and Android app for musicians that plays a 10-second clip of their best work. If you swipe right, you match with people to form a "jam".
1:40pm
Third Space: uses Google Cardboard and iPhone or Android to show a virtual world, with an overlaid camera. Uses optical flow to track where you're moving.
1:37pm
Demos are beginning!
1:30pm
Eagerly awaiting the beginning of demos! Congratulations to the top sixteen teams who will be demoing today :)
12:23pm
Tasty Burger for lunch!
10:48am
Trying to help judges during pre-judging, while trying to awaken and wrangle sleepy hackers.
8:23am
Tried to sleep on a small couch in a loud room, gave up on that.
7:12am
Sacrificing my sleep shift to make the prize for the most dedicated Tweeter
5:04am
Not sure if joy or delirium...
4:51am
So this happened.
4:40am
Monica is finding out how many tiaras she can attach to James at once...
3:08am
Everyone's hacks seem to have broken at once. Alternatively, the APIs that people are relying on have broken...
2:31am
Fruits and veggies day two were a resounding success.

Saturday

11:14pm
Treadmill desks keep you awake.
10:19pm
Arrived at HackBeanpot once again! With nine hours of sleep and a shower, I feel like I'm probably more refreshed than most people here, some of whom seem to have been going straight through.
9:08pm
Awake and showered and fed and caffeinating and about to head back for round two.
7:32am
The sun is coming up and I am going to bed now that my shifts are over.
6:39am
Nearing the end of my shift... short-term memory struggling...
5:52am
I helped someone fix a thing!
4:27am
"I just noticed CatPatch's blanket has kittens on it!"
"You could say it's a... cat patch..."
4:15am
4am yoga and/or sun salutations...
3:57am
And the Molly White Award For Most Involved Whiteboard Planning goes to...
3:08am
I'm shift leader as of eight minutes ago, and I'm already walking around the hackspace ostensibly to see if people need help but mostly to stay awake.
3:00am
Jake helpfully started to count how many times members of staff have whanged their heads on the TV screens in HQ.
1:49pm
Fruits and vegetables are being distributed! Some have gone home by now, but many hack into the night...

Friday

11:02pm
First round of staff is going for their sleep shifts!
10:48pm
Snuggie has been applied.
10:04pm
Checking out the pitching session! So far we have:
  • Internet of scents
  • Modular messaging service similar to Slack, but for academic use
  • Random but interesting book description generator
  • Mobile social trivia app based on truths or lies
  • Dissect Pokemon and generate new ones
  • Beard quantifier and optimizer
And also motivational speeches from Steve.
9:49pm
Hacking begins!
9:10pm
API demos are starting! Jesse from DigitalOcean is talking about his API, and Jim from Google will be talking about Google Cardboard!
8:55pm
Actually making that special prize...
8:30pm
People are tweeting at @HackBeanpot and using #HackBeanpot now that it's been announced there may or may not be a special prize...
8:12pm
Alice is kicking off HackBeanpot with the opening ceremony!
7:27pm
Check-in shift is over, and I'm hanging out in the war room!
5:24pm
The first hackers arrive forty minutes early to stake out their spot.
3:36pm
Plessner laying down some sick rhymes as we regroup.
3:13pm
On the train to Cambridge! Everyone get a buddy!
2:49pm
Loading up the cars to head to CIC.
1:23pm
Bag packed. Laptop, chargers, headphones, Batman snuggie, slippers, emergency snacks, extra shirt, some homework materials, HackBeanpot sticker stash.
12:25pm
I returned to my house where crêpes and bacon were being made for the volunteer team during HackBrunchPot.

Thursday

11:03pm
Had to miss HackNailsNight, but I participated remotely!
comments powered by Disqus