The next Hack The Future

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Alex Peake, Founder Primer Labs

Jul 10, 2022, 7:45:32 AM7/10/22
to Hack the Future Volunteer Group
Hi all,

It's been a while since I was able to teach Unity and VR at HTF due to health problems but I'm very much improving now and interested in being a part of seeing HTF happen again. I've been teaching again for the last year or so and I would love to reunite with other HTF mentors and organizers for a next HTF. What are people interested in doing next? I think we could do something great as many events are re-emerging from COVID hiatus this year with vaccination rates high enough to make responsibly held events a manageable risk for many. I understand many people have health considerations or family at risk that preclude taking unnecessary chances, but there should be enough people willing to do a hybrid live/online HTF and make it a success. With our newfound remote event skills we should be able to remote in some instructors and participants who want to participate from maximum safety and flexibility. We could pursue some kind of hybrid event whereby maybe we could begin to tackle the question of scaling our mentoring methods to new groups. What do people think?


Mark Miller

Jul 10, 2022, 4:54:53 PM7/10/22
to, Hack the Future Volunteer Group
Hi, Alex,

So nice to hear from you and learn that your health is improved!

Depending on scheduling, of course, I'd also love to see HtF bounce back soon! I will happily organize a table around micro:bit (using block-based) or the new Raspberry Pi Pico ($4), using CircuitPython.

One new challenge is that the fleet of Windows laptops we had been bringing, to support students who did not have their own computers, finally had to be retired to e-recycling. They were too old to run modern software and too underpowered to even run a minimal Linux, with batteries well beyond being chargeable etc. Many students do have school-provided Chromebooks these days, but those can be very limited for many of our activities. We had also gotten a generous donation of about 10 used Windows tablets from Microsoft; but after some efforts at cannibalizing a few to revive others, we eventually abandoned the effort. We really need a fresh batch of more modern laptops for checkout, after 2+ years of Covid, in order to ensure that less fortunate students are not left out. This is solvable and should not stop us from rebuilding this wonderful program.

I hope others also can find the energy. A combination of masking (maybe optional?) and hybrid might encourage more of the group to participate. I teach at Northeastern wearing a mask for hours each week, am fully boosted, and haven't gotten it so far! The new variants have spread widely in the community but they seem to be less life-threatening.

Best, Mark

Mark L. Miller, Ph.D.
Executive Director
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Nick Duguid

Jul 11, 2022, 8:23:24 PM7/11/22
to,, Hack the Future Volunteer Group
I'd like to throw another, but I'm still pretty dubious of our ability to do so safely at this time.   Or maybe I'm just not ready to do so myself.

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Sent: Sunday, July 10, 2022 1:54 PM
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Subject: Re: The next Hack The Future

Jonathan Hull

Jul 11, 2022, 11:46:43 PM7/11/22
to Nick Duguid,,, Hack the Future Volunteer Group
I think if we require vaccinations. take appropriate precautions (and probably limit the count), we should be able to do something about the same risk (or slightly better) as schools.  I don’t think it is possible to have near-zero risk anywhere anymore… but we can post our procedures, and let parents and mentors decide for themselves if they are comfortable with that level of risk.

+1 for restarting HtF  (Aim for late August / early Sept?)


Jonathan Hull

Jul 11, 2022, 11:49:08 PM7/11/22
to Nick Duguid,,, Hack the Future Volunteer Group
Also, I believe one of the early HtFs had open air rooms (At Stanford, I think).  There were a number of difficulties from that (mainly the heat) and corralling kids, but it might be a worthwhile tradeoff if we can find rooms that are essentially open to the outside air.

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