From: Dan Shearer
To: Juozas Joe Kaziukenas
Subject: Whisky Web hackathon
Sent: 28 Feb 2012 15:43
Hello Joe, committee,
The hackathon is a great idea but as discussed yesterday there are some
practical problems. We discussed:
* The problem with an application-themed hackathon. You don't have any
common application, framework or language and so whatever you pick
would appeal only to a very small number of people. Other confs have
discovered this, and it turns into a friendly chat session for those
that bother to turn up at all.
Conclusion: need to find a common demoninator, apps won't do.
* The problem with an infrastructure-themed hackathon. It's all very
well setting a challenge to create the most robust $whatever, but
that means setting up things like nginx, varnish, failover and all
sorts of other things which are much lower down the stack than most of
the attendees really care about, according to your profile of them.
Conclusion: this won't work, even if it sounds like fun for some.
* Turn the theme into "Making infrastructure disappear". That's what
everyone wants to do, most web people hate anything below their
framework, but it's always there.
Conclusion: it just might work :-)
How the hackathon could be advertised:
Web developers love to hate infrastructure. And the big web farms like
to claim its a solved problem. If you agree, fine, goodbye :-) If you
still find yourself dragged into infrastructure to keep your apps
happy, scaling or whatever then come along and find some like-minded
people. We'll give you servers, you setup your stuff (or as well as
you can) and work on cracking the problems. Database issues? Backup
problems? Feel a need to load balance? IPv6? A customer demanding
resilience? We'll have infrastructure experts on hand as well as
fellow-travellers in the webapps world. If it seems helpful, we'll
arrange for lightning 5-minute talks on topics of general interest.
So here is a suggestion for what Bytemark can offer:
1. A BigV (http://bigv.io/ account for attendees, available
for a week beforehand for preloading/practice etc. It would have some
reasonable resource limits, eg 10GiB total RAM across say
a maximum of 10 servers, and any reasonable number of IP
2. Support within reason to get things going beforehand via email.
3. Staff on the day to help resolve things, although of course
we're expecting there to be lots of solution sharing among
Juozas Kaziukenas. Sent from my BlackBerry
I won't be at the Hackathon, so take my comments with that in mind.
The most obvious thing is that the attendees will not prepare *at all*. As a result, whatever you want to do has to be easy to set up in the first hour of the day.
The most important thing is that at the end of the hackathon day, the attendees there feel that they have achieved something. That could be learning a new technology or having their first contribution to an Open Source project accepted. It doesn't really matter, but it should be easy to do the coding during the day and a fun, collaborative experience and preferably not so hard that you leave all the normal devs behind.
Finally, reading the email from Dan, I'm not actually sure what people would actually do on the day. I get that they'll provide a server VM for each attendee, but I don't see people coming along with ready-made code to just put onto this, so what will the attendees actually do?
At DjangoCon.eu last year, every time a ticket was closed they would
hit a Gong. Something along these lines could be applied to make
achievements (whatever they might be).
My gut is telling me RoboCode is the best choice, it's language
agnostic, it's also fun, competitive and people won't be left out if
they can't/dont wanna code as we'll be dueling them to the death at
Taking the server donation from bytemark would be good to duel them.
I'm happy to vote on this now and start making preparations for it. +1
from me on robocode.
For example, I have a degree; I did a little AI at university. However
I wouldn't consider myself academic in any way, more of a
learn-by-getting-my-hands-dirty kind of person. Perhaps I'm in a
minority, but I certainly wouldn't know where to start writing any sort
of neural net or other sort of AI-related code in language XYZ... Were
I to be involved, I certainly think I'd be on the side lines watching
the more academic clever people getting stuck in.
On 12/03/12 15:16, Paul Dragoonis wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 3:09 PM, Dale Harvey<da...@arandomurl.com> wrote:
>> RoboCode thing could be pretty cool since its only a few people that do it,
>> but everyone can enjoy the tournament
> My gut is telling me RoboCode is the best choice, it's language
> agnostic, it's also fun, competitive and people won't be left out if
> they can't/dont wanna code as we'll be dueling them to the death at
> the end.
"speaker's masterclass he sometimes runs".
I've never heard about this before, can you tell me more about it please?
I'm not 100% following this thread, but I know there are some users who
are interesting in some puppet info as well. I'm always willing to do a
puppet workshop/session on the fly if more people are interested but I'm
not sure if that is the idea behind the hackaton right now :)