Fw: Whisky Web hackathon

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Juozas

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Feb 28, 2012, 9:08:29 AM2/28/12
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What we think?

------Original Message------
From: Dan Shearer
Sender: ,,,
To: Juozas Joe Kaziukenas
Cc: t...@bytemark.co.uk
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
addresses.

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
attendees too.

Dan


--
Juozas Kaziukenas. Sent from my BlackBerry

Rob Allen

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Feb 29, 2012, 6:41:41 AM2/29/12
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Hi,

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?

Regards,

Rob...

Rick Walker

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Feb 29, 2012, 7:03:09 AM2/29/12
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Hey,

(Also take in mind that I am unlikely to be able to attend the conference at all :-)

FWIW, I tend to agree with what Rob outlines below. I think perhaps a really nice output from this would be to 'demystify' contributing to open source projects (perhaps even with a Scottish slant in a nod to the late Open Source Scotland).  Pick, a relevant, one without bias and hack on some open bugs / feature requests. I know this is more of a bug hunt day than a hack day officially, but hopefully (as Rob points out) delegates would leave with a sense of achievement and with a renewed commitment to OS contribution. It also shouldn't be that hard to get up and running on the day.

Another idea would be to build something 'social' for a charitable organisation - although that may just lead to word press hacking which would be boring, lame and totally not cool :).

Rick.

lornajane

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Feb 29, 2012, 7:19:56 AM2/29/12
to Scotland tech conference
Some great ideas coming out here. I would like to chime in to agree
that we should commit to supporting people just beginning in open
source. I'm working on some resources for getting people started with
github, which sounds quite noddy but honestly if you haven't done it
before, it's helpful to get a quick tutorial and then you can jump in
and hack on whatever you like, while there are people around to
support you with a new toolset. I am endlessly suprised at how often
I get asked this.

Also +1 on achieving something, either collectively or celebrating
what individuals achieve.

Lorna
> > >  1. A BigV (http://bigv.io/account for attendees, available

Dougal Matthews

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Feb 29, 2012, 7:25:56 AM2/29/12
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> Also +1 on achieving something, either collectively or celebrating
> what individuals achieve.

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).

Juozas

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Mar 5, 2012, 11:07:13 AM3/5/12
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Some really good ideas here, now we should really decide something :)

Juozas Kaziukėnas

Dale Harvey

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Mar 12, 2012, 11:09:23 AM3/12/12
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I wrote a big email with suggestions for the hackathon, I will be kinda pissed if I forgot to send it, but I cant find it now

But I like helping people work on open source, for that to work we need to have people who have some experience with the project in question

My suggestion is: A big list of prepared idea / projects, each project should have someone on hand that has prepared it and is willing / able to help out

At the start we explain the prepared ones and ask people to submit their own, we the organise into teams and hack

Pretty simple, but still quite a lot of work, there are a few things that would make a good project
 * has an end goal (get patch submitted, app built and published online)
 * can be done in a day
 * can be split up into a few people
 * has some form of public interaction so everyone can 'get involved'

This would is an example list

 * Get a patch submitted to CouchDB (I can be on hand to help build and answer any questions)
 * Build a online directory of cycle paths (I would need to collect as much of the data beforehand) 
 * Stage a RoboCode tournament(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robocode) (I would need to make sure I knew how it works and could get it sorted) 
 * Get started with Arduino 
 ....

RoboCode thing could be pretty cool since its only a few people that do it, but everyone can enjoy the tournament

There are a few people who I think will be interested in helping out with this, Devon from culture hack has a lot of experience with hackathon and could submit a few proposals, Same with Phil from pusher, I talked to someone from hacklab who could help with Arduino stuff

The main point is that there needs to be a lot of work done on preparation, I think the best way is for each of is to prepare a few projects that can be hacked on

As for the server sponsorship, I dont think its majorly important, but having servers to put stuff on will be very useful, especially for the end projects that have and end goal of a live website, So I think itd be good to accept the bytemark server sponsorship, just making it clear how we would use it, not organising the hackathon around it.

Cheers
Dale

Paul Dragoonis

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Mar 12, 2012, 11:16:22 AM3/12/12
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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.

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.

Max Manders

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Mar 12, 2012, 11:21:43 AM3/12/12
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While agree that the _idea_ of RoboCode may be fun and very geeky, I'm
not sure how practical it would be for everyone to contribute. I
appreciate that implementation may be language agnostic, I'm not too
sure whether this is a prohibitively complex subject area.

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.

My tuppence-worth.

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.
>

Cheers,
Max
--
Max Manders
w: http://maxmanders.co.uk
e: m...@maxmanders.co.uk
jabber: m...@maxmanders.co.uk
t: +44 (0) 7866 797 983


Dale Harvey

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Mar 12, 2012, 11:23:01 AM3/12/12
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One of the points I forgot to make is that I dont think its realistic to have a single 'thing' and expect everyone to want to do it / enjoy it

Itill take like 4 people taking part in robocode to make it enjoyable for everyone, I think the best plan is to show up with a list of 10 or so things that have been prepared, allow people to come up with their own

If everyone decided to take part in robocode, then awesome, but I think the choice is very necessary (max already kinda proved that :))

lornajane

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Apr 3, 2012, 8:46:43 AM4/3/12
to Scotland tech conference
Hi folks

Hope everything is coming together nicely for next week. I wonder
what the setup is for the hackathon. The reason I ask is that I had a
twitter exchange with Josh Holmes about the speaker's masterclass he
sometimes runs and he says he's happy to give that session - is there
any space at the hackathon to accommodate something like that? I know
I'd really appreciate the chance to learn from Josh while we're all in
the one place, but I don't know what the plans or venue are like - so
it's just an idea.

Regards

Lorna


On Mar 12, 4:23 pm, Dale Harvey <d...@arandomurl.com> wrote:
> One of the points I forgot to make is that I dont think its realistic to
> have a single 'thing' and expect everyone to want to do it / enjoy it
>
> Itill take like 4 people taking part in robocode to make it enjoyable for
> everyone, I think the best plan is to show up with a list of 10 or so
> things that have been prepared, allow people to come up with their own
>
> If everyone decided to take part in robocode, then awesome, but I think the
> choice is very necessary (max already kinda proved that :))
>
> On 12 March 2012 15:16, Paul Dragoonis <dragoo...@gmail.com> wrote:

Paul Dragoonis

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Apr 3, 2012, 11:07:22 AM4/3/12
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Hi Lorna,

"speaker's masterclass he sometimes runs".

I've never heard about this before, can you tell me more about it please?

- Paul.

lornajane

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Apr 3, 2012, 11:27:09 AM4/3/12
to Scotland tech conference
The example that I heard about was this: http://joind.in/2406 although
I notice it has no abstract with it. Rafael recommended it on twitter
and Josh said just to let him know: http://mobile.twitter.com/joshholmes/status/177473191176962049

Josh is an accomplished speaker and I aspire to do much better in my
own speaking engagements. I don't attend many conferences with him so
if there was an opportunity to take him up on his offer to give us
some pointers, I'd like to take it!

Lorna

Dale Harvey

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Apr 3, 2012, 12:28:41 PM4/3/12
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While the hackathon will be setup for getting groups to code on something, the room is fairly big and there should be plenty of room for Josh to do a speakers workshop, there will be a spare projector there as well 

Cheers
Dale

lornajane

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Apr 4, 2012, 10:30:07 AM4/4/12
to Scotland tech conference
Okay,

Josh says he's up for it, it'll take most of the morning. Organisers
are you prepared to adopt this as part of your hackathon? Can someone
get in touch with Josh and let him know what he needs to know? Should
I be doing something towards this?

Lorna


On Apr 3, 5:28 pm, Dale Harvey <d...@arandomurl.com> wrote:
> While the hackathon will be setup for getting groups to code on something,
> the room is fairly big and there should be plenty of room for Josh to do a
> speakers workshop, there will be a spare projector there as well
>
> Cheers
> Dale
>

Max Manders

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Apr 4, 2012, 2:01:18 PM4/4/12
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Sounds like a great idea Lorna, thanks for the suggestion! I'll
contact you off list to discuss specifics.

Cheers,
Max

Joshua Thijssen

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Apr 4, 2012, 2:18:48 PM4/4/12
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This is cool and I really like to attend this workshop.

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 :)

gr,
Josh

Dale Harvey

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Apr 6, 2012, 1:52:09 PM4/6/12
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Awesome, I have just updated the website with the hackathon schedule, it will go live once Joe pushes it though, but as described its your day to organise :) so if you know a bunch of people want to run a puppet workshop then awesome, we have a time slot at the start where everyone can announce what they are working on and measure interest and form into groups etc.

I will email Josh to check up if there is anything more needed from him, Thanks Lorna and Joshua, The whole point of the second day is to let people organise what they want to do, if theres anything you need then give us a shout.

Cheers
Dale
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