Hacking is so San Francisco


San Francisco Hackathon – hackster.io + Pacific Coast Highway + many more sponsors 🙂

Lots more good pictures of the hackers! https://www.flickr.com/photos/hacksterio/sets/

PCH was the gracious host of our weekend event. Third on the hackster.io hackathon tour, San Francisco promised to bring the best of the best developers to create something entirely new in a weekend. We had a meetup on Thursday to generate some buzz and meet a lot of hackers who actually couldn’t make it to the weekend but still wanted to intersect with the hackster.io crew.

16817241062_7f9906b965_kCome Saturday, the launch went well…I assume! I had to be in San Jose for the morning to teach an introductory Arduino class to girls attending an engineering event at the SJSU engineering department. It was one of the first workshops I had ever attended where there were more mentors and volunteers than students!! I don’t exactly prefer to teach a class alone or anything, I just didn’t want to overwhelm the girls as part of the fun is the self discovery and mystery of it all. Getting to know each electrical component is definitely the most fun. Still with too much help, with the overwhelming ness of it – breadboards, jumper wires, microcontrollers, LEDs, resistors, sensors and everything else in the Arduino Uno kit – the girls prevailed and were able to finish a few of the circuits from the Starter Kit! I was impressed. Even with 15 minutes to go, these girls wanted to try the Zoetrope and I was my usual doubtful self, “I guess you can try it, but I don’t know, don’t feel rushed!” And I come back in 5 minutes and they already had most of it working, a few minutes later they had adjusted where the growing flower design was and it was working completely as intended! Kids are so fast!

Then driving up North to San Francisco, not even the traffic could keep me from the hack! I arrived, jazzed and inspired by the kids, and started meeting the hackers already in progress. The PCH building took my breath away, such a gorgeous architectural experience to be there, you can’t help but be motivated to create. I met some teams, met some sponsors, reconnected with local friends, and finished the day out with my dog, Woodchuck, my sidekick with a walk around Pawtrero Hill!


It’s great that 2 teams nabbed my hackathon offerings – 1) Cereal dispenser that can become a pet feeder project and 2) Arduweenie, my LED wiener dog shaped creation. The NoFood team were very weird and said their food dispenser was for NoOne… But ultimately, they used the kibble I brought them. And I also had a team nab Arduweenie to use him as part of the BiffShocker team, designed to prevent Biff from stealing the DeLorean!

I spent a lot of the time talking with 2 reporters, they were trying to find out why people come here and what keeps them coming back to hackathon events. Some people want a break from their regular tech work jobs where they are working on other people’s projects, so on this weekend they get to do exactly what they want to. I just want to surround myself with smart and innovative people who try new things and are working with emerging IoT technologies. I want to know programmers and designers and engineers as my friends. Those people are strong, capable, not afraid of hard things, they inspire me all the time when I’m working on my own maker projects. People are sharing what they know and combining with a team to create something immediately.

16824314001_d401bd4a7a_k 16203039734_2fb2f238b5_k HackingTheDeLorean

On Sunday, I arrived just in time for my usual photoshoot with the DeLorean and went all out in my Bliplace dress. Woodchuck rocked his linino.org shirt I got for him and we learned more about what each of our teams had created, even by Sunday morning! I reconnected with more colleagues who could come out just for the Sunday afternoon events. We set up tables in the main hall like a Maya ball court. Judges, visitors, and other hackers milled about like an art opening! Hackers, presenting what they made with multiple opportunities to explain their product to the inquisitive visitors. We saw solar panels, coffee makers, beer taps, smart pet food dispensers, connected car alarms with functioning phone apps that we saw the real time control and two way communication! It was an impressive spread and a hive of activity that lasts maybe a half hour or so while we all check it out, and when the judges disappeared, that’s the time to put out food! So people can stress eat, “Well, we hacked what we hacked, what the hack, let’s have burritos!”

FixingTheDeLoreanBefore we revealed the winners, the hackster.io team graciously let me perform my new maker song for the crowd. It was really exciting and I definitely got a few more fans for “This Is How We Make” – video release at Maker Faire! And that was a great lead into the real stars of the hack, the teams that the judges deem worthy of prizes. To win prizes, your project sometimes needs to include software or hardware from one of the sponsors, and of course the more variety you use in your product, the more awards you are qualified for! hackster.io mediates to be impartial and fair.

IMG_6108The weekend many projects were fabulous and completely plausible products I hope we start to see on the market and I hope after each hackathon, some people really take their product idea to the next level. The winner overall this time was the KegTime team with their beer tap that allowed a card to activate the beer tap to allow employees to have only so many drinks on their card and it also can be automated for other purposes too. What I see is that they’ve controlled something, then how people customize it!

Till next weekend, in L.A. see you there!