We're right now about to start the 24-hour hacking period of the Hack U Madness at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia.
After a bumpy start because of *snow* in Atlanta of all things (I arrived just in time to do the kick-off and the Californians arrived a day late), we spent the last few days bringing the students closer to the technologies and ideas offered by the Yahoo Developer Network.
We started with an overview of the history of hack at Yahoo and explaining what the ingredients of a good hack are:
On the second day we followed with a Q&A session during lunch explaining some of the API offered in detail. In the evening, chief search monkey Paul Tarjan introduced GA Tech to the ideas of the semantic web. He also gave a good introduction to how SearchMonkey makes the semantic web much easier to grasp:
In the lunch session the following day I explained the idea of useful accessibility and how we can take the energy and drive of hack to remove barriers that keep people from using the web.
To finish the round of tech talks, Puja Verma returned to the scene of the crime (she's a GA Tech alumni) to tell the invited audience all about the Yahoo Developer Network. Following close at her heels was Dustin Whittle with an overview of the Yahoo Open Stack:
We're now looking forward to seeing the ideas of the hackers and to stand by with practical advice and help. We've already started seeing them look into APIs, frameworks and services to make their hacks happen and will be there to avoid creative and technical blocks that'd eat into the 24 hours of hack.
Some less important but nonetheless interesting tidbits about the university hack so far:
- Ever since her arrival back down south, Puja started to favour the construct "Y'All" to finish her sentences.
- Georgia Tech is most likely the place with the most power outlets I have ever seen. There are even some on the ceiling - what for is a bit beyond me unless Peter Parker graduated here.
- Georgia Tech has a computing for good department and we had some great ideas from them to help their quest to build IT solutions that make the world a better place.
- Being a vegetarian/pescetarian is much less common here than in the valley
- I have real problems trying to figure out where campus ends and city starts
- If you find yourself on something called "peachtree" in Atlanta, don't tell people that when giving instructions where to find you - it is *not* a landmark
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