Sunday, 13 February 2011

Tales from the hackathon

I'm writing this blog at the LO Pub (the *official* hackathon after party) while waiting for The Greg Rekus Experience to go on stage. The hackathon was a huge success. Over the entire day we had over 20 people (we weren't keeping count) stop by.

We had a couple people working on setting up a file server, they even left the hackathon for a short time to take a trip down to memory express and grab a new motherboard. We had a small lock pick village set up which nearly everyone played with at some point during the day. We had a couple people working on micro controller projects. We had lots of people on laptops doing who knows what. We also had a ton of good discussing going on about some of the business plan type aspects of what we want SkullSpace to be.

We had a couple people working on BreachDB that apparently got a lot of work done. BreachDB is a project that involves password hashing research among other things. More will be announced when it's closer to being done.

For a while we were streaming a local UK Hardcore DJ duo, Mnemosyne, on the projector. They do a set every Saturday and happen to be involved with SkullSpace so it made for some nice background noise and visuals.

At one point Mark asked if anyone would be interested in learning a little bit about ZODB, an object-oriented database (as opposed to relational) and nearly everyone said sure so he took the stage and did a 10 minute lightning talk on the subject.

We even had a visit from the first person to run for the Pirate Party of Canada - Jeff Coleman. He has some really cool 3d printed metal objects to show us. He designed them in google sketchup and had them printed through a local 3d printing company. Really cool stuff.

Our biggest measure of success was the amount of donations we received. An anonymous donor generously offered to match all the donations we got throughout the day. By the end of the day we had amassed $500.69 in donations, and with the anonymous donor matching that (well, $500.70) we ended up with $1001.29 total for the day, which is pretty awesome. This brings our total bank account balance up to around $1200 (assuming all cheques clear :P). On a special note, we also received our first online donation today. Using the "Donate" button on this very blog (on the top right - try it ;), at one point Jason donated $30.69, bringing our total thus far up to $420.69. He made me promise to mention this somewhere :) Our other donors included Paul, Anonymous, Dan, Nathan, Anonymous, Stef and Anonymous again. Big thanks to all donors!

I'll take this time to note that paypal takes a silly amount of fees - $1.19 total for that $30.69 donation. We really would like to give people the option of donating and also eventually paying membership fees online, but the fees kind of suck. Google checkout isn't available for sellers/merchants in Canada, same story with Amazon Checkout. If anyone has any other online payment methods that are available to Canadian recipients, please let us know, we would love to offer whatever methods we can.

All in all it was a great day - we got to talk to lots of great people about the projects they were working on and hashed out some of the business details of SkullSpace. I had a blast and am looking forward to the next "skullspace" event (not *really* a skullspace event!) Winnipeg Code Camp on the 26th. Everyone show up! We will have our own track/room for the day, and we may even have stickers to give away! Ron will be doing a hilarious talk on stupid code mistakes, Mak will be doing an informative talk on Nmap scripting, Stef will be doing a tantalizing talk on jQuery, and I'll be doing a delicious talk on hackerspaces! We will also be doing book giveaways at the end of each of our talks, so you won't want to miss it!

I'm almost done my Half Pints CKUbreW so I'll have to quit typing soon and go get another.

Cheers Winnipeg!