At some point in the beginning of my internship, Michael connected me with Kevia Cloud, a former kid from the hood who got his life together doing CS for the military. Kevia is now back home and wants to make his community better, which I think is a fabulous goal. He started the first ever Hackathon here in Tacoma, and Michael asked me to be a part of it so we could suggest ideas for future ones.
I first got to know him and the rest of the team at the pre hackathon meet up over some amazing bulgogi courtesy of his girlfriend. There were only 6-7 of us, but I enjoyed chatting with everyone, and we got along great.
The Hackathon itself started around midnight on a Friday and was planned to go until midnight on Saturday. Because there were so few of us, we all worked on one idea. The idea was an app that could take a picture and then place where you took that photo on a custom map. Initially this could be used to take pictures of graffiti for removal. But this concept has many other applications such as in police work and giving showing people where all the really cool street art in a city is.
This meant taking a picture in the app, sending the picture metadata up into the cloud, and having a computer retrieve the metadata and place it on a map. We could also optionally build servers that could process the data to learn more clues from it. But the minimum viable product we wanted to finish in 24 hours was to be able to take a picture on a phone and have its location show up on the map.
Since my coding skills are garbage at best, I began working on the optional server part with some other folks. I learned how to turn on my local server so that things I typed would show up on there, and we began the process of downloading a million different packages in order to turn that simple server into something that could actually process data. Needless to say, we didn’t get very far on that, but the rest of the team did manage to achieve their MVP! Of course since the hackathon went from midnight after a full work day until midnight the next day, we were so tired for the majority of it that I at least felt pretty useless. But it doesn’t matter, I learned a lot and made some new friends, and isn’t that what hackathons are really all about?