Thursday, November 24, 2011

Who wants to hack?

Time to get stuff done. While I’m continuing work on Project MADA I’m sad to say that I don’t think I can give my full attention to it as I have decided to give that attention to the place I work at. It’s my dad’s company and I might eventually be the person who takes over it so therefore I need to give some time and focus to that business instead. I’ll probably do a full post about that on the Project MADA website sometime later but for now let’s just say it’s going into a stasis of some sort.

But I don’t want it to be like that. I want it all. I want to work on stuff for the company as well as Project MADA. The problem is that my attitude won’t let me do that. I admit. I youtube a lot. I get on HN plenty. And I figure I waste at least 2 hours a day on that kind of stuff. You know how much 2 hours is? Every 12 days you lose one whole day. In less than 2 weeks you have already given up one whole day for YouTube and HN. Just imagine that. Can you actually picture yourself watching YouTube and reading tech stories for 24 hours at a stretch? It’s poison. That’s what it is.

So I want to become a hacker. That’s it. Simple right? And I’m going to blow past this attitude of mine by simply ‘doing it’. I know I can. I did a lot of serious sports and my mind is still conditioned towards doing stuff like that. I just need something to get started on. So I figured why not take a tiny step. That was how I did it in sports too. When I was running and I felt myself hitting the wall I would reach deep into my subconscious and give over control of myself to get me to take that one step. 5 minutes later I’d find myself back in stride. But I digress.

This weekend, and every month on the 2nd and 4th weekend I propose that we get together to have a cyber hackathon. We all work on a project for those weekends and by the end of it we have a project we can show off. Something. Some tangible end result. So here’s how it’s going to work.

We get together as a group. If you want to collab with someone else be my guest. I probably won’t because I discovered how useless I am at it recently. There’s just a few people I can collab with mostly because they know who I am and can actually keep me on track when working in a group. So, here it is.

  • We all get set this weekend. Jump on to skype. Add me on kiriappeee. And please add the message saying weekend hackathon. I’ll set up a private Google group/FB group later.
  • We get set pretty early morning. No slacking. It’s one weekend. By 6 AM we are on.
  • For 45 minutes we discuss what we are going to do. More than discuss we just tell what we are going to do. If there’s feedback to be provided we’ll do it then
  • Get down to hacking. No katha. No sina. Hack hack hack. If you need help drop it down on the skype board but otherwise please don’t use the Skype session to talk incessantly.
  • Break in the evening. 30 minute discussion on what got done.
  • Back to hack
  • Knock the work off at 10 30 PM. You want to continue. Be my guest but honestly I think that’s not really needed.
  • Same on Sunday. Hack till about 11 45.
  • Commit to github.

Now all this was just off the top of my head. If we are going to be hacking then we need to be thinking in the spirit of hackers. Get a general idea first and then correct details as you go along.

What kind of projects should you bring to the table.

Just an idea of what you want to do. Maybe you want to create a project management web app but you have no idea what web programming is. That’s ok. Spend the night before deciding what language you want to use as scripting (Python or Ruby probably) and then come and start hacking from your first HTML page to your first python script. Bring it on. And learn as you go.

At the end of the hackathon we commit whatever we did, even if it is test code, to github. Why? Because we all get to have a good idea of what we’ve done and it’ll give a sense of community success. If you don’t want to open source your project, well, come along and join anyway but just be sure to make something tangible that others can see at the end of the day. Else the purpose will be lost. This is a cyber hackathon after all.

Now I hammered this post out in about 15 minutes. I’m rushing to work. Leave your comments and we’ll figure out how this is going to work in the future. For now, Hacking starts tomorrow.

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