SoHacks San Antonio – Worlds largest school-aged hackathon


A few weeks ago I was in San Antonio working with the fine folks at Intel and my husband Stev-O ( @swebceo ) working with our friend Randal Arnold ( @texrat ). 

ON SOHACKS (School’s Out hackathon)

This was the world largest school-aged hackathon 550 kids were in a 24-hour coding lock-in at the world headquarts of Rackspace (who were just plain wonderful hosts!).

Ironically, I was the only Android expert on hand at the event… so you can imagine that I was very BUSY!

These were some of the best and brightest kids I have ever met or worked with and that is saying something. I think the one that I was most technically impressed with was a team of kids actually wrote a WINDOWS 8/ WINDOWS 8.1 LIVE WALLPAPER API and APP. This is a VERY technical item and requires that you find the right hooks and then make a DLL. They were actually forcing new DirectX frame into the windows front end screen engine. Because of this implementation, whenever the screen would be taken over by games and such, the wallpaper would automatically shut down as that process was shut down. Brilliant!

Here is an article on some of what I did at SoHacks to help them out: 

Some of the highlights form the article:

“Stacy is realllllllly good at Android development”

There were certainly a few hardware projects, including a team that turned a LEDgoes array into a Tetris clone, but the majority of projects were software.  We didn’t get anyone trying Intel technology, unfortunately, and that was largely due to unfamiliarity– most students had project plans going in, it seemed.   Still, we did manage to contribute!  In Stacy’s own words:

I did the ideation and technical direction for the team with the Bluetooth spacial based alerts. I had them use the Bluetooth APIs to listen for the dB’s of the radios connected and then knowing their class 2 radio capabilities, derive the distances not by feet but by generalization. Android has a way to gather this data using APIs. You just have to know that Bluetooth is an active protocol even in its ultra low power mode and acts similarly to cellular in its roaming (esp the roaming mesh in LE).
Also, I worked with many of those in the winners circle (just not that number one project or the Echoes app). Usually,  it was fixing code or working with them on weird solutions to weird issues.

 

The official prize for EOM at Rackspace

The official prize for EOM at Rackspace

Helped these guys make a custom android keyboard that you could send copy messages through to through the internet.

Helped these guys make a custom android keyboard that you could send copy messages through to through the internet.

Lots of People Awards presentations

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