Hack and frogs

stories from a frog eater in the tech world

In Hackathon We Trust

| Comments

Spread the word : Geeks are not living in caves anymore !! Or at least they going out from their caves to see the sunlight once in a while for a specific occasion. Something in between a computer science class, a LAN party, a crazy scientist lab and a networking event.

If you are part of the geek crowd you understood that I was talking about Hackathons.

For those who don’t know what what is it, let’s make it easy :

Hackathon = Hack + athon = Hack marathon

Hack ? Wooo… like Hackers ? Cracking credit card, launching NASA spaceship or changing traffic lights ?

No, nothing like that. It is about Hacking but in a good way. People are building awesome products to solve problems or just for the fun of programming.

This kind of events is very tech oriented, so if you are not a programmer it could be hard to attend. People are coming to work on their projects or to build new stuff during the event depends on the kind of event.

Since I moved to San Francisco I already attend to two different Hackathons. The first one was the HAPIHack weekend organized by OpenTok at their place. The principle was to create an application using at least one API from the sponsors. At the end of weekend, teams presented their work and a winner per API was designate to win the prize.

During this HAPIHack I work with a Spanish mate (Ignacio) on an application called FaceRate. FaceRate lets you take a picture of yourself to express your thought about a content (Video, Picture, text…), it is more powerful and meaningful than just a “like” or a “+1”.

We used Embed.ly API to display a content (215 types of content available), OpenTok API to take the picture and Face.com API to analyse your facial expression.

If you would like to try a live demo it’s here (might be a bit buggy) : http://facerate.cloudfoundry.com/

The googledoc prez :

And the Github repository if you want to fork it. FaceRate on Github

It was a really nice adventure to work on a new project with somebody I did not know before. He initiate me to Play framework that uses Java to build web applications and we were able to win two prizes, an Apple TV from embed.ly and a JamBox from Face.com.

Hackathons are really a good time to meet people like you (coders), talk about technique, learn new APIs and tech stuff, be efficient (you need a result by the end of the weekend)…


This weekend I attend to the SuperHappyDevHouse at the HackerDojo in Mountain View, it was an afternoon+night Hackathon but without competitions or prizes. It was just for the sick of being with others instead of coding in your cave or at a coffee shop.

Special mentions to Localno.de that lets you share your localhost application easily (helpful in dev mode) and to for a 100% HTML5 amazing tower defense game.


Hackathons are the new trend around here with at least one every week. It a signs that tech people also need their events to meet others of their kind, so open your eyes more are coming ! Companies also need Hackathons where rockstars (#buzzword) developers will be able to see the limit of the API or ask for new features. And Hackers can help APIs providers in their development process.

So if you are a coder or a student who is learning Computer Science you should definetly attend to the next Hackathon around you, meet others geeks, eat pizza and code :)

PS : companies love if you hacked their API before applying for a job

Next Hackathons in the Valley :

10-11 Sept. Techcrunch Disrupt Hackathon

10-11 Sept. Cleanweb Hackathon about energy and environment

In Paris and other cities :

17 Sept. Global Foursquare API Hackathon

Unfortunately this post was not reviewed by a English native speaker, so if you read something grammatically chocking please send me an email me @@ nicolasgrenie.com