Hack Western 3 Post-Mortem
Oct 21, 2016 • Matthew Wang
~ 2 minute read • 442 words
Aw man, this is kinda late: but I’ve been a little busy (and I’m heading out to McGill right now)! I want to do a quick reflection of my experience at Hack Western: it was my first hackathon, and I loved it! It’s one of those experiences that I’ll hopefully cherish for a very, very long time. Alas, I have no regrets (except maybe not as much Pepsi)!
google “define hackathon”
First things first, let’s figure out what a hackathon is. Basically, a bunch of nerds spend 36 hours cramped in a relatively small space to make something awesome. You often get free food, drink, and swag, as well as time with industry professionals, whether in lectures or as a mentor. Usually your end product will have some sort of goal or theme: whether it’s helping deaf people, making a new bitcoin client, or making a really, really, really good pun, there’s a diverse pool of creations at a hackathon.
This was my first hackathon ever; other ones collide with my debate/MUN extracurriculars (I’m sadly missing thacks right now). I had huge expectations for what it could’ve been: maybe I’ll make a bionic arm, or meet Mark Zuckerberg, or become a Google employee. While none of that happened, it still became an experience that I’d never expect, and one that I’ll cherish for a pretty long time.
do you want to hug me?
Our team (me, @jacksarick, @simonguozirui) made “Do You Want To Hug Me”, which is basically a stress ball that counts how many times you squeeze it, and exports this data to a desktop/mobile app that can analyze said data for you.
It has three major components: the plush/stress ball, built with an Arduino 101 microcontroller; the server backend, written in Node.js and SQLite; and the mobile/desktop app, built with Ionic + Cordova and Electron respectively. I mostly worked on the app component, but also did a bit of the backend (though to be honest, none of my code made it through to the final build).
It was a pretty cool idea, even if it was relatively low-impact. I had an awesome time there: not only did I drink ~12 Pepsis, but I learned a lot about, well, a lot. I learned about teamwork; I learned about sleep deprivation; I learned about intuitive design, about angular, about a lot of things. Ultimately it was, as I’ve said like 50 times, an awesome experience.
I’ve really got to focus on some debating now, so that’s it for now. #HW3 was pretty tight. Thanks for reading.
Until next time!