Thursday, August 6, 2015

Civic Hacking, August 19, Appleton: Put It On Your Calendar!

The next NE Wisconsin civic hacking event will happen on Wednesday evening, August 19, 2015 in Appleton at the Appleton Makerspace, starting at 6 PM.

The Appleton Makerspace is located at 121R B North Douglas Street, Appleton, WI. Click here for a Google Maps location. Also click here to go to the makerspace About Us page and look at the overhead diagram of the building. There's a Google Streetview on the About Us page. Overhead diagram is shown to the left:

What Time:  The nominal start time on August 19th is 6 PM, but no worries if you come later or show up earlier. At the July 22 civic hacking meetup, some people showed at 5 PM and we got an early start, while others showed up between 6 and 7 PM. This will be an informal evening of civic hacking; no agenda. No definite end time; we’ll go as long as people are having fun!

Who Should Show Up:  Everyone who’s interested in civic hacking, or thinks they might be, should come to this event. You should definitely come if you participated in the DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015 on June 6 or if you registered for that hackathon but couldn’t be there. Anybody interested in the concept of civic hacking should show up!

So what IS this concept of Civic Hacking??:  If you are not familiar with civic hacking, listen to Jennifer Pahlka in the TED video “Jennifer Pahlka: Coding a better government” which is inserted below in this blog post. (You can also watch the Catherine Bracy TED video “Why Good Hackers Make Good Citizens,” but I’ve already featured that in about six other posts, so I'll use Jennifer’s talk in today's post.)

If you want to read more about what civic hacking is, scan through the titles of other posts from the past few months on this blog for ones that are of interest to you -- see the list of titles in the right column under Blog Archive.

Coders will enjoy the fun at the Appleton Makerspace, but non-coders are also encouraged to participate, as discussed in “What Are Some Non-coder Activities In Civic Hacking?” There will be at least one designer there on August 19th and at least one person who's neither coder nor designer, so you definitely don’t need to be a coder to participate in civic hacking.

What Will We Do:  Mike Putnam will be there leading the charge again on civic hacks related to the AppletonAPI and the “Is It Recycling Week?” Android app he wrote. We had lots of people working on stuff related to the AppletonAPI at the June 6th civic hackathon. Mike Rosack will be at the makerspace and will be working on his civic hack API locator or maybe his GreenvilleAPI. Ross Larson built a recycling-related Pebble smartwatch app and will likely work on that at the Appleton Makerspace. I’m hoping some of the others who worked on projects related to AppletonAPI and “Is It Recycling Week?” (IIRW) will show up on August 19th work on that ecosystem of recycling and trashy civic hacks. Maybe we can even get some local garbage pickup people (cities or private companies) to show up. One civic app or feature for IIRW that has been discussed is real-time GPS location of waste pick-up trucks that could send you a text telling you that your trash bins had better be at the curb because the truck will be at your house in five minutes.

It would be great if we can launch, or make plans to launch, a new civic hack on August 19th. For some ideas of what other civic hacks for NE Wisconsin could be worked on at the Appleton Makerspace, read “Seed Projects For Civic Hackathons.”

If you weren’t at the June 6th civic hackathon in Appleton or the civic hacking meetup on July 22, no worries. We’ll bring you up to speed and answer your questions about civic hacking, then get you connected with an existing civic hack project or help you get your own project started.

What Should I Bring:  The main things to bring are (1) yourself, (2) friends or acquaintances who might enjoy civic hacking, (3) laptop and charger (or other tools for the type of civic hacking you want to work on), and (4) willingness to either lead a civic hack project or work on someone else’s civic hack project. Check out “Day-After Report: DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015” for some idea of what was worked on during the June 6 hackathon.

Appleton Makerspace hidden back in corner of complex
Updated Update, Aug 19, 2015: Omni Resources kindly offered to, once again, sponsor the DHMN NE Wisconsin Civic Hacking meetup. So the Aug 19th meeting at the Appleton Makerspace will have food and beverages for those hungry civic hackers who show up to work on making NE Wisconsin a better place to live!

As always, if you have civic hacking questions or suggestions, email Bob Waldron at bwaldron (at) gmail [dott] com.

Hope to see you at the Appleton Makerspace on the evening of August 19, 2015!


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