Thursday, August 20, 2015

Day After Report: Civic Hacking At The Appleton Makerspace

Appleton Makerspace civic hackers
This is a brief roundup of the civic hacking activity at the Appleton Makerspace in Appleton, Wisconsin, last night, the evening of August 19th.

The Appleton Makerspace event was an informal meetup for civic hackers to continue improving civic hacks from the June 6 civic hackathon and July 22 civic meetup, as well as start new projects and discuss various civic hacking topics.

The first few civic hackers showed at 5 PM, although the nominal start time was 6. There was no agenda for the evening and a few more participants popped in after 6 as schedules allowed, while the molto delizioso Stuc’s pizza and soda showed up in the hands of super civic hacker Mike Rosack a little before 6:30, courtesy of Omni Resources. Thanks, Omni! Two more civic hackers showed up around 7 PM, and we ended up with 12 people total for the evening.

We started out with everyone introducing themselves and talking about what they planned to work on for the evening, then people got busy coding, researching, improving the NE Wisconsin city APIs and the recycling Android and Pebble watch apps, and discussing their hacks with each other.

A couple gracious civic hackers provided short summaries of what they worked on during last night’s meetup:
MP:  Moved the canonical source code repos from my personal GitHub account to the dhmncivichacks GitHub organization for "AppletonAPI" and "Is It Recycling Week?" Android app. Also ideation on "coder cooperative" + TIME community website as a civic hack. 
MR:  I worked with Ross to fork his Pebble app to use the API locator so it can support any city that implements the contract (my beta version now works with both Appleton and Greenville)!  Also, I worked with Chris Jaure on getting his Outagamie county data to conform to the common recycling contract so we'll have support for Little Chute, Kaukauna, etc when he's done. Brady started working on the upgrading the API locator service to the new version of ASP.NET that has cross-platform support (OSX & Linux), so people not on Windows can help out if they want. 
RL:  I got Diane Doersch set up on Slack and GitHub and showed her the dhmncivichacks github org and the DHMN Civic Hacks blog, then helped get Mike Rosack set up with CloudPebble and setting up a watch application.  I think he completed that during the night.  I also talked about learning opportunities for coding and women in tech. 
CJ:  Last night I introduced a fellow Kaukauna resident to the work I had been doing on collecting enough data to be able to determine recycling dates for areas in Outagamie County, and together we created the start of an api server in Azure.
Stuc's deep dish & Moon Man!
There was additional civic hack work last night at the Appleton Makerspace by people who didn’t send me an update. I was doing more yakking than hacking -- should have focused on listening and watching so I'd know what to be writing here... But we did have worthwhile discussion about a slew of future civic hacking projects and getting more people involved with civic hacking.

A couple future DHMN Civic Hacks blog posts are anticipated from last night’s participants -- they’ll be able to do a much better job than I could of explaining the civic hack they worked on and what future plans are for their hack.

In another week or two, we’ll pick the date for the next NE Wisconsin civic hacking event, either on a week night or weekend in September. Watch this blog for event details.

If you want to work with the DHMN to organize a civic hacking event in your area, email Bob Waldron at bwaldron (at) gmail [dott] com. We can do anything from a short session discussing what civic hacking is all the way up to helping you organize a civic hackathon in your city.


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