Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Civic Hacking Meetup This Saturday, Oct 17th

Calling all NE Wisconsin civic hackers and others interested in learning about or doing a bit of civic hacking! There will be a civic hacking meetup this coming Saturday, October 17, 2015, at the Appleton Makerspace in Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. It's free, it's fun, and it's for YOU!

TIME:  The meetup will start at 9 AM. If you haven’t been to a civic hacking event and can roll out of bed early enough on a Saturday, it will be good if you can show up at 9 AM. But no worries if you come later as your schedule allows. This will be an informal day of civic hacking; no agenda. No definite end time, either; we’ll go as long as people are having fun, which probably means at least until 5 PM, and maybe until midnight! You can check the #dhmncivichacks channel on the NE Wisconsin Slack website during the day to see if the event is still in progress and what the civic hackers are working on during the event. Click here to join this Slack team if you’re not already a member. You can also check out the makerspace webcams to confirm people are still present and hacking...

PARTICIPANTS:  Everyone is welcome. This is a participant-driven event, so the people who show up will be the one responsible for making the event interesting, fun and worthwhile. You don’t need to be a programmer / coder to be a civic hackers -- see “What Are Some Non-coder Activities In Civic Hacking?” and “Do Non-Programmers Participate In Civic Hacking?” for ideas of what non-coders can work on for civic hacks.

FOOD / BEVERAGES:  As far as I know, there aren’t any announced sponsors yet for food or beverages for the Oct 17 meetup. It’s an all-day event, so for those people who stay for more than an hour or two, we’ll probably do a combination of bringing food to share with the group, bring our personal morning munchies / noon lunch / supper fixin’s, pitch in money for a shared meal, like pizza from Stucs or whatever other food people are interested in. At BarCamp Milwaukee two weeks ago, most of the participants brought at least one type of food to share, both munchies and main dishes, and we had a couple tables full of food and beverages. Fun and delicious!

If you know potential sponsors for a civic-minded event like this, ask them if they’ll cover the costs for some food or various beverages. If you’ve got the time and interest, whip up a batch of cookies, brownies, healthy snacks, or main dishes. And if don’t want to totally rely on potential sponsors, participant-prepared-potstickers, or the virtues of fasting, bring along some money, and you’ll be all set.

HACKING ACTIVITIES:  We’ll start out with self-introductions to make sure all the civic hackers know each other and what people are planning to work on or want to learn on October 17. For first-time civic hackers, we’ll cover the basics, answer questions you have about civic hacking and get you up to speed with Slack, GitHub and other tools of the trade. If you don’t know what those are, no worries. You will by the end of the day! And it’s all free! What a deal… :)

We’ll be working on updates, bug fixes, and improvements to civic hacks that were worked on at past hackathon/meetups. 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 (IIRW). We’re hoping to also have a bunch of other people who showed up at the June 6th hackathon or the other two civic hacking meetups in July and August.

I’m hoping we’ll have one or several people working on an iOS version of IIRW. A number of NE Wisconsin residents have said they’d like to use IIRW but can’t because they have an iPhone. I couldn’t talk them into trading in their iPhone for an Android, so we’ll just have to get someone to create an iOS IIRW.

For those participants interested in it, we’ll have discussion or learning sessions for GitHub, Python data scraping, Azure, Firebase, or other civic hacking tools and techniques. The learning sessions will be led by either participants knowledgeable about the session topic or by participants willing to take advantage of the well known You-Learn-Best-By-Teaching principle.

If any participants are interested in a reason to learn about or become more active on GitHub, we can get everyone up to speed on the Digital Ocean Happy Hacktoberfest. It appears all one has to do to get this delightful pre-shrunk, tri-blend limited-edition Hacktoberfest t-shirt is open four pull requests on any GitHub-hosted open source project(s) of your choice by October 31st. If you don’t have a GitHub account, we’ll help you create one, and if you don’t have a clue what a pull request is, someone at the makerspace will help you figure that out, too! If anyone knows of other freebie / swag deals like the Digital Ocean one above, bring that info along to the Oct 17 civic hacking event. Thanks!

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. If you're going to stay all day, you might want to skim through “Last Minute Prep & What To Bring To Hackathon.” Check out “Day-After Report: DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015” for some idea of what was worked on during the June 6 hackathon.

Hope to see you at the Appleton Makerspace (mini-map at this link), 121R B North Douglas St, Appleton, WI 54914, on October 17!


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