Spectra Hackathon

Today was the Spectra Hackathon. Originally, I was slated to code with a friend from Hackbright and two women who are graduate students in CS at a local college. However, once I saw the classes being offered I really wanted to take the classes; plus, our group had not done any planning for the hackathon. Thankfully, there were two girls who wanted to join our team, so my change of mind worked out as the maximum team size was five.

The first class was how to make an iPhone app using Swift.  We made a very simple timer app:

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The next class involved using Firebase to set up a simple database that stores speaker names, titles of speeches and links to online videos for interesting online videos. I have never used Firebase before but it was easy to set up and use, and unlike PostGres, does not require any knowledge of SQL. We wrote a series of JavaScript functions (and used the JQuery library) to interact with the database and manipulate the DOM, along with a short HTML file for the front end display; we used the Firebase console to see the actual data in the database and set privacy settings. I cannot wait to play with this database more!

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Then, I went to a class on building a personal website. The model website that we were building was quite impressive. While we did not get to finish the website, I learned about new HTML elements, and also about animations, using CSS and JavaScript.

The final class was about wearables! I was so excited to finally play with hardware, which I had never done before because I was scared it was complex and dangerous – electricity and tools can harm. Thankfully, the instructor was patient, well-prepared and worked with us, such that we all felt confident in trying. We used conductive thread and sewed an LED onto a felt patch, which was powered by a battery. Since I stayed late, I also got a SquareWear  microcontroller board, which can be used to connect a wearable to a computer. Then, using Ardunio, it can be programmed to perform certain tasks. The whole thing was eye-opening and I want to play with this more too!


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