Code for Oakland 2012: “Most diverse hackathon ever”

As one of the founders of Code for Oakland, and a member of the committee that planned the event that just happened on July 21st, seeing posts like this one: “Code For Oakland: The Most Diverse Hackathon Ever” | Mitchell Kapor Foundation Weblog  and this one: Code For Oakland: The Most Diverse Hackathon Ever - Forbes me happy beyond measure.
I moved to Oakland in 2008, after a short start-up stint in Boulder and many years in Silicon Valley, and immediately started to wonder where the tech community was, how we could build more tech community and why a city like Oakland with good infrastructure and cheap commercial real estate didn’t have more of a start-up scene.
Fast forward 4 years and we’ve got alot more traction on all these issues—but we need to keep hammering on diversity and opportunity for everyone—and not re-create the old school view of what an entrepreneur, programmer, coder, or product developer is (and you probably know exactly what I am talking about.)
So we’re looking for ways to keep Code for Oakland going, and expand and build on it and get more partners and supporters. We’re also sharing our process with people from other cities who have made inquiries—if you’d like to do a civic hackathon a la CFO in your city—let us know.
Some photos from the event here:

Volunteer for Code for Oakland 2012-Come to a mixer, May 29 & learn more

Are you a programmer, coder, mobile developer, engineer, product manage, UI/UX designer, or some other kind of techie? If the answer is yes, and you’d like to get involved in this year’s Code for Oakland, the Oakland and East Bay-focused  hackathon scheduled for July 21st right here in Oakland at the Kaiser Center near the lake, please come to the first Volunteer Mixer where you can meet and join the core Code for Oakland team and help make something really cool happen.

We’re looking for volunteers for the following teams:

Data catalog: Help pull together date developers can use to build apps for Oakland. We’re working with both local state, city, and county data and national data sets that have local value.
Team leads: Steve Spiker, Urban Strategies, Nicole Neditch, City of Oakland

Logistics and day of: Who, what, when, where, wires and wireless-this critical team makes sure we have a space, volunteers to check people in, food, drinks and a nice after party-and maybe some cool t-shirts? If you’re good at getting things done, we could use your help.
Team Lead: Anca Mosoiu

Marketing and promotion: We want everyone to know about the Hackday and the programs we’re putting on July 21st, so folks with skills in marketing, social media promotion and event management are needed.
Team lead: Krys Freeman

Outreach & Community: The focus may be tech, but the problems we want to solve are those many in Oakland experience. Help plan and present some listening sessions and events that empower community members to share ideas for apps to build.
Team leads: Paul Richardson, Matt Senate

Programming: What’s on the agenda day of? Who are the judges, speakers, presenters as we kick off our hack day-and what’s the format for those who wish to attend to learn, not to code? Help plan a great program.
Team lead: Susan Mernit

Sponsorships: Want to help make sure this event-and the prizes for developers who build products-gets funded? Join the Sponsorship team to help make the costs balance out.
Team lead: Deb Acosta

Sustainability: How do we make sure we USE what our hack teams build-and how do we help these teams finish what they start? This is a critical question-and one we hope everyone who works on Code for Oakland and has an interest can help address-just let us know you’d like to be involved.

We have about 2 months till the event. We’ll be meeting every two weeks for an hour in the evening, and working virtually through tools like Google Docs, Basecamp and possibly a wiki to coordinate.

If you’d like to participate, RSVP to our invite and come to our Volunteer Mixer at TechLiminal to sign up for a team to work with.

The deets

May 29, Tech Liminal, 6-8 PM
268 14 Street, Oakland, CA 94612

Code for Oakland team wins third prize in national FCC/Knight Foundation Apps4Communities competition

Last April, Last April, Knight Foundation and the Federal Communications Commission challenged developers and citizens from across the country to develop apps that deliver personalized, actionable information for the Apps for Communities Challenge. The prizes? $100,00 and more for live, shipped apps entered into the contest.

Fast-forward10 months and 70 submitted apps to December 15, 2011, when the winners were announced. The 3rd prize winner, Txt2wrk, is an Oakland-based team that was awarded both the $10,000 third prize and a $5,000 additional prize for best use of SMS. The team, comprised of Oakland residents David Chiu,Elise Ackerman, Roger Ly, and Lawson Kight, met at the Code for Oakland event organized by Oakland Local, InOak, and Urban Strategies Council, with support from The City of Oakland, the Lake Merritt/Downtown Business Improvement district, and a host of local supporters, including The Ramsell Corporation, Pandora, Mozilla, Skytide, Tumis Design, Full Court Press, Winning Strategies, ODALC, Arctice Fox Hosting and more.

Txt2wrk is an SMS and feature phone based app that connects job seekers and employers by providing text-to-speech delivery of job postings on any mobile phone. Job seekers receive text message alerts of new job postings, listen to job descriptions, and submit job applications, 24-hours a day, all without a connection to the internet.

Txt2wrk is compatible with any mobile phone, ensuring job seekers with low literacy and limited access to broadband have equal access to public and private job resources offered by local workforce development and social service agencies. The target audience is parolees, homeless, and others without regular access to computers.

The complete team for Txt2wrk is Tanja Altamurto, Jonathan Chan, Dave Chiu, Patrick Crawford, Lawson Kight, Roger Ly, Allison McKeever and Alex Tam. Members of the team received their award at the Andreessen Horowitz Offices in Silicon Valley yesterday.

Photos from Code for Oakland

Posts about Saturday’s wonderful hack day and all the apps folks built and the discussions we had are going up later today, but no reason to hold back from sharing the photos Howard Dyckoff took of the day, and a link to Steve Spiker’s cool photos as well.


Code for Oakland 2011: The winners’ list

What am amazing day! Over 102 people registered, 85+ showed up despite rain,  and so many good things came out of the first Code for Oakland, including new APIs and datasets (see, native Oaklanders blending with techies from across the Bay,  lots of discussion and hacking to build Oakland-focused mobile apps for the FCC/Knight competition, and a resolve to keep the energy going (more on that to come).

Here’s the list of the winners-

$1500    Ramsell prize:Txt2work, mobile app to allow re-entering prisoners and parolees to search and apply for jobs via their feature phone. Team led by Elise Ackerman and David Chiu.

$500      Ramsell prize for youth,: BettaStop (@BettaSTOP), SMS app to allow commenting on quality of bus rides on ACTransit in Oakland. Team led by Krys Freeman (@bLaKtivist).

$1000    Mozilla prize: Redirectory, platform for allowing mobile feature phone, web and smart phone access to local social services data, focus particularly on parolee and reentry data. Team led by Randall Leeds.

$1000    Pandora prize: OakWatch, mobile/web project to allow real time neighborhood reporting via mobile systems. Team lead by Robbie Trencheny.

$500      Urban Strategies Council–for work with Re-entry Data API prize: Redirectory, platform for allowing mobile feature phone, web and smart phone access to local social services data, focus particularly on parolee and reentry data. Team led by Randall Leeds.

$500      City of Oakland, for work with Oakland files prize: OaklandPM, schema to use social sharing and city & OUSD calendar information to build a mobile tool to let teens find out what after-school activities are available and which friends are going. Team led by Jed Parsons.

$250      Full Court Communications prize: Contxt, mobile service focuses on SMS text messaging: broadcast messaging to community organizers. Team led by Tim Sheiner.

$250      Full Court Communications prize:  Oakland Food Finder, mobile/web service for allowing Oakland low-income shoppers (and others) to  find out where healthy foods are available in their area and for food supplies (farmers markets, etc.) to broadcast what they have available. Team led by Michael Bernstein.

plus  an in-kind prize from Citizen Space, 3 months of workspace( worth $1350)-to be share by the winners.

Prize winners ($500 and over) sign a contract to launch their app and enter it in Apps4Communites and get the check when that happens (deadline for competition is July 11).

Thank yous and credits

About to head over to Code for Oakland. Wanted to share a first list of some of the hard-working committee members who have made this happen. There have been lots of people involved, many behind the scenes-so if I’ve left you off this list, please let me know and I can correct it.

Meanwhile, big thanks go to…Continue Reading

Calling the hashtag

Calling  #code4oakland as #hashtag  for todays event!

Code for Oakland- Stipends and prize money-almost $6,000 worth


Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we have $5,500 in stipends and prize money promised to developers who present their projects and are awarded contracts by our panel of judges on behalf of CFO. Here’s the breakdown:

$1500    Ramsell prize

$500      Ramsell prize for youth

$1000    Mozilla

$1000    Pandora

$500      Urban Strategies Council-for work with Re-entry Data API

$500      City of Oakland, for work with Oakland files

$250      Full Court Communications

$250      Full Court Communications

plus  an in-kind prize from Citizen Space, 3 months of workspace( worth $1350)

This is SO amazing!

Code for Oakland: What’s the schedule?

Code for Oakland is a combination unconference/bar camp and a hackathon.  We recognize some people will be there to build apps and compete for stipends and prizes; other will be coming to get ideas, brainstorm, learn about data and perhaps find a team.  We’re structuring the day to accommodate both sets of people. Here’s what the basic schedule is going to look like:

8:30-9: breakfast, sign in-purchase the groovy t-shirts for $10 each
9:00-9:30: Welcome, overview, rules, process, thank yous to sponsors, coordinating team
9:30-10:15: Quick intros/pitches from attendees - putting hack team ideas up on charts (ideas will be numbered, with contact name)
10:15-10:45: Forming teams: Find people to hack with if that’s your prime focus for the day
10:45-11 Break, hackers go off to start coding

Branch conference for folks who are in unconference/brainstorming mode
11-11:15: Finalize unconference session lineup (Data reviews,
technology explanations)
11:15-12:15: unconf session  1
12:15-1:15: lunch for all
1:30-2:30: Unconf session 2

2:30-5pm: Everyone should be prototyping or wireframing their ideas by now
- Concurrently for those who want it:
- 3-4: Unconf session 3

4-4:30 Sign ups to schedule team presentations in auditorium for prizes/stipends competition

5-6pm: presentations

6-6:30: Judges deliberate, attendees debrief

6:30: prizes awarded

6:30-9 PM: Afterparty at Dogwood, 19th & Telegraph Avenue, Oakland

Check out Data 1.0-CFO’s evolving data catalog!

Napoleon famously said “An army marches on its stomach.”  When it comes to Gov 2.0-style bar camps and hack days like Code for Oakland, the saying could be ” The coders ride on the data.”

That said, one of the biggest and most exciting collaborative efforts of planning Code for Oakland was pulling a team together to make sure coders and developers had some idea of what data sources would be available for CFO attendees to us.  This data catalog, a meta-list of data from city, county, state, and national sources, would  be a starting point to access, research and download data to use in the apps people would build.

Only catch?  Well, not only didn’t we have a data catalog, in the case of the City of Oakland, we started with very little publicly available data.  However, over the past six weeks, thanks to the hard work of people on the data team for CFO-Steve Spiker and John Harvey from Urban Strategies Council, Michal Migurski from Stamen Design, Anca Moiscu from Tech Liminal,  Nicole Neditch from the City of Oakland, plus aid from Paul Richardson and Sian Morison, data has been identified, people have been mobilized, and all sorts of new data sets are going online and becoming available.

So, we’re heading into Code for Oakland, one week away, with a much fuller catalog of APIs, GIS files, CSV files and plain old Excel spreadsheets.  Many people across Oakland and beyond have pulled the data together, and there’s a strong interest in taking this early catalog and continuing it-and creating a server space where all of you who find and create data sets you would like to share, can upload and host them (talk to Anca and John Harvey about that).

Links to the data sets are on the data page-if you have data to add, please let us know ([email protected])

DATASF: help us by suggesting other data sets to look for!