Code For Oakland 2012 Final Demo and Award Ceremony

On Sept 27 we’ll be holding the “Final Demo and Award’ ceremony for 2012′s edition of the Code For Oakland Hackathon. At this event see final demos of the winning apps along with the formal award presentations.Afterwards there will be time to nosh, share libations and discuss what worked well, and what didn’t work so well at this years event. We’ll even start  talking about what changes might be made for next years event. That’s right, this is an annual event !!!!



When - Thursday Sept 27 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Where - Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 4

and you can register here in advance


Cheers, and I hope to see you there

Code for Oakland Participants See Program Expand in Light of Successes

This year’s winners of the Youth prize came from the Mosswood Recreation Center. As a result of this prize, among other success, their City of Oakland program will expand with more after-school technology and computer science classes. Dan Finlay is seeking talented instructors to join their team “with the goal of reducing drop-out rates, and increasing college acceptance and scholarship rates.” He explains:

For about the last year, I’ve been teaching computer classes for the City of Oakland.  I started with basic game-programming using Scratch to 7-12 year olds, then moved up to teaching more advanced Flash game design using Stencyl to 10-13 year olds,  and my programs were so popular and effective, I was brought under a new grant to teach more useful life-skills to “at risk of dropping out” high schoolers, and we’ve had a great summer learning HTML, CSS, and some Javascript and jQuery for the more advanced students.

If you or anyone you know might be a good fit for teaching tech-related skills in an after-school program starting in January, send them over to this blog post, where Dan covers all the nitty-gritty details:

An Opportunity For You?
I’m looking for computer-savvy and talented instructors for a variety of subjects that could potentially be taught as soon as January 1, 2013.  These positions would hypothetically be paid between $18-$20/hr, for a few hours per class, each weekly.  I’m currently interested in a wide variety of topics, but am also open to arguments in favor of certain core topics being taught over others.

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:

Building Our Civic Web- Hackathon on July 21!

Come out for the 2nd annual Code for Oakland: Building Our Civic Web;  a month-long series of focused discussions and events that culminate in a one-day hackathon at the Henry J Kaiser Center!
Join Oakland’s community of civically engaged developers, coders, designers, entrepreneurs and innovators as we re-imagine ways in which collaboration and technology can help shape, grow, and sustain the healthy future of our City.
The focus of this year’s hackathon is on: building apps, hacking public data and building tools to support economic development in Oakland, improve civic engagement, improve digital education and literacy in our residents and provide tools to attract and sustain local business in the town.
Do you have ideas about how technology could help address these issues, but don’t consider yourself a techie? Come to one of these upcoming listening sessions to share your ideas, brainstorm community needs and help shape what is built at the hackathon. We want to hear from small business owners, community activists, teachers, city staff, nonprofit leaders and people from across the city- your ideas may just spark a great new app or tool to make positive change in our city!
On July 21, the second annual Code For Oakland event is happening at the Kaiser center.
Code for Oakland brings together members of the technology/software development community
with other Oaklanders for a “hackathon,” where ideas and/or apps (software applications)
will be discussed and developed.


To prepare for this event we are holding 4 community listening sessions where community members
technical and non-technical alike, can get together and discuss community needs and ideas for apps,
and or other techie projects which might be interesting to focus on during the event.
Code for Oakland is about having fun through building apps that our community needs and wants.
So get your ideas heard and come to one of the listening sessions held over the next six weeks.

Not technical ? Doesn’t matter, we want to hear from you. Don’t have time ?
Don’t worry you can post your ideas here  or at one of the locations below,
just look for our poster and stick your idea on it.

West Oakland Library –June 26th 5:30 – 6:30

Mosswood Recreation Center – July 11th 5:30 -6:30

Downtown Library – July 12th 5:30 – 7:30

81st Avenue Library – July 17th 5:30-6:30

Come win prize money for your ideas!

What will happen at the event?

This will be a day of talking, brainstorming, planning and hacking. We will:

Show and share the great apps built last year, and to discuss how we can sustain and scale their use in our city

Build connections between potential collaborators who want to build useful apps for local people and need to fill out their team/skills

Encourage the exchange of experiences, expertise and ideas between those involved in leading open government data initiatives around the East Bay and nearby.

Build & Hack new apps, tools and solutions driven by real needs and problems in our city

Celebrate we’ll end the event with a happy hour at a nearby watering hole to network, share and relax.

Engage On Sunday we will have some team events to get even more involved- stay tuned as we develop some ultra geeky but ultra fun events for everyone! Hint- Max Ogden and Matt Senate are conspiring…

Sustain We will be providing a light breakfast, plenty of caffiene and a great lunch and plenty of snacks.

** If you really would like to participate but can’t part with $15 please contact us, we’ll get you taken care of. We want you there!

Can I propose a new app or need?

Yes, we will be holding city and community listening sessions ahead of the event to solicit ideas and to uncover pain points in local government that we can build solutions for. There will be a pitch session early in the day to get ideas from everyone attending. These sessions will be listed here soon!

Get connected early: #CodeforOakland

Who’s behind the event?

Code for Oakland: A one day hackathon was conceived of and is being organized by a committee of Oakland-based business, city staff, developers and community based organizations. Those groups planning the event include

  • The City of Oakland
  • Oakland Local
  • Code for America
  • Lake Merritt / Downtown Business Association
  • Tech Liminal
  • Urban Strategies Council
  • more organizations are joining each month!

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).

After party!

After Hackathon prizes are awarded, join us for the Code for Oakland after party. It will start around 7-7:30 at:

1644 Telegraph, Oakland

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