First “Hardcore Hacknight”

Hack Factory hosted its first Hardcore Hacknight on March 22nd. This is a recurring event for software developers to mingle, share their projects, and collaborate. We had a packed room, definitely more than thirty people. The event brings an increased software presence to the space to complement Hack Factory’s abundance of physical wood/metal/electronics projects.

a full room
Part of the room at the first meeting of the hardcore hacknight

What We Worked On

The general format for the event is to get a group of interesting programmers together for pizza, beer, and pair programming. After eating and chatting, we go around the room and each person says briefly what they’re interested in working on, or things they want to learn.

There were lots of cool projects. We had Eric talking about generating Erlang from Idris, Ioannis showing some cool C-based X11/graphics demos, and Dave busting out a development environment totally inside a smartphone and doing M4 text processing. The room was full of conversations and lore about everything from BSDs to embedded devices.

coding on a smartphone
World’s smallest development machine

Team Rust commandeered a whole table. Boyd was going deep into writing algorithms in Rust without using any standard library functions, as low level as you can go.

rustlang strike force
“Team Rust.” People kept joining this table throughout the night.

There were quite a few people who either knew or wanted to learn about Haskell and functional programming. Darren was leading a table on some game design and I think doing it in Elm. Then there is Scott who has many years of experience with Common Lisp (even Maclisp, straight out of MIT), Racket, and Clojure.

We also had people exploring new computer interfaces, like Craig who does a cross between C++ development and fine arts. Or David who likes making music and has a project that maps syscalls into a complex chorus of sounds so you can hear your computer’s processing.

Ian and some conspirators were building a neural network from scratch, and struggling with the intracacies of backpropagation. And speaking of networks, Neil was distributing tasks between machines with ZeroMQ, experimenting with the ventillator pattern.

In addition to all the above, let’s not forget the intrepid beginners who showed up. As Alex, a code bootcamp student joked, “I’m understanding only about one out of every ten terms I’m hearing tonight, and it’s awesome!”

Join the Next Meeting

Our second meeting will be Thursday, April 26th at 6:00. If you’d like to attend please RSVP at the meetup page. The event is free, but we do ask attendees to bring a few bucks to chip in for food.

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