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Hack and Tell Round 21 Wrapup.

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Subject: Round 21: We had a hunch

Hello Hackers-

Thanks to ebay/hunch/svpply for hosting us! The beer was a plenty, and the pizza too. Be sure to bid on tickets to the next Hack and Tell!

A sad note...

This month we lost a great member of the hacker community, Aaron Swartz. Among his (long) list of accomplishments are co-author of the RSS1.0 spec, web.py, early redditor (e.g. co-founder-ish), early contributions to markdown, Open Library, SOPA/PIPA activist and founder of Demand Progress. I'm sure the list would have continued to grow and grow and grow.

As Aaron was a huge supporter of the EFF, we asked you all to donate $5 in his name. I made a donation on behalf of Hack and Tell today for $170. Thanks to everyone who contributed!

Volkan Unsal is putting together a memorial hackathon to help carry the torch. It's happening at NYC Resistor on February 3rd. Sign Up

Even another fun way to spend some time...

Assuming you've read the document linked to in the last wrap up, you should basically be an expert on LISP 1.5. With a bit of luck, you've taken the definition presented on page 13 and mastered the art of the interpreter. Why not use this new found knowledge and enter in the PLT Games? May the conses be ever in your favor.

Projects Presented (in random-pseudo order[0])

Andrew Kelley

One theme of Round 21 was "cheating." Although, it is often harder (and more fun) to cheat than to play the game legally. Andrew dreams of making a self-aware Minecraft bot, and with Ray Kurzweil having seemingly endless resources being now at Google, we'd predict that Andrew's goal will be realized at the same time the Singularity happens--any day now.

Marianne Bellotti

We learned from Marianne that Tuesday is the proper time to post to Hacker News. Maybe one of you can post this wrap up then? [ Marianne was scheduled to present in Round 19, but was victim to the only snow storm of 2012 in NYC worth mentioning--Ed ]

Aditya Mukerjee

Aditya is using Racket to create higher order music. It's a little fuzzy to this organizer's untrained music brain,
but, if you look at it in terms of programming languages, it's just a monoid in the category of Bach endofunctors.

Frank Jania

You might not believe it, but the Hack and Tell organizers aren't famous, or rich. In fact, you might describe us as "broke" until we sell out for millions--any day now. We're not sure we'd use "broke" to describe it, but connotatr tells us that "broke" is seemingly more "temporary" than "poor", so we'll settle for it.

Chris Kairalla

I'll just leave this here...

Ricky Chang

Playing word games online is tough. It's easy to cheat and even easier to do so without disclosure. Ricky's Letterpress Bot fixes the disclosure part. How? Well, you interact with it via Twitter! While you can't tell your opponent, "I just thought of 'terpsichorean'

Dan Foreman-Mackey

We bet you often ask your colleagues, "What the fuck is for lunch?" But, no more! Dan has single-handedly obsoleted those discussions with math. Take that, history!

Jay Goel

Jay sported his newly improved LED strip suit jacket for us, and showed us some stuff he's put together using a Raspberry Pi, and an ATtiny85. To some it sounded somewhat superfluous [ as if most Hack and Tell projects weren't--Ed ], but others brought forth even more superfluous ideas to go along with it.

The jacket and blinky lights are of course hooked up to twitter, so the possibilities are pretty much endless.

Jacek Grebski

This organizer didn't know whether to laugh or cry about Jacek's project. On the one hand, it struck a chord--thinking back to our early college days gathered around a tiny monitor thinking, "how the hell is this girl a 7?"

Announcements and Things to Watch out for...

Round 22 - Coming Soon

We're always looking for spaces, even though February has a promising spot. If you're willing to host, get in touch!

Hack and Tell in other cities

  1. Berlin, Germany (very active)
  2. San Francisco / Bay Area (recently active again)
  3. Singapore
  4. Melbourne, Austrailia

Check out http://hackandtell.org for links, and expect a new hackandtell.org any year now!

Link to fun times

Chris Kairalla setup a Hack and Tell subreddit! Feel free to join and share your interesting bits, but play by the rules.

Final thought...

Nerds, geeks, etc (basically, our people) commonly suffer from depression. If that's you, please seek help, be it from a friend, a therapist, a support group. Talk to someone, and get help, please.

Happy hacking,

Andrew and James

[0]: We generated random bits by using von Neumann coin unbiasing: von Neumann, John (1951). "Various techniques used in connection with random digits". National Bureau of Standards Applied Math Series 12: 36.

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