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What Makes a Good Hack?

What Makes a Good Hack?

Day Zero Introductory Hack talk. Presented at the .Astronomy8 Conference, 20th – 23rd June 2016, Pembroke College, University of Oxford, UK


Dr. Arna Karick

June 20, 2016


  1. Arna Karick @drarnakarick 8 What makes a good Hack? Lessons

    from .Astronomy and Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK)
  2. 8 a "hack" is a small project that solves one

    problem, designed and executed as quickly as possible… But it’s not all about being able to write code well… Can be technical, artistic, web-based. (It can be utterly bonkers, e.g. a play) What is a “hack"?
  3. 8 The “hack day” is all about collaborative ideas and

    being creative. The best hack days have a diverse mix of people… Hack Day
  4. 8 Tips for hack day… 1. Decide on a hack

    project or decide who you want to work with 2. You don’t have to pitch a hack idea. Contribute to others 3. Don’t be afraid to tell people what you can (or can’t) do 4. Don’t dwell on what you can’t do 5. Love thy neighbour: you might be the person they need to solve their problem, and vice versa 6. Ask everyone…. about everything, 7. Buddy up with dotastro veterans. They are your mentors. 8. But be selfish: work out what you want to get out of the day 9. Welcome newbies. Some people may float for a bit before settling. Use google docs or better still, pen and paper!
  5. 10. Planning and discussions should be pitched at the least

    experienced hacker. Be aware of the overwhelmed. 11. Keep hacks simple. Aim for something you can demonstrate 12. Use sticky notes, Slack & existing web tools 13. Ask other groups for suggestions when you get stuck 14. You don’t have to come up with a hack idea 15. Keep your eye on the prize! FAME & GLORY! 16. Embrace the silliness and have fun 8
  6. Favourite hack tools…

  7. Slack is *the* communications tool for hackathons. It’s the easiest

    way to share everything with your teams #awesomwhackproject. It’s channel based so you can stay connected with other hack projects and it integrates beautifully with loads of other tools The best bit… it’s private and archivable. Which means that (unlike Twitter) in 6-12 months time when you want to check on the progress of a hack you don’t have to filter the crap in your twitter feed… 8
  8. Trello boards

  9. LightTable & CodePen

  10. Plotly

  11. CartoDB & LeafletJS

  12. None