Posts Tagged boston

Boston Music Hack Day is in the can.

I’ve almost recovered from the Boston Music Hack Day.  Here’s a retrospective of posts, tweets video and images about the event.  First, lots of people have written about their experiences at the hack day. Here’s a sampling:

Some Videos:

Ian Hogarth from Songkick:

Bodega Girls at the Echo Nestival

Photos:

Click for slide show

Lots of friendly tweets too.

 

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Things I learned about organizing a hack day

Boston Music Hack Day is in the can.  I learned a lot over the last few days about what happens when you have 200+ programmers gather for a weekend.  Here’s some of the things I want to remember for next time:

  • Plan for no-shows – when the event is free,  there will be some people who sign up, but then, for whatever reason will not show up.  We had lots of people on the waiting list that could have attended if we had anticipated the no-shows.

     

    No-shows should be sitting in these empty seats

  • Buy Less Food – When people are up all night coding, they tend to skip breakfast.  We had breakfast for 250 on Sunday, we probably only needed breakfast for 100.
  • Late-night hacking with beer and music can be quite productive

     

    Late-night hacking at the Hack Nest

  • Have dueling projectors – when you have 35 demos to show, plug in time can add a half hour to a 2 hour demo session.  (By the way, thanks to the good Samaritan ubergeek who volunteered to help the presenters get the video (someone tell me who it was)).
  • Work with awesome people – Working Jon and Dave was great,  but there was also an incredible behind-the-scenes team making the Hack Day possible.  We had an awesome set of volunteers who gave their weekend to making the hack day possible.  Here are some of them:

See the guy in the back with the cap? That’s Matthew Santiago – he was a non-stop hack day machine – from moving food for 300, organizing registration,  handling and chauffeuring  the Echo Nestival talent. He worked from 7AM Saturday morning to 7PM Sunday evening with about an hour of sleep.

The secret weapon of the hack day was Elissa – Director of Stuff at the Echo Nest- she managed so many details  from booking the Echo Nestival, renting vans, carting food, finding volunteers, photoshopping badges, getting tee-shirts made, dealing  with press, photographers,  CEOs, and Founders, ordering tables and chairs for the Hack nest,  wrangling sponsors, picking  menus, ordering food,   getting swag, making extra bathroom keys, hand delivering the excess food to the local homeless shelter and so much more.  Elissa quietly managed all of the big and little details that I never would have thought of.   If you attended the hack day, be sure to give her some twitter love.

I learned a lot over the weekend about events and organizing.  I hope I get to be involved in more hack days in the future so I can use my new knowledge.

Photos by Dave Haynes

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Boston Music Hack Day

Boston at dawn -ready for the hack day

Breakfast at the music hack day

Hardware hacking at the Boston Music Hack Day

Hardcore hacking at the Boston Music Hack day

The two faces of music discovery

Turning an altoids can into a musical instrumentation

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The Echo Nest workshop at Music Hack Day

I’ll be giving a workshop on the Echo Nest API at the Boston Music Hack Day.  Here are the slides – but you should really come to the workshop if you can – the slides don’t have all the music, video or presenter awesomeness that you’ll get at the live workshop. Hope to see you there.

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The most music tech ever squeezed into 1 weekend

Workshops! The core activity for the music hack day weekend is hacking.  But before we dive into the hard core hacking the weekend starts with a set of music tech workshops where hackers can learn about the latest in music technologies – it’s a way for the hacker to add more tools to their toolbox.   On Saturday morning we will be conducting  around 25 workshops running in 5 sessions of 5 parallel tracks.  Anyone interested in the music+technology space will likely find something interesting – music recommendation, concert/event data,  music meta-data, iPhone programming, electronic instrument construction,  Playdar, NPR – everything from how to author a song for the Rock Band Network to the Yahoo! query language.   If you are going to the Hack Day, you may want to do a little bit of planning to help you decide which of the workshops you’ll want to attend, so check out the workshop schedule.

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Music Hack Day T-shirt

Ben Lacker shows off the Boston Music Hack day tee-shirt – hot off the loom.

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Getting Ready for Boston Music Hack Day

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Boston Music Hack Day starts in exactly 10 days.  At the Hack day you’ll have about 24 hours of hacking time to build something really cool.   If you are going to the Hack Day you will want to maximize your hacking time, so here are a few tips to help you get ready.

  • Come with an idea or two but be flexible – one of the really neat bits about the Music Hack Day is working with someone that you’ve never met before. So have a few ideas in your back pocket, but keep your ears open on Saturday morning for people who are doing interesting things, introduce yourself and maybe you’ve made a team.  At previous hack days all the best hacks seem to be team efforts.  If you have an idea that you’d like some help on, or if you are just looking for someone to collaborate with, check out and/or post to the Music Hack Day Ideas Wiki.
  • Prep your APIs – there  are a number of  APIs that you might want to use to create your hack. Before you get to the Hack Day you might want to take a look at the APIs, figure out which ones you might want to use- and get ready to use them.  For instance, if you want to build music exploration and discovery tools or apps that remix music, you might be interested in the Echo Nest APIs.   To get a head start for the hack day before you get there you should register for an API Key,  browse the API documentation then check out our resources page for code examples and to find a client library in your favorite language.
  • Decide if you would like to win a prize – Of course the prime motivation is for hacking is the joy of building something really neat – but there will be some prizes awarded to the best hacks.  Some of the prizes are general prizes – but some are category prizes (‘best iPhone /  iPod hacks’) and some are company-specific prizes (best application that uses the Echo Nest APIs).  If you are shooting for a specific prize make sure you know what the conditions for the prize are.  (I have my eye on the Ultra 24 workstation and display, graciously donated by my Alma Mata).

To get the hack day jucies flowing check out this nifty slide deck on Music Hackday created by Henrik Berggren:

 

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