networks to restore connectivity in an emergency or process
UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) imagery. FEMA awarded
the team "Break Glass" (that created the family
communication plan app) the FEMA prize, noting the
accessibility of information and ability to contact others in
The Random Hacks of Kindness first prize was given to
"I'm OK" as an excellent tool to alert others about their
present condition. The students from the University of
Colorado took second place with "Tweak the Tweet." Other
groups got honorable mentions, and everyone was thanked
for their contribution. The awards centered around
communication problems because of the need for the
reliable spread of information when traditional methods
may not be reliable or accessible.
With so many unique and easily implementable ideas,
Random Hacks of Kindness was definitely a success. Many
engineers and developers enjoyed having the opportunity to
hang out and talk about their favorite subjects, while they
helped the future victims and survivors of natural disasters.
This one conference was not the only event at Hacker Dojo
that weekend, however.
In the next room, hackers were busy making music
with their special analog synthesizers. They ranged from
extremely complex, taking up a whole corner of the room
to relatively small, almost handheld versions.
The goal of these inventions was to demonstrate sound
creation with analog wires and circuitry instead of the
digital products that are the mainstay of modern sound
recording and playback. Along with the musical appeal
comes the challenge and fun in making mechanical devices
that control and operate the sound creation.
Seeing the inner workings of the machines in front of
you instead of behind layers of plastic cases (like most
devices today) showcased the ingenuity of the creators.
There were approximately 20 unique devices illustrating
many different ways of creating musical sounds.
Charles Merriam, the coordinator of the analog
synthesizers event, was impressed by the quality of the
machines produced. He asserted that "America's hobbies
are better than most country's industries," highlighting the
excellence of each synthesizer and how advanced it was.
With these two adjacent rooms — both exhibiting the
technical and creative talent of many individuals and groups
— Hacker Dojo provided an excellent space for people of
like-minds to congregate. One room emanated pulsating
sounds while the other explored methods of saving people
While these two events were unique, events just like
them take place at Hacker Dojo frequently. The downtime
between conferences is perhaps even more interesting, as
members are able to use the space to hash out new ideas,
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