Hackathon Chicago, Nov 10-12, 2006
Hackathon-Attendees-HOWTO: Revision 16

Hackathon-Attendees' HOWTO

This document is an attempt to gather suggestions and recommendations so that people coming to their first Hackathon so can more easily hit the ground running and have a better Hackathon experience in general.

A fair number of the Chicago Hackathon participants were attending their first such event. While hopefully everyone had a good time and felt like their appearance was worthwhile, the impression I got was that a lot of folks could have had an easier time 'getting started', as it were.

Whether you're a hardened Hackathoner or someone who just attended your first Perl Foundation event, you surely have some tidbit of advice to share. Please contribute freely and edit ruthlessly.

Pre-Hackathon preparation

  • Pick a project that looks interesting and check it out.
    • better yet, pick a few.
    • but please come even if you don't have time
  • once you find something you like, try to suss out who'll be working on it
  • if you're travelling and comfortable with the idea, consider finding out who else is going from your area.

Stuff to bring

  • Laptop: Obviously, you'll want a computer to work on, and a laptop is most convenient for this sort of thing -- not only because it's easy to bring to the Hackathon, but because it lets you easily move around and join the impromptu sessions that tend to spring up around the pool or in the hotel lobby. A desktop could probably be made to work, though, so long as you're willing to lug it back and forth from your room each day, and as long as it has...
  • WiFi: most hotels these days provide internet connectivity only in wireless form. While there'll certainly be someone around who's nice enough to share an ethernet port, if you can manage to get a hold of a WiFi adapter your networking will be much more convenient.
  • Miscellaneous things: Think it might be useful? Bring it along! At Chicago, we had more than enough networking and power cables, but more never hurts. Other things that turned out to be useful were networking gear and spare laptop power adapters. Things we missed included a projector and a proper bottle opener.
  • Your comfy coding clothes: If you'd rather lounge around in slippers and pyjama pants than shoes and khakis, by all means bring them. I left my favourite fuzzy blue socks at home, then felt a bit foolish when the guy across the room was coding in pink monkey banana pyjamas.


  • Geeky shirt: If you own a shirt that says !#/usr/bin/perl, consider travelling to the Hackathon in something

At the Hackathon

  • don't be afraid to ask questions

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