Things I Did In February

MHacks

MHacks was the seventh or eighth hackathon I’d been accepted to, but the first one I decided to attend.

My team developed a skill for the Amazon Echo. I didn’t let the two-day deadline get to me — I slept when I wanted to and stopped working when I wanted to — but part of me wanted to get this project (or at least, a functional version of it) up and working. It was frustrating most of the time because none of us had any hardware experience and because the development environment that Amazon provided was pretty bad (No. Version. Control.) but I liked working towards a goal, learning about something I was completely unfamiliar with, and having something to show for my efforts at the end.

I have no pictures of me at MHacks except the one in this article taken by a photographer who found us in a random corner of EECS at 3 am in the morning, and exclaimed, “Women in tech!”

And so we posed.

We were so surprised when we won best Healthcare Hack that we just sort of looked at each other, completely nonplussed, till the applause died down. Ha. I still feel like hackathons have some fundamental issues, so I’m not entirely sold on them.

Port Elgin

I visited my family in Port Elgin over Family Day and ‘twas fun because I ate legitimate homemade food, spend a few warm evenings chatting with them — something I really needed at the time — and watched an entire guilt-free season of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

Work

I started working on my own microservice at work. I was initially excited about working in Scala, and then I discovered the documentation for Scrooge and Finagle — or rather, its lack thereof and then everything went to hell. The fact that it was my first time working with RPCs did not help. I spent a little over a week trying to get things set up, but I’m up and running and having fun now!

WECode and Boston

At the end of the month, I flew to Boston for WECode. I spent all of Friday exploring Boston and ice skating and exploring the city. Saturday was mostly spent at the conference, at the old-timey, latiny, red-brick pretty Harvard campus.

Laura Butler from Microsoft spoke and informed us that as ladies, we must learn to Lean In and that Power Is Not Given It's Taken. Pooja Sankar from Piazza spoke and told us that introversion and success in tech are not mutually exclusive. She sat in front of me in the front row and smiled at me. I had no idea who she was until she was called up to speak.

COME BACK POOJA, I whisper-yelled, furious with myself.

She didn’t hear me.

My favourite part of WECode was the Technology for Social Good Panel. All four panelists could not stress enough how important it is to actually talk to the people who live in the societies that their product is geared towards. Zack Halloran from Ushahidi said, “As white, educated people, we instinctively think we know best. Squash that impulse and listen to these people.”

Hell. Yes.

The conference was entirely student run and managed pretty well. I saw Mark I! I met some fun people and ate some excellent seafood!

From the top of the Prudential Tower