On the morning of Friday the 25th of September the Dogsbody Technology team set out for the weekend, heading to London for the 7th annual Over The Air event. Over The Air is a combination of a hack day, workshops and talks, giving people the chance to make awesome stuff and learn new things whilst doing it.
Dan (our boss) has attended for the last 5 years, and this year he recommended that we all go along and get in on the fun. We’re always looking to expand and grow our knowledge of anything and everything technology related, and we figured there is no better place than a hackathon! It’s always a good thing to hang out with our fellow geeks, which there was certainly no shortage of, to see what everyone is working on and what they’ve been getting up to.
Friday morning consisted of getting to the venue (St. John’s Hoxton), pitching our tents, grabbing as much free loot as possible (my laptop is now covered in stickers…) and listening to the intro and keynote speeches. The keynote was very interesting with Howard Baker telling us about the BBC’s development of the micro:bit, and making us all very jealous of the year 7 students who will be getting one for free!
Over the rest of Friday and Saturday, we all headed off to see some very interesting talks given by some very clever people! From HTML5 to Lego robots, and the Internet of Things to Smart cities, there was just so much to learn. We couldn’t possibly mention all of these talks, so here are each of our favourites…
Alex – The future of mobile identity with Fabric and Digits by Andy Piper -“An independent authentication service that allows people who are new to the internet to have an identity online. It’s completely free and works with 860 mobile operators in countries all over the world. It can even work out where the user is based and send them messages in the correct language!” You can read more about Twitter digits here.
Rob – How To Get New Characters Into Unicode by Terrence Eden – “Because it showcased that something that we take for granted is so complicated, but also very open and community driven” You can read more about Terrence’s efforts here.
Dan – Introduction to the Digital Catapult & our Weightless-N project with Camdenby by Peter Karney – “This new technology gives us the opportunity to put a sensor ~10KM away from a base-station, run it with a 9v battery for up to 7 years, and have it report almost live data. This has massive potential for use with the internet of things…” You can read more about Weightless-N technology here and see the slides from the talk here.
Gary – Ethical design by Laura Kalbag – “With so much data being collected about all of us everyday by so many different entities, this session posed some seriously thought provoking questions on how we can make privacy and security a reality for everyone, and not just the people with technical know-how.” You can see the slides from the talk here.
Whilst all of these talks were happening, people were hacking away on their entries for the hack day contest. I can genuinely say I’ve never seen such clever things made by so few people in so little time. There were some truly awesome entries in each and every category, meaning there wasn’t a dull moment when it came round to the hack day show & tell. Though I can’t say I’m surprised, given the prizes that were up for grabs. None of the Dogsbody team got round to submitting a hack, so we have nothing to show off. However, you should definitely go and check out all of the categories and prizes that were on offer.
Until Next Time…
To quote Margaret Gold, one of the fantastic organisers of this years Over The Air; “and that’s a wrap!” We’ll (hopefully) be back next year for another 36 hours of awesome code and fantastic discussions. If you see us, come and say hey!
Photo credit to Benjamin Ellis