HackTX is Underway



(Scroll down for updates)

425 hackers have filled the University of Texas at Austin’s Student Activity Center to code, hack and design their way into a new day, competing for over $10,000 in prizes.

They’ll race for second dinner(Schlotskys) at 11p.m., and snacks at midnight(Tiff’s Treats) Many will hit the 4 a.m. wall, but they will push on in a race to complete their hack before the 2 p.m. deadline

Mid-afternoon tomorrow they will present to a room full of their peers, with the best getting the chance to show off their work in front of all-star judges like Brett Hurt, Josh Baer, and Bob Metcalfe.

I will be liveblogging here all night, digging up the interesting stories, keeping you up to date on everything HackTX. If you catch a break and want to chat, ping me @davestanwick.

Music streaming via Turntable.fm – add songs, decide the next ones at: http://turntable.fm/hacktx2013_la
Twitter: #hacktx
Follow @techzette for the HackTX updates.

Update 1:02 a.m. After a laptop replacement, now live again. Two minutes ago, Tiff’s Treats arrived!

Update 4:54 a.m. The 4 a.m. wall hitting some hard.


Meet Some Students and Their Hacks


(6:03 a.m.)

Patrick Adiaheno, Juio Mandez and Sergio Escoto are working on Facebook CRM (name-in-progress), a way for companies to manage all customer communication in one place. With a facebook-like interface, their goal is to simplify the CRM on-boarding process, making it time-feasible for small company adoption.

The team first designed the user interface in Powerpoint and are writing it in python. Apiaheno said, “With not as many options, [Powerpoint] helps you focus on what matters most.” This is the first team I have seen designing in Powerpoint.


Jules Stuart and his team are connecting an arduino board with a quadcopter, providing improved stab-ability controls and, if time allows, remote controls via Playstation 3 controller.

7:00 a.m. 

30 minutes to bagels.

7 hours left to submit your hack.

7:33 a.m.


One of the more interesting hacks I’ve come across is focused on the room reservation problem found in libraries and co-working spaces. Steve Lyons explained that his hack, Alert Meet, uses motion sensing to let you know when a reserved room is in fact empty and available.

Lyons is connecting a Raspberry Pi to motion sensors, and placing mice into model rooms he built overnight; the demo presentation will be exciting.

8:14 a.m. 

Entering a zombie-state, awaiting the cure: bagels and coffee. Those around are either awake and completely in the zone or out cold.

9:57 a.m. 

Sun’s up and, despite the many empty chairs, hackers in the building are coming back to life.


12.30 p.m. An hour and a half out. Crunch time. Teams continue to push strongly, working to get their hacks in before the 2.p.m. deadline.

1:03 p.m. 56 minutes to submit your hack. Submit it on the Hacker League page. https://www.hackerleague.org/hackathons/hacktx

2:01 p.m. Submissions closed. First round of presentations beginning at 2:30 p.m.

Click here to see the the 2013 HackTX Winners and Finalists