Rochester Civic App Challenge

by Lance Laughlin

In lieu of our Advanced FOSS class we went to the Rochester Civic App Challenge press conference held at The MAGIC Center. If you’re not sure what the RCAC is check this out: http://foss.rit.edu/rcmac. Essentially, it’s a 60 day challenge in which members of the Rochester community hack on apps that are civic in nature. The challenge requirements in general are pretty vague and for a good reason: rules hinder creativity.

The press conference went pretty well and had a decent showing. A large portion of the audience were students from the Advanced FOSS class which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many of these students will be participants in the challenge so their presence helps give the organizers a good idea of the type of people who will be competing. I want to use the word competing lightly here. Yes, this is a competition; however, like most things FOSS I truly believe that most of the participants are very pumped to see what their “competitors” come up with..though the prize money certainly adds a touch of competitiveness to the equation.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure if I’ll be competing in the challenge myself due to the massive amount of work I have going on at the moment. This includes both my school work, my on-campus job for Just Press Play, freelance work and preparing for the career fair and entering the real world in a few short months. I’ll likely take advantage of the 24-hour hackathon kick-off though to work on some of my school work and try to lend a hand to anyone that may need it. I’m really looking forward to seeing the type of project ideas people come up with and the data sets that are used. It will be interesting to see how people tackle problems that we face in both government and as Rochester citizens.

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