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  • July 9th, 2013 Events Music Hack Day Coming to Toronto! By Paul Osman

    Toronto

    The first Music Hack Day — organized by our very own Dave Haynes — was held in July 2009 in London, UK. Since then there have been over 30 Music Hack Day events all over the world in cities like San Francisco, New York, Paris, Barcelona and Reykjavik.

    Music Hack Day events gather programmers, designers and artists to conceptualize, build and demo the future of music. Software, hardware, mobile, web, instruments, art — anything goes as long as it's music related.

    I'm happy to announce that SoundCloud is teaming up with Rdio, Unspace and The Echo Nest to organize the first ever Music Hack Day in Toronto. MHD Toronto happens on August 10th and 11th 2013.

    If you are a Toronto developer, designer, or artist, come out and join us for what is sure to be an amazing event.

    For more details and to register for the event, go to http://toronto.musichackday.org.

  • April 25th, 2013 Events Berlin Geekettes All-Women Hackathon Roundup By Amelie Anglade, Tiffany Conroy, Emily Green, Duana Stanley

    Late last year, six women crowded in to a Mitte cafe booth and listened to Berlin Geekettes founder Jess Erickson share her idea: Berlin’s first all-women hackathon. With SoundCloud’s Amelie Anglade the then newly-appointed the Berlin Geekettes Tech Ambassador, we agreed that it was a great idea to produce the hackathon as a partnership between the Geekettes and the women developers of SoundCloud.

    Duana discussing APIs

    Fast forward to the first weekend of March, when the vision became reality: after 24 hours of hacking, 80 women demoed 29 projects across a range of different platforms, from a belt transformed into a game controller to an app aimed to help toddlers learn to do everyday tasks.

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  • January 23rd, 2013 Events Hacking Ideas SoundCloud at PennApps By Paul Osman

    Last weekend, we sponsored and attended our first PennApps, the world's largest student run hackathon held at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Nearly 500 students participated from a variety of universities across the US and elsewhere. Students were given 36 hours to get into teams, hack on projects, then show them off to the judges. The results were astounding. In total, over 100 hacks were submitted. Here are some of my personal favourites.

    Giving my API Demo

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  • October 2nd, 2012 Events Story Hack Boston Recap By Paul Osman

    On Saturday, we hosted Story Hack Boston along with P2PU and Mashery at the MIT Media Lab. About 50 people from content and technical backgrounds joined us to create new story telling experiences. The crowd was pretty evenly split, which made for a lot of awesome collaboration.

    StoryHackers

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  • August 30th, 2012 Events Hacking Ideas How to Make a SoundCloud Powered Children's Toy By paulosman

    Just over a week ago we had our first internal hackathon at SoundCloud. You can read (and listen!) about it on our community blog or read some of the awesome press coverage the event received.

    Hacking

    We had over 60 people attend and over 20 projects were demoed. I joined a team organized by Josh Devins to build ToyBox, a children's toy that plays sounds from SoundCloud in response to physical events. The team consisted of myself, Horaci Cuevas, Josh Devins, and Oliver Hookins.

    The first task was to come up with a design for our project. An Arduino fitted with gyro, accelerometer and motion sensors provided the interface between real world events and the rest of the system. A Raspberry Pi would then run the following pieces of software:

    • toybox:downloader - The downloader polls a webapp for data about what sounds from SoundCloud should be played in response to certain events. In order to make the toy more responsive, toybox:downloader downloads the sounds from SoundCloud and stores them on disk (The Raspberry Pi's SD card).

    • toybox:playback - An asynchronous wrapper around mplayer.

    • toybox:serial - An app that listens for data on the Raspberry Pi's serial port. Event data from the Arduino is printed out on stdout for other processes to consume. toybox:serial also uses 0MQ to push event data to a web interface so you can monitor a toy's activity from a browser. The 0MQ consumer also responds to events by playing the appropriate sounds using toybox:playback.

    To provide an interface for toy owners to register a toy (id'd by the Raspberry Pi's MAC address) and associate SoundCloud sounds with events, we built a simple Sinatra application that we hosted on Heroku. toybox:webapp also provides a couple of endpoints that serve JSON describing what sounds should be played when for a particular toy. This provided the service endpoint needed by toybox:downloader.

    Knowing what needed to be built, we each started hacking on a piece. Horaci worked on toybox:serial, Oliver worked on toybox:downloader and toybox:playback and I worked on toybox:webapp. Josh focused on the Arduino soldering and coding and Oliver and Horaci helped get the Pi set up. You can see the Arduino code here.

    There was a bit of frantic integration work at the end, but it did all come together nicely. It was great to see sounds being played from SoundCloud whenever a button was pushed, or the toybox was shaken, tilted or spoken to.

    ToyBox

    Making it pretty is a job for another hackathon :-)