Technorati Hackathon reflections

Last night Technorati held a Hackathon at their new offices near SBC Park. There were about 30 people in attendance including the Technorati crew. Some remote users joined via IRC. Good pizza, the beer did not run out, and the salad was almost untouched. Thanks to Liz Westover for putting together the event. Dave and Tantek spoke about Technorati and its APIs. We went around the room and introduced ourselves and our interests related to Technorati and the hackathon. Ideas were thrown on the whiteboard but by the end of the introductions no one was interested in splitting up into groups and taking on an API project. Aaron Swartz created the best -and possibly the only – hack of the night by using the Python and the Technorati API to deliver a cosmos listing for each member of the United States House of Representatives and Senate. There were some issues about how to locate the best representation of that person’s cosmos since most sources would not point at the person’s official URL and there are name overlaps such as Adam Smith of Washington. Micah Sifry offered money for the development of the political hack and it was a successful strategy. I spent some time editing the Technorati API, attention.xml, and XOXO docs. Talked with Kevin Marks about some possible changes to the Technorati user experience and pitched allowing an expanded user profile. I also edited the Hackathon wiki to include as much data from the night as I could. I started working on a Java implimentation of the new attention.xml storage API. Around 1 a.m. I packed up and went home. I am unsure if the event was a success for Technorati. Dave must have been disappointed by the lack of hacking. I learned some things about Technorati.
  1. Once you claim a weblog you need to leave the claim code on your site to keep the claim.
  2. Technorati’s API includes outbound links. You can pass a weblog’s URL and see all of the sources linked by that person.
I like the new Technorati offices. Better location and not as much empty space compared to their old office. You attract better people when you are less than a block from a bookstore. [Update: Dave thinks the event was a success and wants to start having Saturday hackathons once a month at Technorati.]
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