Developers, enthusiasts, friends, and the desire to see ideas come to life. Oh, and meat. So much meat.
There are hackathons, backyard get togethers, developer summits, and programming sessions for beginners all over the world, all the time. Some of them are fantastic, but none of them are all of these things at once. It's one of the things that has always made the annual Big Android BBQ event in Texas so special, and these new one-day events the IDEAA team has started over the past year exist as unique micro-scale versions of these events. This past weekend, Old Town Alexandria, Va played host to the first east coast version of these smaller events, the Big Android Meat and Greet.
Describing an event like this is no easy feat. The day started off with a couple of small presentations from Facebook, KiddoEMR, and Cyanogen, all discussing their individual goals as well as the programming challenges that were on the big "Code Kitchen" menu board for the day. From 10am to 3pm, the US Patent and Trademark office in Alexandria became a full fledged hackathon, with well over a dozen unique challenges across multiple platforms. Prizes ranges from gift cards and hoodies to Nexus Players and Nvidia SHIELD units, with participants ranging wildly in age and skill level.
The second half of the day was essentially a big party. Home made BBQ was served just after the Code Kitchen ended, and then it was time to leave. The event staff loaded everyone on buses and delivered us to a large riverboat, complete with bartenders on each floor and plenty of people to talk to. It's an important part of the event in its own right, as it takes the otherwise hardworking developers and enthusiasts out of a work mode and forces everyone to be social. Within the hour, the boat was loud with music and laughter, and a quick glance at the social networks after the event shows a whole lot of new friends were made.