Orcasound 2.0 launched via all-virtual hackathon

Thanks to multiple hall-of-fame Orcasound hackers joining forces with a few Orcasound Google Summer of Code students yesterday, we’re excited to start sharing a more-interactive user interface with you this month. In June, “Orca Month,” after a few more tweaks based on your on-going feedback, we’ll offer the opportunity to “listen for whales” to a broader audience of citizen scientists.

For the time being, let us know what you think of this first public draft of Orcasound 2.0 at https://live.orcasound.net/

We really appreciate the efforts of DemocracyLab to continue connecting good causes with tech talent during the Covid19 pandemic. Over the last year, they have been amazing at running ~monthly in-person events in Seattle or on the Microsoft campus in Redmond that have greatly benefited Orcasound’s open-source software development efforts. For the last two hackathons, they have made an impressive pivot to organizing all-virtual events. This weekend’s “Hack for your Mother” effort was a great success for us, not so much in recruiting new talent, but providing us with a great environment in which our team was able to collaborate from many geographic locations.

This virtual hackathon was special in that Orcasound contributors tuned in from not only Seattle, but India, Mexico, New York City, San Francisco, and San Juan Island! It was also a rare gathering of both the old guard (Ty, Paul, and Skander that built Orcasound 1.0 with 2017 Kickstarter support; Mike who led implementation of the 2.0 design in 2019) with a new guard (Brendan who has led v2.0 beta testing and UX research in 2020; and three talented students who applied to work with Orcasound via the 2020 Google Summer of Code program.

Special thanks to this impressive team of hackers:

  • Mike Castor (led 2.0 UI implementation in 2019, revisions this weekend)
  • Skander Mzali (in <2 hours, transitioned v2 UI to live.orcasound.net, and v1 to a new kiosk branch and Heroku instance)
  • Paul Cretu (led deployment of v2 UI, plus hacked Google Analytics event tracking withing Material UI elements)
  • Brendan Thatcher (informed critical revisions to v2 UI based on last 2 months of beta user research; led hackathon as Orcasound representative)
  • Tyler Crisafulli (helped prioritize UI revisions, including typography feedback)
  • Scott Veirs (deployment coordination & DNS adjustments)
  • Diego Roderiguez (accepted Orcasound GSoC student) got Elixir development environment working and hacked a version of the feedback form within a Material UI modal!
  • Kunal Mehta (accepted Orcasound GSoC student) telecommuted in from Mumbai, India, and worked on setting up Elixir development environment despite a power outage!
  • Val Veirs (Orcasound Lab hydrophone maintenance, single-handed during Covid19 isolation on San Juan Island)
  • Dhananjay Purohit (2020 Orcasound GSoc applicant) provided a pull request with javascript-based webhooks notification implementation, despite having audio and video upload bandwidth issues that limited him to texting!

More photos from Orcasound hackathons (shared Google album)

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