SRDC NEWS

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News STORY


PROGRAMING WITH FRIENDS

SUMMERSIDE – When Michael Easter left P.E.I. to work in the computer technology field he never dreamed he’d ever come back. How could a little, out of the way, province that relied on traditional industries ever hold a future for a kid who craved all things tech, he wondered. Well, fate ended up having a laugh at Easter, because he recently moved his family back home to P.E.I. and has a job, in his field and that he loves, in Charlottetown.

“Right around the Vancouver Olympics … the homesickness was more than I could bear and I decided to move back home,” said Easter, who works for ScreenScape. “And I was delighted to find that there was actually some employers and a community (here) that is of the same ilk as what I had in the U.S.,” he said.

He’s not the only person with a story like that. He said, there are some world-class people now working in the technology field here on P.E.I. So in the hopes of strengthening that community, Easter and some of his colleagues and friends, who call themselves P.E.I. Hacks, are organizing an event called a “hack-a-thon.” These are people who “like to get together and talk about all things geek,” he said. The event is Aug. 24 at the Holman Centre in Summersid eand starts at 10 a.m. It’s open to the public – but computer novices might want to sit this one out.

A hackathon is basically a day where people who write software for a living, or who are involved in the software industry, get together and practice their craft, explained Steven Baker, who recently moved to Summerside from B.C. and runs his company, Malleable Software Inc. from here. Everyone will sit in a big room for a day, drink lots of coffee, teach each other new skills and maybe even try writing a software program or two.

“As software becomes an ever increasing part of our day-to-day lives – we have to make sure we’re staying on top of it,” said Baker. At the start of the day people will throw an idea for software out to their group, he explained; the group will then basically start laying the groundwork for its creation.

Hackathons are becoming a popular social event for people involved in the software and computer industry, said Easter, so the local community thought it would be a good idea to get the ball rolling here. “We’re doing it mostly because we’re passionate about technology and we want to bolster and unify the local tech community around the Island,” he said. “Really, the end goal is just the networking opportunity and the chance just to work with new people – and possibly, if we get the right data, to solve real problems,” he said.

For full details on the hackathon, check out the group’s event page at www.peihacks.eventbrite.ca. Photo: Steven Baker, a software programmer living in Summerside, works during a visit to a local coffee shop. Baker is part of a group of local "techies" who are organizing a "hackathon" in Summerside.

Colin.MacLean@JournalPioneer.com