NUS Hackers: News, Plans, and Events For The New Semester

Posted on by ejames

Hello and welcome to the 2011/2012 academic year! I come bearing news of NUS Hackers’s plans for the new semester, along with details of a new membership structure.

Anyway, let’s get down to business:

There are two kinds of events we’ll be holding in the new semester: i) weekly meetings, called Friday Hacks, and ii) larger, one-off events, like workshops and talks. But before that: let’s talk about the welcome tea.

Welcome Tea

NUS Hackers will have its welcome tea two Fridays from now, on the 2nd of September. There are still a couple of things we would have to confirm, but here are the details:
Date: 2nd September 2011 Time: 6.30pm to 8.30-ish pm. Venue: School of Computing COM1 SR3 [COM1/212]. Agenda: We want to keep this to about an hour. Alumni will be speaking, the current president will explain some administrative stuff, and then we'll all break for talking, free pizza and drinks.

Friday Hacks

Every Friday from here on to the Reading Week we will have regular meetings called Friday Hacks, from 7pm to 10pm. The idea behind these meetings are two-fold:
  1. We get together and code. The emphasis here being that you must code. It could be anything - be it an OSS contribution, or a personal project, or even homework, but we plan for this to be the weekly gathering point for all members of NUS Hackers. Occasionally we plan to have people come over to give informal tech talks (say, a 1-hour introduction to NOSQL, for instance).
  2. These meetings would be the main focus for our community building efforts. The coreteam will have inclusive discussions and announce news during the meetings themselves. We also encourage teaming up on random projects, asking for questions/help, and looking over people's shoulders to learn new things.
We held a dry-run last Friday, and while there may still be some kinks to work on, we are going to have a Friday Hacks session this coming Friday. Details:
Date and Time: 26 August, 7pm-10pm (you may leave anytime, but be there at the beginning)
Location: University Town Mac Commons, Meeting Room 01-05D (watch this post, or subscribe to our mailing list for possible changes to venue)
Bring: A computer and earphones. Also: a sweater (in case we decided to switch to one of those bloody cold Tembusu learning lobe rooms)
Agenda: Some announcements at the start, followed by programming shortly after. We encourage teaming up and/or asking for help from participants!
Two more things: 1) Check the calendar on our Events page for future Friday Hacks, this will be constantly updated to reflect venue and times of all our future events. 2) There will be free drinks at future Friday Hacks. Because we're awesome that way.

Membership Structure

Both the Friday Hacks and the Welcome Tea will touch on the next big thing this semester: we are finally introducing a formal membership structure for NUS Hackers. Details are as follows:
  • The main meetup for NUS Hackers members will be the Friday Hacks
  • Perks: members get priority registration for our events; also, if we charge for our events, members will get to pay a cheaper fee
  • All existing members of the mailing list who are also NUS students are immediately members.
  • We are to maintain a list of members, their emails, contact information, year, etc.
  • Members who are dedicated may be upgraded into the coreteam, using the same informal process that we are currently using. Note: this approach may not scale, but the coreteam has agreed that it works for the time being, while we focus on getting our community-building efforts off the ground.
  • We have four non-guaranteed exco accommodation slots, and ten non-guaranteed member accommodation slots under the new RHAPS system. Details for allocation of these slots will be made public during the Welcome Tea.


There are a couple or large-ish workshops that we plan to do this semester. More details as we finalize things with the respective speakers, but here's a rough sketch:
  • A series of 3 Python programming workshops, designed to teach non-programmers from scratch, by the Singapore Python User Group. Over the past two weeks, two members from the Coreteam have been helping out as facilitators at LadyPy - a series of Python programming workshops for women, held at NTU. We are currently working to bring the same series of workshops to the NUS studentry. Status: confirmed, but details not confirmed (it may be for women-only, like at NTU).
  • 2-4 workshops in the same vein as the Hack Workshop Series last year. Potential speakers and topics include open source contributing, Agile Software Development (possibly by Pivotal Labs), and UNIX know-how. Status: still in the planning stages; one or two workshops confirmed.

Other Activities

We are building a cluster this semester, for fun (and, well, to learn). This project will be under the direction of coreteam member Shan. We currently have a number of donated computers from a High School, transported with help from, lying around in our clubroom, and awaiting eager volunteers.

Geekcamp 2011 - this year's Geekcamp 2011 would be held tentatively on the 1st of October, at Microsoft. NUS Hackers will be attending, and we intend to help source student speakers from NUS, as well as running publicity to the campus crowd.

Software Freedom Day 2011 - as is tradition, members of the coreteam will help man a booth at this year's Software Freedom Day, to be held on the 17th of September at the National Library.

There are still one or two more activities that I cannot yet announce as they are still in the planning stages. But I hope you're as excited by this line-up as we are, and I hope to see you (and your friends!) as we begin executing on these activities throughout the new semester.

So, ACTIONABLE ITEMS: if you'd like to start hacking right away, please join us this Friday at UTown. (During the last session some of us messed around with XKCD's CLI), otherwise, if you'd like to see what we're about first, please come to our Welcome Tea the Friday after.

We're looking forward to meeting you!

Yours, Cedric (along with the rest of the coreteam) NUS Hackers, 2011

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