Hack Nights

New to Hack Night?
So you’ve probably heard about this event called “Hack Night”, where students interested in technology hang out and eat pizza. If you’ve never been to a hack night, this is the page for you.

This page provides some additional information that can help you navigate hack nights and the hacker group itself.

What does hack night involve? Do I need to “hack” on something?
Hack Night is an informal social event. It’s mostly an opportunity to hang out with other people around the RVC community who are interested in technology. Although many students use hack night to work on side projects (fueled by free pizza and soda), it is not a requirement.

Hey, isn’t hacking illegal? Is this a club for want-to-be criminals?
The original meaning of the term “hacker” is anyone who is passionate about a subject (typically computer programming or technology in general). Sadly, starting in the 1980s, it started to be used to refer to people who use technology for illegal purposes. However, “hacker” still has a positive connotation within the computing world.

To get a better sense of what the “hacker subculture” is really like, you may want to check out the following Wikipedia articles:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_(term)#Hacker_definition_controversy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_(programmer_subculture)

And, to be absolutely clear, hack@rvc (Rockford Ethical Hackers) is not involved, nor do we endorse, the use of technology for illegal purposes.

I don’t know anyone in the hacker group. What do I do when I get to hack night?
When you get to hack night, you’ll basically encounter a bunch of people sitting around working on their laptops and chatting amongst themselves. Don’t worry: at 6pm, we do “geek me” and go around the room to introduce ourselves. During “geek me”, people usually state their affiliation (current student, graduated students, etc.) and what they’re interested in. If you’re interested in learning about a new subject, or if you’re working on a particular project tonight, or even just your homework, just say so! There may be other people in the room with your same interests (or even working on the same homework assignment!)

Until “geek me” happen, feel free to come in, take a seat, check your e-mail, and hang out.

But I don’t know anything about technology!
That’s ok. We love newbies! In fact, there are many people in the group who will gladly answer any questions you may have about technology, computer programming, and just about any topic.

During hack night, you may want to seek out the friendly hackers who run our office hours. They are specially approachable, and will answer any questions you have about the group and about hack nights.

I’m actually hoping to connect with students to work with me on an awesome project.
Awesome projects are awesome! However, please understand that many people come to Hack Night to “hack in peace”. If you see someone immersed in thought or with her head buried in her laptop, please don’t disturb them to see if they’ll join your awesome project.

The best time to tell us about your awesome project is during introductions. If there are other people interested in your project, they will probably approach you.

I’ve actually been working on a project or learning about some new technology and I’d like to share the fruits of my labor with everyone!
Sharing knowledge is one of the cornerstones of hacker culture. Make sure you mention your project during introductions.

If you’d like to speak about your project at length, we also hold a few “demo hack nights” every year where we encourage students to do short demos of their projects. We do ask that you observe the following simple rules when demoing:

  • You have to show something you have built.
  • This is a demo, not a presentation.
  • You don’t need slides.
  • This is a demo, not a sales pitch.
  • Share something you’re passionate about, don’t try to sell us a product.
  • Demos should be around 5-10 minutes long.
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