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Chi Hack Night: 2016 Year In Review

Chi Hack Night: 2016 Year In Review

Dec 31, 2016 by Derek Eder

49 events. 33 presentations. 27 blog posts. 2 open data pledges 58 video presentations. And much more! This is the Chi Hack Night 2016 Year in Review!

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Recap: The Holiday Party Hacktacular Lightning Talks

Recap: The Holiday Party Hacktacular Lightning Talks

Dec 20, 2016 by Derek Eder

On December 13th 2016, Chi Hack Night hosted our last event of the year: The Chi Hack Night Holiday Party Hacktacular. Eight members of the Chi Hack Night community shared their own story or insight about civics, society and technology. The major themes this time around were the needs, tactics and benefits of inclusion, perspective on our community’s role in society, and the responsibilities that we have as users of data.

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Lightning Talks 3: Call for Speakers

Lightning Talks 3: Call for Speakers

Dec 2, 2016 by Derek Eder

Lightning Talks return for our last Chi Hack Night of the year! Do you have an interesting or funny story to tell about civics, society and/or technology? Want to show off that awesome project you’ve been working on? Now’s your chance to tell it to the world!

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Post-election community feedback results

Post-election community feedback results

Nov 26, 2016 by Derek Eder

On November 15, 2016, Chi Hack Night held a post-election community feedback session. It was our largest Chi Hack Night ever with over 165 attendees. Read through the full results and see how our community is planning to adapt to America’s new political reality.

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Chi Hack Night at Transparency Camp 2016

Chi Hack Night at Transparency Camp 2016

Oct 28, 2016 by Derek Eder

Oct 14-15, 2016 was Transparency Camp in Cleveland, Ohio - and Chi Hack Night was there to represent Chicago! As advocates of transparency and open government, it’s only natural that members of Chi Hack Night decided to attend. With Cleveland a 5-6 hour drive away, we decided to make a road trip out of it! We rented a van and hit the road.

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The U.S. Government Accountability Office at Chi Hack Night

The U.S. Government Accountability Office at Chi Hack Night

Sep 16, 2016 by Steven Vance

On Tuesday, September 13th 2016, three analysts from the United States Government Accountability Office presented at Chi Hack Night to describe the data-intensive nature of their work assessing our federal government’s efficiency to a crowd of over 100 people. Presenters Rebecca Abela, Silvia Ellis, and Joanie Lofgren all work in the GAO’s Chicago office, one of 11 offices across the country.

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High school students are joining Chi Hack Night to train in user experience & design

High school students are joining Chi Hack Night to train in user experience & design

Aug 26, 2016 by Eve Tulbert

This Fall, Mikva Challenge and Mumkin Studio will partner to kick-off a program for teen user experience design interns at Chi Hack Night. Four Chicago Public High School students will work with Chi Hack Night during the fall quarter. They’ll design, implement, and evaluate user experience for two Chi Hack Night projects.

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Petcokealerts.org: Simple tools supporting big objectives

Petcokealerts.org: Simple tools supporting big objectives

Aug 5, 2016 by Ben Wilhelm

Petcokealerts.org supports advocacy groups on the southeast side in their fight against an environmental injustice.

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Some of you do not really love women

Some of you do not really love women

Jul 28, 2016 by Kristi Leach

There is a lot of talk at Chi Hack Night right now about being inclusive. Truly including people means learning to appreciate the things they enjoy, the ways they express themselves, their style. If you don’t like the way women sound and socialize and approach professional life, maybe you…don’t really like women.

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July 19 lightning talks: empathy, inclusion and progress

July 19 lightning talks: empathy, inclusion and progress

Jul 21, 2016 by Derek Eder

On July 19th 2016, we heard from 9 members of Chi Hack Night on the projects they’ve worked on and the lessons they’ve learned from our community. Though there was no defined theme or coordination among the presenters, all 9 talks ended up focusing on the topics of empathy, inclusion and progress.

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Help us pass Chicago’s new recycling ordinance!

Help us pass Chicago’s new recycling ordinance!

Jul 15, 2016 by Claire Micklin

After the launch of My Building Doesn’t Recycle, an improved recycling ordinance is up for debate in Chicago City Council on July 18th. Help get it passed by contacting your Alderman!

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Lightning Talks Return!

Lightning Talks Return!

Jul 5, 2016 by Derek Eder

Based on the success of the lightning talks we did for our 200th episode, we’re giving it another go on July 19th! Do you have an interesting or funny story to tell about Chi Hack Night? Want to show off that awesome civic project you’ve been working on? Now’s your chance to tell it to the world!

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Taking Predictive Analytics to the Beach

Taking Predictive Analytics to the Beach

Jun 23, 2016 by Sean Thornton

Chicago is piloting an analytical model to enhance its Park District’s regular beach water quality inspection process. The model, which was built entirely by a team of volunteers from Chicago’s civic tech community, aims to predict which beaches may need to close based on likely E. Coli contamination.

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Chi Safe Path

Chi Safe Path

Jun 3, 2016 by Steve Luker

Chicago has some extremely treacherous sidewalks, curbs and cross ways that have the potential of doing great bodily injury to those with disabilities. To help with this problem, Steven Luker submitted an app to the Center for Neighborhood Technology Urban Sustainability App Competition this weekend to allow users to report, see, and route around bad sidewalks.

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Mysterious Disappearances

Mysterious Disappearances

May 19, 2016 by Joel Inwood

It was a dark and stormy night. As I trudged through the downpour on the old steel bridge across the Chicago River, I was excited that we had finally reached a breakthrough. For months we had been developing the perfect formula, better than any government or nonprofit throughout the land, for using public data to rate nursing homes.

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Tales from #200

Tales from #200

Apr 15, 2016 by Derek Eder

April 12th, 2016 marked our 200th Chi Hack Night! From our humble beginnings on March 22nd, 2012 as 4 nerds sitting around a table eating macaroni, to this week with 130 people from across the city from all manner of backgrounds, skillsets and neighborhoods, we have come a long, long way. Here’s what happened at Chi Hack Night 200.

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#200 Celebration: A place to learn and grow civic tech leadership

#200 Celebration: A place to learn and grow civic tech leadership

Apr 12, 2016 by Christopher Whitaker

In both his State of the Union and his remarks at #SXSW, Chicagoan and President Barack Obama stated that the most important office in a democracy was that of the Office of the Citizen. At Chi Hack Night, we’re privileged to be part of an active movement of people getting engaged in their communities through the use of technology.

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#200 Celebration: Why I Attend Chicago Hack Night Events

#200 Celebration: Why I Attend Chicago Hack Night Events

Apr 11, 2016 by Daniel Bassill

I’ve been attending Chicago Hack Night events for at least 2 years and I’m writing this article to help celebrate their 200th weekly gathering. This image is from May 29, 2016, where the Heartland Alliance presented information. You can see me in the middle, sitting by the wall. That’s my usual spot. Helps me see better.

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#200 Celebration: Becoming a Runner-Up in a Hackathon (without writing a single line of code)

#200 Celebration: Becoming a Runner-Up in a Hackathon (without writing a single line of code)

Apr 10, 2016 by Audrey Henderson

It was September 2012, and I was reading a description for the Reinventing Chicago event at CNT (Center for Neighborhood Technology) the following month. The cost was $100, which isn’t a huge amount of money, but not exactly pocket change, at least not for me. But just as I was about to enter my payment information, I noticed that hackathon participants could attend for free. Even though I had no idea what a hackathon was, I figured, it was a weekend. How bad could it be?

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#200 Celebration: Why I Come to Chi Hack Night

#200 Celebration: Why I Come to Chi Hack Night

Apr 9, 2016 by Emily Drevets

I don’t code or design or project manage or map. I am a writer. And an improviser. And sometimes a marketer. And I read a lot of books. Despite that, I have felt so welcome. More importantly, I’ve realized how every problem is interdisciplinary and we need everyone on board—everyone from all backgrounds— to solve them.

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#200 Celebration: Congratulations from Cook County Government!

#200 Celebration: Congratulations from Cook County Government!

Apr 8, 2016 by Simona Rollinson

Simona Rollinson, Cook County’s Chief Information Officer, offers her congratulations to Chi Hack Night and the broader civic tech ecosystem in Cook County. In addition to providing data and information, she hopes to strengthen the fabric of this community. A strong civic tech community is a public asset.

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Chi Hack Night #200: Call for speakers and writers

Chi Hack Night #200: Call for speakers and writers

Mar 25, 2016 by Derek Eder

April 12, 2016 will mark the 200th episode of Chi Hack Night. To celebrate this day, we want to hear from you, the members of Chi Hack Night, about what you’ve done with or learned from this group. You can participate in two ways: by doing a lightning talk or writing a blog post.

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So you built an app, now what? Guerilla marketing protips for civic tech apps

So you built an app, now what? Guerilla marketing protips for civic tech apps

Mar 4, 2016 by Joel Inwood , Vinesh Kannan

On Feb 23rd 2016, Joel Inwood hosted a one-time breakout session at Chi Hack Night to discuss lean and feedback-centric methods of promoting your civic app. Three participants had their own project that needed some exposure, each of which is described below in the form of a case study that may provide some inspiration. We have generalized some guerilla marketing methods at the end that you should be able to apply to your own project.

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Chi Hack Night

Chi Hack Night's Open Data Pledge for Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court

Feb 16, 2016 by Derek Eder

With the initial success of our open data pledge for Cook County State’s Attorney, Chi Hack Night is turning our attention to another important county race. We’re inviting every candidate for Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court to sign a pledge to, if elected, commit their office to publish open data.

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Chi Hack Night

Chi Hack Night's Open Data Pledge for Cook County State’s Attorney

Feb 12, 2016 by Derek Eder

Chi Hack Night is inviting every candidate for the Cook County State’s Attorney to sign a pledge to, if elected, commit their office to publish open data and attend Chi Hack Night on Feb 23rd, 2016.

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Adrienne Alexander tells Chi Hack Night what she does as a union lobbyist

Adrienne Alexander tells Chi Hack Night what she does as a union lobbyist

Feb 3, 2016 by Steven Vance

Adrienne Alexander came to Chi Hack Night last night to tell us about her experience as a lobbyist working for the state’s largest public employees union.

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Freedom of Information and Laquan McDonald

Freedom of Information and Laquan McDonald

Jan 19, 2016 by Steven Vance

The story of how the Laquan McDonald video got released thanks to one curious journalist and the Freedom of Information Act.

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Chi Hack Night: 2015 Year in Review

Chi Hack Night: 2015 Year in Review

Dec 22, 2015 by Derek Eder , Christopher Whitaker

It’s the end of the year, and time to reflect on all the amazing things we accomplished in 2015 at the Chi Hack Night, Chicago’s place to build, share and learn about civic tech. Our community has never been as large, as diverse, as engaged and as productive as it is now. We have a lot to be proud of.

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10 lessons from organizing the Chi Hack Night

10 lessons from organizing the Chi Hack Night

Nov 23, 2015 by Derek Eder

The Chi Hack Night has been referenced as the largest, most successful and productive civic hacking community around. This post is my first attempt at synthesizing and sharing our organizing model, starting with 10 lessons we’ve learned over the years.

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The inside track on how Aldertrack works

The inside track on how Aldertrack works

Oct 24, 2015 by Steven Vance

Mike Fourcher, founder of Aldertrack, and perpetual “news startup antagonist” (okay, I don’t remember the actual adjective he used), joined his colleague Claudia Morell, a reporter, and us at ChiHackNight on Tuesday night to explain how Aldertrack works.

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The labor required to keep civic apps alive

The labor required to keep civic apps alive

Oct 9, 2015 by Derek Eder

The CPS Tiers map doesn’t update automagically. I volunteer my time to keep it accurate and up to date, and it’s worth doing.

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311 is back in the spotlight after 3 years

311 is back in the spotlight after 3 years

Oct 8, 2015 by Steven Vance

Last week, for budget “season” in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed privatizing the 311 system – where citizens and aldermen request services from any city department, and citizens get information about city services – as a way to pay for the technology upgrade the system desperately needs.

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Meet Team #ChiHackNight at the Code for America Summit

Meet Team #ChiHackNight at the Code for America Summit

Sep 28, 2015 by Christopher Whitaker

The Chi Hack Night will be sending 13 members of our community to the Code for America Summit September 30th - October 2nd, 2015. We had everyone who went answer a few questions about themselves and what they’re looking forward to at this year’s Summit. We can’t wait to meet everyone there!

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Results of our community feedback session

Results of our community feedback session

Sep 23, 2015 by Derek Eder

Yesterday, the Chi Hack Night had our first ever community feedback session. The Chi Hack Night has grown and changed a lot over the last 3 ½ years, and we wanted to take the time and hear from everyone on how it’s going, and how we can make it better. To handle our large group (there were about 70 people in attendance), we broke out into four groups, led by Genevieve Nielsen, Rose Afriyie, Cathy Deng and Karl Fogel, to provide feedback on four topics.

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Why the Slow Roll Chicago working group uses GitHub to collaborate

Why the Slow Roll Chicago working group uses GitHub to collaborate

May 25, 2015 by Steven Vance

Email wasn’t just limiting our discussion quality and member inclusion, it was also limiting file storage, file sharing, and file versioning (which file is the latest?). Email has tended to demand a lot of attention, and there’s a lot of wasted time typing responses. I wanted to use a tool that didn’t have such demands, and that helped organize responses into actionable requests and delegation.

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Introducing Chi Hack Night

Introducing Chi Hack Night

May 12, 2015 by Derek Eder

I’m happy to announce the new name and logo for our event. Since we started 3 years and 155 events ago, our event has grown into a community all it’s own. We emerged out of the Open Government movement here in Chicago, and have become something much more. We’re not just about Open Gov anymore. We’re about Chicago.

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How Data Can Advance Economic Justice

How Data Can Advance Economic Justice

Jan 27, 2015 by Katie Buitrago

At Woodstock Institute, our mission is to advance economic justice, particularly for low-wealth communities and communities of color. To move towards this goal, we prepare data concerning economic justice and empower others to use and understand it. As our national partners at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition say, data drive the movement.

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Mob Programming as an Open Door to Learning to Program

Mob Programming as an Open Door to Learning to Program

Jan 15, 2015 by Nick Mader

The flourishing of the Civic Tech movement has brought techies and citizens together, using technology to make cities more transparent and better coordinated. The movement’s strength and joy is its diversity - Chicago’s Open Gov Hack Night attracts a wide range of talents and interests each week, from web designers to database managers, data scientists, designers, business intelligence professionals, journalists, government representatives, social science researchers, non-profits and community organizers.

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Open Gov Hack Night: 2014 Year in Review

Open Gov Hack Night: 2014 Year in Review

Jan 6, 2015 by Derek Eder

The Open Gov Hack Night is Chicago’s weekly event to build, share, and learn about civic tech. And, boy, was it ever a place to do just that in 2014. Looking back over the last calendar year, we did a lot - too much to recount in one blog post. But I can hit the highlights!

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Open Source, Closed Data

Open Source, Closed Data

Dec 20, 2014 by Hunter Owens

One problem organizations have faced in the past when opening up their data is that, well, the data has to remain closed. For example, data with either HIPAA or FERPA provisions is pretty much stuck in a closed state. Furthermore, many organizations are reluctant to open up certain datasets. However, all hope is not lost - this post will advance the idea of Open Source, Closed Data and present several implementation strategies.

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An Intro to Web Scraping with Python

An Intro to Web Scraping with Python

Nov 26, 2014 by Zaynaib Giwa

Web scraping is the task of extracting data from a website. It’s a nifty skill in any technologist’s toolkit because interesting data isn’t always accessible via an API or in a table/csv - sometimes, interesting data is just sitting on a webpage.

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Introducing Civic Tech Voices

Introducing Civic Tech Voices

Nov 24, 2014 by Cathy Deng

Nowadays, more and more folks are paying attention to civic tech, seeing potential at the intersection of civics & all things digital. Civic Tech Voices is a collaborative blogging experiment, of sorts, with the goal of amplifying more diverse perspectives & stories in civic tech.

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