New England Give Camp 2011 Recap – “Code it Forward”

Over the first weekend in May I had the pleasure of joining more than 100 other volunteers to help ~29 non-profits with technical challenges in the 2nd annual New England Give Camp, held at the Microsoft NERD (New England Research and Development) Center in Cambridge, MA. The weekend started off Friday evening and went through Sunday afternoon where we all got to show off the fruits of our labor. The large range of projects included new logos for branding and social media, new websites, new website functionality for existing sites, a fabulous intro video, a cool new Android application, new database tools, etc. It was awesome to see the end products.

I had the pleasure of working on team with my teammates Brian and Molly, and with our client Joe. We also had invaluable assists from designers Nick and Brian. Our goal, put together a new site for, a non-profit aimed at helping consumers find reputable, local contractors to install solar panels, and educate those consumers on what’s involved with going solar, anything from whether their home would even benefit (It turns out this partially depends on the direction your roof faces), to what benefit they’d expect, to what incentives they can expect to receive from their state or municipality. Our client was full of enthusiasm, and the technology challenges were interesting. Our project ended up with these features:

  • A new WordPress website
  • A beautiful new logo and site header
  • A Google Fusion Tables map showing solar installations on a Google map, data coming from a spreadsheet
  • Subdomains that mapped to location specific versions of the map
  • A Bing Maps page that allowed a user to zoom in to an address entered into a form. – We didn’t finish this feature, which was supposed to zoom in on a person’s home. 😦

Considering we had less than 48 hours, I’m impressed with the amount of work we were able to accomplish. I would like to acknowledge the organizers of this event, especially Jim O’Neil and Kelley Muir. The incredible amount of time and effort they put into this event is just staggering to think about. They really took what they learned from the 2010 event and improved on every aspect of it, and I look forward to being involved in 2012 too. Of course, I have to thank my team. Brian, Molly, and Joe couldn’t have been more of a pleasure to work with. They were are wonderful. I’d also like to acknowledge the sponsors. There are too many to name, but I will recognize my own employer, Teradata, for supporting this for the 2nd year in a row. Thanks to the sponsors, we were well fed and had lots of technical resources. You rock!!!


P.S. If you sign up for the 2012 NEGiveCamp, you too can sleep in a tent on the floor at Microsoft (mine is the one in the foreground), meet new, interesting colleagues, watch newbie sailors from community boating capsize on the Charles river, root for you favorite crew team in the Sunday morning crew races visible from the riverside of the venue, or even escape for an afternoon constitutional on the campus of MIT (Saturday was an Open House). The weekend is made up of far more than heads down coding, and I recommend it to anyone in the web development field. And if you don’t live in/near New England, Give Camps are popping up everywhere:

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One Response to New England Give Camp 2011 Recap – “Code it Forward”

  1. Does this mean I can share your tent? I just bought one at a yard sale for next year.

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