3 cool projects demoed at OpenHack DC - Technical.ly DC

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Oct. 3, 2016 11:23 am

3 cool projects demoed at OpenHack DC

Share your own passion project at the next meetup on Oct. 10 at Cvent's headquarters in Tysons Corner.
Michael Stemle says engineers shouldn’t be shy about sharing their ideas.

Michael Stemle says engineers shouldn't be shy about sharing their ideas.

(Photo by Flickr user Kian McKellar, used under a Creative Commons license)

Frustrated by what he saw as the lack of opportunities for coders to share hobby projects, software engineer Michael Stemle Jr. decided to help organize the OpenHack DC meetup.

“Everybody’s got these neat projects they’re working on, but they’ve got no one to show it to,” Stemle, 34, told us over the phone. “I want to help the folks I work with see the value that a tech community brings.”

OpenHack meets monthly in NoVa and encourages coding discussions and project presentations. When asked what kind of coding is preferred, Stemle replied, “Everything.”

The group’s next meeting is a hackathon on Monday, Oct. 10. at Cvent’s office in Tysons Corner.

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Stemle shared several of the projects presented so far at the meetup:

  • A routing emulation network website. The site taught users how to exploit and protect vulnerabilities.
  • A bilingual Computer Science tutoring website. Designed by a Saudi Arabian exchange student, Stemle said OpenHack helped her code the right/left text alignment from Arabic-English translation.
  • An iPad app for an art museum. Stemle said it was created for the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town, Alexandria.

Stemle said he’s gotten helpful feedback from OpenHack members on Pather, the iOS app he’s been developing over the past seven years.  

“A lot of folks are self-conscious,” he said. “But not every idea is great. And a lot of ideas that are great didn’t start that way.”

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When asked his age, Michael Stemle, Jr. told us, “I’m three kids old.”

When asked his age, Michael Stemle, Jr. told us, “I’m three kids old.” (Courtesy photo)

With a background full of revisions, Stemle knows a thing or two about having to adapt your visions.

Coding with his dad since he was seven years old in Illinois, Stemle got his first programming contract when he was 16. He later moved to Chicago in 2008, but after being laid off several times he decided to move back home and study computer science at a community college, Parkland College. Only he didn’t graduate because a former employer offered him his job back.

Along the way, Stemle was introduced to the Perl user community. The frequent meetings and energy around events like the annual DC-Balitmore Perl Workshop inspired him want to start his own group.

Today Stemle works as a principal software engineer at event-managing software developer Cvent, where he’s worked for the past 18 months. He lives in Arlington with his partner and three kids.

Cvent, which sponsors the meetup, also supplies the space, the snacks, and any equipment OpenHack needs because the company recognize hacking is essential for any programmer developing new ideas.

“People who draw? They sketch first,” Stemle said. “People who program? They hack.”

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