Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bigas2Hack : The 2nd Bigas Hackathon for IRRI

Wazzup Pilipinas!

"This is one of noblest event in hackathon ever staged. In constant admiration to the Smart DevNet team and partners putting this together." - Diego Jose Ramos

The Bigas2Hack is the second Bigas Hackathon organized by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Smart Devnet. The hackathon seeks to develop technology that helps rice farmers and rice researchers to contribute to poverty reduction and food security.

The event was held again at the IRRI grounds in Laguna where several teams battled it out for the best rice-related program that can be very useful for IRRI and its goals.

"Bigas2Hack is the sequel to the 2012 BigasHack organized by IRRI and the Smart Developer Network. The aim is to attract apps and web developers from the Philippine developer community to the International Rice Research Institute at Los Baños, Laguna to develop tech-based solutions to agriculrural challenges. IRRI provides the venue, facilities, agri challenges, SMART Devnet manages the hackathon. At the end of the hack, teams are judged and winners will be chosen."

Congratulations to the winners, IRRI organizers and SmartDevNet for supporting great initiatives like this!
Bigas2Hack Winners!

Bring Your Own Idea Challenge:
Best Innovation App - GoRated, "Weather On the Go"
HarBest - "HarBest Deal", runner up for the Bring Your Own Idea Challenge.

Short Term challenges:
Best Farmer App - XtraRice Team - "Rice Calc"
Best Consumer App - LB Pips - Kiosk App"

Long Term Challenges:
Runner UP Research Optimization (Beras Challenge) - Team Hackalyst - "Oryza Online Model"
Best Research Optimization App (PhenotypicALL challenge) - Team Ani Mo - "Butil"

I was there last year during the first Bigas Hackathon covering for an online community blog but this time I'm now covering for my own Wazzup Pilipinas community blog.

A friend, who also partnered with the event, said he also made us media partners which was great news (we get to see our logo displayed in the event's promotional collateral - little things we appreciate for an effort or service that is freely offered).

Online promotion was actively planned on our part for the event and preparations were arranged and scheduled.  I invited three other correspondents to join me in covering the event. We blocked off or reserved the two dates (August 31 and September 1) for the Bigas2Hack event.

The IRRI Auditorium, located inside the IRRI Rice Museum, just like last year, was not full of participants but there were a total of 12 teams who competed. Each team was composed of at least two members.

 Last year's previous winners, the Philippine Robotics team (half of them since their original team was divided into two to qualify as separate teams), were there. We shared a transportation with them coming from Manila. It was great to see them again after a year. They even brought along a head of an Ironman improvised/customized suit that was equipped with robotics feature.

They told us they are building a complete version of the "Warmachine" suit for the cosplay competition Best of Anime 2013 event. Too bad I didn't saw them during the Best of Anime 2013 event. The cosplay competition was happening too late for me.

This year's grand winner for Bigas2Hack! 

They were obviously too tired from the two-day hackathon challenge. Thank you for allowing me to take a group photo.

The rest of the winners during the awarding of recognition and prizes are below.

The other winners pose for the camera. So sorry if there's this bald guy infront of the photos. I think he was doing a live video feed of the event with his Apple lappie. Resourcefulness or lack or resource?

Here are what seems to be the original teams taken from the Bigas2Hack Facebook Group page:

App Name: Visitors Kiosk App -
Team members: Raven Lagrimas and Paul W. Caceres

App Name: Oryza2kWeb
Description: A mission to webify that Oryza2000 crop modeling tool from [IRRI].
Team name: PUP Programming Guild
Team members: 

Mark Jayson Fuentes
Crisostomo Allan
Carl Europa Nombrado
Jeremiah Tabing

App Name: OryzaOnline (Beras Challenge)
Team Name: Hackalyst
Description: A web-based user interface for the Oryza 2000 command line-based software of IRRI
Team Members: Nehemiah L. Caballong, Henry DC. Cayaban, Steve Belarmino, Abraham Darius S. Llave

App Name: Butil
Description: An automated digital phenotyping system (PhenotypicALL Challenge)
Team Name: Team Ani Mo
Team Members: Briane Paul Samson, Ralph Vincent Regalado, Francis Lai, Enzo Enzo Hagad

App Name: HarBestDeal
Desription: The platform to establish communication and trading between farmers, traders and IRRI
Team Name: HarBest
Team members: Tito Mari Francis Escano, Nel F. Vergara

App Name: Weather On The Go
Description: A Real Time Node.js and MongoDb Web App to notify users of weather forecasts and changes via SMS and a Web App Module.
Team Name: GoRated
Team Members:
Patrick Ofilada
Eric Luciano
Gian Corleone

App Name: Gag@mba
Description: Trade-off Calculator
Team Name: codehard
Team Members:  

Jerry Tieng
Christian Aguila
Ronald Tagolino
Jethro Sunga Guce

App Name: RiceCalc
Description: Calculates the quantity of rice production
Team Name: xTraRice
Team Members:
Leandro Parmis
Diony Guillen
Alexander Delos Santos

App Name: Around the Rice World
Description: An application for the Rice World Museum visitors or to be visitors
Team Name: J2AE
Team Members:
Badiola, Mark Arvin
Manzala, Jason Bourne
Perez, John Louis
Yagaya, Elbert Philip

App Name: Snake eyes project
Description: Snake eyes project is an automated digital phenotyping system which involves a robot "snake eyes" which is programmed to take detailed images of plants following a regular schedule and path for phenotypical analysis. The image capturing can be done either remotely (supervised/controlled) or automatically (unsupervised). The images are automatically interpolated and matched based on height, volume, and leaf greenness and integrated to a secure database. Snake eyes operates through ultrasonic light sensors based on an adaptive system with an automated calculation capability specifically designed for phenotypical analysis. It is launched in a ubuntu server running tomcat, python and php.
Team Name: Maligaya team
Team Members: Loyd M. Ocampo and Elizabeth F. Milo

App Name : SalikSeeker and Where's My Rice Vendor 
Description: Leaf analysis and rice vendor seeker 

TeamName: CNRSys 
Team Members: Carl Alberto and Bryan Alberto 
Github: N/A 


It seems there was a great deal of miscommunication since our plans were abruptly changed due to reasons we find weird.

We couldn't be accommodated to cover the two-day event, and was only allowed to attend the second day (the only day dedicated for media). Unlike the first year where Smart generously provided transportation and accommodation for me, this time they had to let IRRI take care of our arrangements which was limited to the second day. Therefore, no special coverage for Bigas2Hack.

IRRI gave reasons that they lack the funds to provide accommodation for me and my team but it was disturbing to find out that there were attendees that were not part of the competing teams but where provided with accommodation.

The change of schedule also prompted changes in our coverage.

Bu what was so shocking was the fact that some of the IRRI staff there were surprised that I was not there during the first day of the event. They told me that they were expecting me just like last year. They also told me that there were plenty of rooms available.

They were also apologizing for the one who was assigned to handle media arrangements saying that it s because she was new to IRRI. Actually this was not the first time something like this happened. The first time, with regards to transportation arrangements for another event to be held at IRRI. Another IRRI staff made me realize that she was not that friendly and accommodating for little requests for the convenience of their invited guests.

Simple requests was not allowed by her but the other IRRI staff were doing otherwise for their media guests.

I really do not know what went wrong but I've learned a few things from all of this so called miscommunication. First lesson: you have to personally supervise and make arrangements. I know delegating tasks is a way to share responsibilities but you still need to verify if your team or designated contact person was able to deliver as expected. Second lesson : We're no VIPs who deserve special treatment even if we are the so-called media partner. Damn! It felt like we got slammed on the floor! That's the reason why this article is so late in coming out and so full of rants and disgusts.

But I was really pissed with what happen (or what didn't happen) at the Bigas2Hack event but I have to accept the fact that such things happen.

Here is a list I copied from a post of one of the Smart DevNet organizers or members (Jim Ayson). I couldn't really tell anything about the teams because there was no time to identify and get to know them. I took some videos during the awarding but is too less motivated to upload them.


 Some people need to realize that blogging is different from the traditional media.

Information about Bigas2Hack taken from the Bigas2Hack Facebook Group page:

BIGAS2HACK is a two-day developer event and hackathon hosted by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Smart Communications, Inc.(Smart) and powered by SMART Developer Network (SMART DevNet), the developer community for Smart's technology platform. We're inviting existing and aspiring developers to create a web and/or mobile app that can be used to further enhance the impact of IRRI technologies especially in their delivery to farmers.

We’re looking for web and mobile apps which could help solve some of IRRI’s toughest problems, innovative solutions in many aspects of rice research, ranging from complex computational problems to the creative use of games and social networking:
· Improving the collection and study of research data
· Providing information and/or technologies to farmers or extension workers
· Indexing library and other institute data
· Improving institute processes and procedures
· Storing survey data better, or speeding up survey data processing
· Designing a digital moisture meter etc.

BIGAS Hackathon is open to all developers especially those based in Laguna and nearby cities and provinces. This is a FREE event, no charge for admission, but registration is required. Transportation (bus from Makati to IRRI), food and accomodation will be provided for FREE for registered participants only.

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