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The next Lightning Talks will be hosted by Digital Capital Week on June 19. See below for details!


HacDC Lightning Talks sessions feature 12 speakers, each talking for 5 minutes. Topics can be anything of interest to the speaker. Speakers submit their ideas for approval, and 12 topics are chosen for a given session. Rejected topics may be resubmitted for any future session. To submit a talk topic proposal, please email me a title and brief description (if not self explanatory) at dp - at - danielpacker - dot - org or say hello on #hacdc on freenode (my nick is obscurite).

Why would you want to do a lightning talk?

  • To show off a project
  • Let people know what you're into
  • Get feedback on an idea
  • Practice talking about a particular topic
  • Practice public speaking in a nonthreatening way
  • Find project contributors/volunteers/members


  • For Digital Capital Week, HacDC Lightning Talks will be held at:
    • Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
    • 900 Massachusetts Ave, Washington DC
    • google map
  • Normally held at: HacDC @ St. Stephen's Church
    • 1525 Newton St NW (corner of 16th St NW)
    • Look for a red door facing the parking lot. Take the green line metro to Columbia Heights.
    • google map

Next Lightning Talks: June 19, 2010

We're excited to have this session be part of Digital Capital Week's "Digital Garage" conference. Tickets are currently free. See location info above for address. Event will be held on Saturday, June 19 at 4:45PM.

Digital Capital Week links:


  • Proposals under consideration:
    • Look Ma, No Wires (Michael Panfield)
    • Sysadmins: Have smartphone, will travel (Betsy Nichols)
    • AI: Three most common reactions (Bradford Barr)
    • ??? (Alan McCosh)
    • Writ Large: scaling a Cartesian robot (Dan Barlow)
    • Urban Data Access: How communication builds communities (Will Holcomb)

Past Lightning Talks

HacDC Lightning Talks III: February 23, 2010

What an amazing Lightning Talks. The talks were well attended and the setup was better than ever with a great sound system setup and an actual camera crew. We had fantastic presentations spanning tech, science, art, music and even comedy.

  • Speakers:
    • The Word Clock (Alden Hart)
    • Digital Capital Week (Peter Corbett)
    • Equipping and Empowering the Faithful (Rev. Fred Williams)
    • Machine self replication for fun and profit (R. Mark Adams, PhD)
    • Computer Graphics Ain't Basket Weaving (but Close!) (Jim Mallos)
    • The Strap-On SharkFin (Justin Shaw)
    • Should Libraries be Homes for Human Ingenuity? (Phil Shapiro)
    • Chicken (Benjamin Hartley)
    • The USB Scroll Wheel of DOOM! (Elliot Williams)
    • Creating a Kit is not Quick (Nikolas Coukouma)
    • Musical actors for performance in SuperCollider (James Harkins)
    • The Cure for Cancer: Medicine as Engineering (Darius Roberts)
    • BrainQuartz (Jack Whitsitt)
  • Cancelled:
    • Low Power Design Techniques, system/board level (William Gibb)

HacDC Lightning Talks II: November 17, 2009

LightningTalks2 small.jpg


Top notch talks made this a night to remember and we managed to improve upon the first talks in several ways including more comfortable seating arrangements, video recording (will be posted here eventually), and smoother transitions between speakers with mini Q&A sessions. The cookies were tasty (if I must say so myself), and about a dozen attendees enjoyed drinks and mingling after the talks at a nearby pub.

  • Speakers:
    • The future of space-based lidar (Brian)
    • Rapid Open Source Hardware Prototyping (Riley)
    • Intro to DSP (Omer)
    • sudo make me a website (Daniel)
    • Best food near HacDC (Timball)
    • Taking high-res photos with cheap point-and-shoots (Jim)
    • Simple devices, complex sounds (Elliot)
    • Developing Firefox Extensions (looking at Greasemonkey as an example) (Nikolas)
    • XMPP - It's more than just IM (Arc)
    • Eating Tag Soup (Kevin)
    • "Pwn" your neighbor: Enhanced WEP/WPA brute force cracking using GPU hardware acceleration (Andy)
    • Five Foods to Try in Japan (User:Katie)
    • Bonus talk: Dis-assembly of windows notepad using IDA Free (Jason)

HacDC Lightning Talks I: October 1st, 2009

LightningTalks1 thumb.jpg


We packed the house with smiling hackers at the first monthly HacDC Lightning Talks! The talks were awesome and so were the cookies! Thanks to everyone who participated and made this a success. Next month will be even better organized with more space, better arrangement, more advance scheduling, and video recording.

  • Speakers:
    • Unearthing an 8-bit Dungeon (Jason)
    • Kōdō, the Japanese Way of Incense (Katie)
    • Cross-Platform Multiple Compiler Build System (Eryc)
    • The Solenoid Beat: towards a mechanical drum machine w/ MIDI controller (Michael)
    • I CAN HAZ LOLSPEAK?: Examining LOLspeak through linguistics. (Ederlyn)
    • After the End of the World: Lessons We Can Learn from the Black Death (Benjamin)
    • A few minutes about cache coherency (Andrew)
    • Miniaturizing your projects - Techniques for using tiny little QFN surface mount components at home (Alden)
    • The Last Gasp of the Time Capsule (Luke)
    • Building a Sailboat in Five Days (Andrew J)
    • The Evolution of Death (Daniel)
  • Cancelled/Postponed:
    • Daimoku (Rodney
    • Remembrancer (Alberto)
    • Using PGP web of trust to authenticate users??? (Derek)
    • A 5 Minute Discourse On The Exploration Of Mercury And The MESSENGER Flyby Discoveries (Indy)

Other Hackerspace Lightning Talks

* Noisebridge Five Minutes of Fame (old site)
* Lightning Talks at MetaLab, Vienna (2008-11-15)
* Lightning Talks at Interlock Rochester (2010-01-12)