The Rise of the Machines

Old-timey machine shop from

The age of the machines has come, and we as mere humans want to understand our overlords better. This week, in celebration of the World Wide Web’s 25th anniversary, we have inaugurated an informal weekly get-together at University of Missouri Columbia Digital Media Zone around the topic of the machines that make the Web work: servers.

This blog (and possibly others) will serve as the log of our adventures into all things server-related. Our weekly meetings, Thursdays 6pm-7:30pm in the Digital Media Zone in Townsend Hall, are going to be short hackathons on the following topics:

  • Making our own servers (with Raspberry Pi, Android, Intel Galileo and such)
  • Working with our own Apache server space (free unlimited space if you join the club, which is also free)
  • Using JS server-side (Node.js)
  • MySQL, PHPMyAdmin, MongoDB, CouchDB, PouchDB, LocalStorage syncing with a RESTful API
  • PHP
  • What makes blogs work on the server side
  • HTTP and RESTful goodness
  • Other useful acronyms
  • Scraping and visualizing data
  • General server hackery

If you are interested in any (or all) of the above, or in any other topic remotely server-centric, we’d love to see you at the weekly meeting in the Zone. We want this to be a learning time for all, and to be a place to safely explore our semi-sentient neighbors who live at the farm (otherwise known as the data center). We would also like to start hosting Google hangouts during our meetings so that all of you who don’t actually exist in Columbia Missouri can pretend like you do.

Our first meeting of fellow hackers went quite well, and everybody received their own server space on, a blog (if they wanted one) and an introduction to the Cloud9 IDE ( Cloud9 is an awesome (and beautifully elegant) development environment, and has a great option to connect via FTP (set up an account, then go to your dashboard, then click on Create New Workspace>FTP>enter your credentials to a non-SFTP connection: so Bengal spaces can’t be connected to but spaces can, and then wait a bit–you may need to refresh the page, then click on your new workspace, and click on Start Editing). Next week we’ll dive into the two projects that we were all interested in first: Creating our own servers, and working with a database to Create, Read, Update, and Delete stuff (and all that CRUD). Hope to see you there. But not all of you. At least not if the whole world is reading this.


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