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Meet Diego Araos, the winner of sponsored Hackathon, Santiago, Chile (Dec 2011)

A little over a month ago co-founders Reuben Katz and Christian Sanz visited Chile and sponsored a Hackathon organized by Lenguajes Dinámicos (Dynamic Languages) and Huevapi meetup groups.

As an open source community contributor and fervient enthusiast in bleeding edge tech, in my inaugural post I decided to cover the story behind the team that won, and also, give them props for developing in Node.js.

There were  a lot of developers in the hackathon, however, only three teams decided to accept the challenge and try to build something with Node.js in three hours.

Hackathon’s winning team designed a joystick app in Node.js.  The team members included Diego AraosIgnacio Baixas and Jaime Bunzli. Diego was the random winner of an iPad 2 giveaway. I interviewed him to get more insights about their project in the Hackathon.


Diego, please tell us more about the app your team developed at the Hackathon:

Our team developed an app called Joystick.JS. The idea was to build a node.js based Joystick control that works on any phone to play a game on a laptop. We built this application in three hours.

I think the key of success was based on dividing the work in 3 parts: I made the Game itself, Ignacio built the server using and Jaime developed the joystick interface.

Then we just connected the pieces and the result: A badass node.js app.

The repo is available at Github if anyone would like to contribute:

What is the Application Stack you employ in your everyday work life?

I usually develop my projects in PHP and Ruby as those are my strong skills right now but I also am familiar with other languages and have at least intermediate competency and an understanding in which scenarios they need to be used. I really love Javascript so I’m a big fan of Node.js.

I think Node.js has a bright future. Coding Javascript on both server and client sides is the best idea that someone could have ever had.

Earliest Hacker Memories

I started coding and took my first developer steps at age 13 after I bought a copy of VB6 (old times, lol).  A few years later I learned PHP and was the webmaster of a forum. In College, I learned C# and made which sold bots for some popular Facebook games back in 2008. It sold more than 4,000 copies. Lately I’ve started diversifying my portfolio and have learned Java, Ruby, C and Objective-C.

“Hacking quick projects, just for fun, is what I love the most”

The last one I did is, a two-in-one link shortner + QR code generator, not a hard thing to do. But it was really funny since it got featured in Hacker News just a few days ago (receiving almost 1000 visits that day).

This Hackathon contest you won, it was about Node.js and noSQL Databases.
Do you have plans to integrate these or any other alike technology into your stack?

Right now, I’m digging into node.js and mongodb.
I first used them about 8 months ago, but never got really far since I thought they were still unstable to develop my projects. But in the last hackathon I met Chris and Reuben, founders of, and realized that I was completely wrong (misinformed).

They’ve built a great social network for geeks from pure Node.js, and now I see the great potential it has.

Could you give us an insight of the personal projects you are working on?

Recently, I won some seed capital and I’m going to Silicon Valley to develop a personal project that you will see in a few more weeks. Sorry I am in stealth mode and can’t reveal too much because I’m still shaping it :)

In my free time, I’m working on a project with some Startup Chile friends called, which is an online garage sale app using Ruby on Rails. And I’m also working on yet another project with Adrian and Guillermo from (using RoR too) and just a few days ago started hacking on using Node.js.

Do you think it’s important to get into these new technologies? To be on the edge?

I think it is really important to be on the edge these days.

In my opinion you don’t need to master every technology that appears, but at least you should know what every technology is since you never know when you are gonna need it.

To close out this interview, what is your message that you would like to share with the Chilean Developers community?

At the last hackathons I met some really nice developers and people in Chile.

Right now, there’s a huge demand for developers because there aren’t so many.

Events like the last Hackathon should be organized every month since they are the best way to connect each other and incentivize people to learn how to code and to transition to Startup Mode On.