Welcome to Hacking History.

In today’s lab we learn (or recall) a little bit about some of the tools we’ll be using during the class. They are:

  • Zotero
  • Slack
  • Markdown
  • Github

Next week we will start learning about HTML, but for today it’s all just fun.

Slack and Zotero

We use Slack for communicating, and Zotero for managing our bibliography. Both are described on the Tools page; I justwant you to be sure to have signed up for and tried out both of them.


This is a fun excercise to introduce everyone to the practice of hacking. It will also get you used to using Github, one of the fundamental tools of open-source software development.

My friend Kate Hudson created a simple github training exercise two years ago for some of my other students. It was really fun, so I modified it for us (twice):

  1. Sign Up for a Github Account (or sign in if you already have an account)
  2. Navigate to my mountains-please repository
  3. Take a quick look at the README. Can you understand it? Maybe we need to add some extra instructions (like, what does npm install -g mean? And where do those emoji come from?) What does the program do, and (if you can get this far) how does it work?
  4. Have you found where the Mountains live?
  5. Add a new mountain from inside Github itself(!) simply by navigating to the right spot and clicking the + button. (see the picture below)

    • Be sure to name the file “some-mountain-name.md” so that everyone knows it’s written in Markdown
    • follow markdown syntax in writing your recipe (see this cheatsheet, especially the sections on Headings, Lists, and Links)
    • When you save the file, Github will automatically create a forked repository under your account! Magic.
  6. File a pull request with me by navigating back to the main page of your repository (~github.com/your-user-name/mountains-please/) and hitting the Github pull request button:

HTML Preview

If we have time at the end, let’s take a look at this exercise which is planned for next week.

Also, this is an opportunity to download and install the Atom text editor which we will be using in coming weeks.