North Texas Daily

Local non-profit TechMill encodes new technology

Local non-profit TechMill encodes new technology

Local non-profit TechMill encodes new technology
October 19
21:16 2015

Matt Payne | Senior Staff Writer

Austin Cordier, 14, attended the bi-weekly tech meet-up at Harvest House organized by TechMill Denton on Tuesday with a Raspberry Pi processor he built himself in tow. His mother accompanied him.

Cordier programmed his Raspberry Pi kit to “overclock” the speed of his smartphone, meaning he overrode the system to make it run faster than the manufactured frequency, in order to run a client of “Minecraft” intended for desktop computers. He connected the processor to his Galaxy S6 smartphone through the micro-USB charging port to make it as powerful as most computer modern hard drives.

“Building something like this was really easy,” Cordier said. “The kit wasn’t that complex to work with, and I can program it using computer languages like Python or Arch to make it do whatever I want it to.”

Hosting several varying programming seminars at various local businesses on a weekly basis, TechMill Denton is a non-profit organization led by a group of entrepreneurs and software developers with a mission to develop and promote the city as a startup hub in North Texas.

The company curates free workshop sessions year-round to encourage aspiring entrepreneurs and “techies” to tinker, design, hack and build technology to bolster Denton as a breeding ground for tech start-ups.

Cordier’s interest for computer programming and engineering has been encouraged by his mother, Ericca Cordier, who instructs free classes that teach how to develop apps using the ATG computing platform at the several meet-ups sponsored by TechMill Denton.

With experience working as a developer for companies including Lockheed Martin, Dell and Nokia, Cordier believes teaching the ATG platform on a local scale is vitally important, and strives to catalyze interest in the field of computer programming.

“These meetups with TechMill are the easiest way to get a thorough introduction into a trade many huge companies are actively seeking,” Cordier said. “It’s critical to attract the attention of many young, technologically-savvy computer engineers to spark interest and make Denton thrive.”

Kyle Taylor, the president of TechMill Denton, originally started organizing events like the Denton Mini Maker Faire, Denton Node School and Startup Weekend Denton in The Factory at Willis Library as an extension of Techstars Central’s startup weekends. Originally hosted exclusively in Dallas, they were meant for aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch ideas for applications or prototypes.

With his partner Matt Taylor, Kyle was inspired to expand the idea of a “startup weekend” to North Dallas, Downtown Dallas, Ft. Worth and Denton.

“The startup weekends, along with all the other stuff we do, provide great, free ways for local techies to learn more about programming and make vital connections,” Kyle said.

TechMill has organized two of these startup weekends held out of The Factory in Willis Library. Using several “maker tools,” including 3-D printers and software platforms, students will have 54 hours the weekend of Nov. 13 – 15 to plan and initialize startups with the assistance of visiting developers, designers and business investors.

“The community certainly has the interest, but bringing the city out of a hiatus of interest has been a challenge,” Kyle said.

Despite what Kyle believes to be lacking interest, he anticipates the efforts of TechMill expanding over the course of the coming months, especially with the upcoming Railyard project, which is projected to be a suite of office buildings and event area built out of an old building at 608 E. Hickory St. It is set for completion in May 2016.

TechMill plans to utilize the Railyard project for future “maker” events, among any other seminars or hangouts the non-profit hosts. In the meantime, TechMill still organizes a host of open meet-ups, which can be found on their website.

“Having a centralized location for tech-related events, and businesses and entrepreneurs to actively cooperate with one another, will allow Denton to blossom as a technology hotspot,” Kyle said. “Until then, we’re keeping these initiatives coming.”

Featured Image: Austin Cordier, 14, and his Raspberry Pi processor at the Startup Weekend bi-weekly meet-up at Harvest House. Matt Payne | Senior Staff Writer

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