BackCountry Hackathon 2012: Informatech Wins API Category

A little late to be sure but no less significant, given that I wanted to write about this at the same time.

On September 22-23, Adriana Jara, Johan Rodríguez and myself participated in the first-ever BackCountry Hackathon 2012. Here we are at the beginning of the event.

What we did

Adriana had the fantastic idea of using the competition APIs to build a comment and review search engine, and thus Community Mining was born.

The APIs gave us data in JSON, so using a proxy webserver we queried the data and in JavaScript analyzed, graphed, and displayed the results.

Our tech stack included:

  • Tomcat 7
  • jQuery & jQuery UI
  • YUI Grids
  • Raphaël Vector Library
  • Lots of JavaScript code

We completed the main feature set about an hour before the deadline, and our app proudly ran in desktop, smartphone and tablet browsers.

What does it look like? Well here you go:

What was learned

Speaking from a strictly personal perspective, I have to say that after the rush of more than 36 hours of work, and the pride of feeling “I still got it”, wore off. The main takeaway was: you have to choose your team well.

Your teammates must be talented. Sometimes, less people is actually better, as it allows easier coordination (that was the case here). And very importantly you have to trust the people next to you not to blow up when the stress is high. Adriana and Johan certainly fit the bill.

All in all good fun.

– Michael Holst


New Hackathon Challenge: Desarrollando América 2012

Well, we have signed up to carry the Informatech banner once again at a hackathon.

This time it will be at the Latin America-wide Desarrollando América Latina 2012.


From Informatech we will have: Adriana JaraJohan Rodríguez, André Curione and myself.

Joining us will be Eliécer Leitón from BackCountry, and our social and analysis liaison Cecilia Salazar.

We’ll be developing a native Android application and reporting Dec. 1-2 from the hackathon.

– Michael Holst

CONCACAF Semi-Finals

Saprissa of Costa Rica and Real Salt Lake will meet in the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Tournament for a home and home match beginning March 15th, 2011 in Utah and April 5th in Costa Rica.

This is the furthest that an MLS squad has ever gone in the CONCACAF tournament so needless to say that the RSL fans are pretty excited about it. Personally, I have been hoping for this match-up for several weeks now — and watching to make sure that Saprissa advanced along with RSL.

After watching Saprissa beat Olimpia last night, I immediately booked my flight to Costa Rica so I can attend the match in April. Of course, I will be in Salt Lake for Game 1 on March 15th — cheering RSL on. (Sorry Saprissa fans). And, I will be wearing my #15 jersey — Saborio. 🙂

Anyone that wishes to join me at the stadium April 5th is welcome — but just know that I will be the one guy in the stands cheering for the guys in Red & Blue.

See you all very soon.


New Additions to the Family

Informatech Costa Rica is happy to announce the addition of three new employees: Krissia Infante – Administrative Assistant; Jose Andres — Java Developer; and Andre Curione — Java Developer.

Jose and Andre will be working with our new client, Chesapeake System Solutions, Inc. headquartered in Owings Mills Maryland.

Kris is responsible for keeping our office running smoothly, and after a week has already turned into a pro.

Welcome to all!


HOW TO: Win the War for the Most Talented Employees

Hi Everyone!

To start this new year I would like to share an article I recently read and enjoyed on HR management and recruitment and some best practices and recommendations on hiring and retaining great talent!

It’s very nice to know that we are on the right track here @ Informatech CR.  😉

Have a good one!

Cheers from Costa Rica

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has 296 steps to reach the top. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2010. If those were steps, it would have climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa 4 times

In 2010, there were 17 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 11 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 737kb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was November 15th with 178 views. The most popular post that day was Win a brand-spanking-new iPod Nano for you and one of your friends.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and WordPress Dashboard.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for informatech costa rica, informatech, linux on “palm tx”, microsoft in costa rica, and canopy.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Win a brand-spanking-new iPod Nano for you and one of your friends November 2010
1 comment


Outsourcing offshore: Costa Rica, where are we? October 2010


The Web is Dead October 2010
1 comment


Celebrating Thanksgiving in Costa Rica November 2010


Hello world! October 2010

Celebrating Thanksgiving in Costa Rica

Thanksgiving is a tradition in the United States of America.  “It’s time to share with family and be thankful for all the great gifts we have in life and you are my second family…” said Phil Palmer, President for Informatech Costa Rica.

Thanksgiving week was great for all of us.  Phil’s visit opened the door to a lot of funny ideas.  We wanted this week to be memorable for everyone!  On the 23rd, the team worked hard decorating the office and the Christmas tree.  Developers and QA’s deciding if the lights were first, if they should start from bottom to top or vice versa!! The other ornaments were just placed one by one and everyone did his/her part in the “decorating mission”  Once the tree and the office were all set, a delicious smell filled the office… yummy pizza! for lunch.

But the day was just starting.  We had in mind our first Secret Santa, and of course, we had our own Santa!… Phil wore a Santa’s cap and we all sat around the tree.  Everyone got his/her gift, but we all enjoy a lot a very particular one… Michael Holst received a bag of tangerines!! and Ahmed got his green tea… double edge gifts?! Nah, who would do that?!!After sharing a delicious lunch with all our friends in the office, there was much fun to come… eggnog and Christmas cake were the perfect closing for a wonderful day.

A soccer game and paint ball were just around the corner…Some excited soccer players came in the office that day, carrying their bags with all they need to play a great soccer game!  11:45 am, time to go and play…everyone got in cars and headed to the soccer field, the sun was shining and we were all ready to show our best on the field.  We could hear “Go Sabooo!! Go”, everyone running around the field, playing soccer and the game was great, but the sun was really shining and we all started to breath faster, we needed to drink water or juice to recover breath.  After 2 minutes it is totally normal to be this tired…or maybe not?!?

Thanksgiving Day took us to a nice forest in Heredia, special clothing, paintball guns and paint balls, everything was ready!  And the “snipers”? Oh yes, they were all getting ready, putting on that special clothing given to start the game.  Girls complained about colors and fabric!! It was time to start the game, excitement arose and we were all ready to start, a lot of trees around and we could hardly hear the instructions, we wanted to start the game!!! And finally we did it, two teams and we started to shoot.  The first “painted” members were walking to the “dead zone” .  Three different games, dirty clothes, swollen feet, and some bruises couldn’t do anything against those happy faces.  They were all tired but satisfied.  We reached our goal, we made them happy.

Team work can be done easily if team members are true friends.  At Informatech Costa Rica, we are great friends and this is what creates the wonderful work environment we enjoy on a daily basis.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”–Thornton Wilder–