Tag Archives: Dylan Diamond

Dylan Diamond Does F8

“On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog” — that’s the classic New Yorker cartoon, showing 2 canines at a computer.

No one knows you’re a high school junior, either.

Not that anyone should care. Staples’ Dylan Diamond designs user-friendly apps that fill folks’ needs.

Dylan Diamond, at San Francisco's Fort Mason earlier this month.

Dylan Diamond, at San Francisco’s Fort Mason earlier this month.

His myHAC allows students and parents nationwide easy access to school schedules and grades. It’s been downloaded 85,000 times.

Ski With Friends helps skiers find buddies on the slope.

His current project, Saround — with fellow Westporter Adam Goldberg — lets users book anything from babysitters and yardwork to concert tickets, by priority.

Next up: an app to expedite food purchases in school cafeterias.

So it’s no surprise that Dylan snagged a coveted invitation to Facebook’s F8 conference this month.

Or that Facebook covered the entire $800 registration fee too.

Dylan Diamond, with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Dylan Diamond, with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

The hands-on, collaborative event — held at San Francisco’s Fort Mason — is huge. It draws developers and entrepreneurs from around the globe. Facebook engineers interact with attendees. They share ideas, teach each other, and return to their offices (or schools) ready for the Next Big Thing.

Dylan made the most of his time. He saw Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, standing on the conference floor. Dylan walked up, introduced himself, and told her about his apps.

Dylan also hung with Mike Schroepfer, the CTO. He sat next to the CEO of Oculus Rift, the biggest name in virtual reality.

Dylan and those heavy hitters talked about Facebook’s new Messenger bot — unveiled at F8 — as well as analytics.

He got advice on startups. Attendees examined his code, and answered his questions about how to do more, be more efficient, and design better tools.

Dylan Diamond was up close for Mark Zuckerberg's keynote address.

Dylan Diamond was up close for Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote address.

Mark Zuckerberg was there too, of course. His keynote address was one highlight. Even better: His announcement that everyone at F8 would received a free Oculus headset.

(Dylan used it on the plane ride home. His fellow travelers were quite impressed.)

There were a couple dozen high school students at F8, like Dylan. They become good friends. After the conference, he and 2 others drove to Cupertino, to check out Uber and Apple headquarters.

“Everyone there was super-passionate,” Dylan says. “They really opened  my eyes to new ideas.”

Dylan does more than develop apps, of course. He handles the school paper Inklings’ website. He’s also on the ski and cross country team.

That last activity came in handy at F8. A  long line of attendees waited to get into the building to hear Zuckerberg.

Dylan outraced the others, and had one of the best seats in the house.

Dylan Diamond's VR selfie.

Dylan Diamond’s VR selfie.

Dylan Diamond Makes The Grade

Back in the day, students learned their grades 4 times a year: the end of each quarter, when report cards came out.

Today — isn’t technology wonderful? — kids can access their grades any time they want. Some check them many times a day.

Almost as often as their parents do.

But — isn’t technology a bitch? — until recently, Staples students (and their parents) were frustrated by Home Access Center. That’s the website that works well on a desktop or laptop, but is very hard to view on a mobile device.

Sometimes — this is a true First World problem —  it doesn’t even load. Grrrrr!

Dylan Diamond

Dylan Diamond

Into that frustrating breach rode Dylan Diamond. Only a freshman  — who apparently didn’t get the memo that he shouldn’t start freaking out over grades for a few more months — he developed a free iPhone/iPad app. 

Called “MyHAC” — a clever play on “hacking” and the Home Access Center acronym, while paying homage to Eric Lubin’s very popular “My Staples” schedule-and-time app — it solves every Home Access website problem.

Staples and middle school students — and their parents! — can easily view all grades, class assignments and transcripts. It lists grades from previous marking periods. And a “Remember Me” feature means that (unlike the website) you don’t have to log in each time.

Up next: push notifications, for new assignments.

This is not Dylan’s 1st app. Last year at Coleytown, for a science assignment, he created “MyMoonPhase.” Showing the current moon phase, with a description, it’s been downloaded 3,000 times, all over the world.

The MyHAC screen shows Dylan’s grades. He had a 97.91 in Biology Honors.

The MyHAC screen shows Dylan’s grades. He had a 97.91 in Biology Honors.

“My HAC” has been out for just a few weeks, and its relevance is limited to Westport. But it’s already recorded 600 downloads. (And that’s just for iOS devices. There’s no Android or Windows phone version.)

Dylan — who is also a cross country and track team member, and worked on lighting for Staples Players’ Thoroughly Modern Millie —  is largely self-taught. He took a course in New York last summer on app development, but most of what he knows comes from research on — of course — the internet. He enjoys creating apps, because he has the freedom to do whatever he wants; the process is creative, and the final product helps people.

The toughest parts of creating “My HAC,” Dylan says, were making the app fully compatible with Westport’s servers, and ensuring that all data was secure. Once he figured that out, it took just a couple of weeks to finish.

Dylan can’t use the Westport Schools’ logo. But school officials — and his computer teacher, Nate Dewey — think it’s great. As do all those students checking their grades. at this very moment.

And their parents.