Under CC license from Flickr user Beatrice Murch

In San Francisco’s Richmond District, where Geary Boulevard meets Park Presidio, there stands a bright, white, defunct Christian Science church. There are big white columns out front, with pink steps leading up to iron double doors.

But, what goes on inside this church is not quite what you’d expect.

It’s a Tuesday evening in Oakland’s City Hall. A group of people ranging in age from their 20s to 50s are sitting, many in front of their laptops. This is an Open Oakland hacking meeting. Though a lot of jargon is thrown around, some of the people here have no tech backgrounds at all, including Anna Mathai.