From September 16th to 18th, the HackU crew was out at the University of California, Berkeley, to kick off another hack year with the students. We had a tight schedule at the school this year — on Thursday we gave the kickoff talks, Friday we started the hack event and that ran all the way through to Saturday afternoon.
We may all remember some of the 2009 hackers, prizes and casualties. They were a great crew last year and, in true Berkeley style, the crew this year didn't disappoint either.
Here's a taste of what of what we presented on Thursday, September 16th, at the kickoff event:
Allen Rabinovich, Senior Omniheurist (awesome title right?) with the YUI team and all around good guy, took many photos of the nights events. In true HackU style, those hackers who fell asleep first or in weird places have been photographed for posterity. See the evening unfold in Allen's photo post.
We had 20 great hacks produced by the students over the 24-hour period, ranging from specialties like geo-location and cooperative development to an application to protect you from the woes of being Rick Rolled. Although we thought they were all winners for producing some high quality hacks, we had to give the iPads to someone.
We had three category winners in this hack day, covering developer value, the newbie award and best mobile hack.
Developer Value Award: Instant Search
Members: Jonathan Ewart
Providing a great integration of different search engines with instant search abilities, we felt that this hacker built a great product reminiscent of Google instant search. In two lines of markup, this hack builds a search mechanism anywhere on your page. This hack integrated YQL and YUI with terrific results. See it at instantsearch.99k.org.
Newbie Award: 2D Gravity Simulator
Members: Joshua Hawn
We were all very impressed at what Joshua created overnight, building a 2D gravity simulor in Java, allowing a user to place 1-2000 objects (in this case stars) within the program and see how they reacted to a gravity setting. The collision detection and elasticity settings were also very cool additions.
Mobile Award: Apple Juice
Members: Akshay Kannan, Pranava Adduri, Ryan Loebs, Hike Danakian
The Apple Juice team built a wonderful multi-person video chat system on the Android platform, written in Java. They used a camera record to transit the feed through an open socket, creating their own protocol for transporting the video.
Third Place: Floverse
Members: Darshan Shankar, Eric Zhang, Sridatta Thatipamala, Ajay Tripathy
Our third place winners were the team that created a product that they dubbed "Floverse". This product was a portrayal of the trending topics on the web and used aggregated photos based on trending topics to visualize the product. Behind the scenes, they had a PHP backend, integrated Facebook, Flickr, Yahoo! Search, CSS3, HTML5, and several Google APIs.
Second Place: Web IDE
Members: Amber Feng, Allen Chen, Stephen Tu
Our second place overall winner was the team who created the Web IDE product. All of the judges agreed that one of the main reasons we all liked this product was because we could all see ourselves using something like this. Web IDE provided a way to have pair programming, with multiple people working on the same code base in unison. As you were developing, the IDE provided real-time feedback and error reports and including a host of other collaborative elements.
First Place: Automagic Karaoke
Members: Michael Steger, Wesley Hunt, Victor Fan, Wayne Song
The winners of HackU Berkeley for 2010 were the team that brought us Automagic Karaoke — and they presented it by simply singing a song for us. (Next stop — American Idol!) This application fetched song lyrics and the YouTube video and passed both into a mathematical algorithm to map the words to the correct places in the song. The compilation takes about 20 seconds and then you were all set to start singing your favorite songs.
Congrats to our winners and everyone else who attended. We were very impressed with the hacks that were produced — the Berkeley students never let us down. A big thanks to the student group that helped us out so much with the setup, logistics, and everything else needed to run these events smoothly.