It was 3pm on Friday, September 11th, 2009, when the UC Berkeley students began their 24-hour hack projects. After some great introductory talks on Tuesday from Tom Hughes-Croucher and Paul Tarjan, the students were abuzz with ideas.
UC Berkeley was the kickoff University for the HackU 2009 season and they didnt disappoint. The projects ranged from searching video content based on user quotes all the way to the merging a puppy with Wii technology.
Dustin Whittle, Jamie Lockwood, and I were on hand during the hacking process and worked with the students throughout the night. On Saturday afternoon, we had about fifteen clear hack teams all ready to present for the wonderful prizes we had to offer.
Besides the trophies for all winners, we also had:
First Prize: Laptops (where was HackU when I was going to school? :/ )
Second Prize: IPods (I could have used one of these too :))
Third Prize: Yahoo!-pimped skateboards, mimobots, and hack blankets
We also had numerous honorable mentions, These teams took home a range of prizes -- from blankets to mimobots to yodeling bottle openers.
Throughout the night we held raffles to give away the big box of swag that Jamie brought with her. One of the reasons to stick it out for the night -- great prizes that we randomly pull out of the hat.
We had a few casualties throughout the night as hack progressed I have to give these students credit though they didnt go home to their nice comfy beds and showed the spirit of hack.
And a drum-roll please the winners of the UC Berkeley HackU Event were:
Quote-u-lator (Stewart He, Warrne He, Gabor Angeli, and Ryan Luecke)
Allowing a user to specify a TV show quote, this hack quickly polls their media library and not only opens the show, but zooms in straight to the quote you're looking for. We felt that this application was one that mimics the extensive work that many startups have attempted to produce, providing a rich set of utilities and a scalable interface.
Annosync (Christopher Berner, Rohan Dhaimade, Steven Schlansker, and Jesse Toth)
This was a service to synchronize browsing between two users. Essentially, two people are able to sync up and share content and use the browser as a whiteboard interface with a series of drawing tools. We felt that this hack had a lot of potential as a production-ready application.
Encompassed (Eric Zhang and Frederick Meyer)
Allowing a user to input an email address, this site compiles a list of the social media-sharing accounts a user has. If it doesnt find all of a user's sites, it's possible to attach additional social sites into the mix. On top of that, there is a profile system available to denote the account of the user. This is an app that I would use to control all of the accounts I use, and the tie-in of a profile system just makes it even better.
Slash (Ian Henderson)
Puppysort (Christine Zhang, Borden Liu and Davide Cerri)
I had no idea what this team was doing with that puppy until they presented their hack. They attached a wii-mote to a puppy, input a series of integers into their program, and used the random movements of the puppy to sort the list. This was just a wonderfully ingenious presentation especially when they told us that when the puppy fell off the chair their program threw an exception.
Mix your heart out (Akshay Kannan, Pranava Adduri and Willy Wong)
Using the YouTube API, this team built out a system to take two songs and mash them together into a new sound.
Evil Zombie Mod (Dwight)
Whats not the love about this hack? It takes a website and converts the text to talk about zombies and then overlays zombies and gun-toting bikini-clad women on top of the existing images.
A big thanks go out to Dwight and the rest of the groups at Berkeley for having us out there for this event. We had a lot of fun and love to see the talent and drive that's coming from UC Berkeley developers.
The full photo spread is available at flickr.com/photos/jcleblanc/sets/72157622361558506/
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