Hack Like a ChampionThe Yahoo! Hack U team was in San Diego April 5-8, 2011 for the final Hack U event of the season in the Unites States. We were greeted by unusually cold and wet weather, but were given a warm welcome at UCSD. This is the third UCSD Hack U and as always enjoyed a great response. The Hack U team consisting of Subramanyan Murali, Jonathan LeBlanc, and Jamie Lockwood spent 5 days on campus interacting with students and discussing various tools.
On the first day, I started off the Hack U intro. Since the students of UCSD are well aware of the format, the intro talk was focused on showing some of the Hacks from other hack days to motivate the students and get their creative juices flowing. Jonathan LeBlanc gave an introduction to YQL and YUI. These are easily the 2 most popular Yahoo! tools used in hack days. The next day, students were invited to an open discussion over lunch about various technologies and hack ideas. This "API brain jam" session was an awesome time for the tech crew from Yahoo! to interact with the students. We showed more hack demos and shared tricks for solving some common problems.
At the end of 24 hours of hacking, close to 90 students worked on various ideas and turned up with about 30 innovative hacks to demo. We had almost 45 students actively discussing and thrashing out problems all through the night with coffee, soda and debugging keeping them awake. Students and crew alike enjoyed good snacks, pizza and soda throughout the event. Some cool toys were given away during the hack event for students who answered Yahoo! trivia. Puzzles kept the mind at work while provided a welcome break from hardcore coding. The following hacks were chosen as winners for UC San Diego Hack U 2011:
- 1st Place : What's in my Fridge? by team "LADL"
- 2nd Place : Browsing the internet with your body by team "Operation Glorious Thunder"
- 3rd Place : TAB Home Automation by team "TAB"
- Best Mobile Hack : MUM by team "Mums the word"
- Hack for Good : Creole - #!/bin/web by team "Sudo Coders"
For the full list of hacks, please visit the Hack U hack tracker. All the demos were really impressive. Two professors from UCSD joined us for judging and were happy with the innovative hacks they saw. It was awesome to see the wide range of hack ideas and interesting ways of using the APIs. At every Hack U we go to, we learn new ways of using the APIs on the web and interesting ideas that have potential to become successful. Many students learned technologies during the 24 hours of hacking and were able to complete their ideas.
I liked the teams that made gyroscoPic and 2-D Rubiks. I was really impressed with the enthusiasm of all the students and their ability to solve problems. There was no dull moment during the entire 24 hours of coding. Big thank you to Tammy M. Carandang and Jeffrey Ludden from the San Diego Yahoo! office who helped during the Hack U. We also want to extend a big thank you to Paula Kreger and Cody Noghera for help organizing the event.