2010 Carnegie Mellon Hack U

Fellow Hack-enthusiasts,

We just wrapped up the third Hack U at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), and it was a good one. CMU hackers are talented, motivated, and friendly. We had 33 hacks submitted. You can find the full list of hacks on the YDN Hack U site.

A Hack U team preparing
Photo credit: Reid Burke (uberlife)

The winners

1st place: Shazel

This web app allowed everyone in the room to compose music together by clicking on a canvas. A great example of user-generated content appropriate for all ages. Tech used: HTML5 canvas), Node.js, and an ActionScript sound library.

2nd place: Radio Stalin

Don’t call it “social”. Radio Stalin enables a community of users to watch the same video (Stalin-era Soviet propaganda) at the same time. Tech used: websockets and Node.js to coordinate YouTube video playback and a chat client. Produced by creators of Creepy Chat, which was a winner last year.

3rd place: Random Encounters

This app presented a slick interface for the CMU calendaring system, and used the CMU’s WebISO authentication service for identity management to spare the user from having to create yet another account. Tech used: WebISO.

“Hack for Good”: Flaundry

Flaundry improves quality of life for CMU students by providing an attractive, user-friendy interface for CMU’s eSuds laundry management site. Tech used: YQL html scraper, YUI, MySQL.

“Newbie”: Cornershop

CMU’s antiquated “misc market” mailing list is the only CMU-specific way to list items for sale. The Cornershop app aimed to make small-scale commerce easy by conveniently posting to Facebook and plotting locations on a Google map. Tech used: Google search and map APIs, FB Connect.

“Mobile”: HackSwipe

The HackSwipe team developed Android and iPhone apps, and a Paypal-integrated webservice, to facilitate commerce via a mobile device. Tech used: Android & iPhone SDKs, Paypal APIs

Honorable mention: SmartCast

The SmartCast team created a desktop app that read a personalized news feed. Tech used: natural language processing, AppleScript

Honorable mention: NGon

NGon used LastFM’s similarity API to organize your FB friends’ by music taste, and then displayed the results as an interactive, 3D visualization. The fact that this hack only received honorable mention is a testament to the quality of the hacks submitted. Tech used: WebGL, O3D, jQuery, YQL, Ruby, FB and LastFM APIs.

Wait, what’s Hack U?

For those who are unfamiliar with Hack U, it’s a university-oriented extension of Yahoo!’s Hack events. We spend a few days presenting talks on web development, and then organize a 24 hour, competitive “hack”. Yahoo! engineers hang out during the hack to answer questions. Hack U provides a great way for students to explore their interests, get their feet wet in web development, and meet like-minded people. Winners walk away with prizes, including iPads, gift certificates, Yahoo! swag, and trophies.

Want Yahoo! to visit your campus? Please let us know: register here.