Hey Times Square – What’s a Hacker?

They don't call it the Big Apple for nothing. Everything there is larger than life, and this year's Open Hack was no exception.

Nicki has posted a great summary of the action on Yodel Anecdotal. For video, pictures, and the list of winning hacks, you should take a peek there.

'Hack Space' sign

So what am I going to talk about? The technology of course! That's how we roll here at the Developer Network. YQL has become the perennial favourite technology at our hack days. I lost count of the number of hacks that used YQL, but more surprising to me was the number of hackers who created YQL tables. Do you use Meetup.com? There's a table for that. Like comics? Yep, there's a table for that. Want insider trading information? Of course there's a table for that. And that's just scratching the surface.

We found the New York developer community to be super smart - participants at our Hack Day created many polished hacks. A bunch of those hacks were TV Widgets for Yahoo!'s Connected TV Platform. The Connected TV Platform, which allows developers to build Javascript widgets, is interesting to developers because the TV represents a different audience from the usual website audience. My personal favourite was a cooking widget which displayed recipes on a TV and then let me set a timer when I put everything in the oven. As a cook with the usual NADD, I totally appreciate that, because you can't expect me not to multitask just because I'm cooking!

Last but not least were the hardware hacks. I kid you not when I say that one team hacked cake. Since I know everyone loves cake, you'll want to read about that. Finally, proof that 2AM ideas are totally awesome! Of course, they weren't the only ones hacking on PICTs and Arduino stuff. Another crowd favourite was the Maker Bot that printed the day's weather on toast.

We also had a ton of great talks. There are too many to mention, but you can read the agenda so you know what to look for when the videos come out. Thanks to all of the speakers and our friends that came out to help.

Sadly, though, not everyone in Time Square gets hacking just yet:

So remember, when you tell your friends that you went to a Hack Day, they probably think that you are about to steal their wallet. Instead, try blowing their minds with your creative, useful hack and reset some expectations.

Well, that's all from me for now. Please stay tuned for more videos and details of the hacking goodness.

Tom Hughes-Croucher (@sh1mmer)
Yahoo! Developer Network

Image courtesy of vicchi on Flickr.