A long day at the code face is coming to an end and things are looking promising at the 5th annual Open Hack India. Murray Rowan kicked off the day with his rendition of "Hacking != Cracking (and everything else you need to know to survive a hackday)". After clearing up some common misconceptions of hacking, Murray gave his 15 hackday survival tips, which included scratching your own itch, expect the unexpected (like indoor rain and wifi sabotaging kittens), and alcohol is not your friend (which we never thought we'd ever hear from a Scot).
Following Murray, was Saurabh Sahni, YDN's product guy and hacker, with his enthusiastic take on "Hacking on Steroids with YQL". Revealing that YQL currently gives access to 1255 APIs, he showed how you can easily mix, match and filter APIs to get exactly the data you want for your hack. Why not give the YQL console a try today.
Over in track 2, Praveen P.N., our speed freak in residence, gave a talk on "Web Performance - A look inside Yahoo!". Giving away some of Yahoo's best tricks and tips for web application performance, including Boomerang, yslow commandline, and WebPageTest.
Sudar Muthu's Picture perfect hacks using Flickr APIs showed how to build hacks using the 5 billion photos on Flickr, together with the meta information that is stored in with them. He concluded with some awesome demos that were created using the Flickr API in earlier Open Hacks.
Pradeep BV of YDN, in his talk Making sense out of things on the web, told of how we at Yahoo! analyze and categorize the huge amount of content that we ingest and publish on our network everyday. The Yahoo! CAP API analyses content and returns the key entities within that content as well as the semantic categories within which they belong. Once you understand the meaning of content, it can be repurposed and organized in many different ways to suit business purpose. For example, at Yahoo! we categorize content in order to match it to users interests and contexts, so that we can personalize their experiences with our products and services.
That concluded the tech talks, so we swiftly moved on to kick off the hacking. This was conducted by Erik Suhonen (Head of YDN) and Todd Hay (Head of Platform Services). Erik told of how hackdays were at the heart of innovation in both Yahoo! and the industry. Todd followed with a classic "Now is the time!" speech; always a crowd pleaser! He then assumed his customary role to start the 24 hour countdown, a moment caught in the video below. Check it out!
The hackers quickly organized themselves and got right to it, only to be interrupted by the occasional meal and some dazzling entertainment by the amazing, and rather scary, Laserman!. Laserman cannot be described in words; one must experience him for oneself. So, check out the adjacent photo.
As I write this, hacking continues apace. Only darkness, red bull, and the clammy scent of geeks at work stand between us and morning.
Update: 2:21am: 500 hackers still hard at it! Amazing!