Taiwan Open Hack Day

From the opening band to the exuberant prize-giving, Taiwan Open Hack Day 2008 was full of energy.

Everyone was hacking even before the opening ceremony got underway and Yahoo! co-founder David Filo declared the event open by throwing a big yellow ball into the audience.

40 teams participated, each with up to 6 people, from all over Taiwan. The event was held in a youth centre in Taipei on 20/21 September 2008.

Yahoo! Taiwan YDN put on a great show, with involvement of many parts of the organisation. Since their launch in January 2008, YDN Taiwan have made available three local open APIS - Lifestyle (ratings and reviews of local businesses), Maps and Knowledge Plus (similar to Yahoo! Answers), with more in the pipeline.

The evening entertainment (Hack Girls) was an interesting contrast to Girltalk at Sunnyvale Open Hack Day the weekend before.

Yahoo! Taiwan Open Hack Day 2008 - Hack Girls
(Photo credit: myhsu)

Teams then worked through the night to put the finishing touches to their hacks, to be roused at 7.30am by an organised exercise routine.

After the by-now-traditional pizza lunch, Sunday concluded with presentations by all 41 teams. There was a huge range of innovative ideas, from a bicycle route-planner to "Random Life bingo" (one of the runners up) which answered questions such as "where should I eat tonight" with a cute fruit-machine interface. Many of the hacks used Yahoo's mobile widget platform, Blueprint and as we've seen in previous hack days, location-awareness was a hot topic. I was also particularly impressed by the stunning user interface designs many of the teams had produced - showing how much hard work and thought had gone into all the hacks.

The winners, kekeke, wrote a Firefox extension which allows users to select any keyword on any website and receive a summary of several Yahoo API search results (Flickr, Map, Knowlege Plus, and Lifestyle), without opening a new browser window. More relevant results will display in a stronger colour and users can save for later, or share results with friends.

Yahoo! Taiwan Open Hack Day 2008 - winners receive their prize from David Filo

You can see more photos of the event on Flickr with the tag "twopenhack08". Congratulations to all the hackers who took part, and a big thanks to Yahoo! Taiwan for a great event.

Sophie Major
YDN International