TimesOpen 2.0: A NY Times Hackday

I gotta admit, one of the best parts about being a Yahoo is participating in hackdays. Whether it is internal hackdays, Yahoo! Open hackdays, and even hackdays for other companies, we love them all the same. Hackdays are in the Yahoo DNA. So when we heard that someone was putting one on, Yahoo! was happy to show up and support the cause.

This past weekend, The New York Times hosted a TimesOpen hackday to conclude a series of developer events for 2010. This hackday attracted nearly 100 developers from across the country for a day of hacking, training sessions, pizza, and beer. Yahoo was on hand with a few developers, myself (@derek) and Flickr's Chris Martin (@cjmartin) making the cross-country trip to educate our fellow hackers on Y! APIs such as YQL & Flickr, and to of course... hack!

The event kicked off at 10 am with coffee and socializing, then began the API/tools talks from Yahoo, Google, Facebook, FourSquare, Etsy, Suprfeedr, Charbeat, and The NY Times. I gave a pair of presentations on the ultimate hackday tool, Yahoo Query Language, and you can find the slides for one of those talks here.

Throughout the rest of the day, the talks continued alongside lunch, dinner, snacks, and hacking. The NY Times even went so far as to hack the snacks, with custom printed M&Ms! After 14 hours of developers hacking away, the result was a whopping 25 amazing hacks. After the teams demoed each project, the judges were tasked with sifting through them to hand out prizes.

Here is a list of the winners, via the TimesOpen Blog:

  • Jonathan C. Hall, for SenseCast, a display that uses the Xbox Kinect sensor array. Sense Cast is designed to bring news and information to public places and engage passersby with real-time updates.
  • Jason Berlinsky and Jack Wink, for Night Scheduler, an app that uses several APIs (Facebook, Google, Foursquare, NYT, Yelp) to help you schedule a night on the town.
  • Greg Estren for Comment Zoo, which takes random comments from New York Times articles and associates them with Google image search results (to hilarious effect!).
  • Jonathan Soma and Kate Reyes, for BookSleuth, which recommends books based not just on what you like to read, but also on what you hate to read.
  • Jeremy Singer-Vine, for NYT Recently Highlighted, which uses the new NYTimes.com highlighting feature to create a river of highlighted sentences and paragraphs.
  • Al Shaw and Erik Hinton, for Trippy, an app that creates a custom set of articles for you to read during your commute.

Here's a demo of Jonathan Hall's SenseCast hack for the Kinect.

A great time was had by all. Congrats to all the hackers, and a special thanks to The New York times for being such great hosts for an incredible event!

If you want to relive the TimesOpen Hackday experience, check out some tweets & photos:

Visit the TimesOpen Blog for more recaps, photos, videos, and reviews of the other hacks.