And of course, I’ve taken some photos.
The schedule (shamelessly copied from the site) was as follows:
Saturday 22nd August:
10:30 Planning session
13:30 Hacking starts
18:30 Home (Hacking overnight allowed!)
Sunday 23rd August:
10:00 Back to hacking
12:30 Back to hacking
16:00 Presentations to Judges and Press
18:30 Prizes announced
On the first day we split into groups and started thinking up ideas. At about 4pm we finally settled on our idea: to make something very similar to RentACoder, but much simpler, targetted at talented coders who need experience in order to get a proper job. Here are a couple of screenshots of the final result (click to embiggen).
We decided on a PHP/MySQL project and as luck would have it, I was the only PHP/MySQL programmer in the group! So it was fairly frantic work (solid coding from 10 till about 3 on the last day) and we ran into all sorts of problems with versioning and people overwriting each others’ work in FTP, especially as the CSS people tended to be working on the same files as I was at the same time!
As with all hack days, IRC was one of the most important methods of communication. Literally everyone had their laptops out during talks, especially during the presentations at the end and there was a fairly constant stream of chatter on the channel. @samhale123 also put up a bot on the channel to tweet things over IRC – we had several hours of fun attempting to overload the script / twitter / the server!
Google is an amazing place with by far the best decor I’ve seen in a company building. The floor is laid out like the London underground and the meeting rooms are more or less in the right place for stations (with consistent naming). There are ducks on the ceiling and random awesome other bits of furniture / decor adorning the walls / ceiling / floor.
We were also given a load of Google freebies, including Google yo-yo’s, Google cakes, Google water, Google pens, Google notebooks…
Of course it was a floor full of geeks, which essentially means a brilliant selection of geek T-shirts (I spotted several from ThinkGeek, at least one from the xkcd store…). The mentors (helping out with coding / guiding the groups) were also working in all sorts of fantastic companies; one of our mentors is working at last.fm, one at moo, one with the BBC etc. And needless to say there was a wide array of OS’ – the large majority seemed to be using Macs, those with PCs were probably split 50/50 between linux (mostly ubuntu, one debian that I know of) and windows.
There was also a brilliant selection of judges, including people from Wired (for some reason looks very familiar; came to school to give a talk maybe?), C4, etc.
The presentations were good fun – there were something like 40 people from the press / outside making the buzz all the more exciting. And we (@workforpeanuts) won the “Wish I’d thought of that” award!
Anyways, this is the first hack event that I’ve ever been to, and if this is anything to go by, I’m definitely game for another at some point. Heck, maybe DEFCON next year… *MANY* thanks to @hubmum for organising such an amazing event.
And I took other cool photos so go for it and browse!