Yahoo! Open Hack India – 2011

It was the fourth hack event conducted by Yahoo! in India and my first hack event in Bangalore. I do not use most of the Yahoo! technologies while at work, but yes did some stuffs using Y! Pipes, Yahoo! Travels. What called me to this event was the enthusiastic crowd and the kind of hack ( software / hardware ) which was going to happen during this two day event. JavaScript guru Douglas Crockford, has come down for the event.
The event kicked off with some technical talks by Y! folks. YQL, Geo-hacking and OAuth sessions were worth attending. Most of the applications developed during the hack used one of these. YQL turns data on the web into databases. Geo-hacking involved things like – finding a current location, turning a location into a place, finding geographical hierarchy, geo-tagging information, displaying geo-information. Learnt about BOSS [ Build your Own Search Service ], since the back-end is proprietary and owned by Microsoft, one has to pay 80cents per 1000 query. DuckDuckGo uses BOSS for it’s search engine. Did interact with Y! folks discussing stuffs related to systems rather than web scale applications. Got to know about happenings at Y! Labs.
Hack challenges : Location based, Mobile based, Entertainment based. Hackers were asked to come up with applications using Y! open technology mostly available at Y! Developer Network and their latest open platforms. It was time to come up with some ideas and put them in some structure. Teams were formed and few did an individual hack as well. An applications named ‘FakeMyTrip’ wherein a user can put his photo to any fake location (s)he wish to visit, was applauded a lot. There were hardware hacks too – showing mind’s concentration while moving a remote control toy car, LED indicators which shows amount of CPU, memory consumed when a site is loaded, LED indicator glows red when a child tries to access unauthorised websites. 50 finalist were selected and they were given 90 secs to demo it. Grand prize was a trip to New York to participate in Y! Hack All Stars Event, where winner will compete with winners of other open hacks from around the world.
The grand prize winners were actually two – [1] Spotlight – Illuminate your part of the World ( Find out best place to hangout ) [2] D.A.M.N. – Single Serving Friend ( connects people on demand to share meter fare in auto-rickshaw / taxis )
It was a privilege meeting techies from Yahoo!. The event was a place of good learning and experience.

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