Its the end of the Yahoo/BBC hackday weekend. The atmosphere at the beginning of the first day was really good and the weekend looked promising. But I left that day early and frustrated. I wanted to try out some of the cool tools being talked about but I couldnt get started because the network was too unreliable. It was a shame. I did meet some interesting people and I saw a great talk on machine tags by Aaron Straup Cope and Dan Catt though. I hope they got the network stabilised later on for the die hards and I’m intrigued to find out more about the final submitted hacks. It was always going to be difficult for me to attend the second day, due to family commitments, and I suppose this means I didnt fully prepare or get into the spirit of things. Looking at the blogs, the vast majority of the attendees got a lot out of it, and only a few lightweights who left early, like me, felt let down. If there is a next time I will both prepare more in advance and ensure I can attend the whole event. Oh, and come with a 3G card in my back pocket.
5 thoughts on “Hackday London”
Aye, from about 9pm the network was rock solid 🙂
It’s a shame you had that experience. I think a lot of us got annoyed about the network instability on the Saturday, but by the evening it had settled down and I think it was pretty solid from around about 6pm onwards. Totally share that part of your pain! You should definitely take a look at the hacks that were produced – 73 of them, more than at the Yahoo! Hackday in the US, and there were some pretty amazing ones.
Really sorry about the networking – we had a couple of teething issues first thing in the morning – which is to be expected when 500 people hope on a network for the first time but we nearly had those fixes when we got hit by lightning – I’m afraid that had a huge effect on the kit as the power spiked and tripped and several bits of hardware got fried…. we’re really sorry it took so long to get it back up properly but we hope it didn’t affect to many people 🙂
I didn’t realise the impact of the strike (which is a bit stupid of me really) – thanks for enlightening me. I guess my frustration was amplified because I had a tighter deadline then everyone else. I left around 7.30pm. I could have stayed late into the night, but needed to have started something to justify that. I’m glad that the network stabilised (well done for that – what a nightmare for you) and that people were able to get cracking.
Aside from the network, it was an impressive event. The venue was great and the organisers had added some really nice touches (in particular, the beanbags, sofas and the free copy of Make magazine).
The big shame about the wireless was it meant that we didn’t get enough time with the new APIs. Whilst I didn’t leave early, I did have to switch to building a completely different application that didn’t require the network.
It was even more of a let down because I had no idea that Yahoo! were working on FireEagle, and I could have leapt for joy when I saw the demo. It’s the missing piece in an application I’ve been thinking about for a long time, so I would have really liked to have worked with it during Hackday.
But the reason I’m adding my comments is to simply say that despite the network-induced frustration which we share, it has to be said that the event was incredibly well organised. For a start, I’m amazed that the red-T-shirted helpers always had a smile and polite demeanour throughout the entire period, including the middle of the night. And attendees probably aren’t aware that after the wireless was fixed a BT engineer stayed on-site–albeit having a snooze–just in case anything else went wrong. Added to that the fact that the organisers managed to move hundreds of people around the building with no fuss after the roof opened automatically to let the rain in 🙂 and even organised to get them power as batteries started to fade, and the whole thing just looked like a master-class in ‘unobtrusive organising’.
Mark Birbeck, formsPlayer
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