Hacking – all day and all of the night!

So, Hack Manchester took place over the weekend – having our sister company as headline sponsors this year was particularly special. A 24-hour (which was actually 25) hackathon held on the day British Summertime ended, this was the third year Hack Manchester was held, and was its biggest event yet!

There were lots of familiar faces to be seen around the Conference Centre and Learning Loft of the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) including our two official teams made up of our Industrial Placement Students (IPs) and our full time Developers (Don’t Break It) – plus a few others smattered around other teams including ‘Definitely Not Web Apps’ and ‘That’s How You Get Ants’. Amongst the arcade games kindly provided by Intechnica and Barclays’ pinball machine offerings, there was a lot of furious coding going on along the top floor of the museum from 12 noon on Saturday to the same time on Sunday. Some of the challenges the hackers could choose to complete included ‘Most pointless use of Clockwork’ which is a Text Message API, create a socially-inclusive hack and create some technology to help people organise their lives among others.

The ideas were varied, comical or just plain crazy, but it was incredible what the teams had managed to create in such a short space of time, confirmed by the amount of time the judging took, Best in Show judge our very own Craig Dean looked like he’d been up all night by the time they’d finished deliberating! Finally 6pm rolled around, the hackers who had managed to just nap, or not pass out completely made their way back to MOSI for the awards ceremony. The buffet and stocked drinks fridge along with stand-up comic and host Bethany Black’s infectious laugh and funny jokes perked up those tired faces long enough to see who had triumphed over a very long and exhausting but brilliant weekend.

And the winners were:

For the most pointless use of Clockwork challenge, the HTTPirates were victorious with their SMS Postal service app, which sent heartfelt text messages as if Royal Mail had delivered them, even with optional giftwrap!

iLancaster created a great app which shared music between listeners on the street, so that the user could compile a playlist of the city, and discover new music through the tastes of passersby. This was the winner of Capsule’s multi-user challenge.

The socially inclusive app challenge set by Late Rooms headed towards Purple Dragons with their Bus Buddy app, a multi-functioning, hugely helpful piece of work to help people with visual impairments get around on the bus. A very worthwhile and useful app indeed.

How do Charity Challenge apps grab you? Well NH3.2 created one for some fundraising push-ups utilising a smartphone’s camera and the competitors nose to register each push-up, and subsequently share the video to social media to encourage others which nabbed the Barclays prize.

The ‘Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That’ challenge was won by Beanz with Trello Diary, a calendar syncing application, to organise your life!

The University Challenge was taken by the University of Manchester Team with their SMS against Humanity app, which was basically a texting version of Cards Against Humanity, very smooth!

Company Prize went to Tech Brewers with their Ping Pong training app prowess builder, Smash!

And then we came to the final one, the big one, the prize they all wanted, the title, the glory – Best in Show. Judged and awarded by our Craig the super Tech Angels prize for this coveted award was 4 Samsung Galaxy S Tabs. He said himself, that this was the most difficult judging decision ever seen at the event, there were 20 hacks that deserved an honourable mention, but only 3 could make it through to the nominees for the final award. Our very own ‘Don’t Break It’ made it through with their infection game, made in 6 hours after their initial build was somehow broken! Pointing no fingers, Jon. A previous winner Purple Dragons with Bus Buddy made an appearance as a worthwhile consideration for the big prize, but the ultimate award was taken by Codegainz, with Raizer a Charity challenge app. It was clear this team had worked exceptionally hard on the design and execution of their work, it looked professional and ready to launch and impressed everyone I think it’s fair to say.

This year’s entries have been truly great, and the event continues to be an amazing showcase of the vast amount of talent and ability we have here in Manchester and the North West for coding, design and staying up for days! See you again next year!

P.s Hack really IS the new black!

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