Now I’m actually awake I’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone who entered our Hack Manchester challenge, we (Carl, Gary, James, James and me) were amazed by both the number and sheer ridiculousness of the entries.
Just in case you’re not sure what Hack Manchester is here’s a quick summary: Take 250ish developers, designers and other geeks (me included) stick them on the top floor of Manchesters Museum of Science and Industry add in huge quantities of Harribo, Coffee and Tickety Brew (very tasty beer) and see what weird and wonderful ideas they can come up with in the space of 24 hours (plus an extra hour as the clocks changed). If this sounds like fun follow @HackManchester on twitter so you don’t miss next year.
Coding for 25 hours straight was the easy bit compared to narrowing down all 31 entries to three finalists. But after a short, heated, discussion we eventually managed to narrow it down to the three listed below.
The runners up
Ever felt like programming by SMS? Well Joe Nash from HackSoc Notts thought it’d be a great idea! He hacked together some Node.js to allow you to send Haskell programs to his service and receive the output.
SMS Service Bus
How about implementing a software service bus using SMS? Team NH3 from Applicances Online were mad enough to take this one on. Give the video a try, you’ll be both dazzled by the shiny graphics and bemused that anyone could think this was a good idea (hence it being in our top 3).
Paula and Addam – again from Nottingham Uni – wanted to solve the age old problem of sending SMS once your phone has been confiscated. Most people would use a webapp, but not these guys, they wrote a Java program that converted a musical note played with a recorder into the matching letter. They were even kind enough to discard your message if the word wasn’t in the dictionary. Apparently (and amazingly) there are 41 words you can send with just the letters A-G making this one of the most ridiculous and useless apps we’ve ever seen – exactly what we were looking for.
A big congratulations go to Paula and Addam and we hope you’re enjoying your giant banana and Nexus 4s.
At this point I’d be remiss not to mention the amazing work planning and running Hack Manchester by Gemma Cameron, Joe Swan and Claire Foster, well done guys, we’re already looking forward to next year.