Last weekend a team from Lean Mean Fighting Machine, myself, Aqeel (@schizdazzle) and Lewis (@LewisPhilips2), went to the weekend long Cadbury Hackathon down at the Google Campus as part of the Digital Shoreditch event. The theme was Joy and the Olympics.
Predictably there was a lot of chocolate there. Like, a disgusting amount. It was alarming how little I held back. I really ate a lot of chocolate. It was a real eye opener.
The hack procedure was this: get into small teams, come up with an idea, and have a working prototype by the next afternoon. Our idea was to make an Olympic torch relay where you pass a lit "torch" from phone to phone using a bump mechanic. We were to track the torches using GPS, the aim being to be a part of the longest relay to get entered into a prize draw.
An additional idea was to let the torch run out of fuel, requiring a "re-fuel" by scanning in a Cadbury bar code.
We decided to make the app with HMTL/JS with a PHP backend, and compile it cross platform using Phone Gap as a way of using the skills at hand. One problem we had was that we couldn't get the bump API for phone gap to compile for iPhone (our test phones where iPhones) so we spent a good deal of time re-creating a bump API of our own using a GPS and time stamp based system in JS and PHP. This would work far batter with near field comms though, so we'd hope to make any future versions take advantage of that where possible.
At the end we all had to present our apps back to the rest of the group. No mean feat after so much coffee and chocolate. I was shaky. Our app kind of sort of worked, a bit, enough to give the judges an idea I think and I think they trusted me when I said we had brilliant api all working. We did, but had neglected our UI. A lesson learned there.
There were a lot of very talented people there and some amazing ideas. It was all quite humbling, but, we won a prize. They gave us best app. So missing the sunniest days of the year in Google's basement to queasily sweat pure sugar under pressure was all worth it.
That evening, when all the hand shaking and networking was done. I cycled home in the sun, very pleased with myself.
I don't know if you saw this post the other day about a pebble, but it's my birthday today, and I got this present in the post.
Sorry it's taken so long to send the pebble back to you, I mislaid it on return from my holiday. Please find enclosed a second stone from my beach at home in Silecroft in Cumbria also.
Not only has Paul sent the original pebble back, but he's sent a sample of a local Cumbrian pebble. It's more speckley and more red/green than the more Grey pebble from Devon btw.
A couple of weeks ago we were on our anual company holiday. This year we went to Devon. We sat on Beer beach for a bit, a good sized pebbly beech.
Anyway, for no good reason I thought I'd write my phone number on a pebble and chuck it down the beech. Who's going to find it? There's millions of them, but you never know, it could be the start of an adventure!
Yesterday I got this text:
No way! Someone's found the pebble, and not only that they've texted the number on it. Would I do that?
So after a couple of texts to establish neither of us are mental (sort of a shame, but we'll see) Paul the finder is going to post it back to our office.
Never thought I'd see that again.