The Hack to End all Hacks

On Friday 26th April, the BLISS team embarked on a life changing weekend. This weekend was a 'hackathon' and there were two teams. But there could only ever be one winner.


To begin, and for the sake of all those reading and admittedly myself, up until a short while ago, thinking, what on earth is a hackathon—lets clear a few things up.  For starters, the term ‘hack’ is a little misleading, we didn’t hack into anything—websites, dimensions, people—there was no hacking. It is (in the words of wikipedia)an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projectsand that's what it is, in a nutshell, removing anything too techy/geeky.

Hackathons are fundamentally, a chance for creatives to get together and work on projects that they think about in their spare time. Those ideas you muse over when you should probably be working on something elsea term recently coined, procrastiworking. Before I lose you completely, procrastiworking is most definitely a real thing. I know this because I learnt it at a conference. Last January, the BLISS team were lucky enough to attend New Adventures in Web Design, the last in a series of web design conferences in Nottingham; Jessica Hische, an internet person who describes herself mainly as a letterer, also known as the woman who made that wedding invitation, talked about procrastiworking, stating:

To sum up, it’s the thing you probably spent most of today secretly doing, or daydreaming about—no? Just us then.

The Weekend

Anyway, back to the hackwe arrive at the “secret location” (just as exciting as it sounds) to discover we are in Ruthin, North Wales, outside a very lovely cottage (see main photo). It’s Friday night and having been sat in a van for well over an hour, it’s safe to say no hacking went on that night but we certainly got a feel for the area, and became fully acquainted with the cottage bar (it had a bar and yes, some got a little too friendly). There were (I think) a few secret meetings to discuss “tactics”, most of which were forgotten by the morning. Team building at it’s finest.

Now for the teams—first up, we had team ‘Spasemacken’, a word that probably sounds a little odd to you and actually still does to us too, but courtesy of Martin (our German intern), it is now a frequently used term in the office, although, no-one really knows what it means—anyway, I digress, ‘Spasemacken’ (best not said in the presence of anyone German), were, Brian, Tom, Martin, Laurie and Liam. On the other side of the ring/cottage, we had team ‘Night Wolves’ (a terrible name yes, but we did have a logo, see below), including, Adam, Conor, Emma, John and Nathan.

The next morning saw an early start (for most), followed by some productive brainstorming, an excessive amount of post-its and a few too many bacon sandwiches, until both teams decided they had the winning idea—after that it was a blur of tapping, coding, more tapping, more coding, some silly vine videos (see below), a couple of games of pool, a few gin and tonics thrown in for good measure, some homemade burgers (that were apparently awesome), some equally nice veggie burgers, a few country strolls (to the co-op), and then just a lot more coding, and photoshopping, presentation slides, and then—it was 5pm on Sunday evening and it was time.

(Something about a jQuery.)


What we actually did

Enough chit chat, now for what we made. Both teams had two entirely different ideas, team Spasemacken played around with the idea of social media, creating a sort of super social media platform incorporating Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and FourSquare—a place to create ‘Moments’—it looked very fancy and worked a treat; team Night Wolves created a game for iPad entitled, ‘TAXI’, presenting players with a taxi and destination point, asking them to plan the quickest route in order to drive away with the most money, with the option of upgrading cities and routes—it also featured some rather funky music and nice visuals and it's own website and demo—a lot of work (this was my team, in case you hadn't guessed).

Before I announce the winner, here are some pictures (and more vines) to help you capture the vibe of the weekend.

Liam doing his thing.


Messy hacking.


After hours.


Boy time.


And now for the winning team: TEAM SPASEMACKEN! 

"We smashed it" - Martin, Winner


Very well deserved guys! 

But don't think that's the last you've heard of either project—WE'LL BE BACK. In the nicest way possible.