Holiday Hackathon 2012

For the second year in a row, DocType Society held a Hackathon, this year at Room to Think and sponsored by &yet. We had a lot of people show up, join teams, plus a lot more people just drop-in to say 'hi'. It was 24 hours of furious coding, swift design, and good times.


I was lucky enough to join forces with Bruce Schmoetzer, Shenoa Lawrence, and Jon Hjelle to prototype an iPad app for Passbook-enabled self-checkout Shenoa dubbed "Scantastic". Bruce had mentioned the idea well beforehand during the Tri-Cities iPhone/iPad App Developer meetups. Source code for the prototype is available on Github.

Passbook (available even on Android) offers a lot of possibilities as an electronic replacement for membership cards, but lots of organizations have old laser scanners that can't scan a mobile phone. An iPad is a perfect device for capturing barcodes on another device, and could be used for self-checkout for any item with a barcode. Thus, we built a simple prototype app that acts like a library on an iPad: tracking an inventory, its members, and items they have checked out.

The team was able to make the app, incorporating a friendly and beautiful design from Shenoa, and demonstrate a simple process for checkout using books on hand at Room to Think. We are hopeful it could be used as a proof of concept and a great simple integration with the ZBar barcode reader library for iOS.

D &! D

Hats off to Doug Waltman, who stayed awake all 24 hours through the power of energy drinks, and Joseph Weakley who prototyped a gamified client for the &! task management app.

Taking their design cues from D&D (or Everquest or WoW, etc), it turned tasks into deadly weapons that were used to "fight" the project like a mythic monster. As you shipped your tasks, you built up power points to spend on your class abilities, such as healing your fellow teammates or launching a magical strike against the beastly assignment.

I can't help but think there really is a market for gamified project management. Gaming is no longer a fringe activity just for the young, and there are voices crying out that games make the world a better place. Maybe this prototype will become something great.

Who's the Ugliest of Them All?

The hackathon culminated with the DocType Society & Room to Think Ugly Sweater Holiday Party, where I took the grand prize for ugliest sweater. All credit for the victory should go to my wife, who handcrafted the monstrosity. Photo evidence here (that's me standing in the back). We played Cards Against Humanity, a game for terrible people; perhaps more terrible than we.

Hackathon 2013?

Thanks again to Room to Think for hosting us and &yet for sponsoring. Thank you very much for everyone who attended. I've learned you're all energetic and talented people (and at the party I learned you're all terrible people). After a great experience, I'm hoping for a third year!