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Times Open Hack Day

On December 8, 2012, the Times Open Hack Day was held at the prestigious New York Times Building, where a collection of talented designers and developers gathered to exploit their brilliance over the course of a full day. Besides the invaluable space, time, and exceptional catering, the venue offered optional API side sessions from Spotify, Echo Nest, Tumblr, Google, and The New York Times to best present their technological capabilities. Produced with minimal restraints and free of firm guidelines, below are the winners and my shortlist of favorite hacks presented at the close of the Times Open Hack Day:

  • Andrew Pinzler's NYC Here, for those New York nights with out-of-towners who expect you to know where you are, we’re natives – not historians! Lower East Side? Meat Packing District? Now you can check into any venue on Foursquare and instantly reveal what neighborhood you're in. Because none of us knew where midtown ended, this hack was instantly worthy of its first place finish.
  • Tobias Wright's Ted Talks provides New York Times quips to better inject conversations with snooty comments. There’s a backstory to this hack involving a belligerent colleague named Ted, the resulting tour de force of creativity and smugness earned Ted’s flamboyance a third place finish.
  • Sam Frons' Tumblr Times topically connects images from Pinterest, articles from The New York Times, and general multimedia from Tumblr to compile a “"best of”" newsfeed. Per Sam Frons' demonstration, if a user's topic were cats, then imagine cats as far as the eye can scan a screen, pushed to you in an aesthetic layout.
  • While the New York Times employees were mainly in attendance for guidance and support, their automatic disqualification from prize contention didn't prevent them from presenting unique concepts. Although we've heard of the health effects of standing desks, the logistical setup wasn't appealing until Albert Sun's Dancing Desk mapped dance steps to desktop tasks using his Dance Dance Revolution mat! JSSML also stood out, because LinkedIn needs a buzzword to better represent the combination of the internet's building blocks, namely Javascript, CSS, and HTML.

The event was a rousing success from every angle; we were even treated to live iPad portraitures by the renown New Media Artist David Newman.

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