Mashed 2008

Mashed 08

After my day at Interesting, I jumped on the Tube up to the BBC run Mashed, up at Alexandra Palace. This was a 36 hour or so hacking festival, with people all over the place coding and building new tools, most of which had something to do with a whole load of BBC feeds/API/data that were available (although in most cases only for the weekend, as a trial).

I’m not a coder, so I was not doing anything on that side. I went along to mee tup with a few people and to take part in the Social Flight Sim, a mad idea put together by Ewan Spence. He’d pulled together some people to build a flight simulator, using Google Earth as the ‘world’ and then bashed together a wooden plane to hold all the controls.

The pilot controlled the speed, height and direction, whilst the navigator managed the course. IT was originally thought that we would have to fly continuously through the night, but with a plane that could travel at 30 thousand kilometers/hour (even if the tech could not keep up with it) we could zoom by the boring bits such as the Pacific and the Atlantic.

Ewan has a video of the presentation, where he co-opted some of the pyrotechnics that the BBC had put up, to make a grand entrance (with the smoke subsequently opening up the roof again). No big prizes, but it got mentioned in dispatches a few times for being memorable!

Around 50 projects were presented, with the Northenders subtitle translator winning a couple of things. Other prizes went to Twitter on TV, using the interactiveTV API to feed in Twitter feeds to the TV, a accessibility project that pulled the data from the BBC feeds and re-presented it in a format that made it far more accessible for visual or leaning impaired people and a FireEagle>Lonely Planet hack that gave you information about where you are.

Overall, I had a great time; the organisation looked great, they kept us well fed and watered and the beanbags were their usual brilliant selves. Looking forward to the next one!

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