Hack24 2017: Big dreams, big hacks, big weekend

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Hack24 2017: Big dreams, big hacks, big weekend

TL;DR: Hack24 2017. Went great.

The weekend of 18-19 March 2017 saw around 150 people, made up of students, professionals and hobbyists, take over the most iconic building in Nottingham, the Nottingham Council House. Hack24 had the run of the whole building for the entire weekend and a huge amount of fun was had by all!

For the second year running we were very privileged to have the full support of the city's council for Hack24, and Anthony Byrne of Nottingham City Council kicked off the opening ceremony on Saturday by welcoming everyone to the venue, and at noon started the hack with an air-horn, coinciding with the midday tolling of the mighty bells of the Council House.

Challenges this year were put forward by MHR, Accelerate Places, Cronofy, Esendex, eLife, Packed Pixels and UNiDAYS, with a best video prize supplied by Tech Nottingham. 40 teams formed and hacked, and a large number entered their hacks into more than one challenge, increasing their chances of winning one of the awesome prizes on offer.

There were some new additions to Hack24 this year, including a #MyOctocat drawing competition put forward by Joe Nash of GitHub, which was won by James Hodgson with this fantastic octocat of Hack24’s very own Andrew Seward in his traditional gameshow host’s pink jacket and sparkly gold tie. A worthy winner! And of course the watermelon was everywhere, from sweets to stickers - it seems to have become the thumbs up emoji for the Tech Nottingham community, followed closely by the unicorn and, in the last couple of weeks, the Party Parrot?! (We don’t make the rules, you do.)

Keeping the event running flawlessly was the 20-strong team of Hack24 volunteers, without whom the event simply couldn’t run. A special mention goes to Jonathan and Shaun who were on their third year in a row of volunteering with Hack24 - thanks guys!

This year, Hack24 again decided to raise money for local charity Framework. Collection buckets were dotted around the venue for donations and we also sold a number of limited edition Hack24 hoodies, with all profits going to Framework. Hoodies are still available to buy on the Hack24 website, so if you missed your chance at the weekend, fear not! You can still purchase some snuggly goodness and do your bit for Framework too! Good work everyone!

We had lots of people coming in off the streets this year, wondering what Hack24 was all about. Our volunteers kindly gave them tours and information about the event - it's great that Hack24 is attracting so much interest in the city! One visitor in particular stood out, Kaya Sudra, daughter of sponsor Mitul Sudra. She was so excited to see what her dad was involved in and even wore a special necklace she had made with charms spelling out 'HACK'. Tech Nottingham's Emma Seward loved meeting her, showing her round and trying (in vain, probably) to explain about all the watermelons! Kaya is thinking about writing a blog post about what she saw at Hack24, so watch this space - we'll be sure to share it!

Saturday evening saw drinks for everyone courtesy of GitHub, entertainment in the form of a ramshackle game of Pointless co-presented by Alexander Armstrong Andrew Seward and Richard Osman Ed Manley (prizes being much coveted Hack24 hoodies), followed by Werewolf, presided over by Joe Nash.

Hack24 provides a super warm and welcoming space, the team work so hard on optimising every element of the event for empathy and building a community.
— Joe Nash, GitHub

Sunday morning arrived far too quickly and for some, a bit too loudly, with Andrew taking over the stage with a dance along to a rousing tune, followed by his morning briefing.  A hearty breakfast was served by our fabulous caterers, and then it was eyes down until hacking stopped at midday, marked once again by the air-horn and the familiar countdown music from that well known game show that features words and numbers. Hackers then had two hours to make and submit a video of their hack, and then it was lunch and some welcome downtime (and for some, sleep!) before the awards ceremony at 5pm.

Everyone gathered in the ballroom for the awards ceremony (with excellent interval music chosen by Jonathan Relf - for all those that have been asking, it was Overwerk’s Canon EP, which has become the unofficial suspense music for Hack24!) and after a brief introduction by Andrew, each of the challenge sponsors announced the winner of their challenge and presented them with their prizes, and the winning video submissions were played on screen, to much hilarity. Huge congratulations to all the winners and runners up - it was again incredibly difficult this year for our judges to decide the winners - all entries to the hacks were of a fantastically high standard.

Hack24 over and many people headed to the stunning Pitcher & Piano for drinks, hosted by Cordius. A glass of what you fancy was exactly what was needed after an exhausting but exhilarating weekend. Huge thanks to all involved: hackers, staff and sponsors. We couldn’t have done it without you.

See you next year!

 
 

And just what are people saying about Hack24 2017? Here's a few of our fave quotes from the weekend.

Best hack I’ve ever been to = @HackTwentyFour, hats off to the @technottingham staff and the volunteers 🍉🍉
— Mohamed Dewidar, Attendee
Hack24 was brill. Thank you thank you thank you for all your hard work and making it the best hacking atmosphere!!!
— Dextor Prior, Attendee
The hot chocolate is the surprise hit at Hack24 - it’s so thick I saw one team fashioning it into a vase.
— Andrew Seward, Tech Nottingham Director
My dreams are filled with code, octocats and pink sparkly jackets. WHAT HAPPENED?!
— Chris Emerson, Attendee
You can go home and rest but you don’t want to.
— Shaun Hare, volunteer
Little Miss Naughty is not a Mr Man.
— Robert Davies, Attendee
I hate this framework, and I hate that language, and I hate those tools, oh look, it all works suddenly…
— Matt Brunt, Attendee

Special thanks (in no particular order):

Hack24 Volunteers: Amy Breedon-Jones, Moreton Brockley, Lorna Byrnes, Katarzyna Burzynska, Pete Clark, Sam Crosby, Shaun Hare, Mark Holroyd, Vinay Karode, Paul Maloney, Ed Manley, Ella McCahill, Christopher Muster, Jonathan Relf, Lindsey Relf, John With Beard, Ian Wright, Dianna Wright

Sponsors: Anton Roe (MHR), Claire Dunn (Accelerate Places), Imogen Atkinson (Accelerate Places), Mitul Sudra (Bizfitech), Neil O’Connor (Oakbrook Finance), Adam Bird (Cronofy), Garry Shutler (Cronofy), Paul Maloney (Esendex), Naomi Penfold (eLife),  Matt Relf (Packed Pixels), Justian Blount (Cordius), Joe Nash (GitHub), Andrew Bullock (UNiDAYS), Greg Tudor (UNiDAYS)

Nottingham City Council: Jackie Green, John Bown, Martyn Cheatle, Anthony Byrne, Nick McDonald, Glenn Formoy

Photography and Videography: Andrew Acford, Shutter Socks (David Duffin, Dylan Oscroft, Ben Mycroft, Ryan Purchase, George Hughes, Dario Wilson, Callum Rhodes)

Design: Tom Jepson

Catering: Faye Vincent & team @ Truffle Catering

Hackbot creation: Dave Wood


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