This weekend saw the second Hack camp in Leeds.

It was absolutely epic.

In 24 hours my team of four managed to churn out not one, but TWO native smartphone applications, a new, meaty form of currency and started a rails app.

I turned up at 7am Saturday for an iOS course with THE @daveverwer of the internets! It was awesome. massive thanks to @caius for lending me his iMac to do some dev on. Even if he did keep making it beep and talk at me.

I’d managed to sort a team earlier in the week, recruiting @theallseeingpie, @jepickup and finally @caius to work on my project for #leedshack.

The idea was given to me by @speedy_dave, our coach at The Nottingham Roller Girls. He’s an amateur speed skater turned Broller Derby star and came up with a drill for us. We skate around the track in a pace line, getting faster and faster each lap. Dave was using his phone to time the laps and asked me if I could create a tool to help him. I threw together a quick .NET app on my laptop from his requirements and we trialled it at practice. Like a bleep test in circuit training, with an indication of when you should be half way round the track. We made a few changes and Dave showed it around a few of the teams he went to train with and they loved it.

For a hack I decided to enhance the app and create a mobile version. And so we decided on the Roller Derby Endurance Aid for Andriod and iPhone! It not only appeals to my geeky/techy side, but also my love of skating and the niche market of roller derby. I help coach the NRG and this app will actually really help me!

We started at midday Saturday. Step one was to get the requirements down. It was pretty clear Caius and Joe would be workin gon the iPhone version as they both had Macs, myself and James with our windoze and ubuntu machines working on the android flavour.

The biggest challenge for myself and James was setting up the environment. As my lovely company Esendex sponsored the event AND submitted a coding challenge, I was also supporting other hacks using the @esendex api. This was awesome and there were a lot of people using it. However it kept sidtracting me from my own hack and my team!

We worked through the night. Powered by takeaway, sweets, energy drinks, beer and fine wine. My team were amazing. I’ve know Caius for years, met Joe a couple of times and James was a new friend. We gelled well. The booze fueled late night/early hours whilst we fiercely sought to attain the hallowed Ballmer Peak saw our table full of banter, laughter and rather suprisingly loud beeps. Everywhere else was silent. Around 7am (I’d been awake 24 hours) we crash. Grabbing an hour or so we woke in time for tea and bacon fuelling us for a few more hours hacking.

Keyboards down at midday Sunday.

RT @jepickup@TheAllSeeingPie @ruby_gem @Caius 30% setting up the environment, 30% being force fed, 20% bickering and 20% actually doing something 😉

This is what we made:

Roller Derby Endurance Aid


I’m going to get the android version tested by Dave this week, and hope to have it on the app store and market place very soon! We’re already amassing interest!

Thank you so much to @thehodge for putting on an amazing event, Esendex for sponsoring, the lovely attendees for putting up with me when I was tired and cranky and my amazing team for making such amazing things, making me laugh, taking the piss and being generally awesome.

Artwork by the extremely fabulous @charlotteart. I was one of Charlotte’s first customers, her artwork is all over my home. Go, check out her lovely work: http://www.charlottethomson.co.uk/

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