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Yahoo holds Open Hack 2008

September 12, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A computer Woodstock took place with a concert and tents set up on a lawn, but really, no one was sleeping. Most developers are expected to work through the night to try and create the next big application.

300 hackers converged on Yahoo and executives didn't mind, in fact, they invited them.

"This isn't a recruiting event for us necessarily, but this is an awesome opportunity for people to come in and learn a little about who we are," said Chris Yeh, head of Yahoo Developer Network.

Open Hack 2008 kicked off on Friday on the Sunnyvale campus. It gives third party developers the chance to build new websites and products for yahoo.

"A team from the New York Times built an application that moved data effectively from a desktop machine and a mobile phone," said Yeh.

Yahoo believes open platforms are central to innovation on the web. A.J. Arora was at the first one in 2006. He was frustrated when he'd lose the signal on his favorite radio station on road trips, so he developed a solution.

"Why isn't it when I go to Yahoo maps and I plug in my directions, why doesn't it just say, Indianapolis change to 92.1 at I65 change to 96.3?" said Arora.

Arora called his application Road Trip Radio. Not only did he win several awards, Yahoo also gave him a summer internship.

"It really opened a lot of doors for me," said Arora.

The event also has international flair. Yahoo sought out developers from several countries around the world. The top ones were flown to Sunnyvale to hack their own applications.

"Right now we're looking at playing around with the Flicker API or maybe Firebird, but right now we're still deciding," said Andrei Navarro, from the Philippines.

The developers also took classes with titles including "Running an Open Social App on Yahoo" to "Hacking with the Music."

"To interact with those people and to be able to test out the applications and our ideas is a success for me. It's not necessary to have to win awards," said Gavin Bong, from Malaysia.

Yahoo is holding its fifth Open Hack Day on September 19th thru the 21st. It will take place in Taiwan.


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