The technical team at frestyl had a very busy weekend. jodosha and I (deadroxy) participated in HackItaly a day-long hack-a-thon in Milan organized by Stefano Bernardi and Massimo Ciociola. For those of you who don’t know what a hack day is, it’s basically an event where a bunch of developers get together and using APIs provided by various web services, create a series of new products or mash-ups within a set time limit. Think of it as the geek olympics.
The APIs on offer were mostly Italian, and mostly music-related. Our only decision going in was that we didn’t want to work on any hacks involving maps. We love ’em, but every once in a while we need a change of pace. So we joined up with a great team of developers to form a super-group composed of: Andrea Pavoni, Andrea Reginato, Antonio Trapani, Federico Feroldi and honorary computer-less member Andrea Franz. We ended up banging out an app using the Play.me and Beintoo APIs. We basically re-invented the digital wheel, implementing one of the first iPod games but with social and mobile components. Our app, called Squiz (look, I didn’t name it), is a game where you compete in real-time with other players to guess songs chosen at random. In a given round you listen to a randomly chosen track from the Play.me library and you must guess what the name of the track is from a multiple choice list of answers. Guessing right earns you a point, but guess wrong and you’ll be penalized. Accordingly, using Beintoo’s API we created a leaderboard to create a good old fashioned sense of competition. For me the funnest part of the whole hack was using the new jQuery Mobile framework to build the front end. If you check out the Squiz demo on a mobile device you’ll see what I’m talking about. As I’m the only mobile developer on the team jodosha has been working to convince me to start using the framework to build a mobile-web frestyl app, and he got a little bit closer to succeeding this weekend. Apart from the fact that the documentation is sparse (coming from iOS I’m already used to that) and that the framework is still in alpha, I see a lot of potential for making sexy cross platform apps.
When all was said and done our team actually ended up winning two prizes, one from each of the APIs we used, so we were psyched to have our hack be appreciated by the best sorts of judges. There were plenty of other cool hacks besides ours those, so you should check out all the results of HackItaly.
And finally, after the long day of hacking, and a bit of networking, like any good co-founder I popped open my iPhone to see if there were any concerts we could go check out. We found out that Sleigh Bells were playing at Tunnel, just around the corner from where we were. The start time of the gig was at 9:30pm and we started making our way over a little after 10pm, being used to the Roman style of the long wait between doors and the opening act. When we arrived around 10:15pm the little old man at the door was perplexed as to why we wanted to enter, the show had already finished! So despite having missed what promised to be a cool live show and a club I haven’t seen yet, we found out one valuable piece of information: Milan is not Rome. When they say a concert starts at 9:30, they mean 9:30, not midnight.