Monday, August 13, 2012

PHL eyed for 2-month hackathon

Some islands in the Philippines are being considered as prospective venues for a two-month tropical "hackathon" by 12 programmers. The British Broadcasting Co. (BBC) said organizers of the "Come Hack With Us" project aims to boost the creativity of programmers taking part in the project. BBC quoted organizer Walter Heck, who is based in Kuala Lumpur, as saying there were "lots of islands in the Philippines that were potential candidates for the coding get together." "Although remote, the islands had good power supplies and were connected to the mainland via microwave links," the BBC reported. The "Come Hack With Us" website described the hackathon as an event that "will make all other hackathons look like a joke." "Remote tropical island, luxurious villa, 12 geniuses, 2 months of pure hacking! We take care of the roof over your head, the food you'll eat (we'll have a cook), a clean environment (cleaning staff)... in short, you just show up with a great idea and high motivation and we'll make sure we give you everything you need to make it successful," it said. But the BBC report said applicants should submit a proposal explaining what they will work on during the hackathon. They also have to complete a psychological evaluation to show they can live "in harmony" with other coders. "I lived with a few people in Alaska working on a project and that was an amazing experience. Why can we not recreate that experience in a tropical and remote location so we can really focus on our projects?" Heck said. BBC also said successful applicants will have to make their own way to the island and pay a small fee to attend. Heck said the submission fee is "largely symbolic," and meant to "keep away the people that are planning to party all the time or are not serious about their project." Such people "could be really detrimental to the atmosphere," he said. The BBC quoted Heck as saying reaction to the idea had been "swift and positive," with more than 4,000 people showing an interest within hours of the advertise going on the Y Combinator tech news site. On the other hand, Heck said there is no guarantee that putting 12 people together on a tropical island will get the best out of them. "We won't know until they've done it," he said. BBC noted such retreats had become a common practice for firms that want their staff to focus on new ideas instead of just taking care of daily work. — TJD