So, today I'll do some live blogging from the Yahoo Open Hack Bucharest 2011. Because this is my first conference, and I am a little to young for taking part of a team, I will try to get some opinions about the conference.

Arrival 21:43

I arrived here, in about 20 mins from the metro station... teams are all heated up, and hacking. I see a hell a lot of laptops, and a lot of sketches with software and other geek kinds... I'm going to take a road trip between the teams, to see their status, and take some pics. (oh, and the organization is really cool)

The organizers

I've spoken to the organizers: they think that the conference is doing real great... about 370 people arrived today, and they expect another 400 tomorrow (including tech talk). They said that the interest of devs in Bucharest for this event... I personally think this is the biggest tech event ever happened in Romania. Also the Yahoo! brand is very well seen in Romania... and they are delighted to bring this event here. Oh, and I lost the title of the youngest boy to come here... another little boy has stollen it... maybe next time. :-)

The Chief

Just talked to Dom, the guy who rulls everything onstage. Every tech thing is in parameters, and there are no problems. A little situation appeared early today, when 300 people tried to connect to the internet at the same time, and there were some nasty problems... now everything is smooth and silk. Oh, and he said that there are here more people then London Open Hack... 1-0 for Romania.

The Pizza

I was hungry... so the food appeared just on time. I've talked to a freelancer that told me he is very happy with the way that things go around: his team is doing a project which captures pictures from Flickr or an Android device, and says if the people are happy or not. Nice idea, but difficult to implement. And now Eurovision is on the big screen :-).

A little fun

The game room is awesome: pool, table soccer, ping-pong and they even have a Wii and a Xbox Kinect. There were some guys stretching their muscles after, but it was quite empty (I think everybody is working). Oh, and there is a "quiet room": things are so quiet there I didn't have courage to enter because my breath would have disturbed the guys there.

Doodle Robot

So the first team I have just interviewed didn't have a name, but they have a name for their robot: DoodleBot. What does it do ?! Well, you paint a doodle, and it walks as the doodle: if you do a heart, it will walk as a heart. The core of the software is a packet sniffer built in C++, that takes the coordinates of the doodle, and transmits them to the robot. This is fun !

Arduino Card Scanner

The next guys I've talked to are using an Arduino board and a RFID scanner for cards... the nifty thing is that the cards are as small as a penny. The next interesting feature is wireless internet, and the two guys were thinking what to do next. I wish them luck.

Talk about Olympiads

One of the guys who was working with the Arduino came and spoke to me. They have greater ideas then I've expected. They will build a 3D model of a building, and use a Yahoo! Maps API: when the cards will be used for login, they will pinpoint the location on the map. The guy was from Iasi (in the upper part of Romania [we are at the bottom]). We had a little discussion about why high-school computer science sucks (yeah, nobody here is using advanced algorithmics) and about computer science national olympiads (dynamic programming with MLE, or undeclared variables that make a 100 points program worth 0). Now, he is trying to understand a library that the guy who coded it commented: //TO DO: make it work.

The VIP table

I've made the mistake to confuse the organizing crew with a team... but they were hacking on something. So I talked to Read who was unhappy that his display doesn't communicate with his NodeJS server. He is currently working at Yahoo! on the YUI, typically using NodeJs. He loves this technology, and I personally think this is the future: being able to write the same language in front-end an back-end is a big + for every dev team. Yahoo's staff is great, can't wait to talk to someone else. Oh, ETA 13 hours till end :-).

Just in Time - Guitar chord recognition and search

I've met some guys from Timisoara which think totally out of the box. Their plan: so you have a guitar, and you know some of the chords of a song, and want to play all of it. You only have to play the chords you know, and their app will interpret the chords, "spell" them in the Yahoo! Search, and find the whole tabulator of your song. Totally awesome idea, but very very tricky: you have to interpret the frequencies correctly, and you never know what happens on the stage. I hope they will rock on the stage.

Tequila Worms

So how about a retro snake/worms game... just for modern days. The team which I spoke to want to build a big map, with a lot of worms in it, controlled by a whole lot of people. With NodeJs on their side (server) and HTML5 on their other side (Canvas 2D specifically) they want to build a Massive Multiplayer Online Worms Eating Game. The idea is promising, but I couldn't see a worm moving around, nor a worm appealing graphic. With the clock ticking, can they really finish their project in time ?! (I think I am starting to get this blogging thing :))


A more practical approach from a younger team: a system where you pinpoint your new events on a Y!Map with date, time, etc. and you're this sends an update to tour Yahoo! Profile, sets your Yahoo! Messenger status message with the name of the event and the link, and possibly it will send an update to your friends on messenger (a little tech problem 'cuz some people "normally" have 1400 friends). They also will implement an after-event feedback mode. In only 12 hours, we will see if this will run without errors.

Asimov - AntiSocial movie rating system

So everybody today is social: you give ratings, share them, look for other shared ratings. But where is an old fashion database ?!? The guys who I last spoke with were writing an app for a Windows Phone 7. On the server, they've built from a free open online database, a rating system, based upon the current ratings for producers, actors, directors and so on. So, they think that they will predict what will be the rating of future movies, by only seeing the crew. It's a typical old school "maths" approach, on a radical new Metro UI theme... the only drawback they say it is Silverlight on WP7 because it is "half implemented". Oh, they also said that they will try to get the info through YQL. And they also recommend not to use the services of Ibis Hotel: their expensive, and they charge extra for parking.

Tired people and other projects

I think there is a general "fatigue" which propagates like a worm in the Yahoo! Open Hack network. The last people I've spoken to didn't impress me very much: 2 guys are trying to use oAuth to get the location, and display near buildings and important monuments, another team didn't want to tell me a lot about their NodeJs project (a in-browse game), and the last guy I've spoken to said that he helped a lot other teams, but he hasn't managed to work on his project: a product timeline, that uses YQL to bring a database of advertisings, and display them.

Back online - Hack RFID

I took a nap... it feels so good no that I can run around the entire complex 10 times... but it's cold outside now so I am going to present you the next team I've spoken to: Hack RFID. They are building an online app that runs parallel with they're RFID card readers (which btw, they've said that phones can be used also). So every time you login with the card, your position is transmitted to Facebook, and your status is updated (oh and an annoying beep is issued also... they say that this is a feature). Very fun team, glad to meet team, and I wish them success.

Map.Nt - Traceroute on Yahoo! Maps

This tries to solve a big problem of global networks: it will traceroute a requested packet and pinpoint the servers on a Yahoo! Map. It has a nice history feature, which colors new routers that appear and old routers that disappear. And they said also that the app will say which routes are faster or slower than usual. Hope to see the project running between 2-4 pm today.

Automated Testing App

Ok, so this project is way over my IT knowledge. It is about an app written in Java that takes the CSV output from HP Mercury and IBM Rational Functional Tester, and converts them into a easy human readable log file. The guy said that pro automated testers spend about 3 hours on this type of job, but with his app they spend only 5 mins. And this is the first app I've seen to be finished :-).

Yahoo! Farm

Definitely the most complex project I have seen till now... and with the most chances to win the grand prize. So, the features are: a tree with light LEDs in with - the number of unread mail is the number of lighten LEDs, a windmill which spins as fast as it is shown in Yahoo! Weather from a custom city, three different backgrounds (painted backgrounds) which change as the weather changes, and sheep that enter/exit from a barn as your friends are online on your Yahoo! Messenger (procentually).

Last.FM Top Artists

So, the last guy whom I spoke to has a project involving YQL: it "steals" from the Last.FM database the artists in a 100 mile radius and displays to each user the upcoming contests, also "stolen" from Eventim... a nice idea, but it seems to small, for the other bigger projects.

ScrewTinkode - XSS Worm

The hackest hack of all hacks in the room. They said that they've found an XSS in one of Yahoo's services. An XSS is a Javascript vulnerability that permits the hacker to inject a code into a webpage, and steal the cookies from the victim. Using the cookies, the hacker could log into the victim's account, and do whatever nasty things he wants: swear his relatives, search his mail for important info (as documents/other passwords) or, the cleverest idea, send the XSS to his friends. The worm is actually an automatic sender, used to spread the XSS on the entire Internet. This type of attack, if done with brains, could potentially infect quite a lot of persons. Who won't click a link from your best friend saying "check out my new blonde girlfriend", or a link from his mother "open this for cookies". The boys guaranteed that we will laugh, and have even coded a GUI for this hack. I think it is one of the team with chances to win :-).

Some behind the scenes videos

I've met Skitsanos here, who is doing some behind the scenes footage. If you want to see the video, you can access his YouTube Channel.

Android Flickr Movie Player

This name is invented by me because the app I've just seen is a little complex. It uses speech recognition on an Android device, where you say the name of a song, the song is then sent to the computer, which plays the song, and puts pictures from a Flickr API. Maybe a little too complex.

Kinect Y! Messenger

Upstairs there is a silent team, working on an awesome project. They want to transmit messages on Y! Messenger using the XBox Kinect. The user can configure his own presets, and this is getting pretty promising. I think that if they could get some smiles on our faces using some freaky gestures, they will be a really good contender for the first place.

Link Beam

Seeing this hack, I've had the feeling that Apple should come here and buy it. It's one of those features that when you see it, you think "why didn't those well paid devs thought about it at the first time". The app has a simple base idea: you are browsing a website on your Mac, and want to send it to your iPhone or iPad, to go and read on the couch. Or you see an interesting thing on your iPhone/iPad, want to blog about it, but don't want to write it on the small keyboard. Imagine that you have a button that does this just as one-click. You have to configure an account online, and then bam, you press a button (bookmarklet exactly) and the site you were visiting opens in a new tab on the other device. And it uses push-internet for efficiency. Any Apple dev seeing this ?!?

List of submitted apps

@danielghitoiu sent us a link on Twitter where we can see the submitted apps -> list of submitted apps. Just 20 mins till submitting is over.

PIT = Potholes Interactive Traction

Another great idea (at least for Romania). It is known that in every street in Romania there exist at least a pothole. So the guys who built PIT made a nice Android app: when you wait at the queue to cross the pothole, you get your smartphone, enter the app, and your GPS position is sent to the server. The server gathers the data and does a ranking of the most "potholed" streets. Then the mayor (hopefully) will send a team to fix the street. Simple and effective idea.


So, some guys felt like Y! Mail could do more, so they've decided to change something in the layout. They've put a "conversation" style option, for people who send a lot of person-to-person mails. They've also added a nice social data sidebar, that uses data mining to gather info about the mail sender. Pretty nice mods :).

Final presentation

  • Judges are introduced
  • I recommend you to follow the hashtag #openHackEU on Twitter
  • My fav presentation was pax with his XSS. After he didn't manage to complete it in front of everyone, he went in front of mr. Crockford (Chief Javascript Architect) and in front of the CTO of Yahoo! and demonstrated them how Yahoo! Pipes is vulnerable to XSS (a complete disclosure here. Curiously, a guy near mr. Crockford was typing really fast on his BlackBerry.
  • I've presented my cultural hack "Live Blogging", where with the help of my blog and Twitter account I've spreaded this conference. Lastly I thanked Yahoo! Inc. for organizing this event in Romania, and I also thanked the organizing crew, for being at a high level.
  • Now we are voting for the project we most liked, and the 2nd project we most liked. So my vote is going for... yeah it's secret
  • While the judge are deliberating, Anil said that this is his 2nd favorite OpenHack (from to 9). And, oh boy, oh boy, Anil has a great voice (sung Abba) and really knows to entertain us.
  • Game over ladies and gentleman... the winner who is going to the Grand Final is Alexandru Badiu who hacked 3 apps in 24 hours. Congratulations ! A list of all winning hacks can be found here.
  • I'll be back with some feedback, when my school schedule will be easier.