John Mayer at the O2–thanks to Hacked

In July this year I took part in Hacked at the O2 in London. It was an absolutely brilliant hackathon, made all the better by the fact that I managed to win one of the competitions. My Difficultifier got People’s Choice Award, which was completely wonderful. What made it even better was finding out that part of the prize was four tickets to any show at the O2 Dome over the next year. Splendid.

I mentioned this to Number One daughter. “John Mayer’s playing the dome in October” she said. Done.

So, thanks to those wonderful O2 people, particularly Cristiano Betta and Kevin Prince, today we were sitting in seats up close to the stage, having just come from the O2 Lounge where we had been preparing for the performance with a couple of cocktails. As you do (or as had been laid on for us)


This is Gabrielle Aplin, who did a sterling job providing support and had an absolutely cracking backing band.


.. and this is the man himself, with some good advice for us all. He started early and gave us a two hour demonstration of why he is just so darned good. If you’ve not heard of John Mayer, then seek him out. Blues, rock, country, playing the guitar behind your back.  The works.  Just really, really good.

Difficultifier is “People’s Choice” at Hacked


Hacked presentations, an augmented reality remote controlled quadcopter game. Amazing.

This afternoon we had the judging and the presentations at Hacked.. After working tirelessly through the night on my solution nipping back to the hotel for a shower and a few hour’s sleep I had to get everything working for the 12 o’clock deadline. Of course I’d made one of the standard project mistakes, I’d tried to add lots of extra features without getting the core behaviours working, and so it was time for a few hours of frantic fiddling to get something working that could be shown off. At the very last minute things came together and I was in a position to put on a reasonable show.

There were lots (and I mean lots) of presentations. That we finished before midnight is a testament to the skills of the presenters and the backstage staff who kept everything ticking along rapidly. Each team had precisely ninety seconds to present, which was fortunate for me because I had precisely ninety seconds of content. The good news is that everything worked. The great news is that I managed to win “People’s Choice” award. This is voted for by those taking part at the contest and I was very, very pleased to win it.


Anyone who won a prize got to spend some time in the VIP box at Indigo while waiting to have their picture taken. Very posh. Then I had to zoom off to catch my train back to Hull and real life.

Hacked was wonderful. It must have cost a small fortune. The venue was amazing, the food was great (and free) and the organisers worked really hard to make sure that the delegates (who had not paid to attend) had a splendid time. When they hit a problem at the event (for example some issues with the WiFi) they escalated their response until everybody was sorted out.

I really, really, hope that there is another one, and I really really hope that I can go along. I’ve put some details on the project on my Difficultifier page.

Getting Started at Hacked


Today we started hacking. The venue is great. Loads of folks with different skills, free food and drink, great venue and, apart from some WiFi niggles, a wonderful place to write code and build gadgets.


We set up base camp, got some hardware out and started hacking.


I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, but I didn’t work overnight. After around midnight I tend to fall apart. I’d make a lousy vampire.

Anyhoo, made some good progress and I’ve nearly figured out what I’m going to do.

Heading for Hacked


I’ve spend a big chunk of the last couple of days agonising over what to take to Hacked, and what to build when I get there. In the end I’ve just bought loads of toys and bits and bobs. I’ve got a sort of idea what to build, but I’ve no idea how it is going to turn out.

Which is all part of the fun.


At Doncaster I spotted this mysterious door near the platform. Any idea what a “Fully Loaded Brute” is?