July 13, 2007 / 4:44 AM / 12 years ago

"Hackers" meet for Yahoo, BBC open day in London

LONDON (Reuters) - At first glance it is not immediately obvious why a sewing machine, handbag and pedometer would be useful to engineers at Internet giant Yahoo, but organisers say anything goes at “Hack Day”.

The event is a series of open days held around the world by Yahoo for anyone such as computer programmers and developers to attend and come up with new innovative applications.

The latest event has been held over the last 24 hours in London, staged by Yahoo and the British Broadcasting Corporation for anyone to develop new projects that use either of the media group’s programmes.

After a series of inhouse events in 2005, Yahoo opened the day to the public and the first winners in 2006 were a team who made a handbag with a camera phone and pedometer which sent photographs to Yahoo picture sharing site Flickr after every 100 steps.

“That just illustrates the whole spontaneity of the event”, Yahoo’s Chad Dickerson said. “You never know what you will get.”

Dickerson told Reuters the idea to allow developers and programmers to use Yahoo technology had developed a sense of goodwill towards the company and resulted in ideas Yahoo staff would never have thought of.

The day is a mixture of a Web programming competition and an overnight slumber party where few of the contestants sleep but this year’s event had an added twist when the venue, Alexandra Palace, was hit twice by lightening.

While no one was hurt, organisers said it did cause the fire alarm system to briefly open the roof of the venue, leaving the over 400 team at “Hack Day” working under large umbrellas.

“We had to start talking to each other,” one guest said.

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