Posted by Daniel

What is the best way to get talented and creative people to get together and brainstorm on Windows Live services?

1. Hang lots of wall posters near their offices
2. Send emails asking them to join The Hack Day
3. Add laptops, food, drinks, prizes and ice sculptures and voila:
You have a great environment to bring cool ideas to life.

The Hack Day is an internal Microsoft event which encourages developers to get out of thier regular area of expertise and exchange ideas about other Windows Live services. The event happens every quarter and last week was the third one.

A hacker is an expert at programming and solving problems with a computer and as you can imagine, there are quite a few "hackers" around here who jumped on the opportunity to hack on Windows Live services such as Local, Expo, Shopping, Messenger, Search macros, and Gadgets.

This was my first Hack Day event. I didn’t hack Messenger – it would have been unfair for the rest of the hackers ;). First I worked with two other Messenger devs (Justin and Ravi) on a search macro to search the top Messenger forums. Next I moved on to hack the new Expo API which was totally new to me. I enjoyed eating a lot of pizza, setting up the environment, reading and trying samples, but I didn’t come up with anything worth to present. Maybe next time 🙂

At the end of the event, judges picked the best hacks and awarded prizes, the best of which was an XBox 360 premium with accessories. To my surprise our Messenger Forums Search Macro won second place and a remote controlled truck.

The Hack Day was also covered by the local media – here is a Seattle Times article. I took some pictures but please excuse the poor quality of my old camera.