Rewired State: oh that was very good (updated with video)

So, the National Hack the Government day happened yesterday at the Guardian offices in King’s Cross. Nearly 100 geeks turned up during the day, self organising into groups or working alone to create 29 complete hacks, most of which are up on the projects page; (there were many more incomplete hacks that will be uploaded during the week, so do keep an eye out). LOVE the fact that there were huge apologies from those who said: so sorry, it just requires about another ten hours of work… ten hours 🙂 brilliant.

Staggering amount of talent in the room, mind-boggling; and the standard of ideas and output, again, truly excellent. James M has blogged his own hack, I remember the buzz the spread around the room when the following happened:

We did notice that this last form had a hidden field containing what appeared to by a SQL query, making it ripe for SQL injection attack, but fortunately we managed to restrain ourselves.

You see, it was not that kind of hack day!

At 6pm lots of govvy people, and some Press, turned up to check out what had happened (video footage of all this here just scroll down for the hacks). 29 pizzas, pure coincidence, and loads of beer later and the day was done.

James (@coupde) went on to a rave after he helped drink the bar dry, and went to bed at silly O’Clock this morning, so I don’t think the Rewired State blog will be updated today; and Richard (@memespring) is heading off to the States, powered by Valium (not good on planes) – do grab him and say hi if you are heading out to SXSW next week.

The Guardian have offered to host it again next year: THANK YOU! The offices are awesome, and Alex Hazell did absolutely everything for us: brilliant. (Hopefully we will solve the tech problems in the presentation room, which served to drive some geeks to muttering under their breath.)

We gave two awards to: the team who built Job Centre ProPlus and the team who created Companies Open House. (Check out the prizes 1 footage for this one).

Directgov and 4IP chose a handful of projects to take forward and sponsor/make happen, as did The Guardian: I shall let them update you on what happens next. (You can watch their speech on the Prizes 3 bit on the page).

Mark O’Neill, CIO for DCMS, wanted to award a bottle of champagne to the hack that… actually I had better not say (might upset the CIO Council), but anyway, it went to the Get Satisfaction hack – again not yet up on the Projects Page, but it was a simple way to feedback on any public sector website and follow/tracks comments, it was great – will show you as soon as it goes up. (Here is the video footage of what he did – go to hack 25, I cannot separate them).

Stefan Magdalinski awarded an imaginary prize to Epic Bin for the best name.

We will follow the success of the sponsored hacks, and the others – and will spend the year, between now and the next one, getting lots more data loaded onto the wiki API page – who knows what the legislation will be by then regarding geospatial data, could be even more fun then 🙂

Important bit

On that note: here (weirdly on the Defra site) is the consultation which you all should get involved in if you care about open data


Richard will be spreading the word at SXSW, James and I are doing ten minutes on RS in Brussels next week. Other than that it is simply spreading the word and helping ease government towards sorting out its data and putting it out there for everyone to use as we did yesterday. And getting ready for next year of course, when we hope to have some International outposts hacking at the same time. (And I MUST stop eating, ever since I woke up this morning I seem to be like some kind of grazing cow… a very odd response to eventitis I suspect).


Tiffany St James was very rudely overlooked in the thanks being dished out yesterday, when James wakes up I will remind him that he needs to do a thank you on the RS blog. Thanks Tiff, you were brilliant, as ever.

14 responses

  1. I thought it was an amazing event. I was not sure that it would work but it did. I am now going off to ponder on next steps. Well done to you, James, Tiff, Richard and everyone else.

  2. Overheard some geeks remarking that they’d never been to a bar camp that was so business-like – don’t know if they thought that was good or bad, but from my perspective it was very good. Much more likely for things to progress. Now if you would just stop sticking stuff to your outfit….

  3. Pingback: Rewired State: JobcentreProPlus - Archive - The Dextrous Web

  4. Pingback: Space Of Waste » Blog Archive » INSPIRE: Opening up Environmental Data

  5. Looked like it was a great event but Jobcentre ProPlus suffers from the same problem as the Jobcentre internet job bank – it forgets there is a slight barrier called the Thames estuary which falls within the 10 mile radius and so surfaces jobs in Kent when I live near Southend in Essex. This is a major frustration for my stepson who is looking for work. Still, this was with only ten hours coding.

  6. How annoying… will let Mr Metcalfe know, I am sure it will not take another ten hours of coding to sort out. Thanks for the praise and the problem to fix. 🙂 let’s see if we can sort it

  7. Ooh. Yes. Interesting problem.

    The short answer is that we probably can’t fix that now, but we probably could if good transport data was available.

    IE, if JourneyWeb had a decent API to which we could say “How long would it take to get from A to B”, it would solve this problem as well as being a far better metric for the convenience of a job’s location than a distance as the crow flies.

    All that said, I’m open to suggestions for other approaches!

  8. Great event. Even though I was one of the ‘govt bods’ that came later in the day, the energy in the room was palpable. I was truly amazed by the wealth of output from the various teams, particularly given the short time-frame of the event.

    I’ve written up some more detailed thoughts on my blog: . To summarise: my one suggestion would be that Rewired State consider a variation on the theme, in which a handful of passionate and open-minded government folks could be sprinkled amongst the teams themselves. The idea is that they could provide additional context for the issues being addressed; their ‘needs’ serving as one source of inspiration for the coders present.

    Just a suggestion, not a criticism. I thought it was truly spectacular.

  9. Pingback: Public Strategist » Live wires

  10. Pingback: Rewired State: JobcentreProPlus – The Dextrous Web

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: