Hackathon 2018: Thursday

5 minute read

The beautiful and unexpected sunshine over Fowey was contrasting heavily with the hangovers from last night. But we felt like we were in a good place with Gaku - all the major functionality was built and we were running through a list of small bugs and tweaks that needed to be made in order to launch the system today.

At this point we were so confident about hitting the deadline that we started discussing a few of our ‘stretch goals’!

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After standup, Jesus was sick.

Looking back, we can clearly see that this was both cruel foreshadowing and a punishment from the Hackathon Gods for our hubris.

At some point around midday a technical problem emerged. A necessary change to the user authentication we’re using meant that lots of other changes needed to be made across the system. Several components were broken, the mood was frantic and the stretch goals now felt days away.

Meanwhile, Simon had some pilates videos to edit. Some featuring himself, as a handsome and svelte instructor, recorded yesterday. But we also needed some very short (2 seconds), tiny filesize clips to test lesson building in Gaku, because the upload speeds were so poor at Admiral House.

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Matt was working on improvements to the marketing website and supplying UI elements to the development team. Laura channeled her inner lawyer and produced T&Cs and a privacy statement to add to the site.

Back in the Development Kitchen, the mood was intense. Our original deadline of 7pm passed without comment. It wasn’t clear how close Gaku was to ‘working’ and how much there was left to do. Jack and Simon, sensing an all-nighter brewing, announced a new cut-off at 22:15. We’re stopping no matter what and we’ll have to accept our defeat this year.

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We assembled in the lounge for the first run-through of the system. This was the first time it had been attempted. George was up first and showed that instructors could create an account, upload videos, add a client and build a lesson for them. Very promising indeed.  

So the obvious next question is: Can we now open the iPhone app and watch the lesson, logged in as the student that george just created? As James plugged into the TV so we could see his view of the student app, the room went quiet and the tension increased further.

An iphone with Gaku login screen blinked onto the lounge TV. James entered the example student’s email address and temporary password successfully. We gave a small cheer! The next screen required that the student replace the password with their own, for security reasons. James typed out a new password and tapped ‘submit’.

Immediately, the screen turned a hideous shade of failure red, flecked with dense white error message, like digital sick from Jesus himself.

It meant we were beaten, defeated and crushed. So close.

Individually, all the various elements looked and worked fantastic - effort and care was visible across the whole of Gaku. But in the final hour it had not come together as a whole. It was hugely disappointing and we had nothing to to say to each other.

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Luke broke the silence. “Are you connected to my local?”, he said to James.

It turned out he was, so James quickly switched out the server address and tried the password change again.

It worked! Suddenly we’re back in the race - pure joy!

James took us through the rest of the student app. It was all there, including the most crucial feature: watching a lesson. Long videos as well. Yes ok, there were a couple of minor issues but we’d now seen a full run-through of the Gaku platform. After such an emotional rollercoaster today, it was a huge relief.

With our remaining energy we raised a glass to Gaku and the team then went to bed.

Read more about Gaku and the Hackathon 2018

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