Ultimate Coder: Worst Hair-Tearing Strategy Mid-Term Week 1 Wrap-Up

Week 1 of the Ultimate Coder Challenge is behind us. Within 6 weeks, 6 developers will have to turn in their apps for final judgement. Each of the developers unboxed their Ultrabooks and started down the path of their project, while 4 judges gave us thoughts on what they hope to see over the coming weeks.

So far the perspectives have been interesting. We've heard this project described as a a Mission Impossible challenge, Top Chef style competition for developers, and as "1 part coding and 5 parts hair-tearing game of strategy combined with your worst mid-term practical, ever." I for one am glad to be on this side of the event :-)

Developers: Unboxing, First Impressions, and Projects

This week the developers received their devices and gave us their first perspectives. John unboxed the Ultrabook on camera. What struck me was his first instinctual touching of the screen: he successfully swiped the screen to expose the login prompt, which then had him move his hands from the screen to the keyboard. Once the OS was up, his hands went right back to the screen. From the initial unpacking to intuitively engaging with the device, it shows there's a natural connection between the mobile UI and PC. His project, guts and glory robot football players (yep!), sounds like it's going to be taking full advantage of what the ULtrabook has to offer as far as multiple touch opportunities. Read John's Post

Lee thought at first that his device got lost in the mystical dank depths of Northern England, but fortunately for him (and us), the druid spirits dropped off a touch-enabled Ultrabook just in time to start his project. Described by Lee as feature rich and drop dead gorgeous, Lee has a welcome companion to share those long, cold nights of coding as he develops a new branded social networking app. Even though Lee believes that he's overworked and under-appreciated, we definitely see the exciting potential in his work so far. Read Lee's Post

Sagar didn't leave delivery in the hands of mythical druids, and instead, drove to the Intel office in Bangalore,India to pick up his Ultrabook in a Mission Impossible style adventure. Unboxing the Ultrabook appears to be an office affair full of oohs and ahs. As you read his account, Sagar is channeling his inner superspy, having fun with the task ahead of him as he re-engineers the popular Shufflr app for the Ultrabook. Read Sagar's post

Absence made the heart get a little bit anxious as their Ultrabook delivery was temporarily delayed, but once George and Suresh got their devices in hand they knew it was worth the wait. George and Suresh have apparently been burning the midnight oil, reporting that they've already gone through at least 30 different design concepts for their money management app. They're excited to see what happens when they start integrating unique Ultrabook features that will compliment how their app will work for end users. Read George and Suresh's post

One word sums up Shailesh's first impression of his new Ultrabook: "awesome". Shailesh is definitely taking on a challenge as he builds an app focused on making learning biology just a bit more exciting, not to mention more intuitive. The Ultrabook's touch features are going to be a crucial part of this program, and he's looking forward to what happens when students and teachers get a hold of it. Read Shailesh's post

Andreas is developing a touch-based HTML5 vocab app for those of us who would like to learn how to to say more than just the standard "Ein bier bitte" or "Allons-y, Alonso!". Touch features are going to be front and center in this useful app, and while he's not enamored of the glossy Ultrabook display that mirrors his mug, he is enjoying everything else his new toy has to offer. Read Andreas's post

Judges: First Impressions, What They're Looking For

For Chippy, there are two main things that developers need to bring to the table: dynamic development and transparent methodology. He reviewed each contestant contribution, and gave his thoughts on their initial progress as well as suggestions as to what more they could do to make it go past good to great. Chippy also really wants to see information that will help benefit other coders as they look to develop apps for the Ultrabook. Read Chippy's post

Chris would like to see some excitement in the Challenge; maybe some psychological mind games, maybe some touch pads that zap you with an electric shock if you get an answer wrong. His version of touch-enabled apps would include features like DIY coronary bypass surgery or an auto-dump of your personal bank account if you miss a vocab word. Note to contestants: any inclusion of Comic Sans probably won't endear you to this judge. Read Chris's post

Helena reviewed each individual app and while she's impressed with what's happening so far, she's most looking forward to how each developer is going to take advantage of the Ultrabook's unique features, especially touch and sensor technology. She loves the Top Chef aspects of the challenge; we'll see if anyone shows up with an apron and a mixing bowl. Read Helena's post

Jon's better half has given him the go-ahead on being as "judgey" as he wants for this contest, and he's taken on the challenge with relish. He believes that the Ultrabook is a game changer in the world of laptops, and likes how contestants are utilizing its touch, sensor, and graphics features to make the end user experience truly dynamic. Read Jon's post

Week One: It's a Wrap, Folks

Overall, a very positive response on both sides for week one of the Ultimate Coder Challenge. Track the contest on the official Ultimate Coder Challenge page, and don't forget to "like" the Ultimate Coder Challenge Facebook page to get the latest updates and join the conversation.

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