Ultimate Coder Challenge Week 5: Almost To The Finish Line

Many of our contestants and judges were able to make it to IDF in San Francisco this past week, and were greatly inspired and encouraged by their time there. We’re seeing a lot of final touches and tweaks in this next to the last week of the Ultimate Coder Challenge.

Contestants

Lee:  At this point in the contest, I think we can all agree that Lee is some kind of hybrid man/robot programming machine. He spent his time at IDF very productively, hosting several live coding events and spending time at the expo area, and giving a speech at the Black Belt dinner. His Love Hearts app sports a list of “everything but the kitchen sink” Ultrabook features, including DirectX for object performance, a light sensor for night time viewing, and NFC for in-game credits. Lee conquered Windows 8 notifications hurdles, settled remaining messaging issues, and with less than two weeks left to go in the contest made his short list of loose ends he still needs to tie up. Oh, and in his spare time, Lee also launched his Freedom Engine development platform.  Sleep doesn’t seem to be a need in Lee’s life.  Read Lee’s update.

George and Suresh: IDF proved to be a very inspiring time for our friends at Blue Innovations, and they received great feedback on their Ultrabook Developers e-book. They really enjoyed the IDF dinner events and meeting key Intel personnel who encouraged them to keep going the way they were going. Coining the phrase “Ultrabook wave”, George and Suresh continued to improve their MoneyBag app, adding an innovative NFC feature and getting ready for packaging and distribution. A preview of next week promises a Super-Secret Feature and a developer checklist. Can’t wait to see it, guys. Read George and Suresh’s update here.

Shailesh:  Shailesh of Clef Software was able to demonstrate his BioIQ app at IDF on an Ultrabook successfully, reporting that he “had a blast” (always good to hear!). He thoughtfully is providing an AppUp version of his bio-learning app along with a Windows 8 UI version in order to make it available to the educational sector before the Win8 rollout. Shailesh is also working on submitting BioIQ to the Windows store, and had a productive talk with Microsoft engineers to help prepare for app submission. You can read Shailesh’s post here.

John:  An esoteric discussion from the Soma Games team this week on the “true nature” of Ultrabooks, inspired by people and events at IDF. Chris Skaggs, CTO of Soma Games, wrote up his thoughts on how their app, Wind Up Football, should take advantage of various Ultrabook sensors via contextual awareness. They’ve come up with some really intriguing features that capitalize on Ultrabook sensors, like weather correlations. It’ll be interesting to see what the Soma team comes up with in this final leg of the contest, and we look forward to how they will make WUF even more of a fun gaming experience. You can read John’s post here.

Sagar: The Althea Systems team continues to improve on their Shufflr social video application. Geo location sensors on the Ultrabook were activated for the app, enabling users to see videos uploaded from users in their local area. Multi-touch was also added, giving users the ability to “flick” videos down when they’re finished viewing. The app seems to be almost done, and we’re looking forward to what Shufflr has to show us next week. Read Sagar’s post here.

Andreas: Andreas was able to show his vocabulary training app at an IDF booth, where it was very well received. In between his time at IDF, Andreas was able to tweak his app interface and give it a little bit of a facelift, optimizing the dictionary view from flag-focused to a more streamlined look. Andreas also took a good look at how users were able (or not able) to delete folders from within the app, using a fly out function rather than a pop-up. Overall, it looks like this app is almost complete and we’ve enjoyed Andreas’s updates thus far. You can read Andreas’s post here.

Judges

Steve: IDF was not only inspiring, but inspiring enough to be almost “disruptive” for Chippy (we’re pretty sure that’s a good thing!). He really enjoyed getting to meet all the contestants, and had some great chats with several of them about all things coding. Chippy is looking forward to really digging in and getting a chance to test all of the apps developed in this contest. You can read his post here.

Chris: Chris admires the pure stamina and planning of the contestants as displayed so far, noting that if it were up to him he might have waited until the last minute and pulled a few caffeine-fueled all-nighters! Noting that IDF seemed to be particularly good to all of the contestants, he is also quick to remind the audience at large that these Ultrabooks are not, shall we say, “fully polished”, which makes for a truly Wild West coding experience. You can read Chris’s post here.

Helena:  Throughout her time as a judge in the Ultimate Coder Challenge, Helena has always encouraged the contestants to consider the “more is better” approach as far as integration of Ultrabook features, and boy, are they taking her up on that! Helena is really looking forward to having some hands-on time with these apps she’s been reading about for so long, and it’s not that far off now. You can read Helena’s post here.

Jon:  No clear winner has emerged as yet in this contest for Jon, which is good news since developers still have time to push that extra “wow!” factor into their apps. He likes how NFC has been integrated into the Love Hearts and MoneyBag app, and encourages contestants to keep going and to give themselves a pat on the back for a job well done so far (hear, hear!). You can read Jon’s post here.

What We Can Expect Next Week

Can you believe that we’re in the home stretch of this challenge? It’s true! Next week is the final week of the Ultimate Coder Challenge. Apps will be submitted for final review on September 28, judged the week of October 3, and then winners will be announced the week of October 8. Keep on going developers, it’s been a wild ride so far, but you’re almost to the finish line!

 

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