2006-04-08

Iron Coder was a blast

I competed in the zeroth Iron Coder competition. These are the thoughts I wrote down the day after. (You can tell the age of this post because I was still using 12-hour time.)


It was great fun. I already knew the Accessibility API, so I didn't have to study at all, though I did hit a couple of thorns in it when I was working on my project. As for Mardi Gras — well, I've never been outside California, so I've never been to Mardi Gras. I chose the bead theme for my project, as did several others.

I started around 3:20 PM, as soon as I thought of my idea. This was around 10 minutes after the theme was announced. I went to bed around 7 AM, being too exhausted to continue. I slept for five hours. I'd hoped that the FTP upload info would be up by the time I was, but it wasn't. Good thing, as I did find some things in my project that needed to be finished off.

Colin and I were communicating by IM virtually the entire time that both of us were up. He started his about 12 hours late, so he had half the coding time everybody else had. And by the end of the contest, he'd been up for almost 30 hours. His app, DrunkVision, is all the cooler for that, even if nobody could figure out the secret Quit hot-key. ;)

I finished mine with under half an hour until the end of the 24 hours, and Colin uploaded his with just two minutes to spare. Seems like almost everybody who competed used every waking minute.

And this morning, I slept for 12 hours. So that's the other side of the pendulum.

I'm looking forward to the next one. I don't think they should be too frequent; maybe every 6 months to a year. That much time without sleep is hard on anyone. I do want to use all 24 hours on at least one Iron Coder, just to be true to the spirit of it. It'd be rough, but it feels great at the end.


Also, some more thoughts:

  • Several of the entries were actually useful. DrunkVision is one example, though the Mardi Gras-themed colors it uses might not be appropriate for everyday usage. Others were Pancake Day (not compliant with the theme at all, other than the name) and FFMinator. These are apps that you could use at any time, not just Mardi Gras.
  • I agree with the choice of winner. Lucas Eckels' Symphony is by far the best entry — best use of theme, and of API, and it was executed beautifully.
  • I didn't like my submission as much as some (including the judge) did. I wanted some bead physics like Blake Seely had. But I don't know how to do that and didn't have time to learn. Oh well.

Sometime in the near future, I'll release Beads 1.1, with a fix to the drawing code. Then I'll publish a page on my website showing how to draw the beads.

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