--> The MacHax Best Hack ContestSM
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The MacHaxTM Group

See the 2000 Best Hack ballot!
See the 1999 Best Hack press release and ballot
See the 1998 Best Hack press release and ballot
See the 1997 Best Hack Ballot
See the 1996 Best Hack Ballot
See what Dr. Dobb's has to say about the 1995 MacHack.

Would you forgo sleep for three days for a chance to own the coveted Victor rAt-Trap?

Many have tried.
Many have tired.
Few have prevailed.
A good time was had by all!

We created the Hack Contest in 1986 at the 2nd Annual MacHack Conference. Each year it's gotten bigger and better.

We asked MacHack attendees to bring out their strangest creations. Anything created in the previous year was eligible. Anything created during MacHack was even better. Team efforts were encouraged.

When asked, "What do we get if we win?" we responded with "fame, fortune, and the admiration of your peers." We also offered to throw in some cheap prizes.

Were we telling the truth? You be the judge. Here are some of the winners, and their stories:

Allan Foster, Winner 1988
Allan came from relative obscurity to win the very first Hack Contest with Rear Window. He had read about the contest and decided that winning it was what he had to do to get known. RearWindows's technology eventually went into the System 7 Finder, and then into Macintosh Drag & Drop. Allan's win led to him working closely with a number of groups at Apple, as well as with companies like Symantec, Metrowerks, Software Ventures, and others. Allan is now the President of Guru, Inc.

Dean Yu, Winner 1990
Dean won the Hack Contest with NetBunny. Not long after that, he joined The Blue Meanies, a much-reviled (or was that 'revered'?) group responsible for sticking their noses into other engineers' business on the System 7 project. Dean has gone on to greatness at General Magic and subsequent ventures.

Mike Neil, Winner 1992
Mike cleaned up, garnering more votes than any previous winner. His hack, IRManTM, got him a rousing standing ovation, and an interview which led to a position in Apple's Developer Technical Support group, a position as the "cleaner" for a now-cancelled Apple system software release, a Virtual PC engineer, and other fascinating jobs.

[Just gotta have copies of these for yourself? Can't do without the entire collection? $29.95+$5 S&H will get you your very own copy of the 1994 MacHack CD, Hack 9 From Outer Space. It's got everything we can find from 1988 through 1994, and then some. e-mail Subsequent year's CDs may also be available. ]

Here's an observation from an Apple bigshot:

"Another contribution to the Macintosh community is the Hack contest. I imagine you think it is only a lark, but I believe that it gives focus and a sense of cameradrie to the sessions that simply wouldn't be achieved with dry talks and panels. The electricity in the machine rooms between all those developers, busily writing away, arguing with Allan Foster as they take a break, or kibitzing with each other as they look each other's work over is absolutely precious. I believe these people reconfirm themselves as a community during those times. They will support each other's efforts, and the Mac as a product, after these all night sessions. The contest provides a funny sort of glue that strikes exactly the correct note. It takes a lot of work to pull that off so funky/elegantly. Thanks very much."

We always get questions about rules. Some people love rules, and just can't live without 'em. OK, here's some rules then.
  1. Scott and Greg make all the rules.
  2. Any entry must have been written some time during the last year. It's ok to enter a revised version of something shown in a previous year.
  3. Supplying source code will get you more votes.
  4. All hacks shown will be included on the conference CD (unless you can give us a really good reason to exclude it).
  5. Participating is more fun than sitting in the viewing audience.
  6. Working in a team is often more fun, and can result in some long-lasting friendships and working relationships. How else do you figure you can join the SmartFriends(tm) network?

As you may have noticed, we don't have many rules. Go forth and hack!

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