February’s Palooza brought out new features and new ideas with a mobile slant.
Every two months, we hold an internal hackathon called a Palooza. Paloozas are at the heart of BitTorrent’s bottom-up innovation. It’s where BitTorrent Sync and BitTorrent Bundle got their start. We dedicate two full days and 20% time leading up to the official Palooza days to work on a new product, feature, or idea. Sometimes, we have a guiding theme. This time – without an explicit direction – four out of six of the projects had a mobile slant. As the lead engineer of the Mobile team, it was exciting to see mobile experimentation happening in different parts of the company.
So, here’s a recap of some of the things that we built in February:
A Video Mosaic Creator Tool
JP Cottin from the Consumer Electronics team has a passion for all things video. He took an old technique for creating a mosaic of a still image and applied it to a film. Pretty cool effect, which he applied to footage from our 2013 company summer picnic.
Power Saving Features for Android
This project experimented with some ways that users can manage and control the amount of power the BitTorrent and µTorrent application use on Android. Currently, the apps don’t put any limits on download or upload speed, so you can get your stuff faster. This feature would make it simple to choose when to conserve battery.
The entire company votes on the best project, and the winner gets pride, glory, a gift card and encouragement to continue to develop the project. “Power saving features for Android” – the project I worked on with fellow developer An Nguyen – won!
The real crowd pleaser was “Gamification of the Android App” which started out with presentation slides that mocked the over-use of this concept, and then followed up with an easter egg in the Android app that revealed an open source version of an unnamed game (think: bird, pipes, and a developer seemingly on the edge of a nervous breakdown due to the exponential growth in the app’s popularity). And no, we won’t be releasing this into the wild. The Palooza developer has already given notice of its imminent takedown :-).