Although some of the Domain.com team are natives of the East Coast, we’re still challenged by the cutthroat driving of New York City and its surrounding areas. So when we took the wrong exit off the New Jersey Turnpike on our way to Holmdel, we were a little concerned that we would be taking a major detour. The detour was worth it in the end, though, when we stumbled upon the BellWorks facility in a seemingly quiet neighborhood. You’re probably wondering why Major League Hacking chose Holmdel and BellWorks for their spring season championship. The answer is simple. BellWorks, formerly a Bell Labs complex, was the home for countless innovators, progressive thinkers, and even Noble Prize winners. It also helps the the architecture of the facility and its grounds are straight up impressive. In short, the history of ingenious technology made BellWorks the perfect backdrop for 400 up-and-coming student hackers at MLH Prime.
After the MLH Prime opening ceremony, hacking kicked off in the early afternoon on August 6th. As the Official Domain Registrar of Major League Hacking, we provided each hacker with a free .COM, .NET, or .ORG domain name, one year of Domain Privacy, and one year of web hosting to get their projects started. We asked the hackers to make the most out of their project’s domain name. Whether it was the most creative, most innovative, or funniest domain name, we wanted to see teams think outside of the box. As we do at regular season MLH events, the winning team would take home a special prize. We went all out with our Best Domain Name prizes at Prime by awarding the winning team with five collector’s item LEGO sets. Hackers took up our challenge with over 25 teams showcasing their domain names at the MLH Prime Expo. After viewing the Best Domain Name submissions, we chose the BaskLITball team as the winners for their domain name LEDbasketball.net. This team built an electronic basketball net that blinked its LED lights when you made a basket. The net then alerts your Twitter followers of your basket with a celebratory tweet. Hackers had a series of obstacles to overcome, including limited WiFi access, so we appreciated their innovation with an “offline” hack. We also got a kick out of their use of .NET to create a punny domain name. Other notable submissions included MortgageFreeman.com, EyeSeeMVC.net for their Domain.com nerd glasses hack, and MusicAnywair.com.
MLH Prime wasn’t all serious, though! One of the best parts of MLH events is the student hacker community they support. MLH hackers are excited, intelligent, and definitely need breaks from their 24 hour hacking challenge to stay sane! Students participated in the classic MLH activity of cup stacking, enjoyed morning yoga, and even organized a scavenger hunt during downtime. Fellow MLH Prime sponsors Viacom, Bose, Ebay, and Dell provided entertainment for the hackers in the form of video games, LEGOs, and VR sets.
If you missed out on MLH Prime, check out Major League Hacking’s website for a local hacking event near you. Last year, MLH events were attended by 56,000 students of various skill levels. We encourage high school and college students to check out an event to see what it’s all about. MLH prides itself in welcoming students of all backgrounds and talents. That’s what makes their events so great. Thank you to all the students who stopped by our booth, participated in our domain challenge, and worked hard for 24 hours at BellWorks. And a huge shoutout goes to our friends at Major League Hacking for hosting a great championship event! We’ll see you all at MLH’s local regular season events. Happy hacking!