For my first hackathon, it's been quite a journey - on top of losing my voice on the first night and having to navigate teamwork and everyday interactions without talking, I woke up in the wee hours of this morning to find that two of my teammates quit. Determined to finish a project by the submission deadline, I spent several, anxious hours writing an app on Google AppEngine I'd been thinking about for a while.

When I arrived at Bryn Mawr College for orientation week, I was assigned a dorm, a floor, and a “customs group” based on my dorm and floor. My “customs people” led all the students in my hall and me around to various lectures and seminars, at which we were given the names and emails and numbers of various people and departments on campus to whom we could reach out. Yet even with all these resources, I felt completely lost. It wasn’t long before I realized that I wasn’t the only one. I was lucky; I had plenty of experience living on my own and taking care of myself and living with room mates – I just needed help with arranging my timetable, and knowing if I could get from the Park building to Erdman Hall in less than ten minutes. Some of my incoming classmates were overwhelmed by their newfound freedoms, horrified by the communal bathrooms, and confused by everything from the washing machines’ coin mechanisms to their room mates’ strange sleeping habits. They weren’t sure whom to turn to, so I created “an app for that.”

In honor of our college’s owl mascot, I made “Who to hoot?” for Google AppEngine, which tells Bryn Mawr College students who to “hoot” for various problems based on their dorms and floors. Best Buy is one of the most popular destinations for incoming students, so I have also used Mashery's BestBuy API to generate Best Buy locations in the area.

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