We're donating $10,000 to the cause

The Groundspeak Lackeys entered the DARPA Balloon Network Challenge on December 5, 2009. In the end we didn't win the $40,000 for charity, but we're still donating $10,000 of our own money to DonorsChoose.org programs.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Playing it Slow and Steady

We're into the second hour of the DARPA challenge and, although we are getting some reports, they're all second-hand, such as:

- Portland, ME (via Twitter)
- St Paul, MN (also via Twitter)

There were others, but these were the least manufactured sightings.

Our goal is to play it slow and steady, so unless we can absolutely confirm the locations, we won't color in the balloons. In the first couple of hours we'll just follow the Twitter streams to see how the $$ is influencing the reports.

Some early observations:
  • Some competitors are sending every report from their site as a tweet. It just ends up being spam for the Twitter feeds since the information isn't helpful (just "we received a report"). I could post a report to a random location and make them send a Twitter post.
  • We're enjoying the folks that are posting to their friends "Send me an email if you see a red balloon" without any explanation. These are some great opportunists. Do you plan to share your winnings? Playa please.
  • A few fake accounts cropping up on Twitter with "LOL. I JUST SAW A BALOON IN TOPEKA!" and other inane messages. Ban, block, and move on.
  • We'll only have a short amount of time to "task" geocachers to verify balloons, but this will be the fun part. The hope is we can get a few geocachers to get their pictures taken with the balloon tender. That's a "win" in our book.


  1. another group I am "spying" on is trying to confirm wells fargo building in St Paul

  2. Do you submit one balloon at a time and does it verify that it's correct when you do?

    I've been trolling sites like twitpic, flicker, brightkite, yfrog to see if anyone uploads a pic. I found one pic, but no info on where it was and it was too blurry to see a number.