What is the Didactic Whoosh?

Didactic Whoosh was formed to compete in the JavaOne 2006 T-Shirt Hurling Contest. The competition aims to get Java software developers out of their comfort zone by getting them to design and build "some fun, completely nonsensical, comical ways" to toss free t-shirts into the conference audience. We formed our team as much for the fun of competition as for the opportunity to do some team building.

We submitted a proposal to Sun and were excited to learn that we were one of three finalists. Then the hard part began. Starting with barely a description of a design we found on the internet, we met after work to analyze, calculate, engineer, and build a prototype from readily-available materials while keeping a close watch on safety and cost. Our first launch was both exhilarating and shocking; we were amazed at the raw power of compressed air!

Over the next few weeks, we experimented, refined, re-engineered (you know, "tweaked") our design for optimum performance. We have a very good design that is safe, reliable, easy to build, and easily brings a smile to anyone who sees it fire. We were ready for the competition at the JavaOne After Dark party on May 18, 2006 in San Francisco, CA.

Here's a short, 1-minute video of our entry.

The competition was judged by none other than the MythBuster dudes, Jamie and Adam, shown here with James Gosling and part of the Didactic Whoosh team.
Didactic Whoosh with MythBusters and James Gosling at JavaOne 2006

The competition was fun and entertaining. We shot several t-shirts all the way across the 300-foot Moscone Center hall. Jamie and Adam (the MythBusters dudes), along with most of the folks at the After Dark party, were thoroughly impressed!

The Didactic Whoosh team was triumphant, taking first place.