Category Archives: projects

Projects that I’m working on.

PhoneGap + Wikipedia meetup (1/23)

I went to the PhoneGap + Wikipedia event at Adobe immediately after the Wikipedia hackathon. I heard about it that Monday in the irc room O_O and thought initially that I couldn’t go, because I usually have Spot the Octopus rehearsal on Mondays… but that week, some Spots were sick and others out of town, so I decided to attend the meetup instead. And I’m glad I did — we got more info directly from Tomasz and Yuvi about why we should care about a Wikipedia phone app, why they’re using PhoneGap plus what they learned, and next steps. MOST interesting: how they’re encouraging editors to edit by using location and presenting them with “articles around you that need improvement”!!!!!

Here are official links to slides (via @WikipediaMobile) and video (via @stevesgill). =D

I was also super-excited that someone asked a question about easily surfacing the content of a page. She was interested in making the content more accessible, because people today are overwhelmed by all these tags and information. Tomasz even got a microphone over to me so I could say how Neil and I did it in our app (we used parse, not query, and regexed out all the html tags, and Neil thought of taking out everything in tables to skip the infobox! haha. It’s a bit hacky still.) And when I sat down, my phone vibrated, and there was a tweet from Words With Bears teammate Jen saying that she’d seen me on the livestream… haha!

Then I talked to Hearplanet, which is providing text-to-speech MP3s of places of local interest for tourists/city explorers. They’re using Wikipedia as one of their channels of information. Fascinating.

My notes from Tomasz’s and Yuvipanda’s talks are below / through the jump!

Continue reading PhoneGap + Wikipedia meetup (1/23)

Wikipedia SF Hackathon! BERLIN HO!!!

I went to the Wikipedia SF Hackathon this weekend at Parisoma! Neil and I coded a phone gateway for the English Wikipedia on Twilio. You send it a text with your search query (like “Barak Obama” or “Seattle”) and it calls you back in a few seconds and reads you the entire text of the article. =D

CODE: — it calls the Twilio API, in Ruby, using Sinatra, hosted on Heroku. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this if Twilio (the amazing Sasha is the best developer evangelist ever), Ruby ( like woah), and Heroku (who sponsored one of my early wwcode-rails meetups, and also sponsors Blazing Cloud sponsorships!) didn’t have the community presence that they do. Seriously, I can’t believe I get to live in San Francisco where all of this is happening RIGHT NOW. Look at this technology! Look at what it’s enabling us to do!

Romy wrote super-comprehensive notes on our product and process and drew pictures here:

On Thursday, I had gotten an email urging us to check out the project ideas, and came up with the SMS gateway idea and added it to the project page.

Why did I want to do this so badly?

  • I didn’t have a smartphone until December and always wished I could look stuff up on Wikipedia when I wasn’t near a computer.
  • When we get phone tree stuff working, this could be used by illiterate or blind people.
  • In areas where access to tech is low but phones (not smartphones) are ubiquitous, this could be a way for people to look stuff up on wikipedia. This is mind-blowing.

It was an amazing experience and I learned so much from Neil and our team won first place!!!!!! The prize: flight and hotel to another wikimedia hackathon. The next one will be in Berlin in May!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve never been to Berlin! I’ve been to Europe once–London and York, with my high school choir, in 2000.

We have lots of ideas for the next steps of this app. I am considering setting up a kickstarter (as long as it’s okay with the wikimedia foundation??) to pay twilio for the app (actually I have no idea about this…)… It’s still in the “twilio sandbox” for now so I can’t show it to you yet (because your number has to be a “verified number” for MY twilio account in order for it to call you back I think). But I’m about to put my credit card info in so I’ll be able to show it off to the world soon.

The app definitely works =)

At the Hackathon, I REALLY enjoyed the PhoneGap demo. Tomasz and Yuvi showed us the Wikipedia app that they just pushed to the Android store last week, and guided us through adding a menu item. js! css! wow!!! I think the tutorial that they used would be ideal for a Railsbridge-style workshop (it starts with “how to get stuff installed” and it was surprisingly fast and easy).

So PhoneGapBridge is incoming. I’ll plan it 2 weeks off of a Railsbridge. =D

I’m learning so much. I met so many amazing, amazing people. I got interviewed by Wikimedia Foundation Storyteller Victor–how cool is his job title? I got my picture taken with leaves. I told him that I had serious class issues and loved online communities and want everyone to have access to information and nothing scares me more than loss of free speech and was generally completely incoherent but I kept banging on my knees the whole time because of HOW EXCITED I AM.

Judy with Leaves
I am a dork

I wondered where I’d seen Toki Wartooth Brandon and then realized this morning that it was the fundraising banners! I basically couldn’t believe I was there all weekend. They’re right here in San Francisco!

I told everybody who would listen about Lukas and Elsa’s Occupedia, which is an initiative to create meetups that encourage underrepresented groups to contribute to wikipedia. Lukas wrote about the first event and I showed everybody haha.

I fucking love wikipedia. I love the wikimedia foundation. I want more. I was talking to Daniel from Germany, who said “I want to see a separate mobile app for a different set of users — the ones that spend a lot of their idle time patrolling new edits. There should be an app that lets them to it easily at the bus stop.” PHONEGAP HOOOOOOOOO

Sumanah was amazing and kept things going and was crazy and enthusiastic and welcoming. I met Leslie, a network engineer, who knew someone else that I knew from Railsbridge. I talked to Danielle (women in tech!), Elizabeth (Android!), and Rosemarie (who I’d met at wwcode-rails!). Phil asked me how I was going to pay Twilio for it D: I learned about Microsoft’s bridges with open source from Ben and Doug and it was fascinating and I tried asking them about openkinect/k4w, but their department doesn’t interface with xbox stuff =) I met Rupa of CodeChix and there are machinations afoot.

AAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

xmarks vs firefox sync (vs google sync?)

I have been using both xmarks and Firefox Sync to keep track of my Firefox bookmarks across different computers, but haphazardly. Last week I noticed my bookmarks weren’t synced. Do I need to choose between them?

  • This blog post from June 2010 is about using both simultaneously. The post goes over how Firefox Sync encrypts the bookmark data before sending to the server (so if the server is compromised, no one can do anything with that data) whereas xmarks does not (so that xmarks can do stuff like recommendations). I confess that I have ACTUALLY USED the recommendations to look for Ruby tutorials. Oh no, I’m justifying data mining!
  • Here’s a thread from March 2011 about xmarks/lastpass vs. google sync. The poster says she uses lastpass for the “log in to all websites” feature.

I never set up xmarks with other browsers, because I don’t use them much (and when I do, it’s to log in to stuff with different user accounts). I never used the “log in at once to everything” feature of lastpass (because I figured it wasn’t “secure”), but I must admit that it sounds attractive, and maybe it isn’t actually any less secure than just typing in all my passwords over and over again every time I open my browser. Any advice?

Maybe I’ll use Chrome with google sync for my LoL podcast logins, and Firefox for personal use. xP

introspective at 3am

It’s easier to microblog than to post here. Here, I have to talk in complete sentences, and my strings of words have to make sense. In microblogging, I can just throw my chaff to the wind and watch it sparkle in the wind on the fading sunlight.

I don’t know how I feel about Egypt. How can we exist with our mundane little lives when people are marching across a bridge and embracing their military on the streets?

I am still in the process of moving. I’ve got boxes and boxes of spices saved up over the years, that have come with me through several moves, and I am loath to throw any of them away, but I never cook. And I never cook because I believe that I can’t. They’re so full of potential, though, asking me to put them in some delicious food, waiting patiently for the day I realize that I can do whatever I want.

I just hosted my third GSL finals viewing party at Eudemonia. Barely fewer came to this one (~65ish people) than my last one (~72 people), but this one was MORE AWESOME, for the following reasons:

  • Dean got a second projector.
  • I contacted chromate, the organizer of the epic Toronto theater finals shows, and arranged for the best of my local players to play some showmatches against the best of his local players. I threw together a last-minute small tournament and got local celebs dOpa and HD to play against slayersBekho and combatex. dOpa 2-0ed bekho, and HD 2-1ed combatex after getting some outrageous troll BM out of combatex, which is, after all, what he’s known for.
  • The OSL finals happened to be the same night. OSL is one of the two biggest Brood War tournament series. Beloved BW commentator moletrap rolled in and commented over an OSL stream live for us!! He gets SUPER DUPER excited when he commentates live, so it was SO epic to watch and listen to. Also none of us were expecting an all-kill O.o. We had some technical difficulties at first, but we were able to broadcast his re-stream of the OSL re-stream with his english commentary (and it is automatically recorded as well!), and when I peered at the #s towards the end, he had 707 people tuned in to his stream. =)
  • VTArlock organized an inhouse tournament after the OSL ended… and he went on to win it =)
  • I ordered WAY more pizza this time, and the dude I ordered from at West Coast hooked me up with some deals (10 pies for $99 plus 3 pies for $30 HELLZ YEAH) and each person was allowed to have 4 slices. It ended up being a near-perfect amount of pizza (which isn’t a good thing, because I’d rather not be so close to running out of pizza before everybody gets to it!). Still it was better than last time.

bigLUCC took photos again! Here’s one…


It was a great event, and I’m TOTALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO DOING MORE. WAYYY MORE. And tournaments. And all-night lan parties. AUAUUGHGHGHHG

Also, things are really starting to move on the 25mts front. We may be embarking upon an experimental side project involving videos, and getting better sound equipment. !!! We want to organize epic League of Legends events on the scale of my GSL viewing parties, too. =D

I now live in a house of electrical engineers. The first project I’m really jazzed about will be an 8x8x8 LED cube. Since I am not realistic, and my random number generator is seeded with a unicorn, I will also magically learn how to use all these open libraries for Kinect hacking and I will set up the LED cube as a 3d display for the Kinect. You’ll be able to see yourself represented in the cube. AWWW YEAH DREAM BIG. And we already have all kinds of plans… from shooting guns, to riding horses, to RC airplanes, to BBQs in our nice backyard (seriously it’s amazing) (so is our kitchen)… We have an engineering space set up in the garage and everything. It’s going to be epic living here.

Last night, I watched my first-ever episode of Xena. I loved it.

Spot sings LoL carols

Tonight, I made Spot the Octopus sing two holiday carols for 25MTS!

1. Spot the Octopus – League of Legends Jingle Bells

2. Twelve Days of Snowdown, but, uh, I can’t upload things > 2 mb. haha

Well, here they both are on Posterous, because it has a built-in flash player.


Jingle Bells

Flashing through the snow
whole team M I A
o’er the lane we go
ganking all the way

Bells on Kog’maw ring
ace the last team fight
what fun it is to /taunt and sing
a SLAYING song tonight

Jingle bells, cho’gath smells
Singed is drunk on nogg,
Mundo mash, Udyr smash
and Trundle’s left his bog…

Jingle bells, Trynda wails
Anivia laid an egg
Evelynn fed the Xin
and Gangplank lost a leg!

12 Days of Snowdown

On the first day of Snowdown, my Sum’ner gave to me, a Garen spinning in a tree.
On the second day of Snowdown, my Sum’ner gave to me, two feeders bottom
On the third day of Snowdown, my Sum’ner gave to me, three freakin’ ninjas
On the fourth day of Snowdown, my Sum’ner gave to me, four neutral wraiths
On the fifth day of Snowdown, my Sum’ner gave to me, five Hearts of Gold
On the sixth day of Snowdown, my Sum’ner gave to me, six minions marching
On the seventh day of Snowdown, my Sum’ner gave to me, Seven Christmas skins
On the eight day of Snowdown, my Sum’ner gave to me, eight Rammus Tremors
On the ninth day of Snowdown, my Sum’ner gave to me, nine stacks on mejai’s
On the tenth day of Snowdown, my Sum’ner gave to me, 10 champs-a-fighting
On the eleventh day of Snowdown, my Sum’ner gave to me, eleven Turrets shooting
On the twelfth day of Snowdown, my Sum’ner gave to me, twelve Jungle Camps

25 Minutes To Surrender: episode 8 progress report

I’m helping Jamal at Eudemonia with a League of Legends fan podcast! It’s called 25 Minutes To Surrender and it’s tons of fun. Jamal is doing a great job of pulling everyone together (read: lighting fires under our butts) and generating show content. Our other regular cast members are Aaron, Will T, Razvan, Greg, Chi, and Kyle F.

Every week, we go over the free champions, picking a few and highlighting their current metagame viability. We move on to many varied topics of interest to new players all the way up to experienced ones. In the past couple of episodes, we’ve covered drafting/teambuilding/countering strategies, items, silly things like new skins, jungling strategies and champions…

Every other week, we have a special guest on the show. Faro actually came to the store and hung out; Elementz and RiotPhreak called into the show via Skype. These interviews are tons of fun. I learn a LOT… a lot a lot a lot. Phreak gave us some leaks too, and insight on how Riot does balancing and is committed to e-sports and such.

Someone that is not me posted about us on reddit already, commending our sound quality. This makes me happy in the pants.

I also just posted 25MTS to teamliquid (the premier english-language starcraft 2 forum) because they just created a subform for league of legends.

We might be able to interview Brackhar, the designer of Anivia, Taric, Janna, and Nidalee. He responded to me on his AMA. His AMA is really great–there are some really good questions and answers.