show and tell for hackers in DC.

Round 27: Hyperion Christmas Carols

08 Dec 2015

Here are the Hackpad presentation notes from Round 27: The Curious Camaraderie of Code.

Khuram Zaman

Identifying anti-ISIS tweets

Khuram asks, “Why is twitter important to fight ISL?”.

Turns out they send 200,000 tweets per day! Governments aren’t great on the social media front so Khuram is working on sentiment analysis tool to determine who is pro/anti ISIS.

Like most NLP tasks, this is much harder than it looks! Nevertheless, his python code (using tweepy) does a decent job at identifying the true anti-ISIS vs. the plain racists.

We also learned that #daeshbag is a derogatory hashtag for ISIS (isn’t the Internet clever)?


See the world through your phone, literally!

Kajari just started working with Google-cardboard – a literal piece of cardboard that holds your phone for basic VR. Over the weekend she taught herself Unity, a graphics engine, so she could build a virtual city for us to walk through. The demo showed first-person movement through a basic blocky city. Neato!

Q: Can you put in Google city-view and create a real city to move around? A: Maybe! Goal is to do that, especially Dupont Circle, which is the landing page for the company she works for.

Q: How long did it take? A: One day to learn Unity, one day for Google cardboard, and one day to put it all together. It was surprisingly easy.

Interested in cardboard?

Andrew Baker

Voicemail for people who really, really don’t like receiving voicemails

Andrew hates voicemail. Like, a lot. Enough that he showed off his latest iteration of anti-voicemail technology he’s been working on for some time now.

Initially he used Google Voice to translate the audio into text so he didn’t have to listen. Seconds saved, but not good enough, he wanted to actively dissuade people to leave voicemail. The latest iteration requires a key press (to stop robocalls) and sends the message via text.

You can do the whole project yourself for free!

Specs: Hosted on Heroku. Uses conditional call forwarding. Code is well documented and well tested! Works on most carriers.

Code lives here


He also showed off a QR code sent to callers, because “I’m probably the only one in the US that uses it.”

Jouella Fabe

Simple sentence builder

Jouella built a little app and deployed to Heroku that builds sentences. By experimenting with NLP libraries and a Realizer engine (like SimpleNLG, KPML, KUF/Surge, etc…) her app takes simple predicates and turns them into syntactically correct sentences.

Sometimes it works:

john eat -> john likes to eat

and sometimes it fails hilariously:

I shot the sheriff. -> The sheriff had not been shot by me.

Live demo here:

Rushi Shah, @2016rshah

github contribution calender for narcissistic people

Ever want to show off your github contributions outside of github? Now you can!

Rushi (a self-described narcissist) wanted to embed his github contributions on other sites. He deployed a simple app to a Heroku server that dumps out the contributions as an image. While working he dropped Ruby on Rails and switched to Sinatra for a simpler framework.

Code lives at:

Get yours contribution calander at:

Did we mention there are color schemes? Sweet!

Brock Wilcox, @awwaiid

White elephant gift finder

Brock showed off us white elephant gift selector, a tool to help you choose a gift for someone at that holiday party. Originally he wanted to obtain the data via an API to select products. Instead he scrapped the entire site via one page at a time.

The whole thing was written reagent/Clojure, but was almost written in perl6. (Author note: I realized it was a bad idea [that late at night – perl6 rocks!]).

Future work: add prefetching, brackets via NCAA style for best gift ever!

Code lives here:

Travis Hoppe, @metasemantic

Fractal typography, def. see fractal typography

Travis’ project implemented a Sierpinski carpet using LaTeX. Yup, a recursive template compiled onto itself to generate a fractal PDF. The project uses LaTeX source (or any PDF really) to generate a PDF that God himself could not even open (Editors note: Travis claims there are more copies of this PDF than there are states in the Universe).

Note that this project can crash computers, phones and (once) Google Docs.

Code lives here:

Presentation lives here:

Peter Gehred, @pgehred

Shame as a policy

In a passionate presentation, Peter detailed an app by his friend, Heather Akers-Healy (@abbynormative), called Dump Trump. This app changes references of “Donald Trump” to a variety of mocking names.

Chrome extension lives at:

Peter also quickly went over Wikipolicy, another Chrome extension that, “makes your Democratic involvement more productive and enjoyable.” The app changes killers names from their actual names to insulting and mocking descriptions (e.g. violent loser, etc.) in an attempt to dissuade any popular media opinion.

Check out Wikipolicy:

Thanks to everyone who presented, everyone who attended, @metasemantic for the writeup, and @jessicagarson for the live tweets.

A shoutout to our sponsors WeWork for hosting, and for the food!

Round 28 is being planned, stay tuned for the date and time. In the meantime, you can sign up to present. See you all next year!