show and tell for hackers in DC.

Round 56: Undersea Vacancy

08 May 2018

Thank you WeWork for hosting and Data Society for sponsoring!

Notes are copied from the hackpad

Drew Mitchell @drew870mitchell

Figuring out the best neighborhood to move into in the (greater greater) DC area. Couch surfing kinda sucks. It’s hard to figure out where to live in DC. People care about other things like school/crime/etc. Drew doesn’t need those stats. He wants to be able to walk to a park or be close to where he worked. He scraped data from Yelp/Google to be near things he liked bars/parks/etc… Scaped Yelp until he got blocked.

Made a pretty map to find the intersection of zones. Used padmapper to draw polygons around neighborhoods. He walked around the zones that he found and found a place right outside one of his zones. Yay he found a place to live!

Living near friends is important too – who knew? Missing from this project: bike share. Some places like the dentist or doctor aren’t that important to be close to at home. Could consider just going to these places from work.

Dave Miller - @tolchocker

Probably Definitely Safe Child Bicycle Hacks

Wanted to create a mostly safe bicycle seat for his new baby. She can sit on the seat in front of him, but she fell asleep even though there were donuts! There were some flaws in the initial approach.

Get a baby on a bike! There’s a donut ride! Wooo! Some Dutch bike seat! 9mo+! But baby was sleepy! And it fits a Dutch bike, really… Dad fabricated a U-bolt! Custom hardware wooooo! Such a sleepy kiddo! Balance bike!

But what about commuting to school? FOLDING BIKE WITH A BONUS KID SEAT! (“pair seat”) Custom handlebars on handlebars! Using bar-ends, like for a mountain bike, covered with soft handle things.)

Jay K

Sometimes counting with grep is all you need to see how messed up Net Neutrality public comments are. You can download all the FCC Net Neutrality comments! As 2,216 JSON files~

here and here

Much text-processing at the command-line~ Easy repeats are easy, but what about combinatorial robo-comments? Find all the ingredients of a randomly-generated comment family, and you can see that lots of comments follow a fixed pattern! ALSO FAKE! Un-hacking the hack!

Jay: “Stephen from FiscalNote pointed out they did this first. I hadn’t seen this. But reached the same conclusion.”

Travis Hoppe - @metasemantic

Have you ever put teeth where the eyes are supposed to go? It’s terrifying. And now, with this project, it’s automated!


talk link

“Left of the Uncanny Valley lies the NOPE VALLEY.”

From Neil G’s Corinthian

Your photoshop can’t make videos like this!

Very serious conversations with three mouths per face. Neil Gaiman has a very unique mouth-to-eye ratio.

long video short video

Grant Harper - @grant_emersn

Optical Character Recognition and Elasticsearch to create a search engine of a collection of hard copy recipes Using tesseract Into elasticsearch Live-coding demo! in IntelliJ IDEA: Now 230ish recipes added, versus 20 that were typed in earlier! Ques: NYTimes Cooking extension has a handy feature letting you cature a recipe from any webpage & store it in their recipe box. Would love to be able to do that with your tool.

Mike McGurrin - @hobby_robotics

Buffalo Hunter: Simple hack to monitor inventory of Buffalo Trace bourbon at nearest liquor stores and send a text message when it’s in stock. Credit goes to my wife, Gena, for thinking of the idea. Quite simple (even for me!), but I learned a bit on how to access data on user-side javascript websites and using compiled packages on AWS.


A simple hack, but one that Mike learned some things from, so definitely worth sharing! By law, bourbon has to age at least two years, so supply doesn’t increase immediately. “We get a delivery and it flows out like a river.” Virginia has “ABC system” of state-owned liquor stores, which leads to a common API for every store’s stock! ( Overcame difficulties with scraping javascript-driven sites! Used Twilio after seeing it at Hack and Tell!

Selenium, PhantomJS, many good things!


Blockly Delights - Minecraft bot using Google Blockly (think Slack) Kinda alpha.

Kids don’t care about programming, maybe! What to do??? Blockly is the parent project to Scratch! Use blocks to program your blocks! Blockly generates code, but not ideal for connecting to Minecraft, so generate JSON instead.

So cool!

Mineflare node.js API

Next level fun-ness! Someone in the audience pointed out Mindflayers were in D&D and were lawful evil. These were different from mineflayer.