This is the third installation of the occasional Think Tank Portland hack morning. At the end of the morning we got a nice visit from Sam Mateosian who runs Big Room Studios. Sam and the crew at Big Room host a weekly hack evening on Tuesdays from 6-10pm at 30 Danforth St, with demos to the public the first Tuesday of each month. The tech scene in Maine is exploding! This months was especially practical, with most of the projects having direct connection to real world projects.
Hugh Morgenbesser & Mohit of Likeable Media worked on the final touches for a new product that was launching today. Mohit is interning with Likeable Media here at Think Tank, it's great to see the next generation of creators getting experience working on real products.
Abe Fettig worked on some tech that will go into Fig.ly called jsdom. This library allows you to load an HTML page into a DOM outside of a browser (for example, in a backend server process). He showed off using jQuery from within a Node.js REPL to modify the title and extract all the links from an HTML page.
John Colton started experimenting with the Echo Nest Remix API, which enables slicing up and reassembling music. He plans to add a web UI to make assembling audio clips as simple as drag and drop.
We all love food, and Patrick Kenney was working on a menu app for restaurants that will allow a chef to assemble the daily menu, and then simultaneously update the menu on the mobile-friendly website and generate a styled PDF that can be printed for the wait staff. Can't wait to see the results, restaurant websites have been horrible ever since the first website came online in 1937.
Elliot Murphy started trying out the Twilio and Pusher web services/APIs. Twilio allows your web server to send and receive SMS messages, and Pusher makes it easy to push real time events out to a web page sitting in a client browser. This has all kinds of potential applications, and will be incorporated in future products to allow behavioral health patients to respond to personalized treatment plan reminders via text message.
Chris Hart reminded us that hacking is supposed to be fun! He built and demoed a responsive Ping Pong scoring app to replace the analog wooden leaderboard that the ultra-competitive Think Tank members are using to keep track of Ping Pong rankings. The new web app even has some neat human factor design touches, such as allowing anyone to score a game but then requiring score verification from the second player before updating win/loss percentage rankings. This makes scoring fair for people who play less frequently than others, and also subtly inhibits cheating.
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