Archive for September 2006

Yahoo! Hack Day: Winners and Photos!

Yahoo’s main offices are empty, silent and exhausted after an intense two days of excitement! The hackers are heading home, the wireless network is going down, and the winners are basking in glory.

And the winner is???
Audrey, Diana and Emily’s Blogging in Motion!

Congratulations girls, you did a fantastic job and you really exemplified the spirit of Hack Day! It was great to spend some time hacking together!

Blogging in Motion!

Media galore!

Where’s all the cool photos of the event? WHERE?
I’m still asking myself this as well, but do look at the Flickr Group for Hack Day and look out for the tags hackday06 and yahoohackday. I’ve also posted a bunch on the flickr page. Also, ABC7 and CBS5 has news coverage of the event.

Yahoo! Hack Day: blogging in motion Saturday 6:08 pm 9/30/06

Check it out, there we all are live from a purse cam!

Yahoo! Hack Day: Presentations!!!!

Presentations are starting off!


“A story of a guy… 25, two kids, moving to SF… he’s nervous, what does he do, he dont know anyone… this is me!”
I register at Gutentag. You describe yourself in tags and location. Other people that are similar to you becomes your friends, and located places and events (Local and Upcoming) that these people have tagged. You hit on a person or event to get more info.

ClipClip: A map mashup for the people

Making map mashups available to non programmers. ClipClip takes snapshots off the web – photos of websites (small parts). ClipClip now tags this according to map location!

Maya’s Mom
A network for parents.
Using Yahoo! Answers to ask questions on their website and it queries Yahoo answers!
Automatically pulls up the ZIP code automatically.
Uses flickr for cool photos!

Peter Chan from Chicago!

A webpage wth an address and an event! But there’s no map! we want to add one!
You hit their link, their server looks at where the request comes from, scans the page, and maps any addresses it finds!!!!!

Terry Chang and co.
Mashes Riya and Flickr! You get coords from Riya and photos from Flickr, and then you can replace faces on photos and send it off as ecards!
Tries to look for suspicious kinds of patterns to eliminate sites that tries to gain recognition through spamming and other activities. Identifies Schill candidates! Looks at posting patterns and tries to identify patterns of people trying to drive traffic.

MSN mashup
Invite contacts on MSN, and they get an email…
[Sorry, i was talking to someone and i missed this presentation!]

Print a pretty imprompto poster!
Uses the MPF of sharp, with a custon screen on the printer, you ask for a tag on flickr posters, ad the poster prints off a high quality poster off whatever flickr rates as most interesting.

Yahoo mail with flickr image association

Dan Lindquist

it lists your inbox with images polled based on a parsing of your subject!!! Takes words of the subject, and gets images off flickr that goes with what they think it represents.

MP3s mashed with

Looks at your MP3s on youre harddrive, and then finds out from when these people are playing! Soo it finds shows for you! (

Tripr by Jason Barnes and the Canadians!

Combines different types of media to make your own trips!!! You get to log trips on their cool maps, adding waypoints, photos, and it is all against your yahoo mail account, and you get to use the functionality of jumpcut and flickr’s geotagging!!!

The Color Field Camera

inspired by flickr color picker and the one pixel camera!

PHotos comes live from Flickr according to what color the camera is pointing at! And it has a very nice interface!

Spump! woooo yay!

pulling your delicious links with a live AJAX chatroom! one side is websites, one side is chatting, and it creates a live blog of what you’re saying!!!! Everything you say is tagged against the specific delicious tag.

Technorati Widget!
Uding YUI! put a tag, and uses technorati to tell you what people are blogging about right now!
Real time blogging responses of what people are writing about! Live AJAX up-to-the-minute reponses of what people are talking about all over the web! Monitoring the buzz on the net!

All in YUI and Javascript!

Never eat lunch alone!

Presented by Shannon Clark

You give it your address book, it finds out who are near you and tells that to you. Returns a subset of your address book according to geocoded location.

Printing Widget

Public space printing! An honest broker between yourself and the printer… And we use Yahoo! Documents are uploaded to Yahoo, you log on at the printer, and select and manage the documents.

Ybox: Next Gen set-top box

Josh and Tariqk

Make a device that pulls Yahoo info and puts it on your TV!

Mobile Yahoo Widgets for Project 17
Started a year ago with MoJAX – mobile AJAX! on your mobile, Yahoo weather on your mobile, its all there!!!

They do have a beta of their framework amazing!


Using binary search on a screen to place your pointer!!! You can get anywhere within 5 moves to move your cursot!

LEverage a yahoo property to tag video and audio! using data: urls to encode mp3s!
Files gets uploaded to, splitting files into chunks and put it as links on and we use…

Y!Notice and

Uses the new Adobe software…

Y!Notice puts RSS feeds from Yahoo onto your desktop…

Uses webcam, takes pictures and upload it straight to Flickr from your desktop!

Flickr Friend Finder!

Fetches address books, and looks the people up on flickr!!! Drop in a little preview of the photos! click thgrough to which you want to add onto your flickr account!

Uses Plaxo’s software, so that it can cintinually poll in the background.

Blogging in Motion!

THis project rockes and that’s all there is to it!

Live blogging from a purse!

Monologr – Easy Audio Slide Shows

You record audio as you click on photos and this becomes a slideshow with pictures!!! This can then be replayed!

GR33TR by Team Cisco

A virtual icebreaker! pulls together info from all the different yahoo companies!

Property Shifter

Markup properties in neighborhoods with informations and prices and the like. Uses GAPPER to Screen Scrape! You can now tag information to properties!

Social Network mashup with Geocaching Robert Mao from China.

Maps people and their photos to locations, so that you can go around on a map and see cool pictures!

Plaxo plugin for yahoo! messenger

The name says it all!!

Flickr Rel 8
Richard Kiss!

How do you get a giant TV with no money???
playing with photos!!! Wrote a game!
Three photos, guess which other one!!!


Jonathan Owen

get the UPC code off something, text it to them. Puts it on your wishlist, and get a text back with info on it!

Cal Henderson and Nigel Kennedy

Type in a word, get a digest from Wikipedia, some pics from Flickr and links from

Wall paper rotator using Flickr

Downloads pics from Flickr according to any tag you specify and sets it to your wallpaper!

Facemail from RubyredLabs

Puts the profile pic of people of the poeple who emailed you on!

Sunlight Labs’ Flickr Fruits

A slot machine and puts in fruit as pictures! hehehehe

Geolicious News Explorer

Interprets RSS feeds and sticks it onto a map!

The most amazing patric stewart puppet!!!

The funnnnniest progress first!!

KeepAustinBeautiful on Upcoming

Yahoo360 – like MySpace but for old people…

Mashed up Yahoo360 with MYSpace

Web Services Directory

A live web services directory with live AJAX querying of the service.

The most amazing tag aggregator!

A wonderful app that impressed the Yahoo people to no end. It scans through pages, finding the most used words, collerating that across pages, listing the most used tags and words… its more extensive than this but i missed some if it in the depths of my rib-consumption

Y Answers plugin for Messenger!

The smartest contact in the world! Goes straight to Yahoo Answers!

Radio Station Track along driving directions!

Plots where you can get MPR along any route!


Making collages online and photo-printing it!


Scrolls photos of upcoming events with a map point of where it happened!!!

And that’s a wrap folks!

Yahoo! Hack Day: I have my 0.85 seconds of fame on CBS5!

If you check out CBS5 you’ll notice a little clip of yours truly hacking away at his laptop! For some reason I must have looked productivre, cause they used a shot of my books (Yahoo! Hacks and Agile Web Development with Rails) and a shot of my typing as filler. :-) Abdul, the guy they interviewed, was also sitting at my table. Good stuff! Also check out the channel 7 news coverage of the event.

Be sure to check out Jeremy Zawodny’s Blog and the tags hackday06 and yahoohackday on Flickr!

Yahoo! Hack Day: Amazing Beck video!

Yahoo! Hack Day: ZoneTag Photo Friday 9:07 pm 9/29/06 Sunnyvale, California

See who’s right there rocking out to Beck!!!

Yahoo! Hack Day: News Featuring Hack Day and BECK ROCKS THE HOUSE


Hack day is making waves in the local bay area news like mad!

We just had an AWESOME concert by Beck here at Yahoo. The crowd started out a little cold but it wasn’t long before a Mosh Pit started in the center of the crowd and some crazy energy started flowing. Beck had a vert interesting puppet backdrop with puppeteers mimicking Beck’s playing on a little stage in the middle of the performance. In between the set they even showed a video of the puppets invading Yahoo! and “hacking” Yahoo! and posting porn and all kinds of horrendous activities hehehehehe. Great show Yahoo!!!

Yahoo! Hack Day: 10 Things You Need to Know To Be Ready to Hack in the Ecosystem

Iain Lamb is talking on “Hacking the Ecosystem”.

Most Important thing to accomplish! Meet the people around you! What are they hacking on? Get some ideas!

What do you need to think of while hacking:

Short Term Scales to Long Term Scales!

9) Know the atoms! The fundamental units of text…

unicode, not ascii
glyph != byte
codepoint, codepag,e encoding
declare it!
utf-8 encodes unicode

Unicode is the code page – which numbers maps to which characters!

8) grok the dna of data! Know your formats! Edit these as text!

Web services works with data and recombines and changes data!
know your XML! SOAP, XML-RPC!
check out JSON! leaner, meaner, more consumable. typed values comes from it.
html 4.01 strict
wiki text – great for collaboration!

7) invest in efficiency

be prepared beforehand, and be as efficient as possible. How can you improve your input efficiency? Typing skills?? Accuracy of typing!
Do you have a good text editor?? Emacs? Invest in it!
Do more at build time, get a good build framework. “Ant” or Python or something! tests, checks, make sure it works!
CSS sprites, one big concatenated javascript or CSS file to improve performance.

6) Work at the right layer!
progressive enhancement. seperate various layers – CSS, HTML, Javascript, lower… Seperation of concerns! Do very plain HTML and do some funky CSS stuff, dont mix! Describe it functionally before you describe its appearance.

5) know use and develop the gadgets of scientific observation!

no debugger, no performance indicator, no way to look at DOM…??? NO!

firebug for firefox, DOM inspector, Web developer!
venkman (for debugging), ie debugger (get it through .NET, its worth the $$$), developer toolbar
fiddler (http proxy, so that you can see whats going through the wire on a text basis!), parallels (for mac), vmware, jslint
check out for a talk on this stuff

4) DONT WRITE FROM SCRATCH IF YOU DONT NEED TO! Reuse, recycle, improve!!! Modules!

rework old code, develop pattern language (whats the controls, what are you trying to accomplish, what does the user do. think of patterns that are technologically agnostic, but think of the user experience)

reuse frameworks from other people, dont reinvent the wheel, if you can make something cross-platform then thats great! YUI Library is a great example! Use it if you need!
Think of “Dojo” framework and others! (Mochikit) Great CSS and more.
ala carte, does it scale?

3) Work with the grain…

know your DOM!
strive for elegance, even if that means being unfashionable. Don’t code in a different language that gets translated, just jump in and know your javascript. Functional programming, closures, LISP stuff is the way to go, it works for Web on the client side really well! AVOID DOGMA, COMBINE TECHNIQUES!
use your own voice, just do what you think is awesome!

2) Biodiversity!

write a baseline that works on all browsers, start off inclusive!

multi-os, accessibility and availability!

1) Cross-polinate, evolve like hell!

there is no static, beautiful state, there’s always change – code in the world and on the web is an organic being.
make it work above make it beautiful.

security: make it work and do frequent releases
you: be enough of a generalist to be a good specialist, know the terrain even if you dont use everything. IF you’re stuck on the back-end, at least know whats going on in the front.

Know many languages!

Know and experiment with many programming styles!

0) Hack Socially! Share your DNA!

social bookmarking, keep a blog, consume rss, connect with users/developers!
shadow program and debug with someone!
use version control! Check in and
use and contribute to open source!

Think about it, follow your colleauges’ good ideas and the more!

11) Nothing is off limits! (and notice that there’s always something more)

search, mail, photos
make unholy alliances
une stuff in unexpected ways
make mistakes, BUT
make it work!
understand scale
have funnnn!

HACK LIKE MAD!!!!!!!!!!

Yahoo! Hack Day: Email Web Service


Yahoo announced the unofficial alpha version of their web email developer platform today, available to participants of the Yahoo! Hack Day!

Yahoo! Hack Day: Exceptional Performance

I’m at Yahoo’s hack day and im listening to the presentation on efficiency and performance.
Steve Souders and Tenni Theurer are presenting.

Where is the efficiency coming from?
80/20 rule: Only 10 to 20% of the time is spent in Apache responding with the web page – no more than 20% of the response time is actually in retrieving the HTML document. The rest – up to 90% – is spent somewhere else.

80% of the time brosers spend time getting external files – CSS, JS, images…
What about cache on the user’s side?
First page view: 41 components, far-future expires header on most items
Subsequent page view: 4 elements.

Does this benefit the user? How many users come in with empty cache? How many page views happen with empty cache?

Experiment: Set an image with an expiry date in the past. Depending on the response coming back you can tell who has it in their cache (#200 means not in cache, #304 means in cache).
Results: 40-60% comes in with empty cache!
Keep in mind: Empty Cache User Experience! There is no easy way out. Huge difference between empty and full cache. It is important to optimize both experiences.

How can you apply this to build a lightning-fast hack?
Since hacks have almost no back-end and is all front-end, what can you do?
Sure, optimization happens later on and is not crucial to a hack, but it needs to run as good as possible.

Profiling Tetris Game:

Using IBM Page Detailer packet sniffer we analyze the page.
Before optimization: Nothing had an expires header and nothing was GZipped! 112 Kbytes, 9 HTTP requests.

After optimization: 6 items, 47Kbytes. Far-future expires header on images, CSS, Javascript. To overcome the fact that if its in cache and you change it, it won’t be reloaded, you use file names that includes a version control number or a date.

18 ms response time with a full-cache far-future-cache setup versus the 427 ms response time for empty-cache original.


Allows you to send any string of data with requests. In implementation of Apache… but not a good idea, since part of it is a specific server-id, so the INodes won’t match, and this defeats the purpose of caching! Turn ETags off if you have more than one server. If you rely on ETags, you’re basically disabling a #304 response so that the file is not downloaded again even if it hasn’t changed (just the etags that’s different).

We’re hiring!
souders at …

They need technology evangelists that spreads the code-well word!

Silicon Graphics in South Africa… circa 1996

Good times good times.
Back in 1996 when Silicon Graphics moved into South Africa, my life was about to change. Little did either them or myself suspect it, but that would be the catalyst that finally bought me to the US.

Here’s a little product of their ‘Silicon Studio 1′ and a student group using their video creation and animation software. Keep in mind this is 10 years ago, and it still looks great.

DJ Shadow with Chris James and Lateef the Truthspeaker opening for Massive Attack at the Greek in Berkeley…

Friday, September 22nd – time for another rendezvous with the producers of passion. Yes, you guessed it, my brother and I were in line for the DJ Shadow/Massive Attack show in the Greek. To describe the evening in one sentence, i’ll say the following – I’m listening to a lot of hyphy music from now on, and i’ll be sure to throw in some Bristol hip-hop/trip-hop in there. And an investement in a turntable wouldn’t be a bad idea ;)

Some background first…

DJ Shadow opened up the evening with a sweet display of turntablist mastery… For those of you who have not listened to DJ Shadow, he’s a local Bay Area turntablist who have made it big and has been a defining DJ in the Trip-Hop genre, although I should say that he apparently does not like that title, so i’ll use it sparingly. His work includes hip-hop, rap, instrumental electronica, lounge, trip-hop and funk – mostly a blend of many of these styles. He’s a true master behind the turntable and his beats and loops really shine. Check out his album “The Private Press” with songs like “Mashin’ on the Motorway” and “Monosylabik” for some more ‘traditional’ electronic hip-hop, and get his brand new album “The Outsider” for a mix of all kinds of music (rock, hyphy, rap, instrumental electronica). His earlier work is also amazing – what i’ve heard of the album “Endtroducing” really rips it out on all levels. “Midnight in a perfect world” was hailed as one of the best electronic songs of all time and i do agree!

Massive Attack is a UK-based ‘group’ from Bristol. I’m still trying to figure out exactly who and what they are, and they definitely have an interesting history (wikipedia…). Their music sounds very electronic and computer-created (in a good way with a ot of passion) yet when they walked on stage they had two drumsets, a guitarist, bassist, keyboard player and lead singer – no turntables?? Where’s the DJ? Yes, indeed, for a group that’s started 15+ years ago as a bunch of turntablists they’ve come a long way.

After yesterday night The Greek is in my opinion one of the greatest venues for live performances. Its very personal and there’s lots of crowd-performer interaction going on. DJ Shadow played for a reasonable small crowd but we rocked hard! His audiovisual setup is amazing, with video synchronized to his effects pads. He was laid back and looked like he was having a fun time, which definitely inspired me to rock out to his music. The crowd got up close and bebopped with him nicely. Nothing too crazy, just a good opener. He bought Chris James out to do two songs with him from his new album. Both songs reminds me a lot of Radiohead, and it was interesting to see what DJ Shadow did with that style of vocals – nothing too extravagant but with some good beats and scratches it blended well. The crowd wasn’t too sure what to make of it though, but it was generally enjoyed. After some banter with the audience (Shadow is from the Bay Area and enjoyed his local crowd) he bought out Lateef the Truth Speaker (Another artist on my list of to-check-out people) and together they rocked the house with hits like “Mashin’”. It was during this time that i finally became enlightened to the word “Hyphy”, which i’ve been searching for a good definition of since David K the Bassmaster (as i call him) claimed that he only danced to Hyphy music. Me being the African I am had to ask him about that, but i did not get a good answer till now. Representing the Bay Area is what Hyphy is all about. Wikipedia it ;)

Massive attack took the stage about 30 minutes later on to have to crown grooving, bopping, grinding and head-nodding for at least two hours. Since I’m coming into electronica from a hard rock and punk direction, and i’m very much influenced by my classical training, i enjoy live performances of complex, fast, lyrically and musically intricate songs the most – the ones to which you can dance fast and be entranced by the melodies and blends. Massive attack does not exactly fall into this caregory, being much more of a lounge-out or slow groove group in my humble opinion (this is the reason i like them, incidentally!) I was amused to see the differences in crowd response between something like Chili Peppers and Massive Attack. I wish there were chairs at the Massive Attack show and no chairs at Chili Peppers!

All in all their show was great – the visuals were great and very much in connection with their style of performance, and their music was well-performed. For a group with a studio sound they kicked ass live. I was slightly disappointed with the mix – the lyrics were drowned out in bass and the guitar got yanked wide open towards the end of the show. Their albums are much more drum/bass driven with emotionally strong and unmissable lyrics and vocal performances that rivals the great figures in both popular and classical music. This did not always come through live, especially not on their hit “Teardrop”.

They opened the night with almost 10 minutes of scrolling facts on three LED panels beneath their drum/keyboard stages. Some members of the crowd (undoubtedly those who were there to impress their girlfriend or show their coolness in knowing trip-hop) were annoyed by the display of facts of Berkeley. I found it to be fitting with their musical style of introspection and placement. It was as if the crowd was asked to remind themselves and discoever again where they are. Straight through the show they never had bright spotlights on them, but were illuminated from behind by their LED display setup and spots that colored the smoke or the crowd. They were also reasonabgle political, showing statistics of the War on Terror and dedicating their one song against the War on Terror and critisizing Bush and Blair.

All in all I recommend Massive Attack both live, at the lounge and late night at home, although i do think you need to be prepared to spend some time sitting down relaxing to their performance and some time dancing as exhuberantly as you can. Not everyone can manage a concert which includes both those aspects… DJ Shadow is definitely someone to look out for, and if you can see him in your local club, do so!


CalSO is OVER AT LAST! And damn im happy i finally moved on.

Soo! A lot as happened since my last post! Depression, Girls, Parties, Shame, Fun, Humor, Enjoyment, and of course classes have started again… Not going to say too much since PICTURES ARE HERE! My awesome friend from UCLA spent the weekend here, and i can promise you some crazy stuff happened… if you dont call sprinting through Berkeley in only pants at 3am after a hot sauna to go skinny-dip in a pool crazy, then i dont know what you will. It was fun, to say the least.

Here is the cool photo of the Couch Car! How Berkeley Can You Be??? It was in the parade!

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