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Hack and Tell, Round 23 Wrapup.

Subject: Round 23: Tax man came and took my $$$, now all my other bills are gonna be late

(Have a complaint about this email? Want to make it better, fix a typo, or add more info? Fork the gist on GitHub! Or, click through to read a rendered version.)

Hello Hackers-

Thanks to Meetup for being wonderful hosts! As always, there was plenty of beer, soda and pizza to go around. It's always great to go back to where it all began (well, 6 floors above where it all began, but still)!

We'd like to thank the 3 people who shared their Meetup passwords with us. This wrap up is dedicated to them.[0]

Public Service Announcement

FFFFFFFF! CISPA passed the house.

Projects Presented (in random-pseudo order[1])

Leocadio Tiné

Dumbledroid makes it incredibly easy to produce Java classes for dealing with XML/JSON APIs. It was written primary for use on Android, but we see no reason to believe it wouldn't work for other purposes. And, to all the haters, yeah, Jackson can probably do this, but this one has a much cooler name.

Jon Distad

Lisp on an Arduino? Yep. Cool as hell, but the limitations seem to make it sort of impossible to do real work with it.

Dan Foreman-Mackey

Dan showed off some more really well designed slides. Oh, and he wrote something that makes pretty silly (but fun!) limericks from twitter.

Aditya Mukerjee

Pluto is a planet inspired feed reader that's written in Go, and can be run on a free Heroku instance, with not much effort. * [Sorry Pluto, I don't know why people keep picking on you.--Ed] *

Vijay Pandurangan

About the only use of Foursquare that we can get behind is using it's data to better enhance something else that's broken, and that's exactly what Vijay did. He took Google Calendar's simple location entry field, hacked up XMLHttpRequest, and tied it to Foursquare. Requires a browser endorsed by Google, which is probably it's only fault.

Aaron Schumacher

If you've ever wanted to analyze the attendance data of NYC public schools, you might have had trouble. But, Aaron is now archiving it, so it should be a bit easier going forward.

Leah Hanson

Leah showed off a ~48 line websockets chat server which utilized the web framework she wrote in the Julia programming language. * [ Finally! I can write a Fibonacci server[2] in a real language--Ed ] *

Grant Kot

It's amazing how much you can do in 998 bytes. Grant produced a tiny physics engine for simulating blobs. About the only thing that can be said, is "tubular"--though, that'd be inaccurate, since it uses circles.

Braiden Kindt

Braiden wowed us with the design and development of an Internet accessible Air Conditioning controller which came to be after lots of reverse engineering, PCB design and lead poisoning. * [Ok, I made that last part up--Ed] *

A book to read...

Exploding the Phone is a great book which outlines the history of phone phreaking, and while it's at it, the birth of the telecommunications industry. Pick up a copy, it's totally worth the read.

Round 24 - Coming Soon

Though we have a space lined up for May, we're always looking for space, so let us know if you've got something available!

Hack and Tell in other cities

  1. Berlin, Germany
  2. San Francisco, organized by our own Pete Soderling
  3. DC, organized by our own Jonathan Halcrow

Check out for links, and expect a new any year now!

Happy hacking,

Andrew and James

[0]: Andrew once owned the domain It was going to be a simple site which anonymously collected passwords and analyzed the characteristics of real passwords. However, he realized it was a bad idea. Who the hell shares their passwords with someone?

[1]: We generated random bits by using von Neumann coin unbiasing: von Neumann, John (1951). "Various techniques used in connection with random digits". National Bureau of Standards Applied Math Series 12: 36.

[2]: Mirror of Node.js is Cancer by Ted Dziuba

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