Show Your Work

 

I don’t go to Urban Outfitters often. But when I do, I buy small square yellow books that are less than 100 pages and half pictures.

I bought “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon thinking it would help get inside the minds of users for my new project, DevPort. It turns out it inspired me to set up YAB (yet another blog). So here we are, once again.

Most of my Tumblr stuff made it over; though I’ve combined all three of my Tumblrs into a single blog found here.

One interesting note from “Show your work” is how Austin referred to blogs. He calls them “your own little corner,” which is easy enough to relate to. He also suggests using your own domain, your own site, and your own blog engine. Avoid the trendiness, restrictions, and judgements from Tumblr, Medium, etc. This is your corner and you should decide what that means.

I think I was too intimidated to post more on Tumblr knowing that all my friends, employers, and a handful of Venture Capitalists would get pinged about it. Then again, I was afraid nobody would read my content if I didn’t have a network to support it.

Well fuck it, now I have my corner and I’m going to write whatever I want.

Hacker

When I was 15 or 16 I saw the move “Hackers” and it became my fantasy. I never spray painted my computer or learned how to roller blade; I thought learning to crack was the sure path to my “Hackers” enlightenment.

As I past through different scenes: academia, hackathons, the startup life, electronic music clubs… each world offering a taste but not quite fully encapsulating my fantasy.

Over the years I’ve had this urge to create some gathering place for hackers. First it was the “Hacker Hotel,” and most recently the “Hacker Bar.” Of course, in each scenario I imagine the bunker the characters in “Hackers” hang out in. On paper, these ideas quickly morph into kushier hangouts for startup folks.

At Electric Forest this year, my friend Andrew broke out a “Tron costume” and I remember slapping his back and shouting “you’re keeping the hacker spirit alive!”

It’s all I’ve ever hoped to do, but I can’t even explain what the hacker spirit is.

It’s somewhere between startup life and touring with Phish in a converted school bus. It’s blasting Gramatik out of a speaker while riding a neon yellow bike around downtown NYC. It’s wearing Google Glass at a standup desk with three monitors. It’s smoking hookah in UV light in your dirty old basement. It’s going to the arcade everyday to play DDR. It’s starting your ancient car with a switch you wired in yourself from RadioShack. It’s being a virtual worker. It’s a warehouse full of 3d printers, laser cutters, and an auto bay. It’s doing yoga to dubstep. It’s knowing your friends as screen names first and flesh months later.

Like any culture it’s impossible to define, but you know what it means to be a part of.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_(programmer_subculture)

Fuck that city

“Where are you from!?”

“New York”

“FUCK THAT CITY. I moved from New York to Austin 10 years ago and never looked back.”

The was the first person I met in Austin. We split a cab from the airport to the bar I was meeting my friends at.

“New York City. I’ll tell you what. I ain’t never left anything there, so I ain’t goin back.”

Mote.io Now Supports Spotify + New Pandora Stations

The hackers are at it again! Rutgers student, Waynce Change or @wyc on github put together a Spotify remote! This remote works with the web player.

Now you can search, play, pause, backtrack and skip songs on Spotify Web with your phone. I know one person in particular who’s going to be very happy about this!

Chrome will update the extension to the latest version automatically, but if you need to install it head over to the Chrome Web Store.

That brings us to a total of a dozen remotes! We started with just 6 remotes at launch, and although we’ve both created and lost remotes along the way, the current list of supported sites stands strong!

The full list of remotes include:

  • Vimeo
  • Hype machine
  • Google Play music
  • Grooveshark
  • Youtube
  • Pandora
  • Soundcloud
  • Rdio
  • Tunein radio
  • Twitch.tv
  • Last.fm
  • Spotify web

Remember, you can make your own remote or improve existing ones by contributing to the Mote.io Chrome Extension. Hackers like you are responsible for making the last half dozen remotes.

I’m also excited to announce, a very highly requested feature, the ability to change Pandora stations!

Pandora is the most popular remote by far, and the ability to create new stations is the most common feature request.

Now when you synchronize your phone with the Mote.io extension and Pandora, you’ll get a search bar where you can type the name of an artist to use for a new station. Get the update from the Chrome Web Store.

That’s everything for now! Make sure to follow me or the Mote.io account on Twitter for more updates.

Concerned siblings

Because margins collapse, the elements need not be concerned with their siblings.

Whenever you work with CSS, it is important that the properties and values you assign to a class are only relevant to that specific class and never in relation to a sibling.

For example you never want to add more margin-top to an element because it is “too close to the header.” The correct approach would be to add more margin-bottom to the header.

Character Development

A couple months ago I made a spreadsheet called “Friends.”

I listed all the people I wanted to spend time and put them in a spreadsheet. I still feel dirty about it.

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The truth is, it solved a problem that was becoming a larger and larger issue for me last year. My friends were becoming a victim of my inability to keep up with the intense networking system in NY.

To set the stage here, there’s all sorts of funny stuff going on.

  • Personally I’ve been tricked into interviewing for jobs or “wined and dined” in hopes I would be willing to pick up a contract gig at a cheap price.
  • A friend recently told me that he couldn’t trust the advice of a mentor because he didn’t know if he was using him to orchestrate his uprising as an industry figure.
  • Another friend who is more interested in the food he’s eating than the people he meets, but feels it’s his responsibility to continue networking.
  • I’ve been given advice “do this favor” so that this person owes you something in return.

Personally I’m not interested in playing this game.

Mote.io hackers bring support for Last.fm and Twitch.tv!

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Hackathon hackers have brought you two new remotes for two great sites, Last.fm and Twitch.tv. That brings us to a total of 12 Mote.io remotes – DOUBLE the number of remotes the app launched with in September.

If you’re not keeping track at home, Mote.io now supports Youtube, Hype Machine, Vimeo, Pandora, Rdio, SoundCloud, Grooveshark, Plex, TuneIn Radio, Google Play , Twitch.tv, and Last.fm! Woo!

You can get a hold of the new remotes by updating your Chrome extension:

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/moteio/okkhbojknlfdoooeghbkplihbjajpecc

The new kids: Last.fm & Twitch.tv

The Last.fm remote lets you take control of streaming radio stations while the Twtich remote gives you a full couch mode experience of all the video game streams Twitch.tv has to offer.

Thanks to the awesome organizers at HackRU and Music Hack Day NYC, I was given the opportunity to present the Mote.io API at their events. Awesome hackers from each event spent the weekend building remotes for their favorite sites.

Want Mote.io at your next hackathon? Send me an email at hello@mote.io

Here’s what the Twitch.tv and Last.fm hackers had to say about developing for Mote.io:

Bryant Satterfield – Twitch.tv Remote

I remember I was in the Cave here at Rutgers browsing HN went I discovered Mote.io. After checking it out, I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to create a Twitch remote. I watch Twitch a lot and I figured others might find a use for it too. I talked to Vaibhav, who also had the same idea and we decided to collaborate. Our first attempt at the remote was at HackNY where I finished the main menu functionality, but nothing else as I wasted too much time watching Twitch. At HackRU, I met someone who also had the idea to do Twitch remote, Sam Sheikh. I took him on for finishing the project and helping cleaning up the old functionality. It was a very quick process and we finished the first complete version with all the necessary features. Working with Mote.io is very straightforward and thats why I like working with it. I plan to work on a remote for the Spotify Web Player soon. I started a couple of weeks ago, but haven’t had much time to work on it recently.

James Scott – Last.fm Remote

Hey. I added the remote during Music Hack Day in New York. I’m on the Last.fm webteam and thought that with the adding of video content to the Last.fm player coming up, a remote control would be the perfect compliment to the experience. Other stuff I’ve built includes the lastfm node library and boxsocialfm.com (the best domain name in the business).

Some other great news!

Before working on Mote.io I created a website called Hacker League (http://hackerleague.org) with some friends from school. We were in our senior year of college at Rutgers and hackathons were just taking off. We weren’t going to miss a single one.

We noticed that every event was using a different website for announcements, registration, and hack submission. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a site that did all of that especially for hackathons?

We launched the first version of the site at the Fall HackNY Hackathon in 2011. Just two years later Hacker League has powered hundreds of events.

Today I’m excited to announce that the company has sold to Intel.

Hacker League will operate under the Mashery brand. Mashery has been a huge supporter of the hackathon community for years and we don’t believe Hacker League could have gone to a better company.

You can read more about the acquisition here:

Thanks

I’m ecstatic that developers take their time to build remotes for Mote.io. That the hackathon community supports Hacker League. That you’re on the other end of this mailing list.

The only way to turn these projects from code into a community is with your support. I’m glad to have it.

Thanks, Ian

Hackers add Mote.io support for Google Play, Plex, and TuneIn radio as the Chrome Extension goes open source!

Support for 3 new sites

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It’s been an exciting few weeks in the world of Mote.io. I recently open sourced the Google Chrome extension for the HackNYhackathon that happened at NYU on September 28th.

In just 24 hours, hackers at HackNY built remotes for Google Play, Plex, and TuneIn. After some code review and a couple pull requests, they were merged in and pushed live. Homebase has also been updated to reflect the newly supported sites.

If you’d like to fork the repository and take a stab at making a remote of your own, you can find the code on github here: https://github.com/ianjennings/mote.io-extension

Some words from the hackers themselves

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I asked each of the hackers to tell me about their school, major, team, and what their experience working with the Mote.io API was like. It turns out it was a couple of their first hackathons!

I’m currently a sophomore as an ITI (Info Tech & Informatics) major at Rutgers but I’ve taken CS courses back in high school. HackNY was my first hackathon and I went just for the learning experience. My team consisted of me and a friend (Jon Wong – a junior at SIT (Stevens Institute) – ECE major) who also came along for the learning experience. I initially read a post somewhere a few weeks back stating that their friend created mote.io and would be at the hackathon. I didn’t think too much of the app at first but once we got to hackNY and I sat down to play around with it, I realized the potential this intuitively designed app had. Our initial goal was to write a remote to work with the Spotify web player (play.spotify.com) however, we couldn’t seem to get it to work and I just suggested that we write a remote for Tunein.

Your API was extremely easy to understand and utilize. After some digging through the source pages of tunein, we were able to determine which classes would seek the playback info and playback controls. It was relatively easy to program after crossing the initial threshold of understanding how everything worked. Definitely going to look to complete that Spotify remote soon.

Josh Sheng – TuneIn Radio Remote

I’m from Columbia University and worked on this with Nathan Bendich. With this being our first hackathon, we tried to build something simple that has some real world application and had a straightforward API to work from. Personally, I chose to create a remote for Google Play as it is my primary music player. The two main scenarios I had in mind for the remote were

a) Studying/reading on my bed while my computer was playing music at my desk and b) Having my computer connected to speakers at some kind of large gathering and being able to control it from across the room.

It was definitely an interesting project, as we had no experience with js or jquery, but we were able to pick up enough based on the pre-existing remotes and limited experience with css selectors. The main issue we had trouble with was having the first song play automatically, as there was no button bound to select a song. We got some much needed last-minute help from Jesse from Clef with a workaround there.

Phillip Godzin – Google Play Remote

We, Shivam Mevawala and Sameer Chauhan, are senior electrical engineering students at the Cooper Union as well as roommates. We recently bought a Google Chromecast and plugged it in to the living room television. We have a Plex Media Server set up on a computer and are able to stream it to the television, but we had no way to control it without waking back to the computer, which was in another room. That’s when we decided to make a Plex remote for Mote.io.

Shivam Mevawala – Plex Remote

Find Mote.io at Music Hack Day NYC

I’ll be presenting the Mote.io API at Music Hack Day NYC tomorrow. This is your chance to make a remote for your favorite music site with help from me personally.

Mote.io now supports YouTube + Google Drive and a bonus app update!

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Mote.io now supports YouTube

YouTube was the number one requested site that Mote.io users wanted supported. It was difficult to imagine how Mote.io could work with the classic YouTube.com experience. In order to do it right, I had to write a custom web app.

The site can be found here:
http://moteioyoutube-9226.onmodulus.net/

Mote.io now supports Google Drive Presentations

I thought it would be awesome if I could demo Mote.io at HackNY this year using Mote.io (more on this soon). So I built a small remote to page through slides on a Google drive presentation.

It’s still a little rough, but you can find directions about how to control a Google drive presentation here:
https://mote.io/google-drive

Mote.io app update

An app update was released a few days ago that bring some awesome upgrades to Mote.io. The first thing you’ll notice is a new app icon.

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Along with the new icon are some updates to the theme. The app will also now automatically sync if you have your credentials save, so you don’t have to tap the “login” button every time.

You may have also noticed that the launch video shows remotes with Twitter and Facebook icons, but that feature never appeared in the app store version.

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I’m glad to say it’s back. You can now share what you’re currently listening to on Facebook and Twitter with many of the remotes.

Really cool stuff is on the way

I’m really excited for my next blog post. Some really cool stuff came out of HackNY, but there is still lots of work to be done so I can’t talk about it just yet. Stay tuned!