Music screensaver iteration #4 made on London Music Hack Day 2013

The date has come, and passed! Me, Jonas and Johan are at the Music Hack Day in London like we planned last time. We continued working on PartySaver [Read about iterations #1#2, and #3] and focused on two major additions: a Deezer app and a connection to Philips HUE lamps.

The architecture of PartySaver separates the player app from the party functionalities. Meaning it was pretty simple to create a Deezer app since we already had a Spotify app. (actually, it required quite some refactoring since this is hackathon code :P)

Integrating Philips HUE proved to be quite easy, but also disappointing at the same time. The idea was to take the dominant color from the artist wallpapers and just set the lights to that color. First we noticed that the dominant color was actually most often a shade of gray. The second surprise was how lacking the lights are in the color spectrum. If you don’t send a color it can handle, it will grab the “nearest” thing which is not the nearest color as I’d imagine it (different hue basically) but instead it gets whitened.


The image above shows a CIE color chart, and the little green triangle inside it is what Philips HUE can handle. Not much in the blue/green/yellow space… Next hack I’ll try to find a better color matching algorithm than the built in one.

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Oh, a small improvement we made is that to find a party you just go to and it’ll check for parties within your wifi (actually, your public IP).

Next time we’ll also try to create the “standard” party functionality: party queue manager for party guests.

Curious on when we release PartySaver? Sign up on our website!

Update 2013-12-12: There’s a video of our presentation on YouTube. Also, we’ve talked to Deezer yesterday and are aiming at releasing PartySaver on their platform hopefully before Christmas (i.e. next week!)


Idea: Star sign matcher

Some time ago I heard a guy that was into The Game and studied astrology. He had found that every star-sign was related to another star-sign in one way or another. There’s compability, moon date, and a bunch of stuff I don’t remember. The point was that you could always clame you were destined together regardless what star signs you both have.

The idea is to have a handy little app (or website) that you enter your birthdate, to configure it for your star sign. Then you just pull upp the page and ask the person what star sign they have, tap it, and see how you’re connected in the stars!

Idea: Update watch

There are some simple pages that I’d like to follow, like job postings. They don’t have a RSS feed and are so seldom updated that a simple email notification will suffice.

So I’d like a service where you enter a URL and it will email you when the page is changed. A bookmarklet would work great with the service. Bonus if the mail included a diff to show what had been changed.

What would you follow?

Idea: Reading statistics

As a former tab-junkie I owe most of my rehabilitation to Read It Later. I had a habit of leaving interesting articles open in new tabs, because if I put them in bookmarks it would just grow into a mess. Shortly after I bought my Amazon Kindle I started to look into how I could get those articles into it. I found Instapaper, which could have online articles sent to my Kindle on a daily basis. But that wasn’t the revelation I hoped for.

Continue reading

Idea: Bragendar

The popularity of “status updates” on social media sites proves that people like to tell other people what they’re up to. The idea would be to have a personal calendar public just to show off what an interesting life you have. I call it the Bragendar (bragging + calendar).

Show people that you’re so busy, that your friends have to book you two weeks in advance to meed you. The further into the future you’re booked, the more points you get.

Not the planing type? Then show how spontaneous you are by “checking-in” in places just like you usually do, but have Bragendar generate a calendar of stuff you’ve done without planning.

It would be a fun chaotic-lawful points division to see who of your friends are the planing type and who are the spontaneous. Then comparing yourself to how much action you’re getting in your life with your approach.

Idea: Dangerous file, Will Robinson! Dangerous!

Some companies put up a lot of barriers to keep the weakest link (employee) from breaking the chain (the intranet). At my current assignment I wanted to download grep to parse some logs. I knew the installer wouldn’t never run on my account, so I wen’t for the .zip version. Of course, that wasn’t allowed to be downloaded either.

So I did the only sensible thing: I tricked it. Didn’t do anything fancy, just asked a friend to download it, rename the file extension, and email the file. So now I’m grep’ing along.

I’d like a small online service where I enter the URL of the “dangerous” file, and my email. It just does what my friend did.

Idea: Trend tracking from websites

In my last post I spoke about noticing trends in emails. I love the fact that Steam posts some sales statistics,  but even more interesting are the hardware trends one could find if historical data was taken into account. Some years ago I used the Wayback Machine to manually find data points of how 16:9 screens were taking over. They’ve updated the site so there’s no history now, but the idea would simply be to webscrape the service every month and store the data.

Idea: Trend tracking from emails

As a consultant I get a lot of emails with current projects. The two interesting things, for me, to note are what technology they’re looking for and what role. I get a rough idea just by reading them, but it would be fairly simple to set up a mail account that only parses the emails and spit out statitistics. Hopefully it would be useful for noticing trends.

Idea: Donate computational power

I’ve used SETI@home from time to time. Donating ones surplus computer power to find aliens gives a fuzzy logic feeling inside.

Computer upgrades, work computers, travelling, bugs, computer games, life and other reasons make it a bit impractical. But I still want to help…

It might not be the most optimized way, but given the large cloud computing platforms out there it should be possible to create a similar service on it. Some platforms, like Google App Engine, give each project a bit of free usage every month. Anything above that has to be paid for, but a limit can be set beforehand.

The idea is to create a service that runs in the cloud, and people can donate money to raise the limit. It’s a more convenient way to pay directly for actual research. Website with stats would be a nice addition.