Kick Ass Hacks

We love us some hacking. So much so that we’ve built it into our development cycles – every 6 weeks, the whole company stops what they’re doing for 5 days and builds something awesome. The only rules are that it can’t be a project that’s already prioritized (read: no “real work”) and you gotta demo whatever you build at the end of the week.

Some of the hacks turn into full-blown labs projects like the Chartbeat Big Board that hundreds of newsrooms across the globe are using today. Some, like real-time chess, are hilarious and rad just the way they are.

For the most part, we’ve kept hack weeks to ourselves – putting most of the work up on GitHub or Chartbeat Labs with no fanfare. But honestly, every hack week demo that goes by reveals more and more genius ideas, so we’re left with no choice but to share a couple of them with you each month.

A sampling of this week’s kick ass hacks:

Percent of the Internet: Real-Time Browser Market Share

The baby of three of our devs, Daniel McGrath, Tom Germeau, and Tadas Vilkeliskis, this little hack pulls aggregate, anonymized data from thousands of sites across the Chartbeat universe to tell you, right now, what percent of the internet is using which kind of browser – and beyond.



Celebrate Charttimes: Spotify App

Inspired by a tweet from one of our fave clients, our CTO Allan Beaufour whipped up a little Spotify app that hooks up to your Chartbeat API key and plays the song of your choice (we have a few of our personal little favorites.)

Allan’s been kind enough to put all of the details up on GitHub for you. That + a Spotify developer account and you’ll be celebrating like the record-breaking champion you are in no time.




Motion-Controlled Dashboards: Leap Motion App

Daniel (busy guy, I know) and Matt Bango, two of our front-enders, basically brought Minority Report to life in our office.

They used a Leap device to track hand positions, so with that little device and any number of pages you want to add to the deck, you can switch what’s on your newsroom’s big screen, make stuff full-screen (or not), and all kinds of stuff just with air-hand-motion swiping.

Don’t fret, it will all be open sourced soon.


3D Dial: Arduino UNO, Analog Volt Meter 

Justin Lintz, our ops operator extraordinaire, built a dial IRL for RL. He hooked an Arduino UNO up to an analog volt meter to simulate the online, Chartbeat dashboard dial.

It gets nerdier: There’a s python script running on his laptop, which controls the 3D dial by sending the position of the site’s dial to the serial port on the arduino.

Coolest part? There’s an LED plugged in that will start flashing if you hit a 30 day max.

The only issue right now? It’s much too small for our big-time, real-time taste.

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