Hack4Reno project RenoTracks places!

I was especially excited about the project this year because I think it might really be used. Forking a project started in San Francisco and continued in Atlanta (among others), we had some supposedly working code to begin with. That turned out to be a mixed blessing for me. The PHP and javascript code I started with showed its genesis from hackathon to hackathon fairly clearly, each generation of repurposing piling up like a different brands of spaghetti, mine on top! Fortunately the hackathon format at least limits the volumes of stringy pasta, so the server app is still simple enough to consider deploying to run toward a future demolition and reconstruction.

My teammates and new friends Brad Hellyar and Riley Snyder tackled different issues. Brad got the iOS app running, fixing some tricky bugs on the way and receiving help gratefully from John Jusayan. Riley proved that hackathons are not just for coders. A brave journalism student, he made sure our research questions were answered quickly and correctly, made twitter and facebook accounts for our app, and even updated HTML content. Those efforts were also assisted by the originator of the app idea Scott Hall and front end wizard Steve James.

With all that going for us how could we help but make a 2nd place finish in the Biggest Little City sponsored category. Whoop! We had a working iPhone app and website to demo at the end.

Team RenoTracks presents at Hack4Reno

Tomorrow we’ll meet with the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency to plot the future of the app. Stay tuned!

Washington Foreign Law Society site

WFLS Screen Shot These nice folks needed a fairly simple site on a strict schedule and budget, and looked to Vernal for help. It just required some theme programming and integration work from me. They like the results:

Thank you again for all of your hard work on this, and especially for working within our budget.

Fabulous work! Thank you!

Absolutely fantastic site and very classy!

It is a terrific improvement.

I love it!

Thanks Liz and Ana [and I’m sure she meant Jason & Dylan as well!] . This is great.

It looks great. Well done.

…looks great on iPhone. Thanks thanks thanks.

Looks great. Nicely done.

I went to check out the new site and it looks great!

Open Data Reno at Hack4Reno

I had a great time this weekend at the 2nd annual Hack4Reno working on Open Data Reno, a hub to identify both available data pertinent to Reno and unfulfilled needs for data. The site is built on a WordPress theme started by Colin Loretz at last year’s hackathon, and this year I jumped in along with John Jusayan, Jeremy Murray, and Josh Infiesto to get it operational. I worked on improving the theme with Colin, and also locating and populating the site with data. In the process of doing that I learned more about a couple of useful sites for scraping, scrubbing, re-interfacing, and hosting difficult data sets. One is Cosm, where I found the most accessible air quality index data for Reno. The other is ScraperWiki, where I wrote a scraper to collect and present Reno water quality data from the very unstructured water authority lookup page. Fun!


My best challenge for this compendium of Jewish LGBT resources was the highly-classified equality guide geo search. The “I’m looking for” menu (enhanced with Chosen) allows geo searches for specific taxonomy terms and also some pre-defined combinations of terms. The separate, extra-important affiliation selector combines with this choice. Whew! There were lots of other features elsewhere on the site for me to dig into also, making this a large and satisfying project. The rest of the team came from Free Range Studios and Vernal creative.