Skip To Content

    12 Of The Coolest Hacks From Hack Week Summer 2016

    In Mid July, BuzzFeed’s tech team hacked on projects (32 in total!) from all corners of the United States and across the world. We had a great time and produced some awesome work!

    1. slackBock

    A Slack bot for automated collaborative food ordering. The project was inspired by an internal Slack channel called #friedchicken which exists for people to order fried chicken together for lunch. Our bot uses the Postmates API to automate the ordering of fried chicken from a random nearby restaurant. The costs and amount of food to order are automatically calculated based on the number of people who opt-in. The bot also private messages users for their Venmo information so that participants know where to send money and how much to send.

    Voted "Most likely to be on Shark Tank"!

    Team: Christopher Hranj and Jess Anastasio

    2. Django in Rig

    With our awesome new deployment solution Rig in place, we investigate how to use it with a Django application.

    Django in rig provides the developer with:

    - A dependable ORM

    - Automatically generated schema migrations

    - An extensive ecosystem of third party packages including REST frameworks

    Team: Peter Karp & Adrienne Fishman

    3. VR Choose Your Own Adventure Video

    This virtual reality choose-your-own-adventure game puts the user in the shoes of the project's creator, presenting them with scenarios and asking them to make choices. Depending on the user's choice, they will be presented with different scenes and situations in return. Video was shot in full 360 and the game itself prototyped in Quartz Composer and then hooked up to an Oculus DK2 for the full VR experience. You can experience the 360 version on YouTube here.

    Voted "Most interesting implementation of new tech"!

    Team: Sabrina Majeed

    4. Open GL for 3D Projections

    See video here (warning, it's really massive thus slow to load). VideoCube.png shows a bitmap grab of 6 various BuzzFeed Video shows, that are projected onto a rotating cube using Open GL. The attached VR.jpg shows the same functionality for 3D VR using Google Cardboard. This is a work in progress.

    Possibilities: My interest with 3D and VR is not gaming, but richer UI controls. Instead of flat 2-D controls, we can have rich UI interactions with say projecting controls onto interior walls (think rooms, not windows). Another application would be projection of data analytics. Open GL is supported by all (major) mobile platforms as well as the web. In theory most (much?) of the code could be reused by various platforms.

    Technologies: Open GL, Android, Buzzfeed Video App.

    Team: Steve Peterson

    5. Live Video in the a BuzzFeed Feed

    See video here. This project demonstrates the integration of live video with BuzzFeed feeds (see attached image LiveVideo.png). One app uses KickFlip and captures and broadcasts the video, while the other app is a modified version of the BuzzFeed video app. KickFlip's SDK is also available for IOS.

    Possibilities: Feeds such as BuzzFeed's Buffet Feed offer the aggregation of heterogeneous media. Live video adds to this. Specific examples are web cams (nature, events such as the Olympics), and breaking news stories.

    Technologies: kickflip Live Video Streaming to the Cloud, Android Buzzfeed Video App.

    Team: Dan Tann

    6. DevBar

    DevBar is a toolbar accessible in our local dev environment that provides basic context for any page that you’re looking at. It includes the name of the current controller and the template being rendered, as well as other data present in the current request, all of which provide a big head start when debugging issues or just trying to find your way around our codebase.

    Voted "Most likely to get integrated into production"

    Team: Erik Price

    7. BuzzFeed Office Hours

    BuzzFeed Office Hours was one person's experiment in opening up their calendar to the public for conversations via Google Hangouts. Tom Harman is a design manager at BuzzFeed and offered his time to advise designers with all levels of experience—from college students to design leaders—on next steps in their career, how design management works at BuzzFeed and what we look for when hiring product designers. He also spoke with independent creators, critiquing and giving feedback on their product ideas.

    Team: Tom Harman

    8. Buddy Tooltip

    We wanted to spice up the user experience of our app by creating a fun, interactive tooltip featuring cartoon avatars of our fellow co-workers. The Buddy Tooltip allows you to place triggers throughout the UI, which you can click to see a popover of informational text. These tooltips also support links that can be used to toggle between different dialogues from within tooltip, allowing you to condense a large amount of information into a small space.

    Team: Greg McLeod, Nicolle Matson

    9. WTF is Product

    WTF is Product is a Medium publication about the weird and wonderful discipline of Product Management. We focused on (product) people, their (product) stories, (product) failures and (product) successes. Product Management is a discipline that is mostly acquired through experience: there is not one Product Process but many. We wanted to share these multiple visions, diverse point of views and passionate (product) experiences.

    We ❤ Product.

    Check it out here

    Team: Stephane Krzywoglowy, Jesse Shapins

    10. Produce a Video

    View this video on YouTube

    In ABCD's Try For The First Time, we created, filmed and edited a BuzzFeed Motion Pictures video with Southeast Asians in mind. Along the way, we learned about the incredible amount of work and time that goes into producing a short video, which increased our appreciation for the craft and informed our perspective on the tools we build for those teams.

    Voted "Team that ventured most outside their comfort zone"

    Team: Anita Mehrotra, Amir Shaikh, Swara Kantaria

    11. Ken Burnzz

    Ken Burnzz is a Twitter Bot that has the potential to automate video generation based on a BuzzFeed article. Currently, it only supports generating videos from lists but the general concept was to take any article and tweet a short video that provides users a preview of that article. We experimented with new technologies and used Node.js (with ES6 + babel!) along with the Twitter API and Buzz API. As BuzzFeed continues to generate new content at a rapid pace, teasers or previews of articles could become useful for users to get a sneak-peek before committing to the entire piece.

    Team: Alex Duner, Brandon Choi

    12. Transmogrifier

    Transmogrifier is a collection of services that automagically transcribes and then translates Tasty videos.

    It uses super fancy machine learning to extract text and then translates it using the Google Translate API.

    Team: Kat Kitay, Eric Yellot, Sam Balinghasay, Andrew Metersky, Fred Diego