We had our 24th £5 App event a few weeks back (follow @fivepoundapp for announces). The event was titled “Spring” so we could see what people had been building recently.
First up was Jayanth (@jaykannan) from Sussex University with DorkSynth – a Kinect powered theramin-like synth tool. The video (sorry for the 90 degree twist!) shows it in action:
Jay also has a video for his second Kinect project (for Microsoft) – a Kinect-powered quiz tool:
Next up was Erik Erskine who spoke about the Brighton Marathon iPhone app. They were commissioned to write the app to help well-wishers keep up to date with news (powered by RFID tags) on the progress of the runners:
After this Prem (@premasagar) of Dharmafly spoke on a webapp that helps organisations visualise the change that takes place in skill levels and connectedness during educational programmes:
Finally Chriss Ross (@darkrock) spoke on Tap to Chat, an iPhone Facebook chat app that has become something of a financial success from humble week-long-hack beginnings:
Thanks as always to Jon at The Skiff for hosting us (go sign-up if you need a lovely co-working space).
Last Tuesday we had our 23rd £5 App event, given that it is only our second event this year we chose to let people “show and tell” about the things they built this summer. We had 9 speakers, I bought the beer, John baked the cakes.
Emily is working on an iPhone app with me that we’ve named SocialTies, it helps you find your friends and ‘similar people’ when you’re at an event or conference. It was inspired by the fruitless hours I’ve spent at events wondering if I’ll ever find anyone I know…
Next Tuesday at 8pm at The Skiff we’re holding our 23rd £5 App event. This is our second this year, we’ve been a bit slow. To make up for being slow we’ve given it the title “Things we built this summer“, here’s our fine speaker list:
Ian (me) on hacking a receipt printer with an Arduino
The aim of the site is to build a large repository of common-sense knowledge, exactly the kind of knowledge that humans take for granted and never write down as statements for a computer to understand. Currently it tracks over 1,026,553 statements.
Using the link you can vote on the concept. Vote up if the concept is solid (i.e. something a human would say is ‘right’) or down if it is wrong, silly or erroneous. The site supports OpenID which makes starting a touch easier.
My goal with this bot is to remind people every day to vote on the concepts and to add new knowledge. If a concept has many votes then we can have faith that it is ‘common-sense knowledge’. If a concept is voted down enough then we can have faith that it is ‘unhelpful or wrong’.
You’ll find a searchable list of Concepts and some random examples on the English homepage. For good examples see all the information that ConceptNet knows about humans, chess and girls.
I’ve written the bot in Python using PyYAML, Python-tinyurl and Python-twitter. It runs every day via a cron job. It works by guessing a random id for a raw_assertion and checking to see if a concept lives at the URL. See this XML example for id 143313, I extract the .yaml version via PyYAML but the .xml version renders nicely in your browser if you want a peek.
ConceptNet’s web API is well documented. ConceptNet itself is written in Python using Django but I’m not using the downloaded version here, just the web API.
My first Twitter bot – @BrightonJobDoom:
Just in case you live here in Brighton you might want to track @BrightonJobDoom to see how healthy (or…not) the job market is in the UK during this rather wobbly recession :-) I wrote this bot for our £5 App’s 5k coding competition.
The event was organised through Philip and Declan of PlayGroup, they use Hector’s House for arts and science gigs (thanks BuildBrighton for the connection!). Cheers chaps, it was exactly the space we needed!
“Seb’s Slightly Failed Music Career”
Seb spoke on the highs and lows of forming a band, showed previously-unseen footage and generally gave the lowdown on how it all works. Rick-rolling was included. Seb has his own write-up.
Sadly Seb’s hard-drive died after the talk taking all his transcoded footage but on the flip-side Seb inspired Simon to share footage from his old cover band.
John and I are very pleased to announce our upcoming music-themed £5 App Christmas Special on Wednesday 2nd December, 8-11pm at Hector’s House in collaboration with the lovely Playgroup guys. Please do the usual – sign-up on Upcoming so we know how much beer to brew for you all. If you don’t know what this is then see last year’s Xmas Special write-up and details of all the previous events (with videos).
We want 40-60 of you along this year so please spread the word – Tweets and blog posts would be hugely appreciated!
Seb Lee-Delisle – “My life as a wannabe rock star at the birth of the internet music boom” – full description below
Toby Cole – “Zero to Theremin in 20 days” – How BuildBrighton built a feature rich, ultrasonic, laser etched MIDI controller in under three weeks”
Tom Hume – “You’re all an orchestra, get over it” – Bluetooth devices will interact with the audience to create changing ambient music, created by Future Platforms for a Music Hack Day
Jim Purbrick – “A short talk on the Mrmr/LiveAPI guitar mounted iPhone ableton live interface by the head of Second Life Europe and later a demo with 100Robots”
lastminute.com labs – Bottle-Rock-It, a music game for n iPhones where (with any luck) n > 3 (Richard, Russ, Sam, Mathias)
100Robots – Jim and Max Williams play live and loud for us
Seb has the main talk, his full blurb is:
“Before Seb Lee-Delisle was peddling his digital creations, he had an entirely different life. He spent most of his 20s setting up Solar Records and promoting his band Stargirl (later Laine). Investing over £50,000 of their own money, they released their own CDs, made it onto the radio and TV, played in front of 30,000 people, recorded at George Martin’s Air Studios and had full page spreads in the nationals.
They were at the forefront internet music boom of the late 90s. The future was looking rosy for this group of dynamic 20-somethings. So come and find out what it was like, how the hell they got the £50K, and why their plans didn’t quite reach fruition…”