Blog Posts by Havi Hoffman

  • Live from London: And the Hack Day winners are…

    As the Open Hack London weekend fades into a Monday morning, the collaborative act of memory-making begins. Bloggers and journalists craft their stories. The real-time chatter on twitter trends slowly down, while pointers to blog posts, news stories, and archived content begin a quiet climb. *Real life* returns. Folks upload oodles of photos and video; travel home by plane and train, cab, car, and bike; catch up on countless hours of lost sleep; tune back in to their families and their day jobs, not to mention their personal hygiene.

    Among the hundreds of people who came from all corners of Europe, (as well as Africa, Asia, and the Americas) to attend Yahoo!'s Open Hack at London's Congress Centre this weekend, everyone will carry home with them a personal list of highlights. Unique moments of supreme happiness, unexpected triumph, darkest despair: Listening to pornophonique while coding. Tossing red and purple beanbags at setup time, nesting in a sea of beanbags, then spotting same

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  • A Very Personal Ramble Down Hackday Memory Lane

    Some weeks ago, my colleague, the amazing, globe-trotting Sophie Major, who heads up YDN International, asked me to do a post about hack days at Yahoo!. We wanted to share some thoughts about the concept of an "Open Hack" event as tool for collaborative web development, and to raise awareness of London Open Hack 2009, a Yahoo! hack day weekend that takes place tomorrow and runs through Sunday. You may have seen our our Open Hack mascots. They've been spotted now on several continents:


    Photo credit: Jinho.Jung on flickr

    Today, here I am, a jetlagged, wide-eyed Yankee in London, ready to experience Open Hack London 2009, writing a blogpost that's long overdue. Honestly, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather spend Mother's Day weekend. I'll be covering the scene, watching hackers present "appropriate applications of ingenuity" -- feats of coding that happen over a 24-hour period, often accompanied by vast quantities of pizza and beer, followed by snacks and caffeinated beverages (or sometimes sausage and mash). Developers from the UK and beyond will come to Congress Centre, Covent Garden, to explore Yahoo!'s tools and open platforms.

    Day 1 consists of talks and sessions, followed by entertainment and a marathon night of coding. Coders will be able to spend time with the Yahoo! developers who wrote the APIs, libraries, SDKs, and services that can serve as the building blocks for their interesting applications -- clever things that are built to scratch an itch, test an idea, steal attention, impress the judges (and the audience). On Sunday, Day 2, hackers will have a chance to present their handiwork. I can't wait to see what's created and what happens along the way.

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  • Using Yahoo! Pipes for Online Monitoring

    Editor's note: This is a guest post from Dawn M. Foster, a consultant, community manager, event organizer, blogger, podcaster, technology enthusiast, and business professional in Portland, OR. Dawn provides consulting services for companies wanting to engage with online communities and has more than 13 years of experience in business and technology.

    I am a bit of a fanatic when it comes to monitoring what people are saying and filtering it to find the most relevant information. My tool of choice for this activity is Yahoo Pipes.

    I use Yahoo Pipes for my many projects and build Pipes for my clients to help find what people are saying about us, our industry, our competitors, and more, through smart filtering of blogs, news sources, Twitter, and other online sites. This approach has a number of uses both for businesses and individuals:

    • Become more responsive by knowing when and where people are talking about you, your company and your products -- on blogs and Twitter.
    • Use what people are
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  • With YQL Execute, the Internet becomes your database

    The Yahoo! Query Language lets you query, filter, and join data across any web data source or service on the web. Using our YQL web service, apps run faster with fewer lines of code and a smaller network footprint. YQL uses a SQL-like language because it is a familiar and intuitive method for developers to access data. YQL treats the entire web as a source of table data, enabling developers to select * from Internet.

    Earlier this year we released Open Data Tables publicly for anyone to use to make data YQL-accessible, and today, as I write, there are seventy-some tables contributed to the community repository on github.

    Today, the YQL team has taken the Open Data Table capabilities to the next level by adding a new element to the definition - Execute. The Execute element can contain arbitrary developer code that the YQL data engine runs during the processing of a YQL statement.

    With Execute, developers now have full control of how the data is fetched into YQL and how it?s presented

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  • OAuth Update #2

    On Wednesday, upon discovery of security issue within the OAuth protocol, we disabled the ability for users to authorize new applications via OAuth on Yahoo! (apps that had already been authorized were not affected). Obviously, this has been a challenge for you as developers since you haven?t been able to test any apps that rely on our Y!OS Updates, Social Directory, Status, Contacts, or Fire Eagle APIs .

    After working on the problem yesterday, we?ve now decided to turn OAuth back on for developers testing their own apps on Yahoo!, but with the addition of a new interstitial warning screen preceding the normal Yahoo! OAuth permissions flow. Here's a screenshot of the warning screen:


    Basically, we?ve decided to re-enable OAuth so that you can test your own apps and not slow down your development cycles. If you choose do so, we recommend creating a test account and using test data.

    Please keep in mind that we are strongly discouraging Yahoo! end-users from authorizing new apps that use

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  • Jelly Talks Geo: Skyhook & Fire Eagle live @ betahouse tomorrow

    Join me on Friday, April 24, for the 4th
    International Jelly Talk, streaming live from betahouse in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ryan Sarver (of Skyhook Wireless) and I (Seth
    Fitzsimmons, of Yahoo!’s Fire Eagle) will be discussing geo-technology and the Web. We’ll start at 2pm EDT (11am PDT).

    Skyhook is well-known for Loki, a product which adds location information to any website. This approach has been adopted and
    adapted into the W3C’s Geolocation API and is beginning to make its way into browsers as an emerging standard. Mozilla Labs’Geode makes this API available to users of Firefox 3.0. Google Gears makes a similar
    API available for all platforms it supports.

    Fire Eagle takes an alternative, complementary approach that works behind the
    scenes and allows network-based services to respond to your location, whether
    you’re online or not.

    We’ll be discussing the notion of “location” generally, as well as specific technologies, services, and tools that are available, such as Yahoo!’s

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  • Thirteen Variations on the Theme of Open and Other Insights from BayCHI

    127248243_5d7023d316_m.jpgIf you're a worker on the web who lives in the Bay Area, you owe it to yourself to check out BayCHI, the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of ACM SigCHI (a Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction). BayCHI "brings together scholars, practitioners, and users to exchange ideas about computer-human interaction and about the design and evaluation of human interfaces." You don't have to be a web designer or developer to benefit from BayCHI's offering, whether you're looking for community, fresh perspectives, stimulating talks and meetups, networking opportunities, or interesting projects in need of volunteers.

    BayCHI's monthly program meetings are hosted at PARC (formerly Xerox PARC) in Palo Alto on the second Tuesday evening of every month -- they are free and open to the public. Over the years, I've attended presentations from a firmament of web stars -- including Google's Larry Page, Digg's Kevin Rose, Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield, and Slideshare co-founder (and

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  • Georgia Tech Hack U, come rain or come shine

    Yahoo! Developer Network evangelists, including one Georgia Tech alum and one Chick-fil-a lovin' son of the South are joining forces with the Hack U crew for the third of our Yahoo! Open Technology talks, Thursday night in Atlanta. This event takes place at Georgia Tech's College of Computing as part of a weeklong program of coding workshops and tech talks that Yahoo! offers to computer science undergraduates.

    Hack U gives us at the YDN a chance to meet up with students, help with the hacking, and see how the next generation of developers responds to the stuff we're building at Yahoo!. It also gives us a chance to invite folks from the local developer community to learn about Yahoo!'s developer tools.

    Jon LeBlanc presents at Yahoo Open Technology Night

    Jon Le Blanc on the Yahoo! Open Strategy. Photo credit: RLerdorf

    On Thursday evening, March 5, symfony project guru and Yahoo! developer evangelist Dustin Whittle will introduce Y!OS, Yahoo!'s open platforms (YAP, YSP, YQL) and open source technologies (from Hadoop to YUI). Dustin

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  • YDN goes to school in Seattle

    Yahoo! evangelists and other developer network crew are heading up to University of Washington in Seattle to serve up a little YDN juice with the usual Hack U menu. We've got two Yahoo! Open Technology Talks scheduled and the developer community outside the campus gates is invited to attend. Both events take place at the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering, which looks like a wonderful space for a hack event, even if the sun isn't shining in the Emerald City.

    Someone on the yuiblog wanted to know who is coming. Here goes: The Thursday night talk on February 19 features Yahoo! software engineer and technology evangelist Jon LeBlanc, who works with the Partner Integration group in the Yahoo! Developer Network. If you've spend any time on the YOS forums, you've probably already met him. Jon is a Canadian, born with native geek cred: a camelcase last name.

    On Saturday afternoon, February 21, as part of the HackU demos and closing festivities, JavaScript guru and

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  • It must be Jelly

    Tomorrow, Friday, February 13, Yahoo!'s Buzz Marketing team lends its support to Jelly, a casual coworking initiative (movement?) created by energetic entrepreneur and master of collaboration Amit Gupta, for the second-ever JellyTalk event. This week, author, entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley sage Guy Kawasaki, the man who reinvented the word "evangelist" for the tech industry, will be the speaker at a still undisclosed San Francisco Jelly location!


    What is this Jelly thing? A Jelly is a free, sometimes ad hoc co-working environment, where developers, designers, writers, code warriors, four-hour work-weekers (are there any left?), and all kinds of caffeinated creatives get together to work in a common space that fosters cross-pollination of ideas and practices, and interesting conversation. The concept behind JellyTalks: add a notable speaker, a comfy venue, stream a live webcast, provide live chat, and don't forget to tweet early and often.

    The JellyTalks series launched last

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