Blog Posts by kent brewster

  • Greetings from Mashup Camp

    Mashup Camp 7 went off without a hitch last week, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. YDN was there, with fabulous prizes for the Best Yahoo! Mash-Up. Fortunately, we brought three Flip video cameras, because there were three very worthy entries:

    Are you a visual searcher or learner? Check out Mark Kahn's JelloPhoto uses Flickr, Pipes, YouTube, and the Zembly mash-up environment to create a unique display of still and moving images around the search term or user name of your choice.

    Remember when you could actually see music videos on MTV? John Bardin and Drew Garcia's Veejay.TV brings back the good old pre-Real-World MTV experience and puts you at the controls. Built in a single night--yes, we checked, it's true--the service combines Yahoo! Music Search, OpenID, and some pretty slick front-end work to allow users to create and share music video sets, just like Adam Curry or Martha Quinn in the old days.

    Ready for a complete musical experience on your mobile

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  • Citizen Broadcasting At Last, with

    So I am fumbling around with the newest toy from the Advanced Products crew, I instantly get how neat it is; you just plug in your camera, bring up a Web site, and you're done. One of our developers works remotely from Oregon, so we're chatting live in no time, checking in with other Yahoos worldwide, and generally poking around.

    But then: I tune back in to the list of popular stations after lunch, and suddenly I'm watching what looks like a live feed from a basketball game. I ask, and no: it's an Obama rally. Rob Glaser, CEO of Real Networks, has his laptop hooked to his phone, which is in turn hooked to an EVDO network inside the Key Arena in Seattle, and is broadcasting video to anybody who wants it. Rob doesn't have his audio working (lots of instant-messenger dings, spooky feedback, but no voice) so somebody else in the chat suggests a local radio station's live feed ... and seconds later, I have audio.

    And then: it turns out that since my audio is broadcasting,

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  • Stanford Hack Day: Simple Pleasures are the Best

    The University Hack Day season concluded on November 9th, at Stanford. Here's your wrap-up, courtesy Rasmus Lerdorf, our man on the spot:

    Simple ideas implemented well make for the finest hacks, and at Stanford we saw a couple of the best examples. Bring up Apache on an iPhone and use it to stream your music to any stereo with a PC attached. Or take thousands of Flickr photos and resize them to 1x1 thumbnails, and then check the color of each single remaining pixel and use it to build a mosaic based on a source image. Again, conceptually simple, but the visual effect is impressive when you build the mosaic with the larger versions of the images.

    Here are your Stanford winners:

    • First place: Loren Yu and Mike Fischer, for Flickr Fuse
    • Second place: Joel Brandt, Jacob Leverich, and Marcello Basta-Forte, for Go2Pod
    • Third place: Nathan Sakunkoo, Patty Sakunkoo, and Phakorn Peerapong, for Friend Cluster
    • Honorable mention: Charis Charitis, for Music Searcher

    Sorry we don't have any links

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  • Rounded Corners, Drop Shadows, and Other Inconvenient Facts of Life

    One of our favorite internal discussions--right up there with the true cause of global warming and why folks can't seem to park in one space--concerns the best way to do rounded corners, drop shadows, translucent backgrounds, and other tasty browser candy. Here are techniques from three of Yahoo!'s finest front-end engineers, Scott Schiller, Leslie Sommer, and Hedger Wang:

    • Even More Rounded Corners with CSS - Scott's work showed throughout Yahoo! Photos, and is starting to be seen here and there on Flickr. Examples here are single-image, PNG-based, fluid rounded corner dialogs with support for borders, alpha transparency, gradients, patterns, and more.
    • CSS Mojo: Adding Visual Polish To Your Pages - Leslie's presentation for Web Design World 2007. Four examples, including rounded corners with solid background and image-free "pointy tail," two-sided translucent drop shadows with and without translucent content areas and gradients, and four-sided "glowy shadows." Leslie's technique
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  • Berkeley University Hack Day Wrap-Up

    From our man on the spot, Rasmus Lerdorf:

    Photo: Ryan Kennedy

    Berkeley Hack Day happened Friday at a frenetic pace. We invaded the Woz in Soda Hall and students were trickling in and out all day with a core group of four hack teams staying for the duration and a couple of teams working remotely. The teams fought Java, Python, C++ and PHP all day long, with Java defeating at least a couple of team members with its multiple layers of input streams required just to pull in a simple text file. We also fought with RSS feeds from Craigslist, news archives and local Berkeley event listings.

    In the end it was a very close race between two hacks that rose above the rest: an extremely useful carpool commuter application that matched up peoples' addresses and their daily destinations and tried to organize the most efficient combination of carpools, and a magnificent hack that provided a cell phone interface to the old game of Twenty Questions. The impressive mix of technologies required to answer the call

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  • 2007 University Hack Day Season: Game On!

    Hackers, hackers everywhere ... recently we've been in Bangalore for an Open Hack Day, in Sunnyvale for another quarterly internal Hack Day, and all across the USA, for the second season of University Hack Day.

    View the University Hack Day intro

    If you haven't heard about University Hack Day, here's a taste:

    "University Hack Day is your chance to develop something that will revolutionize the industry, or at least make people laugh. (Yes, we're really that easy.) Oh and: yes, there are prizes. Adoration from your peers, huge recognition from top talent at Yahoo!, unique trophies and (of course!) tons of t-shirts, so you can put off that laundry run for yet another week."

    Halfway through the season, here's what we've seen so far.

    From Carnege-Mellon University:

    • Brian Krausz - Map Tag
    • Matt Thompson - flolcatr
    • Matt Thompson (again) - Demograph
    • Paul O'Shannessy - yWeather
    • Sam Hashemi and Steve Hillenii - Traffic

    Winners: Demograph, Map Tag, and Traffic.

    From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:

    • Alex Lambert -
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  • Checking In from Adobe MAX

    We've just completed our main presentation at MAX, a session on the Inspire track entitled "Yahoo Loves You." Here's what you missed, if you weren't there:

    Thomas lights up the room

    Yesterday morning, Ryan Kennedy presented AIR Mail, an AIR application based on Dav Glass's Candygram Lite, using Yahoo! Mail's open API and the YUI libraries.

    We spent the day at the Yahoo! booth in the community pavillion, giving away t-shirts to attendees brave enough to show us their kung fu. No, you don't have to throw any roundhouse kicks, although one developer did. We were more interested in seeing what you were doing on your own sites,

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  • Quick AJAX Prototyping, with YUI and Protoscript

    Ever looked at YUI's richness and had thoughts like "This looks really cool, but I just want to try something out." or "I wish there was a way to get something working fast." Enter Yahoo's own Bill Scott, with Protoscript. Protoscript quickly brings static pages to life, by connecting HTML elements to behaviors and events with a minimum of fuss.

    From the author:

    "The goal of Protoscript is not just to provide a library for prototyping rich interactions. The main purpose is to build simple yet rich tools on top of the library to make it easier for designers, product managers, business owners and all the non-techies to experiment with different interaction techniques--without coding."

    The site is stuffed full of working examples--so far there are 31 flavors, with an open wiki for contributions--plus a handy bookmarklet that should allow you to try Protoscript on any site you can load into your browser.

    Here's a sample from the Demos section. It waits for the user to click on the element

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  • 2007 University Hack Day Season: Dates Announced

    Hack Day cup, with Kung Fu Guy

    When you peel back the layers at Yahoo!, the core of innovation is usually a small group of people building something they think is really cool. That's what we want you to do at University Hack Day: grab our stuff and mash it up.

    Here are the dates for the 2007 University Hack Day season:

    • Carnegie-Mellon University: 9/28 (Kick-Off), 10/5 (Hack Day)
    • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: 10/5 (Kick-Off), 10/11 (Hack Day)
    • University of California, Berkeley: 10/19 (Kick-Off), 10/20 (Hack Day)
    • Massachussets Institute of Technology: 10/22 (Kick-Off), 10/26 (Hack Day)
    • Stanford University: 11/1 (Kick-Off), 11/2 (Hack Day)

    We'll bring Maps, Search, Answers, Flickr, Music,, and all the rest of Yahoo's properties, documentation from the Yahoo! Developer Network, demonstrations from our very best engineers, loud music, all the food, drinks and Faceball you can handle, and 24 hours to make it happen.

    Please visit the University Hack Day page for more details, including our 2006

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  • GetSET Hackers @ Yahoo!

    This Tuesday I had the distinct privilege of facilitating a group of five young women as they built out a Web page detailing their experiences that day on Yahoo's Sunnyvale campus.

    GetSET logo

    The participants came to us courtesy of the Santa Clara region of the Society of Women Engineers, which sponsors GetSET (SET = Science, Engineering, Technology). GetSET is a four-year mentoring program that reaches out to girls in high school who are from groups typically under-represented in engineering and computer science.

    As part of their GetSET Summer Week, students spent the day touring our facilities, participating in panel discussions, and documenting what they saw, heard, and felt. At the end of the day they had two hours to come up with a Web page that described their experiences.

    My group took photos and used simple tools--TextPad, Microsoft Paint, stone knives, and bear skins--to build out a highly effective page, using YUI's Font, CSS, Reset, and Grids technologies. Other groups created Maps,

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