Beer and Tell – October 2015

Once a month, web developers from across the Mozilla Project get together to forge Bitcoins. While we magnetize needles for carving out our counterfeit bits directly on hard drive platters, we find time to talk about our side projects and drink, an occurrence we like to call “Beer and Tell”.

There’s a wiki page available with a list of the presenters, as well as links to their presentation materials. There’s also a recording available courtesy of Air Mozilla.

ErikRose: Rubik’s Magic Cube

First up was ErikRose, who talked about the process of learning how to solve a Rubik’s Cube and how it affected his thinking. The learning process mirrored that of learning a language: first, you only see the cube as a block of individual colors, but as you progress you start to recognize specific cubes and arrangements of cubes as “words”, and eventually you become able to recognize abstract patterns of cubes relative to each other.

Check out the recording for a detailed walk through part of the cube-solving process!

Mythmon: N-Bodies Simulation in Rust

Next was Mythmon, who shared a physics simulation of bodies floating in space being affected by gravity. The simulation was written in Rust and relies on Piston for drawing graphics to the screen.

Potch: Canvas Blur

Potch was next with a demo of performing a Gaussian blur on a canvas in JavaScript. Branching off some experiments around auto-cropping algorithms, Potch’s demo processes the blur in chunks and produces results that are comparable to blurs produced in Photoshop, albeit much slower and with less sampling for the blur. While not intended to actually be used for anything, future improvements include using Web Workers to process the blur asynchronously and in parallel, as well as performing other convolutions besides blurring.

BWalker: ASCII Art Dashboard

Last up was bwalker, who demoed an ASCII art dashboard powered by blessed-contrib. The library provides the ability to make console-based dashboards with widgets for line graphs, bar charts, tables, and even a world map. This particular demo pulled some statistics from Github as well as graphing randomly generated numbers.

The highlight of this week’s meetup was lonnen’s impressive feat of creating 5 bitcoins on a flash drive using only a lighter and a chiropractic activator.

If you’re interested in attending the next Beer and Tell, sign up for the mailing list. An email is sent out a week beforehand with connection details. You could even add yourself to the wiki and show off your side-project!

See you next month!