The Vision

The original concept for this script was to superimpose grassroots media (people’s photos, blog posts and messages) of news events, as they happen in the streets – on top of news articles on mainstream media websites.

The Setting

Hack Day London

Line 1 of the code was written at the 24-hour Yahoo / BBC Hack Day in London (June ’07). Having braved lightning strikes, laptop coffee horrors and zero sleep, we emerged with a prototype to demo to the audience (see the video of our demo)

We almost left from exhaustion, but were thrilled to stay and win the prize for the “Hack that should have been implemented on the BBC yesterday”! Thanks, Aunty Beeb! :o)

How It All Works

HackHUD schema

HackHUD is a JavaScript Greasemonkey script (for Firefox & Mozilla browsers) that activates when you point your browser to a BBC News article.

The script analyses the article’s text for potential tags, or keywords, via the Yahoo Term Extraction API. Each tag gets marked up on the page, ready to be clicked…

HackHUD can then contact a number of other sites (Flickr, Technorati, Newsvine, Wikipedia and Twitter) via a Yahoo Pipes system, to retrieve relevant user media. These are then popped-up into a little panel that uses the Yahoo User Interface library.


HackHUD screenshot detail: selecting a tag

Make sure you have Greasemonkey set up, then install HackHUD. Visit a BBC article, and get clicking…


Here we have a proof of concept, with plenty of room to move. We welcome your comments, suggestions, offers of help and more


Premasagar & Madhava were nobly assisted by Marco at Hack Day. Annesley has since smoothed off some of the edges, and many thanks go to Christian for answering all our difficult questions.