HackDay Prize

Well, this one didn’t get blogged yet… Back in June, we stayed up all night at the BBC / Yahoo Hack Day in London. The task was to combine data sources and build something experimental – and a little bit edgy.

We forged a script to enhance mainstream news sites (such as BBC News) with a layer of grassroots community content – from bloggers, photographers, and the like. The idea was to propagate the news and views from the streets, alongside mainstream media. The result: ‘HackHUD‘.

It’s a Greasemonkey userscript and it uses a number of Yahooey things (Pipes, YUI and Term Extraction), to display content from Flickr, Technorati and Newsvine.

We were clackety-clack on the keyboard, non-stop for over 24 hours. There were tears and laughter… and in the end, a prize.

» The HackHUD Project
» Install the script (quickly, before the BBC redesign their site ;)


  • 0.16 – Public release.
  • 0.17 – Problem with Flickr photos fixed.
  • 0.181 – Wikipedia and Twitter options added.
  • 0.2 – Updated to accommodate changes to BBC site & to Greasemonkey.
  • 0.21 – Better handling of multi-word tags.

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12 CommentsRSS Feed

  1. It was a pleasure working with you guys and great to get to know two new great friends!

  2. Indeed, Mr Marco :)
    It was a fine slog, was Hack Day. And you were there – all through the night – hacking away with the best of them…

  3. This is totally awesome, but the Pipe for Flickr photos doesn’t seem to exist any more!

  4. Thanks Phil. Very strange that – the Flickr pipe seems to have spontaneously combusted. I’ve replaced it with a new one and updated the script.

    The script should automatically inform you of an update within 24 hours…

  5. Yay!

    I hacked my local version to also include a link to Wikipedia thus:

    function getWikipediaPipesData(sTags, oInfoPanel) {
    getYahooPipe(‘f5092f6843f0ed59a060cd56833f4889’, sTags, 4, paramCall(standardParser, this, [‘wikipedia’]));

  6. Nice. I’ve added a Wikipedia option to the script, using Phil’s pipe. Thanks, Phil.

    And while I was at it, I added Twitter too.

    This gets me thinking that it could be useful to simplify the process for users to add a new source to the script.

  7. That’s good stuff.

    Not sure about the results from the Twitter pipe. Some extra parsing needed to filter out the “are you on a mobile phone?” content.

  8. Thanks Phil. Yes, I was using Yahoo Search in the Twitter pipe to retrieve relevant tweets, but I don’t think it’s really appropriate for this kind of task.

    I’ve just switched it to use Terraminds’ Twitter search API. Much better, methinks.

  9. Recent changes to the BBC News website mean that the script requires an update. I’ll post again here when a new version is available.

  10. Hooray. HackHUD has been updated to accommodate changes to the BBC site, as well as to Greasemonkey itself.

    The code is suitably hacky in parts, and more wordy than it needs to be, but it happily does the job.

  11. It looks like there’s another change on the site that’ll need re-integrating into the script. I’ll leave a note once the script is updated.

  12. BTW – the script started working again, without any changes. So it looks like this was a temporary change on the BBC site.