Google All-Nighter (or, I am so tired I feel like I'm about to die)

Well, I decided to go ahead and enter the contest, and I'm glad I did because we ended up winning some prizes! We mashed up the data from Citysearch Los Angeles (screen-scraped... shhhhh!) and Google maps, so that users could find restaurants in their area, and find out how much money they would spend in gasoline to drive there from their house, as well as how much CO2 they would be releasing into the atmosphere over the course of the drive, which is how we tied it into the theme of the contest, "Think Green." We ended up with a really good team. Ben pulled the data from Citysearch, I did the mapping stuff, Josh did the HTML, CSS, and processed the data so that I could use it, and David designed some awesome icons to use as map markers. In the end, we won "most useful" and I got a beanbag chair and a sweet Google lava lamp. Now I'm extremely tired, and I still have philosophy homework due in about 13 hours.


Google All-Nighter

There's a contest this Sunday and Monday, taking advantage of the long weekend, called the Google All-Nighter. You have 24 hours to write an application that uses one of Google's APIs in some way, and fits the theme, which will be announced at the start of the competition. It looks like I'll probably team up with this kid Ben I met, and I'll have to leave in the middle of it for the big ucla game, but it should be pretty fun. All this week, Google and USC UPE have been holding workshops on the various Google APIs and other technologies that may be useful in the contest, like Javascript. On Tuesday, we learned how to use the Google Maps API, so I made a little USC trivia game, where a marker appears, pointing at a building on the USC campus, and the user is supposed to guess the name of the building. I'll post a link once I get it working better. Luckily, a lot of the data I need, including a couple of really nice USC map overlays, already exists, but I didn't realize that when I started writing, so when I get some time, I'm going to rewrite my code to deal with that data, and it will be awesome. Perhaps the hardest part will be making it forgiving, so that if the user misspells something, or adds a tiny bit of extra whitespace, the game will still count it as right. I guess I could make it multiple choice instead. What I really want to do is learn the Google Calendar API since I could probably make things that are actually useful, rather than just fun, with that.

In other news, the white-space-phobically named LetMePracticeAtUSC system could be improved so much by a couple of tiny changes, and I have a feeling that, given several hours to understand the code, I could fix it. It appears I would have to learn ASP, and the source code isn't publically available, AFAIK. Which makes it a lot easier to say that kind of thing, I guess.