Jealous of our parent corporation’s tradition of handmade holiday gifts, Pointless Corp. set out to create a tradition of our own this holiday season: Jinglebots. Handcrafted with cardboard and love, these bots give your holiday tweets a voice — think Speak & Spell with a heavy dose of eggnog.
For a few cheerful weeks in December, every tweet with the hashtag #jinglebots will be read aloud by Klaus 5000, Ru 2 Dee 2 and Cornelius for all to see and hear via Dropcam video. In addition to hearing each robot say your tweet, you can observe their endearing facial expressions chatting while a special holiday GIF(t) with your name on it is displayed nearby. But that’s not all — with the help of Arduino technology, each Jinglebot triggers a relay that brings their holiday scene to life right before your eyes.
Members of the holiday cheer committee at three Viget locations pointlessly constructed these festive scenes. The cardboard creation and decoration of these beautiful creatures was led by Jason Toth, while their intelligence, eloquence, and knack for controlling electronics can be credited to Eli Fatsi. The site itself is the hard work of Nate Hunzaker, who brought the designs of Mark Steinruck to life. Other holiday cheer committee members that deserve props include Lance Gutin, Becky Tornes, Joseph Le, Anjali McKenzie, and Khanh Stenberg for their various holiday miracles along the way.
Our Jinglebots leverage a host of technologies, including Redis, Twitter, EventMachine, Arduino, Dino, Node.js (Express), Canvas, Amazon S3, Dropcam — and a partridge in a pear tree. Play with everyone’s favorite new holiday toys at jinglebots.com or if you’re feeling ambitious, set up your own Jinglebot using our open source holiday coding magic.
Happy holidays from all of us at Pointless Corp.!
When you were a kid, did you ever make a telephone out of two tin cans and a string?
I did. It never worked very well, but it sure was simple. Wouldn’t it be great if there were an equally simple way to do video chats? Now there is.
We needed a simple way to jump on quick video chats with our co-workers at Viget — one
without logins or annoying, unprofessional ads — so we built Tincan’d
on top of the OpenTok API. We’ve been using it internally
for some time with good success, and now we’re ready to share it with a friends. Feel free to add your name
on the email form if you’re interested in trying out the beta. If that goes well, we’ll open it up to a wider audience soon.
We’re a competitive company, so for this year’s Pointless Weekend, the team in Viget’s Durham office thought it’d be cool to put together a simple app for keeping track of competitions around the office. 48 hours later (give or take), we launched OfficeGames. We’re proud of this product, and plan to continue improving it in the coming weeks. Some of the highlights for me:
Everyone Doing Everything
We’re a highly collaborative company, but by and large, when it comes to client work, everyone on the team has a fairly narrow role. Zachary writes Ruby code. Todd does UX. Jeremy focuses on the front end. Not so for Pointless weekend – UX, design, and development duties were spread out across the entire team. Everyone had the repo checked out and was committing code.
Responsive Design with Bootstrap
We used Twitter’s Bootstrap framework to build our app. The result is a responsive design that shines on the iPhone but holds up well on larger screens. I was impressed with how quickly we were able to get a decent-looking site together, and how well the framework held up once Jeremy and Doug started implementing some of Mark’s design ideas.
Rails as a Mature Framework
I was impressed with the way everything came together on the backend. It seems to me that we’re finally realizing the promise of the Rails framework: common libraries that handle the application plumbing, while still being fully customizable, so developers can quickly knock out the boilerplate and then focus on the unique aspects of their applications. We used SimplestAuth, InheritedResources, and SimpleForm to great effect.
Sign your office up for OfficeGames and then add your coworkers to start tracking scores. Let us know what you think!
We’re only about 5 hours away from our launch target, and the Pointless Weekend team at Viget HQ (near DC) is making great progress. We’ve gone from wireframes to draft comps and paper sketches to digital sketches to … a logo? Keep an eye on BabyBookie.com and @babybookieapp on Twitter to see what we manage to launch by the deadline.
Update: we’re going to polish this one for another couple days — check back for updates!
We’ve been pretty quiet over here at Pointless Corp. headquarters lately. It’s been a busy year at Viget, frankly, and paying clients have been the priority. That’s about to change, at least for a bit. From 6 pm today (Thursday) through 6 pm Saturday, a batch of Vigets in both Falls Church, VA and Durham, NC have banded together for 48 hours of building something.
We’ll post photos in this Flickr set and we’ll try to tweet a bit now and then as well. Check back here to see what we come up with.
As promised, we’ve shared a bit more info about last weekend in this recap on Viget.com. Some of the notes include:
(1) the core of any software project team is a software developer. Without a developer, you won’t get much software development done.
(2) Having an awesome designer on hand is great for results and team morale.
(3) Having a disproportionate number of people who can neither design nor code will result in a lot of time spent on product naming.
We also linked to our set of photos our set of photos. Enjoy!
There’s a lot of love at Viget South for our adopted hometown of Durham, NC. A few of us decided to use the first Pointless Weekend to build a tiny application to highlight some of Durham’s finer points and, 48 hours later, launched I Dig Durham. Simply tweet to @idigdurham (or include the hashtag #idigdurham) or post a photo to Flickr tagged idigdurham and we’ll pull it into the site. What’s more, you can order a t-shirt with the logo on it, with all proceeds going to Urban Ministries of Durham.
As Rails Rumble (and Node Knockout) veterans, we knew that there’s basically no such thing as too simple a product for these competitions — no matter how little you think you have to do, you’re always sweating bullets with half an hour left to go. With that in mind, we kept I Dig Durham as simple as possible, leaving us plenty of time to really polish the site.
Though basically feature complete, we’ve got a few tweaks we plan to make to the site, and we’d like to expand the underlying app to support I Dig sites for more of our favorite cities.
We’ll do a more complete recap soon, but to summarize some tweets from the past couple of days: we just wrapped up our first official Pointless Weekend. Inspired by the Rails Rumble (which we often participate in), we formed Viget teams and started work at 6 pm on Thursday, finishing at 6 pm on Saturday. We took photos, ate good food, had fun, and made stuff that works. The result was 3 new Pointless Projects:
- I Dig Durham
- Tofu Engine
We’ll share more about the weekend and these projects in the coming weeks both here at on the Viget blog. Thanks for keeping up with our Pointless endeavors!
Hey everyone. We’ve been getting some great emails from folks about how useful they find HeyCraig (thanks!) but recently it was having problems. Sorry about that! We just want to let you know that:
- We made some updates yesterday to get it working again, which happily included some moderate speed improvements.
- We’re planning for some additional enhancements to HeyCraig that we think you’ll like. The schedule for release is … undermined at present.
Thanks for using HeyCraig and our other pointless stuff.
Happy New Year!
I just got a peek at the new design for this site and it is sweet. We’ll be building it out over the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for an all new pointlesscorp.com launching soon.
We’re also cooking up some new Pointless Projects to share with everyone, so look for 2011 to be a lot more Pointless, if you know what I mean.