Projects

Scarr [github]

An end-to-end tool for flat-files on AWS. It handles registering a domain, generating a TLS cert, creating an S3 bucket, creating a cloudfront distribution, setting up DNS, and uploading files. This is my first time touching Go, so the code is likely to turn you to stone if you look at it too long.

Kmk.Party [github]

A url-shortener with Lambda – JUST Lambda. This is not intended to be used - it's a massive abuse of AWS's Lambda service. If you know lambda, you know how ridiculous this is. If not, well... Lambda is a very specific kind of hammer that's extremely good at hammering a very specific kind of nail. This project proves it's possible to use that hammer to drive a wing-nut into silly putty if you swing hard enough and are willing to get messy.

If you're here looking for tech stacks, this is all Python (although admittedly it's more Python than I've written in the last decade before this).

VoyageFound.com [github]

I like browsing random locations on Wikivoyage, a wikipedia-like travel site, to explore places I might like to travel to. However, wikivoyage's "Random" button tends to take me to one of the bazillion little towns in New England more often than not.

VoyageFound is a tool I built on top of Wikivoyage. It lets you jump to a random page, subject to filters you can define. For example, if you want to leave out all of the US, you can add "United States" to the exclude filter. If you want to search for places in Asia but you've already been to a few countries, you can include Asia but exclude Vietnam and Thailand.

This was my first personal project with React.js, and I'm already feeling the need for a proper state management system (we use redux at work).

UnexpectedHamilton [github]

A ruby twitterbot for detecting partial song lyrics and tweeting the next few lines. Eg if you tweet "I took my shot," it might detect that as a match to the line "Not throwing away my shot" from the musical Hamilton. The bot would then tweet the following lines from Hamilton: "Hey yo, I'm just like my country / I'm young, scrappy and hungry."

It matches base on line endings. It weights each matching word based on how common the word is (so a match of "and me" is scored lower than a match of "extra marsupials"), and considers the tweet + lyric a match if the weighted score is over a configurable threshold.

Bub [github]

A ruby slackbot for claiming and deploying to heroku servers. My company has a handful of heroku boxes we use for staging new features + doing acceptance test on them. Since several new features may be in progress at once, the devs were constantly asking "Is sassy free?" (sassy being the name of one of the staging servers). This is a slackbot I wrote to manage claiming and releasing servers.

I also recently added the ability to actually deploy github branches to heroku through bub.

Although this is used by Joyable, it's a personal project- I've strictly separated my work on this from my employer, using personal time and machines, so I can show it off here.


KevinKuchta.com [github]

Included here for completeness, this is a generated static Jekyll-based site hosted on github pages. I've added in Haml for the html and Sass for the css, along with Jekyll's built-in markdown parsing for the content. I started from a bootstrap base, but the visible design and css are my own. I'm debating whether to keep the faux-bold headings- my more design-oriented friends say they're crap- I'm mixed on it.


Toy Projects

Smaller and/or less-practical things

Baller JS Physics Engine

I wanted to play around with canvas, so I drew a ball. Then I made it move. Then I thought the movement should be more realistic, and it spiraled from there. Before I realized it, I had general-purpose forces like gravity and friction, and I was working on collision resolution. It only ever dealt with balls, of course, but it was fun.


Graveyard

Wall of Imgur (potentially NSFW) [Github]

This is pretty silly- it's just a wall of random images from Imgur.com (an image-hosting site). It has infinite scrolling, zoom-hover (which was a little tricky to make work nicely without covering the page and whatnot), semi-intelligent tiling, and a mode that replaces all the images with kittens. That last one is because, since these are truly random images, some of them are occasionally NSFW and I wanted to be able to be able to work on this in public places.

August 2013: I recently started a job using coffeescript and backbone. To refamiliarize myself with these, I rebuild the wall of imgur in with them.

May 2015: Wall of Imgur (renamed to wallopics.com) was quite popular on reddit. Then, eventually, Imgur decided to shut it down by blocking wallopics.com as a referrer. See the writeup for more details. Moving this to the graveyard, but you can still user the compiled site on github raw.


Vimbits.com [github]

A site to upvote and downvote your favorite Vim configuration snippets. Made with Bootstrap and Rails (decided to keep it largely js-free for v1). Hit the HN front page twice, and got about 12k uniques in the first week or so. It's leveled off to around 80 uniques a day. It needs a lot of visual work and some bug fixes, but mostly it needs better features to support wading through the mass of noise to find the gems: duplicate detection, a moderation queue/interface, real searching, better tagging, etc.

This is probably my most popular project to date. Unfortunately, I kinda outgrew it. It's on a really old version of rails and written pretty poorly. I built it before I was a full-time rails dev, and so I contravened a lot of best practices. Predictably, it became a maintainability nightmare. Since there also isn't a whole lot it can teach me anymore, I let it quietly die.

Rayne, aka ShitIbuilt.com

This was intended to be a competitor to Linkedin that was focused on "Shit I Built". It addressed the problem that although I have a bunch of friends, I can't really vouch for many of them as good programmers/designers/marketers/whatever, as I just haven't worked with them. This was meant to be an 'anti-social network' where the key link was not friendship or acquaintance, but shared projects.

Rayne (our internal name) died on the vine as we became less convinced that we had the interest to make it happen. We built a minimum product, but the 'viable' part was not really there: an idea that simple really needed a lot more polish than we had the time to give it (and we weren't nearly confident enough about the idea to go full-time on it). The remnants of it can be found at http://shitibuilt.com/ or directly on heroku, although that link will probably die eventually.


Ubimenu.com

A tool for restaurants and bars to have a simple mobile webapp with no coding experience required. I worked on the frontend stuff: the welcome page, the admin panel, and a bit of the mobile js. We ended up getting a few paying customers at the high point.

This died for a couple reasons:

  1. It required too much sales work- there was no organic growth. The other guy involved (my roommate at the time) had to talk to restaurants individually, and that wasn't that scalable unless we wanted to bet the farm on this and do it full time (we weren't).
  2. By the time this started to mature, there were plenty of tools out there filling this niche already (as well as fancy features like online ordering and native apps).