The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy always increases over time. To put it another way, chaos overtakes order little by little. Open source software projects are no exception. The longer a project grows and survives, the more issues and unmerged pull requests it will accumulate. Unresolved problems from the past make it hard to keep up with new contributions.
Bots to the rescue. Automation can help welcome new contributors and let them know what to expect. Outsourcing this labor to robots eases the burden on maintainers, freeing up time for more important tasks. Such as reviewing all those Hacktoberfest pull requests that are pouring in.
In this post, I’ll show you 6 ways to improve your open source project with Probot. The improvements fall into two broad categories: warmly welcoming new contributors, and communicating project norms or expectations.
Probot is a Node.js framework for building …
I learned over the course of my first hardware project that, well, hardware is hard. Today I’ll show you three easy ways to turn a Raspberry Pi into a paperweight.
Shorting the +3 Volt Pin
Place the prongs of your multimeter on 3v3 power pin and BCM pin 18.
If your multimeter shows 0 volts on the 3v3 pin, congratulations on successfully bricking your Pi! Of course, if you’re the conscientious sort, you can verify that …
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably grappled with impostor syndrome at one time or another.
Experience doesn’t always help, either. As our skills grow, we tackle harder problems. Technologists are always working at the edge of our knowledge.
What can we do to fight impostor syndrome? Studies have shown that self-affirmation can counteract negative ruminations and increase achievement. So I decided to build an Internet of Things button that delivers an SMS affirmation when pressed.
Physical responses to negative thoughts
Why use hardware to fight imposter syndrome?
This project could totally be a web application. But – taking a physical action in response to negative thoughts helps ground me emotionally.
Using SMS lets me receive the affirmation without the cognitive load of opening another browser tab. Twilio’s IoT capabilities let me take the button anywhere with cell service. No WiFi configuration required!
The imposter syndrome button was my first hardware …
Robocalls: nobody likes them, except maybe the robots. Twilio is working hard to eliminate robocalls. For the moment we need additional ways of fighting back. Let’s build a tool with Node.js, Nomorobo, and Twilio Lookup to detect robocalls. It’s easier than a Voight-Kampff test, I promise.
What you’ll need:
- A Twilio account (sign up for a free one here)
Nomorobo is a company that maintains a huge database of known spammers and bots, as well as providing a service for filtering out unwanted calls. To take advantage of these features, install the Nomorobo add-on from the Twilio Console.
Click the install button and agree to the terms of service. Keep the unique name as
USE IN, check the
Lookups box and click
Making The Initial Lookup
Install the Twilio Node helper …
If you care about ensuring the safety and comfort of your community, you must have a code of conduct. Writing a code of conduct document is a necessary first step, but it’s not enough. What happens when a violation occurs? You need processes for reporting and responding to code of conduct incidents. Ideally, there are multiple reporting channels so that people can communicate over text or in person. Some folks might not feel comfortable (or be able) to report code of conduct violations face to face.
There are many possibilities for technology to enable text based code of conduct reporting. Laying out requirements will help us narrow down our choices.
- Accessible. Reporting technology should be accessible to as many event attendees as possible. Accessibility here means having access to devices that run the technology, as well as usability for folks with disabilities.
- Secure. Code of …
A rainbow-haired distributed systems engineer changed my life.
I’d been feeling blue about where my career was headed. She taught me a little Python and gave me the courage to leave my dull path in Human Resources behind. In spite of my fears about the future, I worked to sharpen my technical skills a little at a time. Eventually I landed my first engineering gig at Pinterest.
It Ain’t Easy Being Green 🐸
My new teammates were patient. They taught me to cultivate a growth mindset. Even really senior engineers don’t know everything. Asking for help builds relationships.
I felt supported and happy at work but one thing was still bugging me. Why were we forcing users to put themselves in a pink or blue binary gender box to use Pinterest? I gathered a scrappy rainbow coalition who cared deeply about trans and nonbinary inclusivity. Together, we built and shipped …