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WHAT: A hack day, writing apps to make The Skiff more awesome (and maybe releasing stuff for other groups to use?)

WHEN: Sat 14 January 2012 from 10am til we run out of hack :)

WHERE: The Skiff

WHO: Everyone is welcome, Skiff Mates and non-Skiff Mates alike! (hoping to see some Werkers there!)

WHAT NEXT?: Turn up on Saturday 14. You can also join the mailing list here: http://groups.google.com/group/skiffhack and say hi! Then add yourself to PeopleSkills

RESOURCES: Useful info and links on the day at Resources, add anything that's useful!

This is a wiki, click "Edit" and add your thoughts!

Calling all designers, programmers ux people, frontend people, backend people and anyone else who works at or uses the Skiff. Let's make some web apps to make the Skiff even more awesome!

The idea is that we all get together for a day and make as much of this happen as possible. There will be snacks, pizza, fame and fortune!

Please put down your skills here: PeopleSkills

Anyone who wants access the Github please say so on the mailing list or email Tom directly at tom@almostobsolete.net. Get access now then when you have something to add you'll be ready! Don't be shy!

We'll need to decide how much of this stuff we write ourselves and how much we re-use existing stuff.

Existing Systems

The Skiff currently uses (that I know of):

We ideally want to avoid having to sign up for extra services (unless there's a good reason) so let's try and get stuff working on Heroku. They don't just do Ruby anymore they also do Javascript (node), Python, PHP and probably others!

Ideas (click "edit" and add your own!)

User registration

Registration for skiff members

Current Solution: Wufoo form at http://theskiff.org/hello. Highrise (http://highrisehq.com/) is used to keep track of members (there is a Wufoo->Highrise connector)

Having a place where new users can sign up will make a lot of the other apps easier. This will give everyone at the Skiff a login that they can to access the apps. Maybe later it will be tied in with billing too?

One option here would be to use Twitter Auth, this would make supporting authentication over a range of apps really simple but would require that all Skiff members get a Twitter account which worries me a little. I'd love to hear some opinions on this option!


User profiles

Current solution: None

Everyone gets a profile, pre-filled from their Twitter details if they have one (let's not require Twitter though, not everyone wants one). This could help with putting names to faces, a problem everyone has at some point I think but especially difficult for new members.

If public info is available as JSON (or similar) as well as HTML then other apps can personalize themselves with it.

Skiffbook Places

Current solution: None

Solves the problem of: Not sure

A week view, showing who's saying they are in (or going to be in) The Skiff on a particular day. Like: http://www.workplace-products.co.uk/product/weekly-in-out-board/

Bonus: schematic view of the office showing who's checked in to a particular position.

I believe Graeme (grasuth) was working on an app that tracks connections to the Wi-Fi. Could (and should) we integrate this?


A way for captains to volunteer and be notified when it's their turn. Also a way to quickly tell who is the captain.

Current solution: Doodle (http://www.doodle.com/a7d3efxi7rti34ix)

Meeting bookings

A bookings app to handle members booking the meeting rooms

Current solution: Wufoo form and Google Calendar. Entry is manual!


  • Takes a while for meetings to get put on calendar, same day bookings are a problem
  • Lots of extra work generated for Anna, Jon and Wired Sussex

Meeting bookings are members only now I think? (although organisations can have meetings-only membership)

I've been looking into this - Steve Purkiss

Ideas board

A board where ideas to improve the Skiff can be submitted, voted on (to sort the more popular ones to the top) and discussed.

Perhaps this would be a good use case for Dharmafly's Tasket?

Current solution: Mailing list postings that get forgotten and talking in person that doesn't include everyone


Pull all this together into a dashboard that a member can go to to get an idea of the current state of the Skiff!

I've been working on this -- keen to do more in a hackday -- grasuth

I've been working on and would like to continue work on an emergent social media newspaper / dashboard, where people can explore public content from active (or currently present) Skiffsters -- premasagar

Skiff phone

A telephone answering system for the Skiff

Current solution: The phone in the skiff rings, someone has to answer it and often doesn't know where to direct the caller.

I (tom) have already written most of this, you can try it out at 01273 253718. I have a volunteer (Cori from Future Platforms, thanks Cori!) to record the greetings so we can get rid of the robot voice. It also should be integrated with the captains app so that the emergency option can call the current captain.

Group Chat

It would be cool to have a group chatroom for simple announcements, calls for tea etc.

Consider deploying Mrs Doyle for tea orders: https://github.com/AdamClements/MrsDoyle

Current Solution: None?


  • We can use something like http://candy-chat.github.com/candy/
  • Just install an IRC server, for example, ngIRCd
  • current approach Simplest yet, just use #theskiff on irc.freenode.net, see http://webchat.freenode.net/ too if you don't want to install an IRC client (I use InstantBird). I've checked that we belong there and filed a GRF accordingly

I had this conversation on Freenode:

12:17:38 - kowey: hi all, would it be appropriate for a community-run co-working space to use freenode for its group chat?
12:18:19 - XX: kowey: sounds like it would be
12:18:59 - kowey: reading http://freenode.net/policy.shtml my only concern is that while we do produce some FLOSS code for our needs
12:19:09 - kowey: it's mainly used as a space for people to work on their respective jobs...
12:19:42 - YY: kowey: mainly yes, but not exclusively
12:20:21 - kowey: YY: thanks, could you clarify what you mean by "not exclusively"?
12:20:41 - kowey: we suspect the primary use case will be "err, does anybody want tea?"
12:21:22 - XX: kowey: if it's peer-directed, then it would likely be on-topic, even if there's not a broadly-licensed output
12:21:32 - YY: kowey: I think that perhaps staff (eg XX) are in a better position to answer that
12:21:41 - XX: you could always use a ## channel, and then you wouldn't have to worry about group registration
12:22:11 - kowey: ok, many thanks... we'll do that then if I can build consensus around it here :-) (try to register #theskiff)


Loads of stuff round The Skiff needs doing. It would be cool to have a list of pending tasks and let people take them on. Making it public when someone has done a task would provide some social incentive so would be good!

Possibly adapt Dharmafly's Tasket http://dharmafly.com/tasket (Prem, of Dharmafly, will be at the hack day and would love to see it used)


The library has a quantity of books, bar-coded and catalogued on 'librarything'.

I'd like to add a check in/out to gather stats on usage - this would also allow the possibility of books to be lent out.

I am thinking of an client interface - mobile/web/txt/email and scripts to receive the barcode/user id and update the library thing catalogue - probably built around curl or similar (don't think there is an API) - and a transaction log - maybe a google spreadsheet(?).