A Hack of Ice and Fire

April 23, 2015

Last week at Signal was the latest installment of our biannual Hack Week, this one dubbed “A Hack of Ice and Fire.” As you know if you’re a regular reader of this blog, Hack Week is an important part of our culture at Signal. The reasons for the week are many: The team gets to work on a wide range projects of their own design to make Signal even better. It’s also a lot of fun—we get a chance to work with new people, and hit refresh before a new season of development work begins.

This was the first Hack Week in our new offices at 111 N. Canal, and groups fanned out across the space to prototype new ideas and solutions. One group of crafty hackers even set up an art gallery, featuring work by our colleagues.

Signal Art Gallery

As always, we had a number of engaging and inspiring guest speakers. This week’s lineup included Jean Tomaro of Hogsalt, Erik Van Horn of Magic, the Gathering, Seyi Fabode of Clean Energy Trust, and Derek Eder of DataMade on civic hacking in Chicago.

Signalites were fueled by lunch from some Chicago favorites, including Parson’s Chicken and Fish, Bridgeport Pasty, Blackwood BBQ, and J.P. Graziano’s. Cheesie’s even pulled their food truck outside our offices, fortifying hungry Signalities with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Hack Week April 2014 - Cheesie's

The hacks ran the gamut from practical to whimsical. Here are some favorites:

  • The Docgregator – Internal tool for searching all of the possible places where a developer might find documentation
  • Lunch Alerts – A Chrome extension that notifies when there are nearby food trucks and farmer’s markets
  • Signal Actuate – Uses Signal to activate the Philips Hue API
  • Signal Speed Meeting – Get to know your fellow Signalites quickly in a fun, social setting
  • Improved, more detailed component health checks
  • VimHopper – Read from and write to Jira board from inside the editor
  • And many more we can’t talk about here… : )

It’s time for a new development season—and now we’ve got some new tools to make our lives and work easier, and more fun.

Photos by David Michaels and Laurel Wamsley

Laurel Wamsley

Laurel Wamsley was the Marketing and Communications Manager at Signal, and the editor of Signal's blogs. She worked previously at the University of Chicago, Rackspace, and NPR.

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