[Chicago] I'm lonely presenter

Nick Bennett nick at goggl.es
Mon Jan 6 00:48:29 CET 2014

I'd love for an excuse to get up and talk, but I just don't know what would
be interesting to an audience. I'll just say a few of the things I've been
fiddling with, someone speak up if any of this would be interesting to hear
about for a few minutes.

Recently I've been distracted from ChiPy by going to the Open Gov Hack
Nights (http://opengovhacknight.org/) where I've been able to help Alex
Soble with his Divvy Bikes-related Chrome extension Divvy Brags (
by writing a Python script to get the pairwise distances between Divvy bike
stations from the Google Maps API using "by the bike" distances. The first
script I wrote actually used the MapQuest Open API:
https://gist.github.com/tothebeat/7783079 I complicated that script into a
little project to get pairwise distances from Google Maps or MapQuest using
the distanceMatrix request correctly:

I also dove into some Roadway Fatalities data, after seeing one too many of
those "there have been 900 deaths on the highway this year" from the
USHTA's FARS (enough initialisms?) which is available in DBF and SAS file
formats. I used a DBF-reading Python module that is never going to be on
the top 100 of Pypi downloads, and translated all roadway fatality data
provided for the years 1975 to 2012 into CSV format. All if this is on
Github and there's a little automatic page for it:

I contributed to Open Gov Hack Night in a small way by fixing two bugs on
the issues list of civic-json-worker (
https://github.com/open-city/civic-json-worker), the project that hits the
Github API and produces a JSON file that is then served up to power the
Open Gov Hack Night's project listing page (
http://opengovhacknight.org/projects.html). I never knew contributing to a
project could be so simple. It was just a few lines of code in total, there
was more work involved in forking and formatting my git commit message
nicely and sending the pull request.

I connected with a few other people at the hack night who wanted to try to
take a stab at scraping one of the City of Chicago's department websites,
namely their Business Solicitations search page (
One person had no prior programming experience, and another was familiar
but had not used Python extensively. We have a Github organization and repo
that is quietly developing bitrot:

That's about as far into my project stash before I start to churn up real

On Sun, Jan 5, 2014 at 5:24 PM, Brian Ray <brianhray at gmail.com> wrote:

> I am not the only one getting up there thursday. Common folks, let's hear
> some topics proposals. What ya'all workin on huh? If I can do it, so can
> you ;)
> --
> Brian Ray
> @brianray
> (773) 669-7717
> _______________________________________________
> Chicago mailing list
> Chicago at python.org
> https://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/chicago
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