Andela Hackdays: Smart Solutions

On August 3, 2018, Andela's Technology team premiered Hackdays - an exercise that allows our engineers to take a 24-hour break from everything to break things and hack away. As odd as that may sound, it is every bit an invigorating experience for everyone involved. We take pride in the creativity and ingenuity of our engineers, so events like these come in handy. As the old saying goes, all work and no fun work? play makes Jack a dull boy. Plus, there were cool prizes to be won.

For the premier edition, the theme of the hackathon was: Smart Solutions -- Build any interesting solution with any AI technologiesWe had participating teams pooled from across all our offices around the world. The judges were Bradley Scott (VP, Products), Ebun Omoni (Director, Core products), and Brice Nkengsa (Director of Engineering).The winning team - Vibez - clinched the win with their custom built controller for the Sonos line of products which runs a profanity check on all song lyrics to ensure that the song being played matches predefined options (i.e content rating is PG vs R). The team was made up of Paul Dariye (Team Lead, Marketing Engineering), Jumoke Oladimeji (Team Lead, Talent Development FA) and Sharon Telewa (Product Coordinator, Marketing + Recruitment FAs). Paul wrote about the smart solution that the Vibez team built that made them winners:

"Hackathons are a great way to get creative and build things you would otherwise not have the time or the motivation to do so. Participating at Andela’s first internal #hackdays was one such occasion. This first hackathon was open to only members of the technology team. My team was comprised of two engineers–myself and @jumoke and we called ourselves Vibez–a play on good vibes. The idea we settled on solved a problem that occurs quite often at offices and workspaces that use shared music services like Sonos.

A post on slack raising concerns about the lyrical content and volume level of music played in the office.

Problem

In an office space that uses a shared music streaming system like Sonos, it is difficult to control what is played in terms of lyrical content (crud vulgar, etc), volume level, etc. This can lead to a less than ideal work environment for colleagues and others at the in the office.

Solution

A custom controller for the Sonos line of products that will run a profanity check on all song lyrics in the background to ensure that the song being played matches some predefined preferences (i.e content rating is PG vs R).

Quick sketch of what we had in mind before starting to build.

How it works

The Vibez controller discovers the Sonos device on the local network, then it finds and fetches the lyrics of the song currently playing and runs it through the profanity detection algorithm. If the lyrics contain any vulgarities and the predefined rating on content is R, the song is skipped.

Technologies used

Hardware

Software

Demo

Here’s a demo of what we built:

https://youtu.be/5oR8gaRDaLo

What’s next?

  • Make source code publicly available and port code to an executable for all platforms using electron."

This is the inaugural edition of the Andela Hackdays series. The subsequent ones will also be covered here on the blog. Think you have what it takes to be a part of this team? we are always hiring senior developers looking to advance their careers. Need to hire top developers? Reach out and let's help you scale your team.

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