Emoji Ticker

What was my reaction when I first saw this scrolling emoji ticker project? 😍🙌👏

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Up until recently I’ve been a bit reluctant to adopt emoji characters in my everyday communication. But ever since they’ve been elevated to greater prominence on phones and on services such as Slack, I’ve given in completely. If I had the creative energy and patience, I’d write this whole post with emoji (though it mightn’t make it past Liz’s editorial discretion)!

This is where Dean comes in. Dean is a community member who helped us out at Maker Faire Bay Area in 2015. Normally a web developer, he rolled up his sleeves and took on the responsibility for a fun physical project for his company’s office. He works at Yeti; they built the app Chelsea Handler: Gotta Go!, which they describe as “a way to generate excuses and set them as alarms. It’s the perfect solution for bad dates, awkward convos with your in-laws, boring meetings and whatever else you might want to hit the eject button on.”

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Each hilarious excuse has its own emoji character, and Dean wanted the office’s Raspberry Pi-driven LED matrix ticker to show which emojis were being used by the users of the app. After some turbulence with wiring up the hardware and some clever web implementation, he was lighting up the office with 🐻 👮 and 📞, using a blend of Python for the network requests and C for driving the LED matrix.

Dean documented the experience on the Yeti blog, where he offers a few takeaways: collaborate, use documentation but stay flexible, and know when to ask for help. His most valuable lesson? He says it was “the value of code modularity, or the practice of breaking a project into function-specific components (i.e. functions for rendering on the LED matrix, classes for communicating with the Gotta Go server).”

Dean, 🙏 for sharing!