How my bocce writing break led to a new app
On Tuesday, December 13th, 2022, I wrote about cameras for bocce scoring, stats, and broadcast.
At the very bottom of that post, I informed you I’d be taking a writing and building hiatus until Tuesday, January 10th, 2023.
But it is now Tuesday, January 31st, 2023. I’m 21 days late.
What the hell happened?
In this post, I’ll let you know how my “holiday break” led to a hackathon and a new app with a former coworker. It is quite the excuse and it is “Not bocce”.
That said, I do have some potentially exciting “Bocce tech collaboration” to share.
A necessary break
Flashback to early December — I was coming off the Thanksgiving holiday with a full belly and preparing for winter hibernation.
I was excited about a bocce tech collaboration (more on that later), so I wrote an article about bocce camera hardware which would be useful for the future.
This turned out to be my last article of the year.
My wife, Liz, encouraged me to take a break so I could enjoy time with family in North Carolina and not spend the whole time with my 🤌 fingers on the keyboard and my 🧠 brain on bocce.
On or around December 10th, 2022, a former coworker sent me a text. He was excited about a Hackathon with some prize money. He wanted to work with me to enter a small app into the contest.
There were only two rules for the Ben’s Bites Hackathon:
(1) The app must use AI.
(2) You must build and submit it in less than 7 days.
He had come up with an idea for Audio-to-Text-Summaries to save time when it comes to consuming or creating the following:
We called it “🪶 Feather” because we wanted to keep the submission lightweight without too many features.
So I started coding, and a few days later we had a proof of concept deployed online.
Josh took the liberty to tweet about our app on December 20th — the last day of the hackathon competition.
🐦️ The tweet earned:
👀 700,000+ views
🔄 200+ retweets
💗 2,000+ likes
We scrambled to upgrade our server in Google Cloud three times to accommodate demand. It was a whirlwind.
Bocce was no-longer on my mind.
A visit to North Carolina
Xmas, Liz’s b-day, and New Year’s were all great times down in NC. It was great to catch up with family and friends in the Charlotte and Triangle (Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh) areas.
I limited my alcohol intake around family/friend gatherings so that I could stay up late and wake up early with energy to keep tapping away on 🪶 Feather.
My focus shifted to a new project.
New year, New bocce leagues
We trekked back to Chicago around January 2nd, 2023.
I was eager to get bocce, blogging, and coding back on my mind.
An American Bocce Co staff party kicked off the year.
The following week I was playing on two league teams at Brickhouse (adjacent to Wrigley Field).
Folks asked about my bocce blog.
They even asked my wife about my bocce blog.
And all I had was excuses.
Relating what I’ve been up to to Bocce
I didn’t share about the 🪶 Feather audio summary app much because it was unrelated.
But now I’m ready to share it.
And Liz helped me come up with a great way of relating Audio Summaries to Bocce…
…by summarizing an episode of 🎙️ The Bocce Bros podcast.
Using Feather to summarize “Episode 30: Marco Orlando” by 🎙️ The Bocce Bros
Feather in its current form is a Google Chrome extension as shown in the screenshot. It currently supports summarizing (1) YouTubes with a single click, and (2) Audio file uploads via an upload page.
The summaries are delivered to your inbox as can be seen below.
Audio summary delivered via email.
In the future, there will be the option of directing summaries to Notion (a popular note-taking and drafting app). And if there is demand, we can send summaries to Google Drive, Microsoft Word/Teams, Evernote, Slack, and more.
The summary isn’t perfect. It definitely has a sort of AI feel to it. And it surely isn’t as entertaining as hearing the bros gab about bocce.
But it lets you know what to expect for content you find on the Internet.
We all have limited time, so it provides value by saving time.
🚀 Feather launches in the next week
or so once we execute our test plan.
You can learn more here:
Bocce Tech Collaboration
Okay, okay, so what about bocce tech?
My living room lab isn’t fit to be a bocce dev center forever. It is already testing my wife and dog’s patience.
Exciting news though.
Waterside Club in Phoenix, NY (near Syracuse) is preparing to install new cameras for bocce livestreaming and they reached out to me.
Together with Alex and Andy at ABC, we’re chatting about how their club could become something of a bocce tech incubator to give me a place to work on camera-based scoring and stats.
This is very much early brainstorming stages and no decisions have been made yet.
We’re hoping to collaborate and integrate our technology so that YouTube viewers can experience the future of bocce broadcasting.
I hope to share more about Waterside and BBN in time.
That’s all folks.
Do me a favor and share your referral link above with your 3 bocce teammates — it’ll only take a hot second to text or email them the link.
I appreciate all the words of encouragement and questions about this blog over the past month.
I especially appreciate when you ask a few seconds right before I roll my first live ball of the night (shoutout to Molly from Wednesday Night Bocce @ Brickhouse!).
~ Digital Dave