Apps for Personal Use: Unleashing Creativity


Have you ever encountered a situation where an app or website doesn’t quite meet your needs? Maybe the information you’re looking for is not easily accessible or the user interface is difficult to navigate. Well, some resourceful individuals have taken matters into their own hands and created their own apps to solve their specific problems. These personalized solutions not only showcase their technical abilities but also demonstrate the power of data availability and creativity.

On the Prowl for the Perfect Cat Companion

One individual, @midgetjones, had a heartwarming experience when searching for a rescue cat. They found that the website of the animal shelter they were interested in wasn’t always up-to-date, resulting in missed opportunities to adopt suitable cats. However, they discovered that the website had an unsecured internal JSON API that served data to the frontend. Seizing this opportunity, they built an Elixir app that would poll the API, update the database, and post new cat records to a Twitter account. This clever solution allowed them to receive instant notifications on their phone and successfully find their feline companion, “Fluff”. This app not only solved the problem of outdated website information but also ensured that @midgetjones and their wife were able to connect with their purrfect furry friend before anyone else.

Finding Lost Airpods with Data

Another individual, @fortydegrees, had an interesting experience with a car rental that involved misplaced Airpods. They had inadvertently left their Airpods in a rented car but found that the car had been moved when they returned to retrieve them. However, the rental app displayed a map of all available cars and identified them with unique names. Through some clever hacking, @fortydegrees sniffed the requests the app made to display the map and filtered the results by the car name. This allowed them to track down the specific car, unlock it, and joyfully discover that their Airpods were still there. Talk about a successful rescue mission!

Unlocking the Power of Public Data

Both of these examples highlight the potential of data availability through JSON APIs. @teleforce suggests that government agencies should open their public data using similar methods, making non-confidential information more accessible and actionable. While @midgetjones initially planned to scrape the adoption shelter website, they quickly discovered the benefits of directly accessing the JSON API. Not only was it more efficient and cost-effective for the shelter, but it also provided @midgetjones with real-time updates that wouldn’t have been possible with web scraping. They even leveraged PostgreSQL’s UPSERT feature to efficiently identify new cats and updated information.

Personalizing the Movie-Going Experience

It’s not just pets and lost belongings that inspire these creative solutions. For @xxriss, it was the challenge of keeping track of movie showtimes at a local cinema with a monthly membership. They wanted to plan their movie schedule efficiently, ensuring they could watch one film as another ended. The existing cinema website didn’t provide a convenient view for this purpose, but @xxriss discovered a hidden JSON feed that contained the useful showtime data. So they created a simple table view app to sort and display the showtimes by time. This small hack made it much easier for @xxriss to plan their movie marathon and catch all the films they desired.

Tapping into Possibilities for Personal Use

These stories demonstrate the power of having control over the apps we use. In @midgetjones’s case, they were able to navigate the frustrating limitations of the rescue cat adoption website and find their perfect companion with their custom-built app. Similarly, @fortydegrees took matters into their own hands when searching for their lost Airpods, leveraging the data available through the rental app’s internal API. These examples showcase how creativity and technical skills can turn personal frustrations into unique and effective solutions.

So next time you find yourself facing limitations or inconveniences with an app or website, don’t be afraid to tap into your own creativity and technical know-how. Who knows? You might just end up with an app that solves your problem and brings a smile to your face, just like @midgetjones and @fortydegrees did. Happy hacking! πŸ˜ΈπŸ”πŸ“±

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