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Engineering News

Three interesting code snippets from NPR’s Election Party

NPR’s Election Party app has a lot of moving parts. It displays live election results from the Associated Press, ingests posts from our Tumblr liveblog, bakes out visualizations of our data, and presents all of this in a slideshow that, on election night, was continuously changing through an admin. It even works as a Chromecast app. All of the code is open source and freely available to read and use, but it can be hard to make sense of all…

How IMVU Builds Web Services: Part 3

In this 3-part series, IMVU senior engineer Bill Welden describes the means and technology behind IMVU’s web services. Part 3: Documents and Links In the previous entry in this series I described how IMVU uses a structured network model to implement the uniform contract for our REST services and showed how they might apply to a set of services for a hypothetical high school scheduling system. Under this model we have Node Groups (represented by the different colors of circles in…

Apply NOW for a spring internship with NPR Visuals

Hey! Are you a student? Do you design? Develop? Love the web? …or… Do you make pictures? Want to learn to be a great photo editor? If so, we’d very much like to hear from you. You’ll spend the spring working on the visuals team here at NPR’s headquarters in Washington, DC. We’re a small group of photographers, videographers, photo editors, developers, designers and reporters in the NPR newsroom who work on visual stuff for [npr.org]. Our work varies widely,…

UW-Stout Packaging Alumni Social @ Pack Expo 2014

Packaging Matters: You’re Invited: UW-Stout Packaging Alumni Social @ Pack Expo 2014 Pages You’re Invited: UW-Stout Packaging Alumni Social @ Pack Expo 2014 Please join us at the UW-Stout Packaging Alumni Reception being held during Pack Expo International 2014!  The event will be a great opportunity for you to reconnect with classmates, network with your fellow alumni in the packaging industry, and meet some of the current program faculty and students.  UW-Stout Packaging Alumni SocialTuesday, November 4th @ 6:30PM The…

Optimizing WebGL Shaders by Reading D3D Shader Assembly

We are optimizing WebGL shaders for the Intel GMA 950 chipset, which is basically the slowest WebGL-capable device we care about. Unfortunately, it’s a fairly common chipset too. On the plus side, if we run well on the GMA 950, we should basically run well anywhere. 🙂 When you’re writing GLSL in WebGL on Windows, your code is three layers of abstraction away from what actually runs on the GPU. First, ANGLE translates your GLSL into HLSL. Then, D3DX compiles…

How IMVU Builds Web Services : Part 2

In this 3-part series, IMVU senior engineer Bill Welden describes the means and technology behind IMVU’s web services. Part 2: Nodes and Edges The Uniform Contract constraint of the REST discipline means that IMVU web applications are able to provide functionality to many different web applications in a robust and reusable manner. There are, of course, many different ways of implementing a uniform contract. At IMVU, we have chosen a structured network model – a graph consisting of nodes, which represent…

Reader Mailbag: ECT vs Burst, where is the data?

Reader Mailbag: Chainalytics Packaging Engineers Answer Your Questions! Dan writes: We came across your previous blog article and hoped that you might be able to help us out with a data question. Our product is shipped in a double-wall, corrugated box for the secondary protective packaging. We’ve seen a hundred versions of the following table comparing the bursting test and edge crush test standards: We’re familiar with the two types of testing, and we’re sure that the table is accurate. What we…

Moving Code Forward – Yammer Engineering – Medium

Everybody loves a good rewrite. It feels great to throw away a crusty, years-old codebase and replace it with something shiny and new. Rewrites come with some serious tradeoffs though, and in a lot of cases, the decision to start again from scratch is not the right call at all. In the seven-year history of yammer.com’s Frontend codebase, we’ve never thrown the whole thing away and started over. Why? Well, let’s take a quick look at the characteristics of Yammer’s…

How to Setup the NPR App Template for You and Your News Org

Just a few of the apps we have made with the app template. Photo by Emily Bogle. On the NPR Visuals Team, we make a point to open source and publish as much of the code we write as we can. That includes open sourcing code like the app template, which we use every day to build the individual projects we make as a team. However, we tend to optimize for ourselves rather than for the public, which means it…

A reusable data processing workflow

Correction (September 2, 2014 8:55pm EDT): We originally stated that the script should combine data from multiple American Community Survey population estimates. This methodology is not valid. This post and the accompanying source code have been updated accordingly. Thanks to census expert Ryan Pitts for catching the mistake. This is why we open source our code! The NPR Visuals team was recently tasked with analysing data from the Pentagon’s program to disperse surplus military gear to law enforcement agencies around…