Brian Jacobel

Software Engineer

This page describes some projects outside my professional life I've worked which were fun or I'm proud of. helps political activists track how members of the Senate voted on each Cabinet member nominated by President Trump. I built CabinetVotes using APIs from GovTrack and ProPublica, plus my Rak React site framework, which allowed me to quickly launch an MVP without spending time on configuration or infrastructure. As the site attracted attention (135,000 pageviews in its first month, 50,000 on its biggest day) I added advanced features like filtering, search and outreach tools. CabinetVotes has been my most widely viewed project and I'm super proud of it ☺️

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Rak is a bootstrapping tool for React applications. It contains everything you need to build a production application with React, Redux, ES6, Webpack, PostCSS, Hot Module Reload, and much more. Many of my newer projects are built with Rak.

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Vinz helps keep credentials safe in AWS Lambda functions you want to commit to a public VCS. It uses AWS KMS to securely encrypt secrets with a local CLI, and provides a promise-based API for decrypting them inside a Lambda function. Check out my blog post announcing the public release of Vinz.

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Gifs is a site for storing and searching your personal gif collection. It's my largest React project, also built with Redux, ES6, Webpack, AWS Lambda and DynamoDB. It's pretty cool.

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Goggles looks for pictures in the Twitter Streaming API and runs them through a feature classification service to determine the image's contents. I wrote Goggles to work on my skills in Go. It successfully confused the hell out of some Twitter users.

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Boston Food Inspections (@bosfoodfails) is a Twitter bot that consumes food inspection data published by the City of Boston. Every day, new violations of the city's health code are tweeted alongside geographic information, statistics on previous violations, and pictures from the Foursquare API. This project runs entirely on AWS Lambda and uses KMS and DynamoDB to store credentials and state, meaning it requires no persistent server to run. Read more in my blog post about this project.

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Bongo is the third version of the Bowdoin Orient's newsroom CMS. The project aims to bring the Orient up to date with modern web application practices like unit testing and intelligent asset management. It also incorporates many fresh ideas from other digital journalism properties launched in 2013 and 2014, promoting longform and interactive content as first-class citizens. This project is under active development.

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Timewarp is a JavaScript web application I built over two days in 2014. The site uses to find a newsreel published on this date in history, with the option to select any day of the year. The results are entertaining and often surprising.

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Menuwatch is a Django app building on the Bowdoin dining experience. Users can sign up and search a database of foods offered in Bowdoin's dining halls, then add their favorites to a list to recieve alerts the next time they're offered. I developed the site over eight months starting in the summer of 2013 and have now launched it on campus.

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