/buzz

Or, a demonstration of how being good at being lazy is vital to being good at programming

We have an intercom on our front door at Lost My Name. Until recently the person sitting nearest to it was Cookie, our super talented senior designer.

As a result, his Slack bio said this:

A few days ago we reorganised the studio, and moved Josh, a developer working on one of our R&D projects to Cookie’s old seat.

Within minutes he was up and down like a jack in a box.

One, legitimate, response would be to get grumpy and ask someone else to do it. But Josh chose the much better response. Fix the problem with technology.

Within a few minutes he’d grabbed a Raspberry Pi and started hacking into the intercom system that controls the front door to our building. 30 minutes later, anyone in the company can now type /buzz into a public Slack room and open the door from their desk!

Here’s how it works:

  • A user of the Lost My Name Slack account types /buzz into Slack
  • This sends a request over to our app ‘Lost My Doorbell’ which checks that the user has the authority to issue the command
  • If they do, the app then sends a command over WebSockets powered by Pusher to a Raspberry Pi perched precariously on top of our water cooler:
Hi. Tech.
  • The Raspberry Pi then completes a circuit that activates the intercom door buzzer in our office
  • The front door opens!
  • And, special bonus, a terrible pun is posted to our hilarious Buzzfeed room on Slack

Genius. Thanks Josh. If you want to make one for your building, start here.

Also, if you liked this, you should follow us on Twitter for more updates about Making Lost My Name

Update — Josh has now updated his Slack profile: