Introducing Alby, a Hack Night Passion Project

Apr 27, 2023

If you're on the engineering leadership path, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day management tasks and lose touch with new and emerging technologies. However, I believe that it's crucial to continue to stay close to emerging tech, keep your skills sharp, and always stay hungry for new learning opportunities. That's why I regularly promote and attend a weekly Hack Night at a local brewery/coffeeship. Alongside other entrepreneurial Austinites, I work on passion projects and stay up-to-date on the latest tech trends.

One of my latest mini-dev projects is a single-page webapp called Alby. Alby gave me a chance to play with the OpenAI API AND to scratch a personal itch; as a golf enthusiast, I often encounter tricky situations on the course where I'm not sure about the proper ruling. If my ball...

  • hits an electric power line during my approach shot, or
  • is sitting in some water at the bottom of a sand trap, or
  • is struck by another player's ball as it sits in the fairway, or
  • is dropped into the hole after being picked up by a squirrel...

...what is the right thing to do? Free drop? Replace the ball? Stroke and distance? Alby helps me understand my options by leveraging AI, tapping ChatGPT on the shoulder. An example:

To use Alby, all I have to do is input some basic information about the situation I'm facing. If more information/clarification is required, I'll be prompted for it. (Sorry, you'll need to use your own OpenAI API key; I didn't want to do all the work to abstract a centralized key behind a paywall. 🤷‍♂️)

Building Alby was a fun project to get my first ChatGPT integration under my belt. I just added it as a simple page within my existing personal site (which uses sveltekit and tailwind, and then is statically exported and hosted on github pages). I used the 'openai' node lib to hit the OpenAI API, and this doc on chat completions to understand how to interact with it properly.

I look forward to Hack Night every Tuesday night so that I can indulge in my pursuit of small passion projects like this one. If you're in engineering leadership, I hope that you, too, stay hungry for new learning opportunities, and set aside time to keep that entrepreneurial fire brightly lit. 🔥

(Oh, and if you're in Austin and want to join us for an upcoming Hack Night, please let me know, and I'll send an invite your way!)

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