Hack Event Survival Guide

I get to attend a lot of hack events as a Yahoo!  Developer Network Evangelist. These marathon coding sessions are a great opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people, and build something cool. I’ve seen some common problems and solutions appear at these events and this post will help those going to their first (or next) hack event.
Team Drop2Drink
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Introducing the Yahoo! Accessibility Lab

This has been an incredibly rewarding and productive year with the Yahoo! Accessibility Lab. Lordy knows I’ve been able to write, teach, and most importantly travel. But what, you may ask, do we do? Here’s a short video put together to highlight our team within Yahoo.

Follow my posts about Accessibility

Search for an Audi TT headlight

Hella W0133-1762681-HEL Headlight AssemblyThe brakes upgrade on my TT has been a great success. Now that I can stop safely I am ready to fix the front end of my TT. The original owner was in Texas and this car has more than enough paint chips on the front bumper. The headlights are also becoming clouded.

I’ve been looking for new headlights. There seems to be three options.

OEM Replacements

You can purchase OEM replacements from Hella and Magneti Marelli from Amazon. These come in regular or xenon flavor and are not cheap. They’ll cost $300 to 1,000 a piece.

Restore the headlight

Mothers PowerBall 4Lights Headlight Restoration KitThere are polishing compounds designed to remove the cloudiness from headlights. I’ve had this done by a detail shop once and the result was nice for about 6 months, but it’s coming back. One person on the Audi TT forum suggests wet sanding the headlights with a fine grade sandpaper to restore the surface and then buffing.

After restoring the headlights, you may consider adding a protective film to the surface.

Audi TT  Headlight Film Covers

LED Headlights

Audi lights by Spyder
There seems to be only one aftermarket headlight for the Audi TT. Spyder creates a projection headlight with LED lights that mimic the strip in the Audi R8. These headlights will cost around $400 for the pair.

You can also purchase matching tail lights.

I’ve looked for used headlights on various web sites, but the savings are not significant and new headlights from the dealer are pretty pricey. To summarize, restoring your headlights are the cheapest route, but may not last forever. As my mom liked to say “You can only polish a turd so many times.” The LED projection headlights are a reasonable alternative. I’ve seen the tail lights and they are not the same quality as the original versions. I expect the headlights to be of the same quality. Finally, you could order OEM headlights from outside the dealer and get the great quality while still saving some money.
Spyder Auto Audi TT Black LED Tail Light
Now that I’ve figured out my headlight options I need to start evaluating a new bumper cover. I’m considering the kits that upgrade the TT to the larger grill design of the post-2006 models.


I just got the car out of the shop. I went with the updated headlights, which cost about $425. I picked up a used 2001 bumper for $200, a new bumper is around $750. I also bought a new honeycomb grill to replace the stock bars. I haven’t driven it at night with the lights on yet, but so far I’m pretty happy with the result.

I just picked up the car from the body shop

Why I stick with Dreamhost

Shit happens, servers die, web sites go down. Life goes on. I wasn’t too upset yesterday when all of my blogs stopped working due to database issues. I checked the Dreamhost support site and they had notices of major disruption, probably caused by a DDOS attack.

Today I sent a message to find out how I should fix my sites and got this great response within 15 minutes. This is the hands on support that I appreciate from Dreamhost.

> Hi

Hi There,

> I know you’ve been hit by a bunch of problems. However, I’ve been patiently
> waiting for my sites to come back and I keep getting database connection
> errors. This is occurring on many different domains.

First off, I’d like to thank you on your patience with these matters,
we’re attempting to get everything sorted as quickly as possible.

> Do I need to do anything to get them back online? Or will this happen when
> you get the servers fixed?

I’ve gone ahead and checked each of your sites, the issue here was caused
by a problem with the database permissions on the MySQL server. I’ve gone
ahead and corrected these permissions for you and everything is now
running as is expected with your sites and their content being properly
delivered. If you happen to need anything more please let us me know.


Thanks JJ and Dreamhost for making the personal commitments to getting sites back online.