Thu
May 9 2013 12:30pm
Lady Teenage Coder Fixes Your Twitter So No One Can Spoil Game of Thrones For You Again

Over at Mother Jones, everyone is talking about Jennie Lamere, who just won a Boston hackathon hosted by TVNext. What she created is a program called Twivo, which allows you to censor certain spoilery tweets, so that you don’t get your favorite forms of entertainment ruined just because you haven’t caught up with your DVR yet. But there’s more to this already very impressive story.

What’s more intriguing about Jennie’s story is the hackathon she entered had 80 additional competitors... and all of the other contestants who finished their projects and competed against her were male. In fact, most of the other contestants were working in groups to code their programs, while Jennie Lamere created hers solo in ten hours. That’s 150 lines of code, for a program she conceived the night before the competition, executed in ten hours. And she is only 17 years old. She won in the subcategory “best use of sync-to-broadcast” and then won “best in show,” beating out professional developers sent by the event’s sponsors.

Happily, she received more than just a few fabulous prizes for her efforts—the tech company Furious Minds is going to market her product, and Twivo might be the next helpful extention you download for your Twitter account. Noting the imbalance of gender in the competition is causing people to look up and take notice; while Jennie Lamere likely has a bright future ahead of her in computer sciences, she will often be the only woman in the room. We can only hope that her presence will encourage other women to follow in her footsteps, paving the way for a more women in the world of technology.

She is certainly taking the initiative on her own: when she returned from the hackathon, she brought the code she had created to her computer science class (she attends an all girls high school in Massachusetts) and showed everyone how she put the program together. Lamere hopes that next time, more girls will join her at the hackathon. We can only hope with her.


Emily Asher-Perrin is sadly not a hacker. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

16 comments
Chris Gouker
1. gouker
I think the cooler aspect than "omg a girl programmer!" is that she's 17 and beat out "professionals" by coming up with something that there is clearly a market for. Good for her.
Jenny Thrash
2. Sihaya
"What's more impressive about Jennie's story is the hackathon she entered had 80 additional competitors... and all of the other contestants who finished their projects and competed against her were male." To say that's impressive would somehow imply that we're surprised that she had the capability to compete against men, so I can't agree with that sentence. The rest of the facts in that same paragraph were pretty impressive, though: working solo against teams, completing the whole program in only a few hours, and being young enough that she may have had less experience than the other coders there.
Deana Whitney
3. Braid_Tug
Agree with Gouker.
1) Teenager beat professionals
2) Solo beat teams
3) Brainstorm less than 24 hours old, beat ideas that were probably in planning for months
4) Contest entry has real world use.

I’d say all four of those reasons are why we should be celebrating Jennie. That fact that’s she’s girl? Pretty minor overall.
TheDoctor
4. TheDoctor
Awesome solution to a problem. This girl rocks.

The twitter "spoiler" thing bugs me, though. I mean, if you haven't watched that thing you like, then you could always just not go on to the Internet (*gasp*) until you see that thing.

Anyhow, yep, good for her in solving something using only 150 lines of code.
Joseph Newton
5. crzydroid
@3: I wouldn't say that the fact that she's a girl is minor. You and others are right to say that we shouldn't be surprised that a female had the capabilities to beat male competitors. But the fact that it is a male-dominated industry and that some people may still have stereotypes makes her being a girl a pretty huge deal indeed. She is now a symbol to the world, showing everyone what she accomplished, and hopefully getting more women to overcome stereotype threat and join the industry. That is not minor at all.

Emily, don't be sad that you're not a hacker. Not everyone can be everything. You are an awesome writer for Tor.com--that is something to be equally as proud of!
(I ended a sentence with "of"!)
Christopher Andrews
6. DrBlack
@3: I would agree that all of those things are impressive. I would also agree that she wrote this "and she's a girl" is not remotely impressive. However, it _is_ impressive that she has the chuzpha to walk into that male dominated environment and not get intimidated (and it is a sad state of affairs that this is still a problem in CS).
Emily Asher-Perrin
7. EmilyAP
Hey all,

That wording was actually accidental in that I wrote the word "impressive" twice (once in the paragraph before that one) when I didn't intend to. The opening sentence of the second paragraph should have read "What's more intriguing," and is being changed to reflect that. Sorry for the confusion there, and the odd implication it made.

@crzydroid - D'aww, thanks so much! (I end sentences with 'of' all the time!)
TheDoctor
8. benerse
Sounds a lot like Tumblr Savior, but for Twitter, so not a wholly original concept. Still, props to her!
Jenny Thrash
9. Sihaya
Ms. A-P, it's all good. You were writing a celebration.
TheDoctor
10. HelenS
It shouldn't be impressive to sit at a lunch counter as a black person, either. Context matters.
David J Thompson
11. djthomp
I'm a little confused by the reference to 150 lines of code. For 10 hours of work that's hardly an impressive number, unless the emphasis is being placed on how short and to the point what she wrote was in which case it's the 10 hours that's confusing.
Julian Bennett
12. wolfkin
It works as an extension to the Google Chrome browser: A user can type in the key words she would like to block, and for how long, and make those Tweets disappear.
Ok now that I know how it works i can understand. I think it's a bit of a reach to suggest that it blocks spoilers. No article I've read has hinted at it's limitations and it IS rather limited. I've been wondering how she got around them. She didn't.

Which isn't to take away from her accomplishment. A black list is a great idea that codes small and could be very useful. She deserves her accolades i just wish every article would stop reporting it as the solution to spoilers.

A simple tweet like "The girl everyone was looking for died" isn't going to get filtered and still ruins the Breaking Bad season opener. It's fairly common to put spoilers in a tweet without mentioning a show. Those of us who would mention the show are more likely to be more careful with our tweets in the first place.


------------------------------
I don't want to take away from her accomplishment. Congrats to her and all but I just still don't buy it.

What i don't understand is how on earth you could block twitter spoilers. Would you need a database of spoilers to cross reference every tweet? Would you need to depend on people putting "Spoiler" hashtags on their spoiler tweets?

Spoilers are sometimes subtlying annoying "The girl everyone was looking for is dead" is vague if some one tweets that as part of a series of three tweets they don't feel the need to specifically add "On Breaking Bad" by itself the tweet has no spoiler qualities but in context it ruins the season opener.

You can depend on twitter hashtags because people won't use them. They have their purpose and use scenarios but people casually using twitter to talk about TV aren't likely to do that. Besides people use all kinda of hashtags keeping up would be insane.

TheDoctor
13. SueQ
Of course girls/women can write code as well as men. We can do anything we darn well please.
The really cool part is that she is only 17 and she did this in 10 hours. Can you imagine what she will be able to do in the future? Amazing.
TheDoctor
14. kelli kane
I would have written the article the other way around: 17-yr-old Jennie, blah blah blah ... Astonishingly, Jennie was the only female competitor in a group of 80. Then get into that. Because that IS the story, isn't it? Not, OMG A GIRL! But, Wait! Where are all the females??? Also, never had a problem with "male-dominated" environments myself.
TheDoctor
15. Alys
"Lady Teenage Coder"? Really?? Why are you writing as if you are surprised that a female can create good code?
TheDoctor
16. qasdfghjkl
awesome! love that she bet pro teams singlehandedly, go girl!

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