aGogh alpha hi

(deleted the last official first post because comments weren’t working)

This is the first semi-real blog post for, a site I put together just so it’d be easier to find things to do in New York City. I apologize in advance for the many places I haven’t gotten around to adding, especially for all the other cities. I’m working on a way to make it easy for institutions to submit their own information; in the meantime, you can contact me at

aGogh also has a Twitter and Facebook page for updates.

For the tech-minded of this audience, if you’re curious on how this site was put together, I’d say my time was spent 10% coding, 5% designing, and the rest just going to each website and copying down their information. It is a Ruby (1.8.7) on Rails 3.x site that reads a bunch of data I put into a Google Spreadsheet. With the exception of account statistics from the Twitter/Facebook/Foursquare APIs and Wikipedia info, most of it is hand-collected.

I’m using Slicehost’s Ubuntu 10.04 basic Apache setup and deploying through something I call Crapistano – generating the site’s pages on my computer and uploading them as static HTML – until I have time to properly optimize the site.

  • ‘mysql’
  • ‘fastercsv’ – for parsing the Google Spreadsheet data
  • friendly_id‘, ‘3.2.1’ – to generate pretty URLs
  • jammit“, “~>0.6.0” – Jeremy Ashkenas’s super-convenient library for packaging CSS/JS seets
  • rest-client‘ – vastly simplifies calls to remote APIs
  • crack‘ – vastly simplifies parsing remote JSON and XML
  • chronic‘ – for parsing human-typed in times (‘8pm’, ‘14.00’, ‘6:40AM’)
  • rmagick‘ – to generate differently-sized image versions
  • geokit‘ – to geocode address
  • ‘geokit-rails3’ – to do “Show nearest locations” kind of queries
  • typus‘ – a lightweight admin panel
  • andand‘ – because I haven’t fleshed out all the data models and routinely run into nil issues
  • The black-and-white Google Maps theme I took from my colleague Jeff Larson and his various ProPublica projects.

On the design side, finding out about the Blueprint CSS framework after I had already built the site was a little annoying, but with a few days work, I was able to rebuild the site into something much cleaner and actually viewable in IE6…I can’t say enough how much using the well-defined grid made this project even possible, given my terrible, terrible CSS-writing habits.


My normal job is news-app developing at ProPublica. I also take photos and blog at my personal site,