Ben Regenspan

About Me

Photograph of Ben Regenspan

I (Ben Regenspan of New York, NY), am a web developer. My current languages of choice are Python and Javascript. I love web technology and think it should be used for purposes that are good and/or fun. I was Lead Social Developer for Huffington Post for a few years, then at RebelMouse, and more recently I work at Gawker, focusing on frontend development.

Open-source Projects

Jewnicorn

Python bad jokes carried too far

This is a lightly modified fork of gunicorn, the widely-used all-Python HTTP server. It preserves all of gunicorn's features, but prevents it from serving content on Shabbos. ("astral" is used for finding local sun-up/sun-down times).

While this project exists entirely as a dumb joke, it should be noted that some sites do close down on the Jewish day of rest, B&H likely being the most prominent example. There is an interesting discussion of this subject over on StackExchange.

Django Ajax Changelist

Python Javascript

This small Django app makes specified fields in the Django admin editable via AJAX. This is useful when users need to update certain properties on a number of items, and don't want to have to click through to the object detail page each time.

Fight For Your Right (To Pay With a Credit Card)


Javascript Chrome extension Frustration with Paypal
Credit Card

This simple Chrome extension defaults Paypal's payment option to credit card.

One Plus Forward, Two Plus Backward

Chrome extension

This Chrome extension adds a limit of 140 characters to Google Plus and hides the buttons for doing fancy things that wouldn't be possible on Twitter, like recording video. In the interests of exceptional yet subtle UX, the HTML5 Audio API (via Buzz!) is used to play an airhorn effect when the user exceeds the character limit, and an image of the Dalai Lama flashes on the screen to remind the user of the beauty that can be found in simplicity.

(Sadly, some updates are required to make this work again after the latest Google+ redesign)

Experiments

April Fools' Reverse Paywall

Akamai ESI
April Fools Paywall

I built a fun little April Fools joke at Huffington Post - a paywall that only targeted visitors with New York Times IP addresses. There were some interesting challenges to the project due to CDN-level caching, so the IP detection was written using Akamai ESI.

Captcha Philharmonic

A series of audio Captchas are added one by one, then slowly removed, creating a chorus of strange voices and an impossible Captcha challenge. This sounded a lot prettier before Google last revised its audio Captcha format to defeat automatic solutions. I do consider this to be Art and my artists' statement can be found here.

Weaponized Comic Sans

Web Security Comic Sans

Relying on a minor security issue in About.me (which I reported and has since been fixed), this permitted users to change the font on their About.me profile to Comic Sans.

Ben Regenspan 2013