Who needs a stinking academy to provide a code challenge? With some basics under the belt (which of course you cannot do without) and google (which usually lands you at Stack Overflow), you can tinker away. Well, I can.

Here was a tool I whipped up in about 10 minutes, and then spent about another hour futzing with the CSS. It generates a search on a random word at freesound.org all in JavaScript.

This all started during tonight’s live stream of ds106 with Jim Groom, who was showing the results for people in cvlass and afar who did the sound effects story challenge. Michael Branson Smith, being a not-follow-the-rules artist, did not aim to do a connected story, but used all of the ones he got as a search on the word “fire”. He felt there might be a sound assignment on using a random search at freesound.org and I piped in, “heck that would be easy to do in JavaScript” once seeing that the seacrh URLs are writable, e.g. http://www.freesound.org/search/?q=fire

If I were to write the assignment, I might even force a rule that you have to use the second, fifth, sixth, and eighth result (or some pre scripted list).

But really, this was just a mod of my Words Without English Translation, and all I had to do was to make the function open a window with a URL built from a word chosen from the built in seed list.

I keep forgetting alot of code syntax, but it ends up being just a few seconds away, usually at wwwschools

Give it a try! http://lab.cogdogblog.com/soundslots/

It is easily modifiable, you can download the source code, and just edit the line in index.html to use the words that you prefer:

This will run locally on your desktop if you just pop index.html in your web browser, no web server even needed.

I could not resist adding the animated gif touch to the page ;-)

Heck, I would rather do my own code challenges than someone else’s monkey see, monkey do. Thats the rub with this stuff, the motivation changes completely when it is something you need/want, versus someone else’s rote exercise for badges.

We may or may not get badges, but what we ought to focus on is generating the drive and motivation to learn what you don’t know.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Hi Alan,
    I would rather do my own code challenges than someone else’s monkey see, monkey do.
    Me too, but I’ve been going through the codeyear stuff alongside ds106 this year.
    I am a few weeks behind but I’ve found some of it valuable. It is hard to keep motivation especially as I am doing this alone. As for badges, I don’t really get them and, afaik, there is no way to display your badges for codeyear at the mo. After years of messing about carelessly with various scripting systems (HyperTalk, php, JS) and little skill in any I am beginning to see a bit of light about bits of Javascript I’ve used by copy/paste/adjust/test.
    It would be nice to have some ds106 stylee JS tasks to go along with codeyear.
    BTW soundcloud looks as if it has an API. wondering about some sort of flickrSound mashup?

  2. Good points, John. If you run my comments through the translator, it will say, “I’ve been lazy to do Codeacademy”. I can see it as being the baseline foundation for the code skills.

    Perhaps not for ds106, but there is room for some kind of assignment bank around challenges for coding? or a daily ______?

    Tim Owens tweeted a link to band that had some sort of cartoon video with the soundcloud api, you could comment on the timeline – here it is “Analog or Digital”

          1. Hi Alan,
            So now you can collect set of pictures and sounds as an embed code.

            This kind of proves your point about the monkey see, monkey do stuff. I’ve been a lot happier riffing off your idea than working through example code.

            Really enjoying this ds106 marginal activity. Some of us perhaps find it easier to work from an example than think up stuff ourselves.

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