At HackUCI 2020, Twilio Lizzie literally raided the entire room and influenced many hackers to deliver presentations including the use of the Twilio SMS API. As a mentor, this caught my attention- perhaps, the power of SMS is greater than we all have imagined!

Then, everything changed when the Coruwu Nation attacked. Only the uwus, owos, and ewes of all the hackers in LA could stop them, but when the world needed them most, they vanished into quarantine. A few days passed and me and myself only discovered a new way to combat social distancing with the power of Twilio's Owls. And although I have a lot to learn when it comes to Twilio's API's, I believe I can save the world of uwu.

What it does

Unlike previous titles in the HackUWU series, HackUWU Owols has only two primary functions:

  • Send/receive text messages. Use the app to send an uwu-fied text message to any US phone number.
  • Send email messages. Use the app to send an uwu-fied email message to any email address.

This simple approach results in an easy-to-use interface for even the lightest of furries to use to communicate with friends using the simplified uwu keyboard layout!

Its ultimate goal is to have so much uwus spread thorughout the world that the impact of the coruwu is minimized on our society over time.

How I built it

There once existed a game engine called GameMaker: Studio, obsolete since August 2018. It was so lightweight and easy to use that the Uwu nation used it... again. With the power of Guwugle Cloud and the Twiliuwu APIs, I was able to leverage the power invested through the Owols and deploy it so that all furries can send messages to their worldwide friends!

Challenges I ran into

Despite its efforts, HackUWU was not able to secure a domain in time for its dedicated servers for Owols. It was thus not able to secure its communications with HTTPS. However, it also wanted to spread the word of uwu to as many furries as possible- even those darn hackers!! Owo!

I also had some issues with Twiliuwu's SMS response mechanism, PHP environmental variables, and remembering how to even install apache in the first place. On top of that, this Spring break has really gotten me tired and not in the mental state to learn! uwu... this hackathon really gave me a boost!

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I'm honestly just glad that this worked. Uwu! I got my fingers wet with an API I've been interested in; and I'm glad that this hackathon has given me motivation to work on this personal series of hacks. This is definitely not a game- the usual hackathon category I go for- more than it is an app that hopefully just brings some smiles to faces, beyond the realm of the app itself (ie, through emails and text messaging).

What I learned

Quite a few things:

  • Twilio Lizzie is actually a goddess at hack mentoring
  • Setting up to send SMS messages is actually amazingly quick
  • I'm still scared of node.js
  • I'm still wack for using PHP
  • I'm still old for using an obsolete game engine for an app
  • Virtual hackathons definitely don't feel the same without free food >.<
  • Slack is wildin'

What's next for HackUWU Owols


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