Covert Cricket Score Tracker Gets Around Office Rules

[Rohit Gupta] was looking for a stealthy way to keep up with the scores for his favorite game: cricket. Unfortunately, his office blocked access to most sites where he could watch the game, so he came up with a covert way to track the score on a small LCD screen. Using a Raspberry Pi and the web scraping program BeautifulSoup, he wrote a program that grabbed the score once a minute, and displayed it on a screen salvaged from a Nokia 5510 cell phone, driven through the Adafruit 5510 Python display library. Web scraping is a technique where a program grabs a web page, scrapes all of the content off it and processes it so only the data that is needed remains.

[Rohit] doesn’t name the web site that he scraped the score from, but there are two good reasons for that. Firstly, this hack relies on his office not blocking it, and secondly, many web sites frown on web scraping like this, as doing it too often can overload their servers, and you obviously don’t see the ads that the site is running. So, it is a technique that should be used with some caution. That aside, this is  a great example of a stealthy way to display information that you want to track, but without obnoxious (and obvious) alerts popping up on screen. And, given that cricket games can often go on for several days, that’s a good way to keep track of the game you love and keep your job.

Need a little primer on web scraping? Check out this guide.

15 thoughts on “Covert Cricket Score Tracker Gets Around Office Rules

  1. But for non-commonwealth countries, you may need to explain the rules of Cricket.

    “You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out. When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game.”

          1. Oh football. The Americans even manage to make that boring by making a 60 minute game take most of the day to finish.

            For Christ’s sake, get on with it.

            At least with the other codes (eg rugby) an 80 minute (longer than gridiron!) game lasts, well, about 80 minutes.

            (Ignoring half time etc and other assorted stuffing about.)

    1. And then there is Brockian Ultra-Cricket:

      Brockian Ultra-Cricket is a curious game which involves suddenly hitting people for no readily apparent reason and then running away. “Let’s be blunt, it’s a nasty game,” says The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Mice love this game.

      While a complete list of rules has only ever been assembled once (and the book containing the assembled rules promptly collapsed into a black hole,) some of the rules are as follows:

      Rule One: Grow at least three extra legs. You won’t need them, but it keeps the crowds amused.
      Rule Two: Find one extremely good Brockian Ultra Cricket player. Clone him off a few times. This saves an enormous amount of tedious selection and training.
      Rule Three: Put your team and the opposing team in a large field and build a high wall around them. The reason for this is that, though the game is a major spectator sport, the frustration experienced by the audience at not actually being able to see what’s going on leads them to imagine that it’s a lot more exciting than it really is. A crowd that has just watched a rather humdrum game experiences far less life affirmation than a crowd that believes it has just missed the most dramatic event in sporting history.
      Rule Four: Throw lots of assorted items of sporting equipment over the wall for the players. Anything will do – cricket bats, basecube bats, tennis guns, skis, anything you can get a good swing with.
      Rule Five: The players should now lay about themselves for all they are worth with whatever they find to hand. Whenever a player scores a “hit” on another player, he should immediately run away as fast as he can and apologize from a safe distance. Apologies should be concise, sincere, and, for maximum clarity and points, delivered through a megaphone.
      Rule Six: The winning team shall be the first team that wins.

    1. It’s India, so they’re probably lucky to get the morning off to visit their own funeral.

      I kid, I kid. But India like most countries tends to not have the best labour laws and instead favours those who have the money to bribe the system.

  2. So his office blocked the sites where he watched it, but this site which he doesn’t name is still accessible? Sort of pointless then.

    If all the sites were blocked he could have a vpn at home or have the pi text him the score whenever someone scores, heck Im sure there are sites that do that already (gambling addiction maybe?)

    1. Having come to the same conclusion (can scrape but not view? And with a device that you can’t connect of the office network anyway?) I decided to RTFA.

      Yes I know, the ‘editors’ here never RTFA (or UTFA*) so why should the rest of us, but I digress.

      Right at the end he states it was ‘inspired’ by his work conditions, but built & used at home. So um yeah ok then. I guess now he knows how to drive a Nokia screen from a Pi/Arduino/555 etc. And scrape a website. (Screenscraping gah shudder)

      tl;dr – he decided to amuse himself.

      (* UFTA – Understand The F’ing Article so they can write a summary that matches the content)

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