By Jenn Turner

May 9, 2024

Pranking and pixel-perfecting with Khaleel Gibran

If you hang around the Glitch community enough, you get to meet a lot of different personalities! You also get a front row seat to watch the people around you grow and level up, which is why I was so excited to get the chance to chat with Khaleel, a longtime Glitch community mainstay. From our shared enthusiasm for delicious donuts to his uncanny ability to prank Community Director Jenn Schiffer, I hope that you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

Hi Khaleel, how would you introduce yourself to the Glitch community?

Hello, I’m Khaleel Gibran, a programmer, an artist and an avid donut enjoyer. People on Glitch might know me better as “khalby”, a name I use on the internet. When I’m not doing anything like coding or making things pixel-perfect on Illustrator, I’m usually playing video games (even though I’m bad at it), listening to electronic music at full volume or trying out different restaurants in Abu Dhabi.

What’s your day been like so far?

I spent most of my morning drawing an infected dinosaur for an artwork while also struggling to keep my sketchbook together because the pages were falling apart.

My faithful mouse of 7 years had stopped working a few days ago, and I was getting used to the new mouse with fancy lighting that I got my hands on this morning. My old mouse had a DPI of 1250, which is unconventional and most modern mice will round it up to 1300 or some other value. 50 DPI of change isn’t much but it did throw my muscle memory off, so there’s that.

I also bought a box of dozen donuts because the local donut shop had a pretty good deal that I couldn’t resist.

Okay, I should stop before I endlessly ramble and bore you.

Never! So when did you first discover Glitch?

I discovered Glitch in late 2019. I had just learnt how to make simple websites using HTML, CSS, and JS, and stumbled upon a video about Google Chrome DevTools. Using DevTools made me feel like a hacker, and they used a Glitch project to demo it. Once I familiarized myself with Glitch, I used it to host my first project - a manual audio transcribing tool which was a simplified recreation of OTranscribe. I was so invested, I even emailed the person (mom said I was too young to make a Twitter account) who made OTranscribe and asked him for help, and he was more than generous to give me code snippets (ultimately reinventing StackOverflow). However, I didn’t get far before I stumbled onto another issue and this time I turned to the Glitch Support Forum. It wasn’t long before I started practically living in the Glitch forum.

The Glitch community is my favorite space on the entire internet, consisting of indie web projects and some of the most highly technical people I’ve ever known.

Where do you find inspiration (or ideas) for your projects?

I usually find inspiration in my environment. The people, things, places, artworks, and trees around me. I think it would be unfair of me if I didn’t attribute my dad. Every week or so, he comes up to me and says “You should build an app for something”. Almost 90% of the time, it's either an existing concept that he wasn’t aware of, or a really difficult problem that would require NASA amounts of computing to solve. But that 10% of the time, he has really great ideas. It’s always about his struggles as a non-tech person with daily life activities. And it’s not just my dad. It’s about people who have actual struggles in their day-to-day lives but don’t have the technological skills to solve them. That’s what programming should really be about. I’m not helping people around me yet, but I hope to one day.

It’s worth mentioning that a large amount of thinking happens when my mom takes me clothes shopping or grocery shopping with her, and those places don’t have good internet so I make myself comfortable in a corner of the store and ponder about what I'm going to build next or how I'm going to deal with a bug I'm encountering. This might sound like a joke but if you ever see a spaced-out kid in the corner of a department store, now you know.

Do you have a favorite project you’ve seen on Glitch?

~svt-heardle is my guilty pleasure. It’s a Heardle of my favorite boy band, SEVENTEEN.

Honorary mention for ~potential-music-video-inspo because it’s mesmerising to visualize songs accurately while also matching the vibe of the song. I’ve already remixed the app multiple times and tried it with my favorite songs!

Tell us the story behind ~jenn-realtime-rickroll-counter

Back when the earth was young and Jenn Schiffer used to stream on Twitch, it was a pretty recurring theme for her to get rickrolled very often on stream. During one such stream, we decided to start a counter to keep track of every time she got rickrolled which would force her to learn from her mistakes. As of April 2024, it’s safe to say that she has not learnt from her mistakes.

You’ve been a part of the Glitch community for many years, what keeps you coming back?

The Glitch community is my favorite space on the entire internet, consisting of indie web projects and some of the most highly technical people I’ve ever known. Even when the website is down, the community remains online. It consists of a helpful and dedicated group of people who are willing to help people with code issues and build fun new projects that will either rickroll Jenn or not. I think it’s rather hard to not be a part of such a community, because who wouldn’t want to?

What is your favorite thing about the internet?

The people who make the Internet. Putting aside stranger danger, have you ever been a part of a chat room and had perfect synergy with a group of random individuals you’ve never met who probably live on the opposite side of the earth and one of them might even be a talking cat? It’s a place where people come together, and we’ve seen the good (and the bad) it can do.

Let’s also not forget the fact that the Internet provides free, accessible and often quality education, among other vital resources, to a lot of people who otherwise might not be fortunate enough to have them.

Oh, and lastly, xkcd and Reddit comments.

What’s next for you?

Having graduated high school, I can now spend time working on all those side projects I could never finish. I recently started updating my npm package that lets you store small data fast and easy and fixed all the bugs I couldn’t fix earlier. It’s a small start, but as someone probably famous and wise said, “All great things have to start somewhere”. I will also be attending university in a little while, but that’s a story for another time. You can definitely expect more Cool Stuff™ from me during that time.

Where can we find you online?

I’ve been quite active on Mastodon lately, especially after Twitter suspended my account for no reason. Other than that, I post my adventures on and off the internet on my blog, which you can find here. If you’d like to work with me, shoot me an email!

The header image was created using Khaleel’s project ~reheader, which enables you to generate beautiful header images for your GitHub profile READMEs, among other things!