Tweet Ideas, Win a Kindle Fire

Win this!If I had a nickel every time someone pitched me an app idea, I might have enough to buy an Amazon Kindle Fire.

Unfortunately for me, nobody has given me a nickel. But you, however, are in luck.

We’re running a contest to find the best idea for an application that uses the OpenTok API, and were giving away a spankin’ new Amazon Kindle Fire.

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Localize or Fail

I used to think that localization meant translation. As someone who has lived in the US my entire life and has no experience with international business, I didn’t know any better. I assumed that to enter a foreign market, all a company had to do was slap up translations, register a local domain, hire a US celeb to pimp the brand, then boom—10 million new users.

I wasn’t that naive of course, but I never knew what localization really meant. I never knew until I learned how unsuccessful US consumer internet companies have been at entering China. Google, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter—all the giants. They all tried and failed.

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Simple OpenTok Publisher Widget

A few months ago I made an OpenTok JavaScript plug-in that created a simple widget that publishes and subscribes to. Essentially it creates a stripped down version of the basic html embed that allows you to customize things further however you’d like. You can try that widget live here.

This past week Pasha from PuppetSmith.com wanted to create a simple way for the admins on his site to publish a stream and have all non-admins as viewers. You could certainly build this functionality yourself with the full API, but it would be nice to have a quick solution for this common scenario.

As a result, I built in some features to the _OT.widget JavaScript plugin that will handle this scenario. Now, it will handle all publisher/subscriber logic depending on what token you pass it. You can also pass it the publishFull property that will show the publisher in full screen rather than in the corner of the window. With one publisher, this is what the widget looks like:

You can visit the GitHub repo for the plug-in here.

Here is a sample implementation in PHP that generates a token, passes it down to the widget, then initializes.

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TechCrunch Disrupt Contest Winner: Slides.IO

Thank you to all the developers who submitted applications for the OpenTok TechCrunch contest. There were 13 applications in total, and they were all fantastic. Everybody should be proud of what they created.

With that said, congratulations Kyle Powers on his winning entry Slides.io!

Slides.io uses OpenTok to create and broadcast presentations online. Here’s Slides.io in Kyle’s own words:

Slides.io is a web application for creating modern presentations. Presentations aren’t just a deck of slides anymore, and Slides.io understands this.

Straightforward, content-focused authoring tools provide efficient deck creation. Themes make them beautiful. Presentations are created in pure HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS3.

Presenters distribute a URL to the presentation, which includes live chat and video streaming provided by TokBox. Video archiving is forthcoming.

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HAPI Hack Summary

Last weekend we hosted HAPI Hack Weekend at our office in San Francisco. Over 40 talented hackers made it out to show off their skills and win prizes by hacking on 11 different APIs.

Here are the applications that were built using OpenTok:

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Live Face Recognition with OpenTok and Face.com

Next weekend is our second HAPI Hack Weekend at our office in San Francisco and we’re excited to have a bunch of interesting APIs there to hack with. One API that I’m particularly excited about is Face.com, which gives developers a set of methods for easy face recognition.

I created a simple app to introduce the basics of using OpenTok with Face.com:

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My Favorite Things

This week I’ve been travelling the east coast, hittin’ up various events. I’ve learned about a bunch of new stuff I didn’t know about, so I thought I would share some of…

JON’S FAVORITE THINGS!!!

This is the reaction I expect out of all of you:

Okay, my favorite things are:

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Why your company should do an internal hackathon

Originally posted at blog.mumm.me

Hackathons are awesome.

At TokBox we put our normal schedule aside for a couple days to run our first internal hackathon. The rules were simple: pitch an idea, form teams, build something, then demo it 30 hours later. The winning team would get a prize.

My team didn’t win (though we were proudly among the first losers), but it was a really positive experience. Here’s why I think every company should try doing an internal hackathon:

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Lessons Learned from Startup Weekend Las Vegas

Las Vegas Startup Weekend was this past weekend with a star-studded panel of judges, including Kevin Rose (tea enthusiast and Packer fan), Tom Anderson (everybody’s MySpace friend), Tony Hsieh (deliverer of happiness), Ryan Carson (ThinkVitamin founder), and Josh Reich (banking disrupter).

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Creating chatroulette with node.js, socket.io & OpenTok

This tutorial will create a simple chat roulette app using node.js, socket.io and OpenTok. Socket.io allows us to pass data between clients in real-time using only javascript and eliminate the need for a database. OpenTok allows us to quickly publish and subscribe to webcam streams without having to worry about server requirements and bandwidth usage — all we have to do is implement a simple and free javascript API.

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