Can Some One Turn Me On?

Here’s our dirty little secret: for the longest time, our little team here at TokBox never used TokBox to talk to each other. There was no need. We all worked together in our Wes Anderson-esque office in SOMA, ate lunch together around our big table, and went for coffee breaks together at Epicenter on Harrison Street.

Then last summer I moved to NYC. I learned quickly that it’s tough to get a team that doesn’t have a remote co-working culture to pick it up right away — not even a team that works on video chat. Desk drive-bys for quick questions became long IM threads. Impromptu meetings with the whiteboard became “oops we forgot to call you” or “dammit, I can’t see the whiteboard” fails. Casual lunch conversation became…nothing.

We got better at this, but the turning point was when Double Robotics loaned us a Double to beta test (Disclosure! TokBox powers the video component for Double). We affectionately named it J9000.

My Double and I are about the same height.

J9000 and I are about the same height.

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Mantis Checklist – How to get started with Mantis

We just launched Mantis yesterday, and saw a rush of activity as partners hopped onto the WebRTC cloud. The new things people will be able to build – a real-time, online dungeons and dragons web app, seminar applications, education applications, and more – are now going to see a whole new level of quality and experience. We’re really excited to be the face-to-face video platform that helps make this happen. But to make it happen more quickly, we’ve decided to write a quick Mantis checklist. To make your Mantis application work, you will need to:

  • Make sure that you are using the OpenTok on WebRTC JS library. You can find the library here, and find the reference documentation here. If you are using the v1.1 JS library, you will need to update your application to the v2.0 library.
  • When you generate a session, make sure that the p2p.preference flag is set to disabled. If you’re generating your sessions from the Developer Dashboard, then you will need to download one of our server-side SDKs and generate sessions yourself.
  • If you haven’t already asked to participate in the Mantis beta, please contact us. Then make sure that you are using the correct API key for the Mantis beta. If you are not sure which API key you sent us, then please email us, and we will let you know. Mantis requires that your API key be enabled to access the infrastructure.
  • [UPDATE] Good news!  As of 10/1/13 Mantis is available in production. That means you no longer have to email the TokBox team to request access. Mantis is subject to the new OpenTok platform pricing which you can review here. Free access to Mantis is available through our new 30-day free trial.

It really is that quick, and if you’re finding that you need some more help, then let us know. To make sure that your question gets answered as quickly as possible, please send an email to support@tokbox.com using the following template:

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Mantis: Next-generation Cloud Technology for WebRTC

OpenTok_allplatforms (1)Today we’re proud to announce our latest WebRTC innovation: Mantis, a cloud-scaling infrastructure for our OpenTok on WebRTC platform.

This is another big step forward for the TokBox team as we continue to pursue our goal of providing application developers with simple yet powerful APIs. APIs that not only leverage the latest standards to deliver the best possible experience, but that are backed by a scalable, smart cloud which supports interoperability across a variety of end-points.

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Firepad Plugin: WebRTC video collaboration

Yesterday Firebase launched Firepad, a Firebase-powered open source collaborative text editor. Here’s the product pitch, Michael Lehenbauer says it best:

Firepad provides true collaborative editing, complete with intelligent OT-based merging and conflict resolution. It’s full-featured and has support for both rich text and code editing. Some of its features include cursor position synchronization, undo / redo, text highlighting, user attribution, presence detection, and version checkpointing.

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New changes for WebRTC in Chrome 26

A new version of Chrome is out, and with it changes in the WebRTC stack. We dug through the commit logs for Chrome 26, and found the following list of WebRTC bug fixes, enhancements, and updates that we thought were relevant to the OpenTok community:

Highlights

  • A lot of audio bugs in WebRTC were fixed dealing with crashes and non-standard audio bitrates
  • Chrome on Android can now be WebRTC-enabled by enabling a flag
  • Improvements to the connectivity stack in WebRTC
  • Ability to set media constraints for audio

Full list

  • Avoids crash in WebRTC audio clients for unsupported capture sample rates.
  • Avoids crash in WebRTC audio clients for 96kHz render rate on Mac OSX.
  • Enable webrtc build on android.
  • Set WebMediaPlayerMS network state to loading instead of loaded
    • This indirectly fixes the problem where WebRTC audio is muted upon refresh. The HTMLMediaElement will try to cache fully Loaded videos when the element is destructed. This will signal to the HTMLMediaElement that the player was destroyed when loading, so it needs to recreate WebMediaPlayerMS upon destruction of the media tag.
  • Allowing multiple MediaPlayers to connect to WebRtcAudioDeviceImpl by sharing one WebRtcAudioRenderer.
    •  The audio is gone when new PeerConnection is connecting to a media stream. What is happening is that the stream will pause the existing MediaPlayer and create new MediaPlayers to associated to it. But since we only allow one WebRtcAudioRenderer to connect to WebRtcAudioDeviceImpl, the new MediaPlayers audio won’t be able to associate to stream.

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Building an online Photo Booth app with Aviary

A few weeks ago at SXSW I had the opportunity to meet Ari Fuchs, developer evangelist at Aviary. After a few rounds of birthday drinks (I had just turned 24), I slurred a promise to him that I would play around with Aviary’s API.

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TokBox bringing Awesome Swag to SXSW

SXSW is here again and we are ready!

This year we are giving out TokBox WristBands. They are motion activated and light up with a brilliant flare whenever you shake hands or fist bump someone. Make a visual connection! Here’s how it works:

TokBox WristBands

TokBox WristBands

Ankur Oberoi and Song Zheng will be roaming the city. To get your TokBox wristband simply find us and ask for one!

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OpenTok on WebRTC now supports Firefox!

OpenTok_WebRTC_FF-1On February 4th Mozilla and Google announced that their respective browsers could now talk to each other via WebRTC. This is another big milestone in WebRTC’s path towards becoming available in all modern web browsers, albeit, today only in an early development build of Firefox, version 21+ (currently Nightly and soon to be Aurora).

We’ve also been working hard on making OpenTok on WebRTC work with both Firefox and Chrome so you too can enjoy all this cross-browser goodness!

Off to the races

The first thing that you need is version 21 or higher of Firefox, currently available through the Aurora FTP site and Nightly site.

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Music Hack Day SF 2013 Recap

This weekend we hosted 175 hackers for Music Hack Day San Francisco in our office for the third consecutive year. Music Hack Day is a unique event—it doesn’t use huge prizes or big name judges to draw a crowd. It’s one of the rare Bay Area hackathons where (seemingly) most attendees actually aren’t local—giving it a fresh vibe, with new faces and ideas every year.

Last week I wrote a post that called for more hackathons to be purpose driven—Music Hack Day is not one of those of events. Instead, Music Hack Day is an event driven by a desire to learn and a shared passion for music. These types of events are, without question, very good for the hacker ecosystem, and Music Hack Day is a shining example of how they should be run.

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LiveNinja: Video chat face-to-face with experts

There is a new breed of Ninjas taking over. Instead of covert agents wielding nunchucks and wearing ninja-yoroi, you’ll find gentler individuals donned in yoga pants, weaponed with guitars and Adobe CSS. LiveNinja, our App of the Week, is responsible. They’ve created a searchable marketplace of experts (Certified Ninjas) in the topics you care about, using the OpenTok API to facilitate live video consultations.

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