Trojan Hack Hackathon

Congratulations to all the USC Trojan and UCLA Bruin Hackers who participated in the Trojan Hack!

Over the 24 hours from Friday (2/3/12) to Saturday, UCLA and USC students got into groups and hacked away on their ideas. No limits, best idea and implementation wins…

Presentation slides were frowned upon, so everyone had a working demo at the end. The demos were AMAZING!

The first place ($1000) went to HackHackWith.me

In 24 hours, they built a collaborative code editing web app. Now you might think it’s like collabedit, but it’s NOT! You can actually upload project files and libraries, code together, and then run your code!

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Elance Adds Live Video to Remote Work Experience

The 4-Hour Workweek: the book that sent thousands of office workers running for remote-work freedom back in 2007. Newly cubicle-less folks turned to online services like Elance after going all “office-space” on their 10-year-old desktops. That may or may not be an exaggeration…

But it isn’t all cupcakes and roses for remote workers. Sure they’re not required to put on the monkey suit every morning, but there’s also no proverbial water cooler to hang around with colleagues. Just a few days ago GigaOM posted Self-knowledge: The secret ingredient for successful remote work. GigaOM cited one lonely freelancer who decided they preferred the hours in commute in exchange for the human interaction of office life.

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OVEE offers Co-Viewing App with Live Video Communication

Old school co-viewing: What used to happen every Friday night when my sister and I watched endless hours of T.G.I.F. We’d sit in the same room, watch the latest episode of Full House and talk about how cute Uncle Jesse was. I assure you, it was as awesome as it sounds.

The definition of co-viewing has evolved in recent years as we consume more media content online. It now includes anything from comments on a YouTube video, to live text chat while watching videos in Chill. Recently you could watch an episode of Jersey Shore and throw pickles at Snooki with hundreds/thousands of other fans on MTV. OVEE, our newest App of the Week, is taking co-viewing to the next level by adding live video communication.

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Motilo Steps Up the Etailer Game

Folks love shopping online as evidenced most recently by the fact that almost $32 billion has been spent online this holiday season (and we still have two shopping days left). LuluLemon, Nordstroms and Sur La Table, I accept thank you notes

With so many eCommerce sites available today, etailers have to find innovative ways to stand out from the crowd and offer truly memorable experiences; experiences that will not only motivate the customer to make the move from “add to cart” to “purchase”, but also keep them coming back for more.

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Archiving inches closer with delete APIs

At TokBox we realize that not every recording is created equal.

Sometimes we record something, and for whatever reason it is not really something that we would like to keep around forever. Whether it is that embarrassing profession of true love, or that embarrassing dance tape you made in the bedroom, there are times when it is nice that things can be forgotten and even be removed from the internet.

Enter the delete API for archiving.

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Stop wondering about who’s talking, and just know

Art in Antwerp / Belgium.

Courtesy of loop_oh/flickr.com © Creative Commons

Hey there! If you are a developer with mad skills in UI design or just a user with natural talents in video chatting, by which I mean tirelessly talking and giggling all by yourself while staring at the screen, then I have exciting news for you. We’ve just launched an API that detects the active speakers in a video chat.

Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to move or zoom up the chat window of whoever’s actually speaking?  At least it makes your “staring” exercise more fun than just looking at the dull, fixed boxes. Even better, it literally makes the conversations, well, more “FACE-to-face”!

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Pucker Up for Meet Me Under the Mistletoe

Being that the holiday season is upon us, and that the OpenTok API recently turned one, we wanted to bestow the App of the Week honor on one of our oldest killer partner apps – Meet Me Under the Mistletoe!

Before we jump into the details, let’s acknowledge the fact that most social interactions between couples online lack that loving feeling. Being “poked” by your S.O. or love interest on Facebook is about as romantic as receiving a pair of socks for Valentines Day. Cashmere socks included.

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Sean Parker didn’t go far enough

Sean Parker and Shervin Pishevar on stage at Le Web '11At Le Web last week in Paris, Sean Parker predicted that the outcome of the 2012 US elections would be determined by social media.

I think he’s right. But what’s more, I think that next year’s election season will be the first in which face-to-face live video on the web will play a role in determining the outcome of some races.

In an increasingly online world, the web has provided new ways for candidates to reach voters in their constituencies. Candidates can communicate policy, deliver key messages on-demand, and reach out to campaign supporters. But the focus has been predominantly one-way – from candidate to constituent.

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TokShow: Artist Engagement with Fans goes Face-to-Face

Readers of our four part series on TokShow know all the nitty gritty, behind the scenes details around how the app came to life; from stream transitioning to scalability. Now we’re going to take a look at how the TokShow app has actually been put to good use in the real-world.

R&B sensations Mindless Behavior launched the TokShow app, followed shortly by American Idol winner Lee DeWyze.  But the most recent TokShow was hosted by American Idol’s season 10 winner, Scotty McCreery. Since the country crooner hosted the live video chat, his debut album, Clear As Day, has been certified gold and sits in the No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

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TokShow: You can do it, put your back-end into it

Our goal for the back end of the TokShow application was to make it as simple as possible while supporting a couple thousand people.

The biggest concern for performance was moving a new fan on stage. When that happens, everyone in the TokShow needs to hit the server to get the connection ID of the next fan. We thought the ‘aha’ moment of a fan meeting the artist for the first time would be a major part of the experience, so making the transition smooth and simultaneous for all of the viewers was critical.

To keep things simple, we used PHP and MySQL on the server. There is very little state saved for the application. We basically need to know:

  1. Who is on stage
  2. Who is in the line
  3. Whether the show has started yet
  4. What time the show is scheduled to start.

We had one PHP file to wrap our reads and writes to the server, and that’s about it. For our TokShows we needed only one PHP server, which also hosted the database.

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