Eye of the Tigers

No, I’m not talking about the Rocky theme song here – I’m actually referring to the mascot at Princeton University, but now that you already have it playing in your head…

At TokBox we’ve travelled to dozens of Startup Weekend events but there was definitely a different type of hunger at Princeton Startup Weekend. Not many of these events get the chance to be hosted on a prominent university’s campus, with the leagues of inspired and creative students anxiously awaiting their opportunity to make a dent on the universe. It made the weekend exciting and fruitful for some of the future entrepreneurs that we met. I’d like to highlight some of my favorites here.

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Rolling.fm: A more engaging group listening service

In the past six months, group listening services have become hot destinations on the web. A common thread runs through all of them: listening with your friends is more fun than listening alone.

Avatars and text chat are the standard form of interaction within these apps.  What you might be missing is the live experience of enjoying music with friends: bobbing heads to the beat, busting out dance moves and belting out lyrics.

Meet Rolling.FM. Rolling.FM realized that when you’re listening to music with friends, you should be able to recreate the live experience. Now, in all of their rooftop listening rooms, you can do just that with Rolling.FM’s integration of OpenTok. What Rolling.FM has done really well is incorporate live video in a way that augments the experience, but doesn’t distract from the reason the service exists – to listen to music.

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Buzzumi: A fresh take on video chats and webinars

Today we’re launching our newest editorial venture, “App of the Week”. One kick-ass OpenTok powered app will be selected by the TokBox team each week to receive a little extra TLC . We’re excited to launch this effort with our inaugural AOTW, buzzumi!

Buzzumi enables anyone to create customized web-based video rooms for up to six people or webinars with up to 100 people.  Signing up for an account is free, but buzzumi also offers their users a way to make money through an incredibly simple PayPal integration.

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Downloading archives

Update: March 13, 2014 – Please note that this blog post references the archiving functionality in our OpenTok 1.0 platform. This feature is no longer being supported. Learn more about archiving using our OpenTok 2.0 platform.

A few weeks ago we were very excited to release our archiving feature to a wider audience. Now a video conversation is no longer a fleeting moment in time, but something that can be recorded and played back.

What we noticed however was that people wanted a bit more then just having the ability to record and play back archives. Our partners want to take ownership of the individual videos, to modify them, and to more easily share them with family, friends and their own end-users.

What to do?

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Hacking Hollywood

Man, these hackers in Hollywood sure know a good API when they see one (*cough*, OpenTok, *cough*). I’m kidding, but I am genuinely thrilled about the uptake of OpenTok at this weekend’s Hollywood Hack Day.

I arrived Saturday Morning at Ashton Kutcher’s office in West Hollywood for day one of the hackathon. I was pleased to see that there were lots of developers and chocolate chip muffins. I spent the first couple hours getting acquainted with both.

I had come to the event thinking I was going to hack on a jeopardy game. Janine Yoong, who was attending Music Hack Day in Boston, was conspiring with me to build a jeopardy game that would mash up APIs from both events, and that way we could submit the same app for two different hackathons, and win all sorts of prizes. It was a genius evil plot.

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The Rise of the Silicon Prairie

Thinc Iowa speakers

Presenters at Thinc Iowa 2011

Returning home to the midwest after spending a few years in the cultural bubble of San Francisco is a strange experience. As John Travolta’s character says in Pulp Fiction regarding Europe: “It’s the little differences. I mean, they got the same shit over there that we got here, but it’s just… there it’s just a little different.” You’re confronted with of all the superficial differences in dress, decor and culture, and you start to remember that in Iowa it isn’t about wearing expensive clothes, or having a hip club to check out every night. It’s about sincerity, genuine friendliness, working hard, and desire to help other people. “And that,” I imagine the people presenting at Thinc Iowa would probably say, “is exactly the point.”

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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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The good, the bad, and the…beautiful

It’s been an exciting few weeks for video quality. In the world of the wild, wild web (www), a stranger riding into town could be good, bad, or something else…

That’s what we thought here at TokBox when Adobe Flash Player 11 galloped into the land of OpenTok last week. From a distance, the stranger looked like a bandit, triggering an old hardware acquisition bug that threatened to break the OpenTok API. But we squashed that bug right quick. After the dust settled, we realized that Flash 11 was actually one of the good guys. There was a new sheriff in town—and Flash 11 was gonna use his H.264 revolver to bring justice and a new dawn for OpenTok video quality. Thanks to Flash 11, the OpenTok API now offers beautiful images that are clearer, crisper, and sharper than ever before.

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SF Startup Weekend EDU

Last weekend I and ~50 other developers, businesspeople and designers attended the SF Startup Weekend EDU hackathon at Grockit HQ, located right around the corner from TokBox here in SoMa. The event marked the first in a series of events in a new Startup Weekend track (EDU) focused on learning and education.

This was the second Startup Weekend I’ve attended since starting here as a Developer Evangelist, and it was noticeably different from the first one I attended which was Startup Weekend MEGA, at Microsoft HQ in Mountain View. Even though SW Mega is generally regarded as a sexier Startup Weekend event due to its visibility, prizes and the three startup tracks it features, this smaller event was more fun for me because it was more focused and seemed to be a more cohesive and intimate.

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Peer to Peer Video has arrived!

Here at TokBox we’re always trying to find ways to improve the quality of your video experience.  We’ve pushed out H.264 support with the new Flash Player 11 plugin. We’re learning how to pump more bits down the same bandwidth pipe to make sure your video is clear and crisp. And now, we are excited to enable Peer to Peer video for two party video chats.

What exactly is Peer to Peer (P2P)?

Traditional OpenTok sessions stream video via our servers. With P2P,  participants stream video directly to each other, resulting in better video quality!

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