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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What I Learned From Steve Jobs: At A Distance

Many years ago, I came to Silicon Valley to work as an engineer at Apple and got my start in video with QuickTime 1.0 and QuickTime VR.

Apple was where I found out that design and technology can not only co-exist, they can multiply together in a marvelous kind of fusion.  Even though I worked at Apple in the wilderness years – when Steve wasn’t with the company – that vision and focus on user experience was already deeply embedded in the DNA of the company.

Of all the things I learned at Apple, the fusion of design and technology, and the creative process that drives that fusion, were the most fundamental.  For me, working at Apple created a deep-seated belief in the transcendent impact of a beautifully integrated user experience.  That belief is why when I talk about my time at Apple, I often say:  “You can take the engineer out of Apple, but you can’t take Apple out of the engineer.”

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Video Hack Day SF

Last Saturday at TokBox HQ in San Francisco, 40 awesome and friendly hackers (and 1 mascot) came together to create 13 video apps built with a variety of video APIs. Six out of 13 projects incorporated OpenTok, including:

You Got Served: Two videos went head-to-head to compete for votes to see which one is the crowd pleaser.  One of the hackers presenting deftly showed off his dance skillz vs a football game; dance was the winner there.

8sec.tv: App that integrated OpenTok video archiving and RottenTomatoes to let users record video reviews.

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Quick Note Regarding Session ID Changes

A few weeks ago we sent out an email regarding changes to our session IDs (they are now longer, up to 255 characters).  If you are storing session IDs for re-use, make sure that your database field supports this (we recommend a length of 512 just to be safe).

Also, when you switch your app from staging to production, make sure to also modify the client JavaScript src URL and server-side API URL to point to production!  You’ll also want to make sure that you start using production and not staging session IDs.

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Good news & Bad News with Adobe Flash Player 11

Update #2: We have just pushed the fix for this issue. Please let us know in our forums if there are any problems with hardware acquisition for end users on Flash Player 11

Update #1: Google Chrome has updated their built-in version of Adobe Flash to Flash Player 11. We have not yet released our fix for this issue, but we are hard at work to make it happen.

Let’s play the good news/bad news game.

The good news is that Adobe’s Flash Player 11 brings with it a lot of new goodies including support for the H.264 video codec. More on how that will improve video quality in the OpenTok API in another blog post.

The bad news is there is a very old bug in Adobe’s hardware acquisition flow which Flash Player 11 has resurfaced.  Specifically, the release of the Flash Player 11 plugin has broken the work-around that we have had in place since the release of OpenTok.

What does that mean for you, the developer?

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Live Virtual Town Hall – How Addiction Impacts Society

Today (9/27) at 5:00 p.m. PT, InTheRooms.com is partnering with Drugfree.org and TheFix.com to host the first ever virtual town hall for their You Are Not Alone Campaign. During this virtual town hall, a panel of experts will gather to discuss how addiction impacts different segments of society.

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OpenTok’s newest offering…Sunglasses

We’re always on the lookout for cool new schwag to give away to you, our TokBox community. Now that it’s finally summer in San Francisco (woo hoo!), we figured there wasn’t anything more appropriate than a pair of OpenTok sunglasses. The biggest fans of our OpenTok shades so far? The littlest members of the TokBox family.

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Guest Post: Do-it-yourself Videos on Causes!

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.

Guest Post written by Kristján Pétursson, Senior Engineer at Causes

While we were redesigning the Causes Wish last year, we very much wanted to let everyone personalize their wish with a video message. Imagine if instead of a big block of text to read, you could see your friend right there and they told you face-to-face why they care about the charity they’re supporting. If a mere picture is worth a thousand words, then 24 frames/second would surely melt the heart of even cynical Uncle Jake who never donates to anything. Sadly, no one offered a recording API that we could drop into a page. YouTube doesn’t expose it, Facebook rolled their own, and building one here would just be too much of a departure from our goals.

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Archiving & TokBooth are here!

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.

It’s a big day here at TokBox.   We’re launching the public beta of two related products: archiving in the OpenTok API and the TokBooth plug-n-play app for recording video messages.  As product manager of the OpenTok platform, it’s a huge deal for me. I’m incredibly proud of our team for pulling it off.

Why? I know from personal experience that this has been the #1 most requested feature from our developers and end-users. When I started at TokBox as an engineer fresh out of school, lots of people were asking to record their video chats. When we repositioned the company around the OpenTok API, even more people started asking about archiving live video conversations. And now we’re making that possible.

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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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