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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Win a chance to demo at TechCrunch Disrupt in SF!

Want to prove you’ve built the coolest OpenTok application? Think you have what it takes to demo to the most influential people in Silicon Valley?

Here’s a chance for you to prove it here in person in San Francisco! Just build the most compelling OpenTok app and you’ll win a place in  Startup Alley at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco this September. To make the prize even sweeter, we’ll pay up to $2000 in travel expenses!

As a Startup Alley participant, you’re eligible for audience voting to participate in TechCrunch’s premiere startup competition, Startup Battlefield. If you win the “Audience Choice” award, you will earn a slot to present your product on stage during Startup Battlefield in front of an all-star panel consisting of the biggest innovators, angels, VCs and influencers in the Tech community on Wednesday, September 14th, 2011.  Winner must meet Startup Alley criteria; for more details, please visit this page.

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S.P.A.R.K Chicago – Only the strong survive

If Startup Weekend is entrepreneurship on training wheels, then we sure could use an event that’s one step more advanced. Once you understand the dynamics of choosing a team, the compromises involved in pivoting, and the pitfalls of not validating customers, there should be a place to dig deeper into your startup idea – execute, period. I’m glad to say this weekend I found that next step.

S.P.A.R.K Chicago kicked off last Friday like any other Startup Weekend, except these entrepreneurs were hungry. They knew that not only would they be judged on launching a startup in 54 hours, but the top three teams would move forward for another three days to find one ultimate winner. The stakes were high because the competition was steeper and the prizes were money. But what I saw motivating these teams was that coming out on top of this unique event would be something memorable (okay fine, the prizes valued at over $100k were part of it too).

Allow me to introduce you to some of the teams.

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You Fly, We Buy: Launch at Startup Riot Seattle

Here at TokBox we love seeing you, our OpenTok developer community, build awesome applications. To help make your OpenTok app a success, TokBox is sponsoring travel to Startup Riot Seattle for two deserving OpenTok app developers.

Apply now!

So what exactly is Startup Riot? Startup Riot is an all-day event which highlights 25 startups through three minute, four slide presentations given by the startups. The startups subsequently answer questions from a judging panel for three minutes.

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Adding metadata on connections

You can now attach metadata for each client that connects to a session. For example, you can add information about the connecting user. When a client connects to the session, all existing clients connected to the session can access the metadata for the new connection.

You add this metadata by passing it into the generate_token() method of the OpenTok server-side library. The metadata is then securely embedded in the token string. Here’s an example, using the OpenTok PHP library:

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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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OpenTok Apps: Lollapaloobox

It’s been three weeks since I’ve started my internship.  Since then, I have worked on quite a few projects, ranging from showcase to prototype apps. The one in particular that I’m quite proud of is Lollapaloobox; a mash-up between the OpenTok & Hacklolla APIs. The web app allows users to enjoy the full concert experience from the comfort of their homes.

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More Fun Than Your Everyday Hackathon – GameHackDay NYC

This past weekend Tokbox was at Game Hack Day in NYC and we must say it was more fun than we expected. The organizers had a great set of API presentations which included Foursquare, Twilio, OMGPOP, Aviary, and of course OpenTok. We also had the pleasure of learning more about some pretty cool libraries and hardware to hack with. They really went all out, even procuring Parot AR Drones and Microsoft Kinect devices to entice the participants and spark some creativity.

AR Drone (photo cred johndbritton via flickr)

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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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