Mashery Developer Blog

Curated lovingly by the Mashery Developer Outreach Team

Comedy Hack Day Returns to San Francisco for a Weekend of Laughs

Mashed by: @chestondev

Comedy Hack Day returned to San Francisco bringing together developers, comedians and the local community for a weekend hackathon full of laughs and innovation.  This marks Cultivated Wit's fifth inception of the event also known as Comedy Hack Day Five.

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The opening ceremonies took place last Friday night at Parisoma coworking spaces, and was the location for the two days of hacking.

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Cultivated Wit’s Baritunde Thurston and Craig Cannon kicked off the festivities and hilariously announced the event’s details.  This was my first Comedy Hack Day and when I entered the stage to demo the Intel Mashery API Network, I transformed myself into the comedic spirit of the event. I requested all participants to stand and join me to demonstrate their “most ridiculous dance.”   It was quite a spectacle. 

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Craig then presented a video of the previous Comedy Hack Day winners “Timesify” which turns users most embarrassing sites into the look of the New York Times preventing shame.  The prize for the Wackiest Use of the Intel Mashery API Network: Up to (3) Flux Capacitor USB Car Chargers, up to (3) 4-packs of Oatmeal posters, and up to (5) Basis Health Tracker Watches.  Prepitches began, teams formed, and hacking commenced shortly after.  Sarah-Jane Morris joined me in promoting our Intel Mashery technologies, distributing Intel Edison development boards and meeting the wonderful participants. 

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Teams worked continuously and some stayed overnight, and I did my best to stay up with them, helping them discover Intel’s XDK, Edison and Mashery API Network.

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Teams had until Saturday afternoon to submit their app descriptions to Hacker League.  I got the opportunity to demonstrate the new Hacker League features through directing volunteer Blake, who formed his team live on stage for the audience to follow.

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Once teams submitted their projects, the first round of team demonstrations began.  Presentations incorporated a funny an innovative element. 

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Participant Yosun excited the crowd with her Intel Edison controlled Cultivated Pocket Bot, a virtual robot with the ability to recognize people and speak about them poetically.

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The top eight teams qualified to compete at the Comedy Hack Day Finals at the Brava Theater Sunday night, where I was joined by my Mashery teammates Sarah-Jane Morris and Vivek Chopra.

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The five member team “I’m A Huge Fan” won the Mashery prize using the Beats Music and Rotten Tomatoes APIs.  This app allows users to get talking points about music, movies, and more so one can confidently join a conversation about something they know nothing about.

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Comedy Hack Day winners “AwwCog” an Open Furby Platform allows users to carry out Python scripts with vocal cues when programming the furry Furby.  This allows people the ability to have engaging conversations with Furby and ask it questions about movies (this team used the Rotten Tomatoes API) and more. 

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I want to thank Craig Cannon, Baratunde Thurston, Brian Janosch and the entire Comedy Hack Day team and volunteers for organizing this fun, hilarious, and awesome event.

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Click here to view the Comedy Hack Day Five projects on Hacker League.

HackGT 2014: The start of a great southern hacking tradition

Mashed by: @rexstjohn

I was on site with our “Internet of Things” intern and electrical engineering student Steven Xing at Georgia Tech over the weekend for their first major collegiate hackathon: HackGT. We brought with us 40 IoT sensor kits, 40 Intel Edison devices and a number of prizes including a CrazyFlie micro-drone and several Basis fitness watches. For a “first time event,” HackGT attracted a large list of major tech sponsors and over $60,000 in total prizes for participants - quite a strong turn-out!

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Registration got off to a start on Friday with students bussing in from a variety of local schools and flying in from as far away as Colorado. 

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Pretty soon the auditorium was full and pitches from a variety of sponsors including SendGrid and Twilio began. Mashery was on site doing double-duty for both Intel IoT technologies in the form of Intel Edison and Mashery’s API Network evangelism.

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Once the pitches were done, teams formed up and the hacking got started. Mashery began interviewing qualified student teams to receive Intel Edison boards. Given the limited supply of devices and large number of student developers, only the most serious hardware hackers got access to devices and sensor kits. The results were impressive.

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imageTeams who decided to build using Mashery APIs were awarded some of our signature black “GET /Mashery” shirts. This team, Cherry Picks, included Christina Heinich, Julia Eng, Chris Watts and Rohan Ahuja and wound up using the Mashery BestBuy API to create a product for helping people decide which electronic gadgets to buy.

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On the more creative end of the spectrum was this “Fog Column” 3D projector which a group of students built to generate live videos inside a container crafted from Amazon shipping boxes.

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Here is the projector in action.

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As a fun side-show to the actual hacking itself, I ran a series of 6 min-challenges which developers could solve by answering tricky questions using Mashery API calls. Each large room had it’s own challenge and a total of 72 students participated over the course of the weekend. Winners received a Basis watch. Judson Frampton was one of them.

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Throughout the event, students came by the Mashery booth to get pointers on Python, Android, Ruby on Rails and Angular.js development from our mentors.

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Intel Edison was a massive hit, students (including the Sign ++ team pictured above) came up with some extremely creative projects making use of Arduino and hand-gestures to translate sign language into text in real time.  Payam Ghobadpour, Kelley Sheffield, Andrew Thieck and Madeleyne Vaca were the students making up this team.

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Sign ++ went through multiple prototyping stages starting like this…

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And winding up like this. 

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After two days of hacking, the teams assembled to show off their projects, of which there were over 100.

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Team Syncsp.in built a fascinating real-time Node.js application using the Beats Music Platform. This application ran across browsers and mobile handsets and allowed DJs to track the excitement of the audience based on how much they danced during the music (via the phone accelerometer). Team members included Liam Sargent, Dawson Botsford, Tim Hyon and Ian Macalinao.

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Team Crowd Computing with Adam Yost and Jonathan Egbert created a platform for running Hadoop tasks using Intel Edison devices. 

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Team KINA’s (Andrew Feng, Jake Walsh, Richard Ho, Chi-Kan Cheung) application made creative use of Intel Edison in combination with an Edison box to demonstrate an air-typing mechanism using wearable sensors. 

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Team HomeHacker created a home automation solution using a combined mobile phone and door lock powered by Intel Edison (Thomas Mezaros and  Harsha Nori).

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Calla Carter won a red Mashery shirt for her perseverance, she lost her voice  (and team) and still managed to build an entire application called “Who to Hoot” using the Best Buy API.

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Team Smelectric Blanket (Amy Shu, Christopher Jwang, Liuxizi Xu) created a fancy electric blanket using Intel Edison and the IoT Sensor Kit which allows users to manage their temperature with a combined mobile application. 

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Sruti Modekurty presented TempAlert (with Edison), an application to help avoid accidentally leaving infants and animals in overheating cars. 

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Cherry Picks with their app on the judging floor. 

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Team PickMeUp with Kevin Jasieniecki  and Keagan MccClelland built an application using Mashery’s JamBase API to send an UBER cab to transport folks showing signs of sadness to a nearby concert to cheer them up.

Finally, once all the judging was done - eager attendees migrated to the main auditorium to see the results of the final sessions.

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HackGT was a great event for Mashery, PickMeUp (who used JamBase) won the entire event including tens of thousands of dollars in prizes.

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Syncsp.in won the Mashery award for best use of a Mashery API, in this case, the Beats Platform.

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Team Sign++ won the best use of Intel technology award for their sign language and gesture interpreting glove.

Mashery and Intel had a fantastic event and look forward to next years HackGT!

My Summer with Hacker League

Mashed by: @ajotwani

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Here’s Reggie on the far right with our awesome NYC crew!

The following is a guest post from Reggie Montilus, who interned with Mashery over the summer of 2014, and made valuable contributions to Hacker League.

As a serial hackathon attendee, Hacker League is a tool I had become accustomed to encountering at each event I went to. A really great way for organizers to keep track of what’s getting built at hackathons, and for the developers to catalog their hacks in one central place. 

Fast forward to Summer 2014, when I began my internship hunt, and through a series of connections I heard that Mashery was hiring a Ruby developer for an intern position. I hopped at the chance because I would not only get an internship, which was my main goal at time, but I would also be working in my language of choice and would gain some production Ruby experience during my stay.

When I was told that I would be working on Hacker League, I was thrilled. I would be spending my summer working on the site that I’ve used numerous amount of times at hackathons. It was exciting, because as a developer,I wanted to work somewhere where I could make a difference, and I saw this as an opportunity to not only work on a meaningful project, but a chance to smooth some of the kinks that I’d personally experienced with Hacker League. This motivated me to give my all to the interviewing process, because more than anything I wanted to make a footprint during the summer that I would be proud to claim, and my work paid off.

Working on Hacker League was a tremendous challenge! During the duration of the internship, I went from having first day internal terror when looking at the confusing source code, to knowing it like I’d been working on it for years.

Hacker League was a site built by hackers for hackers, and I wanted it to be something hackers could be proud of. I made it a goal to be vocal during brainstorming meetings so that I could give some direct user feedback to the people that would able to put changes into motion. My main goal was to help ease the kinks and bring Hacker League to a level where it would be a staple at hackathons.

The site needed to look new, feel new, and feel like the same passion that drives hackathon goers was put into its development. Hacker League worked, it never stopped working, but it needed to be more than that. Luckily I was surrounded by people who were just as passionate about the product as I was, and countless time was spent bouncing ideas off of each other on how the site could improve. 

I began pushing changes almost immediately, tackling many user requests like video embedding and allowing Bitbucket connection alongside Github. Eventually the changes that needed to be made couldn’t be boiled down to simple tweaks to the functionality. We began to evolve the site internally, and I was lucky enough to be at the center of all of it. This process allowed me to gain experience in a large variety of software development areas. I was writing integration and feature tests, aiding in migrating the entire HTML and CSS of the site to a more stable framework, and even helping to migrate the ERB templates to HAML, all while still writing features to be implemented into the site in Ruby. This allowed me to learn all facets of the site and grow as more than just a Ruby/Rails developer.

There is something scary about taking a site and breaking it down and rebuilding it anew. As changes were made and styles were changed I started to notice how much different the new Hacker League is from the one in production, I also started to notice how much more I enjoyed the new Hacker League. Hacker League has always been a site that understood its audience and took pride in them, and this new site celebrates that. 

Without spoiling too much I am proud to say that Hacker League has become something that has the same passion behind it as the community it is designed to serve. As a Hacker League user turned developer turning back to a user after today I can proudly say that Hacker League is something that I’m excited for and I’m sure it will bring some excitement to its users when the new changes go live. (editor’s update, they are now live!)

Lastly I would like to thank all of the members of the Intel Mashery Developer Platform Services team for this amazing opportunity. Although I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting most of you in person, our weekly meetings helped ease the transition from feeling like the new intern guy to someone who was really a part of the team. I’m grateful for giving me the opportunity to learn and contribute.

This summer has been a great experience and I learned a lot about working in the industry, which has helped to solidify my belief that I am heading down the right path. To Delyn, Amit,Neil, SJ, Cheston, and Rex - thank you for making me feel at home with Mashery, hopefully our paths cross again sometime down the line.

PennAppsX - Tried and True, 10 Times Over!

Mashed by: @ajotwani

You know what’s better than an API?

40 APIs. That’s the number of APIs developers have access to through Intel Mashery.

Similarly,

**You know what’s better than PennApps? **

The 10th edition of PennApps!

Students at University of Pennsylvania hosted the 10th edition of PennApps - PennAppsX earlier this month, and it was awesome, once again. I remember when it was just over 100 developers back in fall of 2011, and now it was about 1600 developers. Holy cow!

As usual, some really cool apps got built using Intel Mashery APIs -

  1. Tranquility: A health focussed iOS app that lets you track your calories by simply sending a text message; for example, “I ate a banana”. The message is sent using Twilio to the Tranquility web service, which then parses the food item from the text message and find the nutrition information using the FoodCare API. You can do this throughout the day without opening any apps. All you’re doing is sending text messages (even via Siri). This data can then easily be seen in a chart form in the app.
  2. Snipbase: Snipbase is a sublime plugin that houses real-world code snippets mined from Github, Stackoverflow and elsewhere around the web. It parses natural language comments which are part of your code to intelligently retrieve relevant snippets. Snippets are auto-curated by their usage frequency in code, and ranked for both freshness and relevance by reinforcement learning algorithms. Supports snippets from Rotten Tomatoes, USA TODAY & Beats Music.
  3. Daimyo: “What if any Myo user could simply raise a hand, as if hailing an imaginary taxi cab, and launch an Uber request right from their phone instantly?” - Daimyo attemps to do just that - a hands-free accessibility app that allows Myo wearers to launch social media apps on their Android phone, including pulling news from USA TODAY by gesture of opening a newspaper with your hands.
  4. Omega: a cross platform information lookup tool that you can use to quickly search through your entire filesystem or launch a web search straight from the desktop. Built to support plugins, Omega supports searching for movies using the Rotten Tomatoes API, and even plays music using the Beats Music API.
  5. Swiper: A Pebble + Myo Hardware mashup, that allows you to control the Pebble using Myo motions. You could for instance move your up and down in the air to gesture a scroll. Uses Rotten Tomatoes API to pull movies playing around you.

Leave you with a recap of the last 7 editions I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of -

TC Disrupt Hackathon: The Winning Story Behind “Shower with Friends”

Mashed by: @sjsjsjthings

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Photo by TechCrunch

The Shower with Friends team consisted of (from left) Neil Mansilla, Tarandeep Bali, (not pictured here) Vivek Chopra, George Perry and Bob Pielock.

The following is a guest post from Neil Mansilla, former Mashery Developer Evangelist extraordinaire, who wrapped up his Mashery experience with a bang by being part of the winning team at TC Disrupt! We’ll miss you, Neil. - SJM

TechCrunch Disrupt is a conference that’s more like a festival for startups. The conference features all levels of tech startups: freshly germinated ideas with only MVPs, seed funded startups scrounging for traction and growth, eye-catching early stage companies on their meteoric rise, as well established businesses that toe the line between startup and “real company” status. Disrupt has been running since 2010, with anchor shows in San Francisco and New York. Other cities that have hosted one-off Disrupts include Beijing (2011), Berlin (2013) and later this year, London.

The Hackathon: #hackdisrupt

On the weekend before the main conference kicks off, TechCrunch hosts a hackathon. This isn’t your typical hackathon that draws a handful of hackers from the local community. Because the conference attracts thousands of tech-forward attendees from around the world, it makes the audience diverse, in terms of both talent and ideas. You might think that such high-profile hackathons would also equate to giant prize pools; however, that’s not the case.

At Disrupt, prizes aren’t what drive developers to compete at TechCrunch Disrupt hackathons. The two main reasons developers flock to Disrupt hackathons are: (1) tickets - qualified hacks that demo receive 2 tickets to the main conference (usually worth a couple thousands dollars each, (2) recognition - demo their skills in front of tech celebrity judges and their peers. Prizes are truly an afterthought for most developers that compete at TechCrunch hackathons.

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Mashery Evangelists and Engineers as Mentors

As I mentioned earlier, Mashery has been a part of TechCrunch Disrupt since 2010 in New York (the same hackathon where GroupMe was built, an app that was eventually acquired by Skype north of $43 million). It has been a tradition for Mashery to have their evangelists and engineers show up, help out developers in any way we can, as well as build their own hacks. Personally, I’ve attended 7 disrupt hackathons between San Francisco, New York and Berlin — and for nearly every event, I’ve managed to build and submit a hack, some better than others.

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Boris Polania picked up a new Galileo Gen 2 board, and ended up building ArduPai, an awesome point of sale hardware hack.

Galileo Gen 2 Makes a Splash

The second generation Galileo developer boards were released less than two weeks before Disrupt. We were lucky enough to get our hands on a dozen Galileo units (with sensor kits) to share with developers on the ground. Because we only had a limited supply on hand, we were selective when it came to handing them out. Our prerequisite was that the teams had to build hacks with the boards for the Disrupt hackathon (instead of just putting them in their backpacks to hack on later).

Hardware hacking is getting more popular at hackathons, but a majority of the folks we worked with needed pointers to get started. Mashery engineers helped several teams kickstart their Galileo hacks, and a couple of those projects caught our attention:

  • ArduPai - a payments server running MasterCard’s Simplify Commerce API to receive tokenized payments from mobile apps. They positioned their hack as a standalone architecture featuring the Intel Galileo Gen 2 Development Board, ideal for unattended PoS (point of sale). [see demo video]
  • Galileo’s Excellent Museum Adventure - C. Lee built this Galileo hardware hack for a better museum visiting experience. His hack allowed visitors to navigate the museum based on social recommendations to attractions within the museum. Additionally, he integrated a payments platform so that as visitors perused different attractions that they liked, they could virtually bookmark items of interest in the museum store while still browsing the museum.

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Team Flight Fare Disrupt — winner of the Best API Integration prize from Intel Mashery.

The winner of the Intel Mashery “Best API Integration” Prize was Flight Fare Disrupt (demo video), an app built using the powerful Sabre Dev Studio APIs for flight and fare data. With this app, users who are looking for a cheap three day weekend input a budget amount and some dates. The app generates a map view showing destinations all around the world that fit the travel budget and schedule.

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Inspired by a Visit from BK

A couple of weeks before TechCrunch Disrupt, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich (BK) visited the Intel Mashery office in San Francisco for a Mashery all-hands fireside chat with Mashery founder Oren Michels. Before BK and Oren settled into their chat, BK discovered the Mashery kegerator in the kitchen — a refrigerated keg with two taps. What he saw behind the kegerator was a series of development boards wired into the kegerator and an Android tablet.

Bob Pielock (ops and system admin) along with Dustin Hawley (technical support), the makers and maintainers of KegBot, answered BK’s questions about how the KegBot worked. Bob talked about flow meters that measured how much beer was being poured, and how the app calculated how much beer was left in the keg, as well as the social mechanics (the tablet app allows the pourer to claim the pints). Let me state for the record that we do not imbibe during work hours. #endofdisclaimer

BK explained that he’s quite the maker himself, and that he has several Intel employee contributed hacks installed in his home. We said that we were taking the Intel Galileo to TechCrunch Disrupt in a couple of weeks time, and that we were thinking of doing something with the flow meters (because we already had some experience with them). On the fly, we came up with an idea around water efficiency, and he said that he’d be happy to install our invention in his home once we figured out what it was.

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Team Mashery Creates “Shower with Friends”

Our team arrived at the hackathon with an idea, some hardware, and an empty Github repo. The idea was to use a flow sensor on a Galileo to record how we shower — length in minutes, and gallons of water. When users wake up, their mobile phones (and/or wearables) receive a text message encouraging them to take a more efficient shower than the previous day. The goal is to intercept and influence them before they hop in the shower.

The “friends” component of Shower with Friends is similar to how friends compete with quantified-self fitness devices. However, instead of competing to see who can take more steps, or who can burn more calories, Shower with Friends has friends competing to take the most water efficient showers. Whether you’re competing with yourself, or with a group of friends, this hack’s mission is to get us to consume less water.

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George Perry and Vivek Chopra showing off the hardware hack.

Shower with Friends was hacked by your very own Intel Mashery folks. The team consisted of myself (Neil Mansilla, API Evangelist) and four engineers: Bob Pielock (ops), Vivek Chopra (director of eng), George Perry (software eng) and Tarandeep Bali (software eng).

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Team Intel Mashery, a/k/a Team “Shower with Friends”. From the left: Tarandeep Bali, Vivek Chopra, George Perry. Not shown are myself and Bob Pielock.

And the Winner of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014 is…

Out of the 132 apps that were built, our app was awarded the grand prize from TechCrunch — an oversized check for $5,000 USD! Though this may sound trite, before our hack was selected, we already felt like winners. Our team experienced an amazing two days of scrappy development, helping other developers discover and use Galileo, learning new hardware hacking skills ourselves and meeting lots of interesting people — that was reward enough. The recognition and ceremony added to the fun; however, we felt like the prize money should be put toward a worthy cause.

Keeping Our Eye on the Prize

We decided to donate the entire amount to charity: water, a non-profit organization who’s mission is to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. So, we thank charity: water for the work they do, from drilling wells, installing water purification systems, to fitting rainwater catchments on rooftops.

BBQ at BK’s House

Two days after the hackathon, the Intel Mashery team head over to IDF (Intel Developer Forum), also in San Francisco. On day 1, toward the end of BK’s keynote, he and Renee James opened up for Q&A. Just when they were about to wrap up, BK fielded this tweet:

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During the hackathon, the team had joked about showing up at BK’s door with our Galileo hack, some kebobs, and barbecue — which on the surface sounds ridiculous and an imposition. However, if you’ve ever met the man, you know that he’s about as approachable and down-to-earth as anyone you’ve ever met.

BK’s answer on stage: YES. He would install our Galileo hack; however, we’d have to send it so he could spend time figuring out how it works and install it on his own. We’ll take that as a raincheck on the backyard BBQ, and be happy knowing that our CEO will be beta testing our hack, one water-conserving shower at a time.

TL;DR Summary

The TechCrunch Disrupt hackathon was a fantastic event. The Galileo Gen 2 board was a hit with the hackers. Sabre’s travel APIs (powered by Mashery) had a great reception. Your evangelist and engineering team from Intel Mashery was not only able to help a lot of developers with their hacks, but also to discover Galileo and various sensors. And lastly, we were able to build our own Galileo-powered hack, and win the TechCrunch Disrupt hackathon, and donate the prize to charity:water.

IDF 14 @ Moscone Center: Androids, Tablets, Edisons and Tigers!

Mashed by: @rexstjohn

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Mashery attended Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 14 this past week and participated in the Ultimate MakerSpace, running a table next to 3D Systems. Our purpose? To talk about all of the great developer outreach we do around the world via our hackathon organization platform, Hacker League. We also were keen to discuss how Mashery APIs support Intel’s Internet of Things strategy and the hardware hacker community at large.

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Intel has placed a lot of emphasis on emerging technologies like Intel Edison and 3D printers like those from 3D Systems - the ultimate goal being to support the next generation of hardware startups around the world. On the first day, evangelists Cheston Cantaoi and myself (Rex St John) set up our table in the Ultimate MakerSpace. Dozens of makers and hackers stopped by to learn about Mashery and how we help developers via our extensive outreach efforts.

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Mashery was lucky enough to be located next to 3D Systems, who were displaying their most advanced new models of Cube Pro printers. 

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3D Systems also makes a smaller printer specifically targeted at home makers which were busy printing small statuettes the entire time along with blue Intel bunny-suits.

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Fresh off a major win at TechCrunch Disrupt for his team’s water conservation hack built using Intel Galileo Gen 2, evangelist Neil Mansilla spent a few hours at the booth discussing Mashery’s API management tools.

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The Ultimate MakerSpace is all about creativity, here is a pinball machine using the Intel ConnectAnything library to control a series of fans, spinning wheels and paddles.

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Other creative projects included the Makey Makey Banana Piano, a fully working musical instrument powered by fruit.

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One of the most important announcements at IDF 14 was the launch of Intel Edison, a $50 development prototyping board which includes Bluetooth LE (4.0) and Wi-Fi capabilities. Edison projects were on display all around IDF and were the “brains” behind many of the most compelling new products unveiled.

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For the first time we met Jimmy, the 3D printed robot kit from Trossen Robotics. Jimmy systems provide a consistent, Intel Edison-based, platform for robot developers.

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Trossen Robotics also sells Jimmy’s underlying frame separately from his outer shell, which can be customized for different purposes.

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SparkFun was also on site at the Ultimate MakerSpace, showing off a variety of new kits built specifically around Intel Edison.

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Intel also unveiled a brand new “Smart Dress” outfitted with electronics and 3D printed components. I was lucky enough to get a picture with the new device (and it’s wearer).

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The team from Hackerster.io including Adam Benzion and Benjamin Larralde stopped by to visit and discuss the future of hardware startups and makers.

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Intel loves Android and announced several new upcoming handsets from Samsung. I took a moment to make sure Android knew just how much we love it.

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Rick Waldron, Mashery’s next-door neighbor, spent the event tinkering with the Jigsaw Renaissance Hack-E-Bot we brought (powered by Intel Galileo Gen 2). 

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Galileo Gen 2 appeared everywhere at IDF including in this mesh computing project, also located in the Ultimate MakerSpace. 

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Towards the end of the event, Mashery’s own wonderful events team showed up including Hannah Cho, Cassandra Murray and Ariel Fish. Fun times were had.

Overall, we left IDF 14 excited about the future of Intel and the innovations on display. The Internet of Things is the future of technology and we are comfortable knowing that Intel is on the right track.   Looking forward to attending many more IDF events!

1300 Collegiate Devs Travel to Ann Arbor for MHacks

Mashed by: @chestondev

1300 collegiate developers traveled to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor last weekend for the 4th installment of MHacks, also known as MHacks IV.  This 36 hour hackathon located in the North Campus took up several buildings including the EECS (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), Herbert H. Dow, and the Bob Beyster Building.

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Students waited in long lines for the event to start late Friday afternoon.  Rex St. John and I represented Mashery Intel and wasted no time in meeting them.

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Instead of waiting for students to visit our table, we went to them.  We handed out Mashery stickers and pens to those in line and met developers from New York, Maryland, Wisconson, Georgia, California and more.

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We introduced to them the Mashery Challenge: Best App Using the Mashery API Network, and prize: Up to (3) Jumping Sumo Parrot Drones.  We also revealed to them the latest Intel Galileo and sensor kit and the opportunity to build with these devices. Rex announced the reward of Basis Watches for the best apps using these Galileo boards.

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The Mashery table was located in the EECS building in the designated MLH (Major League Hacking) area.  We were near registration and companies such as Sendgrid, Twilio, and PayPal.  The API Expo happened at the start of the event and gave companies an opportunity to introduce their products and accompanying prizes to participants.

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During this time, Rex educated developers and distributed the Galileo to deserving hardware hackers, while I helped developers get up and running with Mashery customer APIs and Intel XDK.  

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Veteran collegiate hackathon organizer Dave Fontenot kicked off the opening ceremonies in front of a packed auditorium.  In his opening address to MHacks IV, he stressed the importance of a welcoming collegiate hackathon community and providing opportunities for all to participate and learn.  

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Later in the evening and into the early morning, Rex and I ventured through the many classrooms providing technical support to developers building apps.

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On Saturday, projects began to form, Mashery APIs were explored, Intel XDK was installed into many laptops, and developers activated their Intel Galileos.  

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Shortly after dinner, representatives from MLH featured a very fun and challenging game for participants.  

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Contestants were given only minutes to duplicate via coding, a displayed web page. The catch: they were forbidden to see the visual output of their code, which was only revealed to spectators after time expired.  The code results drew much laughter from the crowd with ridiculous visual differences from the original web page display.  

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MLH Commissioner, Swift, judged the projects with an A to F grading scale.  Few developers earned the A grade. 

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Michigan governor Rick Snyder visited MHacks Sunday morning showing his support for collegiate developers.  He walked the hallways with MHacks organizers and visited a few selected teams including the Jupiter team which used the Intel Galileo for their sound recognizer app. Both Rex and I met briefly with Governor Snyder and expressed our gratitude for his support of the developer community.

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Buses transported hackathon participants to the award ceremonies at Rackham Auditorium Sunday afternoon.  The Mashery prize was awarded to an amazing four member team who invoked the services of the USA Today API and created “Stockular.”  

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This financial app provides S&P 500 company data from news related webpages including USA Today. The team also used the Oculus Rift headset to display graphs and real time stock quotes in a 3D environment.

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I want to thanks my Mashery partner Rex St. John for his incredible hardware support to developers.  Special thanks goes out to Jamie Sookprasong and the entire MHacks team of voluteers for organizing this awesome event.

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Apple announces Apple Watch, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus

Mashed by: @aphadnis

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"What time is it?" may never be answered the same way again.

Today, at the Flint Center in Cupertino, CA, Apple unveiled an innovative wearable device called the Apple Watch along with the newest iPhone design, the iPhone 6.

The Apple Watch

Apple’s entry into the wearable’s product category delivers a dynamic Retina display interface paired with eye-catching design aesthetics to redefine the notion of a “comprehensive health and fitness device.”

The Apple Watch is priced at $349 and will be available sometime in early 2015 in an assortment of finishes, sizes, and with interchangeable wrist straps.

"the most personal device Apple has ever created" - Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc. discussing the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch can be personalized further using the assortment of visually engaging watch faces that users can select from. (I cannot express just how much nostalgia I felt when I saw the Mickey Mouse watch face! Very cool!)

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WatchKit

Developers can use the related WatchKit software development kit (SDK) to create applications specifically tailored for delivering interactive experiences using the combination of on-board sensors, connectivity, and integrated haptic feedback system.

Building on the design cues of the newest iOS operating system, iOS 8, the Apple Watch will support:

  • Glances: for user to receive and swipe through information efficiently
  • Actionable Notifications: for users to receive rich native and 3rd-party notifications with contextually relevant responses
  • WatchKit Apps: for light interaction with content specifically tailored to the wearable touch screen and Digital Crown wheel interface to “zoom and scroll nimbly and precisely, without obstructing your view.” The Digital Crown will also serve as the Home button.

Apple has not yet shared when the WatchKit SDK will be made available for developers.

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Activity App and Workout App

Tim Cook expressed that the Apple Watch “is the most personal device Apple has ever created” and that sentiment is reflected in the care and design of the device and the included Activity and Workout applications.

The Activity app provides a quantitative assessment of the number of minutes per day that can be categorized as Move, Exercise, or Stand. Ring graphs allow for speedy comparison between days.

The Workout app seeks to assist users in achieving their desired personal fitness level using:

  • Goals: workouts suggested and “personalized by the application based on your workout history”
  • Reminders: motivational notifications tailored to your workout activity
  • Achievements: a collection of fitness milestones that are earned and celebrated

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iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Apple also announced the September 19th, 2014 launch date of the next-generation iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

The large 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch respective diagonal screens are indicative of the shift of media consumption platforms as mobile devices are making the transition from secondary to primary viewing screens. “Dual-domain pixels” will allow for wider viewing angles and, hopefully, a more comfortable viewing experience.

Both models contain a new Barometer sensor that developers can use for analyzing relative air pressure. “Focus Pixels” implements a technique called “phase detection auto focus” to ensure swift auto-focus capabilities for users to enjoy while creating photos or 1080p high-definition video. An upgraded lens and optical image stabilization system is only available for the iPhone 6 Plus model.

Pre-orders begin on September 12th, 2014.

Additionally, iOS 8 will be available for download on September 17th, 2014.

PayPal’s BattleHack, Boston was a lot of fun. Congratulations Team Raffle: Winner of best app built using Mashery API Network with @sharethis API

Geek Girls Carrots Maker Party @ Seattle Central Library

Mashed by: @rexstjohn

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Geek Girls Carrots is a collective “get together and make fun things" group focusing on women in STEM originating from Poland and, more recently, spreading to Seattle via event organizer Kamila Stepniowski. 

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Having run into Kamila on numerous occasions around the Seattle maker and hacker community, I was lucky enough to be invited to attend their very first Maker Party event hosted in the Seattle Central Library. Seeing as Intel (Mashery’s parent company) is deeply involved in the maker-community, I brought along a stack of Intel Galileo boards.

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Overall attendance was around 50 local makers and hackers as well as representatives from the Seattle Pacific Science Center and the Jigsaw Renaissance maker space.

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Aside from giving a 7-minute lightning talk, I ran a small “Mashery Challenge” to encourage developers to answer tricky API questions in order to win two Intel Galileo boards. I also manned a table with Galileo boards to discuss the possibilities between Mashery APIs and IOT devices. Some of the APIs I demonstrated included JamBase and Rotten Tomatoes with Node.js.

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Jigsaw Renaissance ran a workshop teaching kids how to build robots using Lego Mindstorms. Budi and his collaborator Richard from Hack-E-Bot have done a fantastic job making technology approachable to kids by creating a teachable robot kit.

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On the second day, people showed off their Hack-E-Bot creations.

imageThe challenge was a success with 17 participants creating around 20 different applications using APIs from Beats, USA Today and JamBase. Budi Mulyo from Jigsaw Renaissance and Sarah Guermond both took home Intel Galileo prototyping boards. 

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While Geek Girls Carrots is a new group to the Seattle region, they are off to a great start and I always enjoy seeing the local community turn up to build fun “stuff” together!