Mashery Developer Blog

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Showing posts tagged Rovi

PennApps - Fall 2013 Edition

You know what’s cooler than 500 developers? A 1000 developers!

PennApps - arguably world’s biggest college hackathon hosted 1000 developers from universities around the world earlier this month.

If you’re not familiar with PennApps, it is University of Pennsylvania’s bi-annual 48-hour hackathon event where the University’s best programmers and entrepreneurs team up over a weekend to build amazing applications.

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This being my 5th PennApps, I’ve had the privilege of seeing it grow into what it is today. From the days of 150 developers to 1k plus developers. From one aisle full of developers to 6 levels each spread across two buildings plus the library.

You can read about our experience at previous editions of PennApps here - 2013 Spring, 2012 Fall, 2012 Spring, 2011 Fall

Every edition of PennApps witnesses an improvement in it’s planning, organization, quality of hacks and the 2013 Fall edition was no different. The results were amazing.

Hosting 1000 developers over a weekend is no mean task, but the organizing committee (comprised of only students) did a phenomenal job. Hats off.

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The event kicked off on Friday with the API demos in the Irvine Hall at the beautiful UPenn campus in Philadelphia.

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Given the volume of hacks built, the demos were broken into two rounds. The first round involved teams submitting short demo videos of their apps explaining what they’d built. The judges then watched each of these videos to come up with a list of top 20 hacks, who then had the opportunity to demo in front of the huge audience at the Irvine Hall.

In addition, this year there was also an inclusion of science fair style demos. Hosted at the historic Palestra Gymnasium - where Penn men’s and women’s basketball games, volleyball and wrestling matches are played. Palestra is the most storied gymnasium in the history of collegiate athletics and was a perfect place for 1000 plus developers to show sponsors and judges what they have built.

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Some cool Mashery hacks

  • Juke - lets you control music at social gatherings via text messages. Powered by Rdio & Twilio #PennApps - SMS-controlled pay-to-play jukebox.
  • Race to the International Space Station - a web app that allows people to race together by connecting their RunKeeper, Nike and Garmin accounts and compete in a 450 mile, year long, round trip race to the ISS and back. Uses Active.com’s API to find races/marathons taking place around you.
  • RVRB - An online cloud-based music mixing platform that lets you play multiple tracks together at the same time. Pulls track meta data using Rovi’s Search API.
  • Remind me gmail - Whether you’re a student scouring email lists to find used textbooks or anxiously awaiting a decision email, there is no reason for you to have to check your email 24/7. Maximize efficiency. Minimize spam.

Best app built using Mashery

Netfixxed - A Netflix wrapper that aggregates Netflix content streaming from all countries and gives you the tools to watch movies not available in the United States. In addition, uses Rotten Tomatoes integration to give users access to great data and help make easy viewing decisions. Also integrates video for a social component of watching movies and discussing them.

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Michael from Team Netfixxed won the prize for “Best app built using Mashery API Network”

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….and Michael’s loot for the win - a Ping Pong Training robot, Complete tennis kit and a thousand ping pong balls!

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Outside Hacks 2013

Do you like music festivals? Do you like hacking? Well then, you would have loved Outside Hacks! Located at Eventbrite headquarters this past weekend, Aug. 3 & 4, Outside Hacks was Outside Lands’ first official Hackathon and was completely geared towards making apps to “improve the festival experience for both artists and fans.” The event ran from 3pm Saturday until 3pm Sunday and was made for a great 24-hour all-night experience!

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I want to say the event kicked off right at 3PM, but when Sarah-Jane (@sarahjanemorris) and I arrived at 2:30, there was already an eager crowd waiting outside, ready to start. People were discussing ideas and forming teams before the doors had even opened! There was some real innovation waiting outside!

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Hackers ready and waiting outside of Eventbrite Headquarters. Image credit to Gracenote.

The event started with a few quick API workshops by sponsors Gracenote, Echonest, Eventbrite, Facebook, Soundhound, and yours truly, Mashery. Other sponsors included Dolby, Google, Aloompa, PandoDaily, and PayPal, and Codemkrs produced the event. I presented APIs from Rdio, Rovi, USA TODAY Music Reviews, Jambase, Klout and PeerIndex as possible Mashery platforms for teams to use, and later made sure to tell the teams about TomTom once it became apparent that many developers and designers were interested in some sort of map functionality.

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Here I am at the Mashery swag table, getting ready for the crowd. The swag wouldn’t stick around long.

After the workshops, participants presented over two-dozen ideas to the attending developers and designers. They showed us that music festivals are definitely ripe for hackathon inspired innovation! Ideas from syncing a concert’s light show with the audience’s phones, to a port-o-potty wait-time tracker, to a stage and time specific trivia game were all presented. Several of the ideas were so popular that different teams ended up tackling the same thing but from a different angle and point of view. Whoops! Nonetheless, they all came out pretty cool after a long night of hacking.

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Developers and designers are waiting in line to pitch their ideas. Image credit to Gracenote.

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Hackers are still going strong even as the midnight oil burns.

Four teams used Mashery APIs: Festgenie, Playlist Predictor, OutsidePants, and Jujitsu.

Festgenie, by Ethan Fan, Jui-Chung Wu, and Wen-Sao Hong, analyzes tweets about currently playing bands to determine whether the mood of the performance is positive or negative, and incorporates the band’s or artist’s Klout score so that users can “easily find the most popular bands playing now.”

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Playlist Predictor was an app that used Rovi’s and Echonest’s music suggestions APIs to create optimum playlists of Outside Lands artists customized specifically for the user. It was developed by Kara Murphy and Fosco Marotto.

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The OutsidePants team consisted of Yu Jiang Tham, Andy Jiang, and Jennifer Yip. They developed Outside LOAF, a handy lost and found app that makes the challenging misfortune of a lost item a much more pleasant and easy experience by utilizing Twilio’s and Tomtom’s APIs. Check out their demo video here!

The last Mashery API app, Outside Jujitsu, was an app developed by Leah that provided a more comprehensive view of the festival grounds, with uploaded pictures, artist data, and food truck information all readily available.

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In the end, 22 hacks were demoed (a great rate for the ~60+ hackers there) and 25 were submitted. They all were definitely something to marvel at! The sponsor awards were announced soon after the presentations. Outside LOAF won best use of a Mashery API for their beautiful and useful app. They opted for three $100 Amazon gift cards over an XL Jawbone Jambase as their reward.

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Andy JiangJennifer Yip, and Yu Jiang Tham from team OutsidePants as they receive the Mashery prize!

The hacks were so impressive the judges raised the finalist number from ten to fifteen.  Both Playlist Predictor and Outside Pant’s Outside LOAF both qualified as finalists and were invited to the awards ceremony at the Independent the Wednesday following the hackathon. The teams were told to make a quick video presenting their app and to give it their all in the time between the hackathon and the awards ceremony.

The 15 Finalists:

Parkr by Areeb Khan, Jimmy, Zahay, and Saheef – A simple parking lot leasing and renting utility.

Music Buddies by Alex Greenspan, John Wang, and Adib Behjat - A webapp that uses your phone’s geolocation to connect you with other festival attendees searching the same artist or band as you.

Crowdjitsu by Jason Hsu, Chase Farmer Stephanie, Rob, and Leah – An app that allows users to avoid crowds like a ninja. It uses predictive data modeling to beat the traffic around the festival.

Festify by Chen Liang – Allows the user to enjoy the festival experience from the comfort of their homes.

OutsideLandsVR by Manoj Patel and Angel Hizon – A virtual reality photo tour of Outside Lands, compatible with the Oculus Rift.

crowdSpirit by Ali Razfar and Thomas – An app that allows artists to play sounds from the audience’s phones.

Musaic by Sandeep Chivukula, Rob Cavin, and Jeff Vick – A webapp that uses Instagram images from Outside Lands to build massive collaborative works of art.

Nope Dumbass by Julie Logan and Amit Aggarwal – A trivia app that tests an audience on what they know about the currently performing artist.

Schedulebot 3000 by JT Bowler, Derek Tingle, and Austin – A scheduler app based on Facebook likes.

Playlist Predictor by Kara Murphy and Fosco Marotto – A webapp that will create a playlist based on recently performed music by bands at Outside Lands that the user is interested in.

OutsideLOAF by Team OutsidePants (Yu Jiang Tham, Andy Jiang, and Jennifer Yip) – A lost and found app for Outside Lands. Won the Mashery Prize!

Boogles by Jeff Vick – An augmented reality app that will show a user the closest locations that sell beer.

LightSaber by Lap Chan, Shawn Wang, Jiahao Li, and Jie Lin – An app that allows a performer to turn the audience’s smart phones into a light show and has both-direction interaction between the audience and the performer.

OutsideLines by Raphie Palefsky-Smith – Crowd-powered tool to find (and help the community find) the shortest lines for food and port-a-potties.

Wat’son by Roman Pshichenko, Case Sandberg, Chris Carroux, Ricky Zein, and Chris Gervang An app that will give you an overview of who is currently playing at each stage, what song they are playing, and how much longer their set is. 

When Wednesday rolled around there were several teams at the Independent early (Some had been there for hours! That’s some passion!), either waiting in line at the door or across the street at a burger joint. I soon discovered why so many people were across the street: the Independent is 21+ only! Oops! The Wat’son and Parkr teams ended up not presenting and presenting over video-chat, respectively. For much of the evening the under-21 hackers and I lingered across the street, listening for updates from inside and trying to set up presentations via wireless. It was a good time, no matter the locale.

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Team Wat’son are hard at work trying to get Google Hangout set up so they can present over the internet!

Luckily, Neil decided to drop in and was able to get in to attend the award ceremonies. He kept those of us outside updated with news from his twitter feed, including revealing the surprise judge: MC Hammer! Awesome! Neil was great too. He stayed long everyone waiting outside had drifted away towards home and announced the winner over his twitter.

Runner Up: Nope, Dumbass won tickets to Outside Lands and a $500 cash prize as well as a KindleFire HD VIP Box. Congrats Julie Logan and Amit Aggarwal!

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Here’s Julie kicking it with her app Nope, Dumbass!

Grand Prize Winnder: Team OutsidePants won with Outside LOAF! Congratulations! In addition to the three $100 Amazon gift cards from Mashery they won $3000 in cash and VIP tickets to Outside Lands. Great work Yu Jiang Tham, Andy Jiang, and Jennifer Yip!

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Andy and Jennifer rockin’ it at the Independent!

Outside Hacks was a blast! There was a great turn out, a lot of fun innovation and apps, and a fantastic hacker atmosphere. It was definitely a splendid experience for my second-ever hackathon. Thanks for the great time, Outside Hacks!

imageAnd we’re done! Image credit to Gracenote.

Note: For more pictures of Outside Hacks, check out our Flickr set here.

Hooray! Hollywood Hackday 2013

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FADE IN:
Beautiful sunny sky, sun setting. Loud jets flying overhead. Man picks up rental car from LAX. Drives to AirBNB rented flat on the outskirts of Beverly Hills. Man locates key on picture frame hidden by host, unlocks door, collapses on bed. Sleeps.

ELEVEN MINUTES INTO NAP, MOBILE PHONE RINGS:

Man picks up phone.

            MAN
      Hello, this is Neil.

            FEMALE PHONE VOICE (V.O.)
      Neil, it’s Annika, your host. I’ve called the police. My neighbor says there’s a strange man sleeping on the staircase down the hallway. You can lock doors, or maybe better to wait outside for the police.

            MAN
      Hey Annika. I’m not sure I follow. What’s going on?

            FEMALE PHONE VOICE (V.O.)
      Sorry for this inconvenience. I think it’s best that you just go outside. I will text you.

Caller hangs up. Man follows her instructions. Walks outside. He is met by three police officers asking questions about a strange man sleeping in the common area. Neighbors congregate.

.. and that, my friends, is how I started off my trip to Beverly Hills for Hollywood Hackday 2013. How apropos, right?

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The Plot: Hollywood Hackday
The influence of the film and music industry on Los Angeles tech is undeniable. Everyone there is within one degree of separation (or two at most) from someone embedded in the entertainment industry.  The wealth, fun and glitter of the industry has made LA a very attractive tech market.

This was the third annual Hollywood Hackday, a hackathon that Mashery has been supporting since the beginning. The event is organized and produced by an A-list team whose talents span film, music and technology - Abe Burns (@abeburns), Ryan Chisholm (@ryanchisholm) and Rahim Sonawalla (@rahims).

Hollywood Hackday’s goal is to gather developers from the LA area to create the next generation of entertainment applications. But it’s not just about setting a goal with these guys.. remember, this is Hollywood.

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The Set: United Talent Agency

Just five blocks from my rented studio apartment was the venue for the hackathon — the world famous United Talent Agency, who according to Wikipedia has clients such as Johnny Depp, Anthony Hopkins, Seth Rogen, Paul Giamatti and Barbara Streisand. This swanky office put us at the fulcrum of business and entertainment — where stars and deals are made every day.. on the very same swanky chaise lounges where we were hacking code.

While having a completely contextually immersive environment isn’t a requirement for a great hackathon, it sure as heck doesn’t hurt. The weekend weather was perfect — sunny and cool. Surely, there were plenty of other fun things to do. But the ambiance of UTA, the great food and drinks, helped keep everyone on site and fully engaged.

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The Cast: APIs
APIs have always played an important role at Hollywood Hackday, and this year was no exception. Companies with APIs such as Rdio, Spotify, Tokbox, Twilio, SendGrid, Gracenote, Klout and Tumblr sponsored the event and had platform evangelists on site to help developers. For the Mashery API network, I introduced everyone to Rovi Corp music and movie meta-data, Rotten Tomatoes for movie reviews, USA TODAY for book, music and movie reviews, SportsData for historical and real-time sports scores and statistics, and Jambase for live music performance data.

The Supporting Actor: Chiat Day
A special treat the HHD crew prepared was the chance to be mentored by TBWA\Chiat\Day, the ad agency responsible for Apple’s ads, the Taco Bell chihuahua, the Energizer Bunny, and much more. Teams signed up in droves to make their hack pitch to Chiat, in hopes of getting useful feedback for when they pitched the judges.

I realize that this all sounds amazing.. but I’m sure you wondering, were any stars born?

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The Stars: Judges, Hackers and Hacks
Of course there were! And plenty of them. 35 apps were built and ready to be pitched. The judging panel consistent of Erik Kuhn (Head of Social Media, UTA), Dan Dato (Co-Founder, Cross Campus) and Jamie Kantrowitz (Partner, Launchpad LA).

But another surprise that the HHD organizers kept up their sleeve — the pitches weren’t going to take place in the main hacking room. Instead, we were directed to the UTA private digital screen room in the next building, which was about the size of a small movie auditorium — complete with soft leather bench seats and state of the art 4K projector on an enormous screen. Completely awesome.

Each team was given 3 minutes to perform their demo. The teams that leveraged advice from Chiat Day got right down to business, and rocked their 3 minutes. For some other teams, the Demo Gods did not look upon them kindly — probably for hacking to the last minute, not leaving them any time to prepare. However, there were so many different types of apps hacked, judging was not an easy task.

imageHayk & Erik built RhymeLine.net, using Rdio's APIs

imageHarley and his sister, Crystal Rose, hacked Book vs. Movie, using the Rotten Tomatoes APIs.

And the Award Goes To
It took over 30 minutes to deliberate, but the sponsors and judges made the tough choices.

  • Best Use of Klout API: Infection by Duncan Wong (@_badunk) - real time viral score of current movies. Duncan used APIs by Rovi, Klout and Twitter to build his app.
  • Best Use of Rdio API: VS. Rap Fighter by Vinny Pujji (@VPujji) - want to throw down in the rap arena? Vinny used Twilio and Rdio APIs to build an app to bring 8 Mile to wherever you are.
  • Best Use of Mashery APIs: RhymeLine.net - by Erik Malkemus (@erikmalk) and Hayk Hakobyan (@qyomjan) - if you’re trying to rhyme, but short on time. RhymeLine. If you dig veggies or cattle, and want to rock a rap battle. RhymeLine. Uses Rdio API. <micDrop/> Erik and Hayk won the Mashery HHD Prize Pack: a Roku 3, $100 in Fandango gift cards, and one year subscription to Netflix!
  • Third Place Overall: Channel Surf - by Shashi Jain (@quahada) - dubbed Tinder for music. Like a song, swipe to the right. Dislike it? Swipe to the left. Built using Gracenote API. Shashi took home $500 cash for 3rd place.

  • Second Place Overall: Levers Hollywood - built by the Vuurr team - an app that predicts a movie’s opening weekend box office revenues. Give it a spin here. The app was such a huge hit, that the judges debated whether or not they built it at the event (we verified that it was). They used the Rotten Tomatoes and Rovi APIs, as well as a few others. Team Vurr took home a cool $1000 for 2nd place.

  • Grand Prize Winner: gogololow - built by team Chen - Travis Chen (@travischen) and his brother Tyler. Travis is the defending champion from HHD 2012, and he brought it again. Pronounced “go-go-low-low”, the Chen brothers’ app is a mobile fitness game that uses the motion sensors on your mobile phone. Their demo was awesome, and the game has real market potential. The Brothers Chen took home $2500 for 1st place, and also won a VIP exclusive tour of SpaceX!


It’s a wrap!
From the moment I landed, to the end of HHD, it was all Hollywood — dramatic, exciting, and even a bit of glamour! Big thanks to the organizers, fellow sponsors, and most of all, to the developers that gave their all to make HHD a huge success. <rollCredits />

SF Music Hackday - Building the Future of Music

"Too much is never enough" was MTV’s famous tagline from the mid-80s. And you know what? They were right. We can’t get enough of music. It’s a staple of our lives. Radio airwaves are saturated with every style of music, from classical to metal. Digital cable TV networks deliver 40+ music channels to our living room. We have CDs, MP3s, Pandora, iTunes, YouTube, Rdio, Spotify, Mog, Rhapsody. When it comes to music, we seem to have it all, any time and anywhere we want it. So why are we still looking for new and better ways to experience, discover… to fall in love with music? Music Hackday in San Francisco is an event where the passion of consumers, developers and music platforms converge into a weekend-long hackathon to feed our insatiable craving for music.

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Building the Future of Music
Above I mentioned several technologies, products and services to demonstrate the variety of musical delivery channels at our disposal. Those just represent the tip of the iceberg. Music and video is readily available from development platform APIs in every form imaginable - from fully encoded song files, song sample files, instant playback streaming, radio streaming, to song/album/artist metadata (e.g. biographies, album covers, artist photos, etc.). Every imaginable fragment and building block has been made available to developers that are interested in building the future of music — and those resources were served up on a silver platter at SF Music Hackday.

The Platforms
There are several layers to sift through in the music platform ecosystem. Some of the most popular consumer-facing products/services on the market are also development platforms for partners and third-party developers. On another layer, there are purely backend platforms that do not interface directly with consumers. Here are a few notable platforms that were represented at the hackathon and the resources they offered:

  • Rdio - http://developer.rdio.com - consumer facing music streaming and social discovery network. Platform offers developers access to millions of streaming tracks, playback (iOS, Android, Javascript), playlists/collections/queue, music metadata (artist, album, track, label), listening trends, social resources (users), recommendations, etc. Apps built for Rdio can be used by subscribers after authorized with OAuth. Developers can earn perpetual affiliate revenue for any premium subscriptions driven by their app.

  • Rovi - http://developer.rovicorp.com - leader in entertainment metadata about music, TV, movies, games and more. If you use Rdio, Spotify, Pandora or Shazam (to name of few), you’ve experienced the value of Rovi. The fundamentals include artist bios, images, album art, discographies, etc. However, the complex resources they offer developers include recommendations, moods, styles, collaborations, themes and more. The power of Rovi is in their diverse data sets and their ability to search and associate across those resources. For example, developers can find a musical artists Twitter ID as well as when they will be appearing on television, pinpointed across any major cable television network.

  • JamBase - http://developer.jambase.com - consumer facing live music performance discovery platform. JamBase offers developers the ability to find live musical performances at venues all around the world. The same platform that powers the JamBase.com web site and mobile apps is available to third-party developers.

  • MediaNet MN Open API - http://www.mndigital.com/integration/openapi.html - backend service for content discovery, delivery and purchase. MediaNet powers services like Turntable.fm, Songza and MOG. MediaNet provides backend solutions for managing user accounts, content delivery, commerce and reporting.

  • The Echo Nest - http://developer.echonest.com - pure backend API with similar music metadata resources to Rovi. Some of the most interesting data that The Echo Nest offers include the ability to search and fetch: tempo (min/max), danceability, energy, artist “hotttnesss”, song type (live/studio/Christmas), loudness (min/max), key (e.g. c, c-sharp, d, e-flat, etc.).

Other notable platforms that were on site included: Gracenote, Rhapsody, SoundCloud, 7digital, LyricFind, musiXmatch.

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The Hacks
Over 200 developers came together to build 66 music apps from scratch in just 48 hours. This hackathon was held the weekend before SF MusicTech Summit, helping to draw a diverse crowd of musicians, enthusiasts, producers, promoters and developers from the Bay Area and beyond. Below are a few notable hacks that caught our fancy:

  • MoForte Guitar + Leap Motion by Nick Porcaro (video) - mashing up a virtual iPad guitar with the Leap 3D motion sensor.

  • DJ Wizard by Brian Ferrell and Jonathon Klobucar (video) - a magical playlist generator to get the party started. Tell the DJ Wizard the name of an artist or song, and he will instantly conjure up a fully stocked playlist that based on The Echo Nest recommendation APIs, inject them into an Rdio playlist, and play directly from the HTML5/JS application, using the Rdio APIs.

  • Gordie Howe Hat Trick by Johnny Megahan (video) - a song selection engine based on NHL player statistics and biographical information supplied by the ESPN Sports APIs. GHHT maps key stats, such as penalty minutes and goals, to song/artist attributes, like mood, energy and location (from The Echo Nest APIs).

  • LinerNotes by Ed Hickey (@bassnode) (video) - recreating the album liner notes in the digital listening experience. LinerNotes pulls in metadata from Rovi APIs, including artist biographies, full album credits (“from the tambourine player to the mastering engineer”), album art, and more.

  • Leap Orchestra by Dean Hudson, Vamsi Mynampati, Tyler F, Neal Riley, Seth Tsui and Nicholas Charriere (video) - another hardware hack utilizing the Leap 3D motion sensor. This team kicked of the app demos with a live performance, starting with some ethereal Theremin-ish melodies before shifting into a dub-step jam. Very entertaining!

  • Follow Swap for Rdio by Devin Sevilla (video) - a random music following app to help you mix up your social discovery mechanisms. Simple, fun and useful.

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The Prizes and Winners
Most of the teams seemed to be less concerned on trying to win specific prizes, and more focused on learning new skills and meeting new people. However, there were a ton of prizes to be had, and we were all happy to award them to these hard working teams:

  • Mashery selected DJ Wizard for the best API integrations, sending Brian and Jonathon home with Jawbone Jamboxes.

  • Rdio chose Tweedio and Sing Along with Me for their prizes, one year Rdio subscriptions for all team members.

  • TokBox awarded two tickets to Coachella to the team that built TokBox Ukulele. Twilio went with Biscuit Orchestra.

  • The Echo Nest awarded iPad Retinas and iPad Minis to Biscuit Orchestra and Inspiration.

A complete list of all 12 prize categories and winners can be found here.

So… Did We Build the Future?
Yes, we did. :) The developers clearly pushed the envelope by integrating the latest music platform APIs with apps for both desktop and mobile. They utilized external hardware devices like the Leap Motion, integrated automotive data controls and came up with new ways to discover and share music. I was a bit surprised not to see any TV hacks, but I can imagine we will see more of that at vertical hack events like TVnext Hack coming up in late April 2013. Overall, the hackathon was a huge success, and extremely collaborative. In fact, there were more projects open sourced than I’ve ever seen at a hackathon.

Big thanks to The Echo Nest, SoundCloud, Spotify and TokBox for organizing the event. That was some amazing hackathon fare — healthy and delicious from morning until night.

See you next year, where we’ll continue to build the future of music!

Hack Grads: Hacks that Graduated from Weekend Hackathon to App Store

Original Image by David Michael Morris on Flickr

(original image by David Michael Morris on Flickr)

The Mashery Developer Outreach team heads out to a whole heap of hackathons and tech events (more than 60 in 2012 alone)! We love to see what developers are able to build in a weekend (or sometimes just a day)! Typically, these projects are limited in scope; hackers attend these events for the team building, education and fun that come along with the experience.

While we’re often blown away with the quality of these hacks, once the event has come to a close, teams usually walk away having forged new bonds and new brain cells, but not necessarily with plans for the next big startup. 

imageHowever, every now and then, a hack emerges that is truly disruptive. One of the most famous instances of this was TechCrunch Disrupt’s big hackathon winner in 2010, GroupMe. They came out of Hack Disrupt with an app that allows groups to text collectively via SMS (powered by our friends at Twilio) without needing to exchange phone numbers. This app solved a real problem and went on to be acquired by Skype (who was ultimately acquired by Microsoft) for hundreds of millions. 

We’ve seen our fair share of Mashery hacks graduate from weekend team-building projects to market-ready apps. Some of our favorites include: 

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The Klout Chrome extension, which was born at the Klout/Bit.ly Groundhacks Day in February 2011, uses the Klout API to place an influence score next the people you follow when visiting twitter.com. It went live on Chrome Web Store shortly after its creation and now boasts over 66,000 users. 

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ESPN recently launched their SportsCenter Feed web app as the result of an internal hackathon. The app allows sports fans to create a personalized feed of sports news that’s most meaningful to them. Read all about it on PandoDaily!

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The team from Discovr met the Rovi Cloud Services team at the SXSW Circus Mashimus lounge in 2011, and then integrated their search API in their app in the iOS App Store. With 3 million users strong, Discovr’s apps are a high profile example of how APIs can scale quickly and securely.

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Find Me Hotel Deals  was born at API Hackday Austin in February 2012 using the Hotwire API to show users great, local hotel offers. It hit the AppStore a few months later.

Rotten Boxes was created at CoderFaire Nashville in August 2012 using the Redbox and Rotten Tomatoes APIs, allowing users to find the closest films available at Redbox locations and sort them by Rotten Tomatoes rankings. 

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Qup.tv sends users targeted Netflix suggestions via email, and was born at Hack The Midwest in June 2012 using Netflix API, and covered in GigaOm shortly thereafter. 

APIs allow innovative ideas to move from conception to reality. They connect developers with data sets they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Well-supported APIs can speed up development time by providing interactive documentation and time-saving code examples. Hackathons are a great starting point to demonstrate how quickly APIs can help turn an idea into a legitimate and valuable problem solving tool. 

Mashery had a great time hosting the Google Developers Group SF #iohack Hackathon in our offices over June 30th - July 1st, immediately following Google I/O in San Francisco.
90 developers, 13 teams, 6 Codelabs ranging from HTML5 to CSS to Google+ to Robotics labs and 8 awesome API Partners from Twilio, SendGrid, TokBox, AllJoyn from Qualcomm, Rovi, Atlassian, and Mashery helped create a little bit of hacking magic for the event.
The photos, video, and tweets from the #iohack event makes you feel like you were there &#8212; and and a teensy bit envious if you weren&#8217;t. ;-)

Mashery had a great time hosting the Google Developers Group SF #iohack Hackathon in our offices over June 30th - July 1st, immediately following Google I/O in San Francisco.

90 developers, 13 teams, 6 Codelabs ranging from HTML5 to CSS to Google+ to Robotics labs and 8 awesome API Partners from Twilio, SendGrid, TokBox, AllJoyn from Qualcomm, Rovi, Atlassian, and Mashery helped create a little bit of hacking magic for the event.

The photos, video, and tweets from the #iohack event makes you feel like you were there — and and a teensy bit envious if you weren’t. ;-)

Holla for the API Winners: TechCrunch #HackDisrupt NYC 2012

There are hackathons and then there are TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathons. The semi-annual 24-hour Hackday was held last weekend in New York City in the heart of midtown Manhattan at Pier 94, overlooking the Hudson river. Over 300 hackers attended the event and it was an absolute blast.

Having heard so much about them in the past, I was really excited about getting a chance to not only represent Mashery customer APIs at the hackathon, but also getting my hands dirty with some good ole’ hacking. The fact that we were a team of six people representing Mashery made it even more fun and exciting.

What made it different?

What made TC Disrupt stand out from others was the incredible number of hacks that developers produced. 92 hacks were produced in less than 24 hours. Also, the dedication of the hackers has to be commended. I’ve done my share of hackathons, so I speak with a bit of experience here. You usually see the crowd thin out a bit after dinner. Not here. No sir. The sheer number of people who stood back all night - coding away was very impressive. They just kept hacking all night. The energy was amazing even in the wee hours of the morning. 

Get, set, go

It all began at about 2pm on Saturday afternoon, with the doors being opened to the New York hackers. Pier 94 probably had the perfect setup for a mega hackathon like this. Big warehouse kinda space. Plenty of roundtables, each of which could seat about 8-10 people. Heavy duty power chords hanging off the roof at each table, to make sure every table had enough juice to power the hacking. Not to mention, stable WiFi (for the most part anyway).

Workshops

Prior to the hacking, several API Workshops were held from 3-6pm to expose developers to exciting APIs, tools and frameworks that could be used at the hackathon. I got a chance to talk about I/O Docs and demo some of the APIs from the Mashery API Network - including Rovi, USA TODAY and Whit.li, all of whom had sent a team of developers to compete at the hackathon. What better way represent than to have a team of enthusiastic developers onsite coding? With the workshops out of the way, the hacking officially began at 6pm and ended at 11am on Sunday morning.

Bryan from Whit.li

Rahim from Rovi Cloud Services

Chris from USA TODAY

Mashery USB drive

We also handed out our famous Mashery USB drives that double up as beer bottle openers, preloaded with hack helpers like code libraries and API docs. Needless to say, they were a major hit.

Best Mashery Hack Winner: Sidewinder

The best app built using Mashery API Network was Sidewinder - An iPad companion app that allows you to read stuff on your desktop and pulls up relevant information around that content on your iPad - real time, thereby allowing you to use your iPad as a sidebar. So, reading a TechCrunch article on your desktop browser would pull useful info like the author’s twitter handle, klout score, related articles etc on the iPad. Pretty nifty. It ended up winning our first ever Mashery Red BIG Jambox!

Team Oh My Klout

Another app built using Mashery’s API network was “Oh my klout" - an asteroids game built by Haris Amin (incidentally the winner of API Hackday NYC earlier this year) using the Klout API. Shoot the avatars of people with low Klout scores as they move around violently. Really well done.

DEMO VIDEO: Oh, my Klout

Team Kover

The talented teams from USA TODAY and Whit.li joined hands to build a kick-ass app together - an iPad app that lets you discover the books your friends are reading based on your preferences and compatibility with them, cleverly using Whit.li’s compatibility API and also the USA TODAY Book Reviews API. Definitely an app I’d be using as soon as it hits the store!

DEMO VIDEO: Kover

Team AlfredFlik

Rahul and Amit (me) from Mashery chipped in together to build a quick hack for Alfred App. We built an extension for Alfred that lets you provide a movie name and then queries Rovi Cloud Services to find similar movies, find the reviews for the movie using Rotten Tomatoes API and then sends the result as a text using Twilio. Got its share of appreciation and we ended up bagging the award for best app built using any of the Rovi APIs!

DEMO VIDEO: AlfredFlik

Team CityVibes

Mashery employee Colin McCabe also competed on a team, CityVibes, who ended up going on to win one of the prizes for Best Use of the Echo Nest API.  Their iOS hack also featured an integration with the Rdio API as the engine for audio playback. CityVibes is planning to submit their hack as an iPhone app to the AppStore in the next several weeks. In the meantime, if you want to get the full story on Colin’s hacking experience, check out his blog post on the Mashery blog: Confessions of a First-Time Hacker: From The Trenches of the TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2012 Hackathon. Colin’s story is an inspiration for anyone learning to code and wanting to compete in hackathons. Don’t be intimidated - you can do it, too! :)

AWARD VIDEO: EchoNest announces CityVibes as a Winner

Team Mashery

I have represented Mashery at several hackathons ever since I joined, but this one was special. This was the first time, I was joined by my awesome NY & SF Masherites on site. It was a full-house! In fact, Team Mashery camped out on site all night. No Sleep. Helping developers. On caffeine. Cracking code. All night.

Winners!

#1: Thingscription - A service that tracks user impressions to figure out what products to offer as a recurring subscription to customers.

#2: Poachbase - A recruiting service that uses Crunchbase data to determine which startups may soon fold, and who’s worth swiping away from them.

#3: Practikhan - A platform that lets teachers create their own online quizzes to share with their students

You can read more about the winners here

We were all obviously sleep deprived and dead tired by the end of it all, but it was all worth it. It was an amazing experience. Definitely worth repeating.

Photo Credits: Rahul Gilani, Sasha Kamenetska

Hacking the Future of the Music Industry

Just the other week, Mashery along with several of our clients (RdioRootMusicRovi and Klout) took part in participating and sponsoring Music Hackday in San Francisco. Held at the TokBox HQ, over 200 developers spent an entire weekend meeting new people, learning new skills and applying everything in their arsenal to build apps that will define the future of music. You didn’t think that we were finished innovating and disrupting the music industry, did you?

Streaming Music On Demand
We have buried the 8 track, shattered the LP, killed the cassette, and chucked the CD. Trolling for pirated MP3s is passé. Paying $0.99 per song will also suffer the same fate. Why? Because streaming music on demand is what we all want, and it’s available now. For less than $10 month, we can stream unlimited music to all of our devices (phone, tablet, laptop and set-top box) using services like Rdio. The sound quality is superb (320kbps). The collection is vast (12+ million tracks). So what is left to innovate upon in this seemingly perfect music consumption nirvana? Music discovery and recommendations — because with so much to choose from, choosing what to listen to is the new problem.

Multidimensional Discovery
There are various methods for discovering music to listen to. In machine-based music discovery, algorithmic playlist generators such as Pandora, make recommendations based on a musical taste graph.
In social music discovery, recommendations are based on what your friends are listening to. It’s a tall order to construct highly satisfactory playlists based on your social graph, preferences and listening history — which explains why there were a significant number of the apps at Music Hackday that leveraged music streaming and metadata APIs to solve the problem.

Behind the Music Apps
Building apps for the music vertical has never been easier. For instance, the Rdio API has methods for streaming playback, retrieving data (by artist, album, track, etc.), playlist control, listening statistics, and social hooks (friends, followers, etc.). For the most comprehensive entertainment metadata, the Rovi Cloud Service API provides deep data for music, as well for TV, movies and games. Rovi’s methods include retrieving reviews, recommendations, credits, images and surprisingly complex data such as moods (expressive characteristics) and themes (topics, feelings and circumstances that motivate or fit with the music). Other APIs like JamBase provide upcoming and historical data for concerts and live music shows around the world, with methods to search by artist, venue, date and geocode. These are just a few of many music-focused APIs available for developers to build the music discovery apps of the future.

Best in Show
Over 60 apps were built and presented at Music Hackday SF — and here are a few of my favorites. The app titled BWV, created by Ian McKellar, presents all works on Rdio by BWV number (compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach). The app Music Smasher, created by Matt Montag, is a music keyword meta-search engine — aggregating search results from six different music services, including Rdio, Spotify, MOG and Grooveshark. Another app by Ian McKellar, titled Musiac, adds a fun approach to music discovery by building a photo-mosaic of an album cover comprised of minature tiles of other album covers — where clicking through on a minature tile launches you into a fractal like experience of infinite random discovery. My favorite app was eezdropper by JB Steadman, a native iPhone app that injects songs into your Rdio playlist based on what other Rdio users within your vicinity are listening to — implicit geo-local social network music recommendations! In fact, we selected JB to win the Mashery spot-prize at Music Hackday, the Jawbone Jambox wireless speaker in Mashery red.

What’s Next?
The music industry has undergone radical changes, many of which have been brought on by the Internet — from the pirated MP3, to the $0.99 song purchase, and now to unlimited cloud streaming services. Artists, music industry labels and music listeners have never been so closely intertwined. Data and services have never been so accessible. I believe that the new and exciting things in this industry will be born from events like Music Hackday, fueled by business opportunity, open dialog, and most of all, by the passion and appreciation for discovering and listening to music.