PennApps hackathon was the largest college hackathon in the world and it took place this past weekend. It produced some of the best/most entertaining hacks that I’ve seen at any hackathon: Remote controlled battle bots, Automatic Wifi Authentication for facebook friends, enlarging media seamlessly from one to multiple mobile screens, app that messages you if you forget to put required items in your backpack, exploring neighborhoods from the comfort of your couch with augmented reality, just to name a few.
Looking back, I would say that this hackathon was a smashing success, and I’m sure the other sponsors would say the same. From my perspective as a developer evangelist, here’s why PennApps turned out to be a legendary hackathon and what we can learn from it:
Last weekend we had the pleasure of sponsoring University Hacker Olympics. Unlike your typical hackathons, this one emphasized connecting University students with industry professionals.
Personally, I thought the event was innovative in the field of recruiting. In the traditional interview process, sometimes great candidates were dismissed because their shyness or nervousness inhibited them from performing. 1-1 interviews can be intimidating, we’ve all been there. From the interviewer’s perspective, asking candidates to solve problems does not provide any valuable insight into how pleasant it would be to work with them in a working environment.
At Tokbox, we believe in providing a high quality video experience by constantly upgrading our server infrastructure. In that interest, Tokbox built it’s lightweight, scalable, raw socket based messaging framework called Rumor.
One might wonder why OpenTok needs its own messaging infrastructure, being a video streaming API. The concept of an OpenTok session is similar to that of people in a room (session) talking to each other (publisher and subscribers). When someone new enters the room, those already there acknowledge their presence. Similarly, when a new client comes into an OpenTok session, the current participants are unaware of that client’s presence until they’re notified by the server that someone else has joined. Along the same lines, any actions performed by that client (such as publishing their camera) need to be relayed via the server to all the other participants on that session. Not only is it important to be assured everyone gets these messages, but it also needs to happen in a timely manner. This is where our scalable messaging architecture, Rumor, comes into place.
Over the past weekend, July 28-29, we sponsored Hack for Change. How can you use technology to help and improve the lives of the people around you? Or better yet, how can you use video technology to make a change?
On the beautiful saturday morning, Change.org opened their Headquarters to developers, designers, and hustlers with a common goal: to build something over the weekend that can help improve the community. In the spacious office with an unlimited supply of snacks, food, energy drinks, beer, and soft drinks, hackers comfortably mingled and got to know each other.
Today we’re taking real time video on mobile by storm with the launch of our PhoneGap and Titanium Plugins. Don’t want to code in a statically typed language (Objective-C)? We got your back.
For a long time we’ve provided a video chat API for web apps and we’ve seen interesting applications. Remote photo-booth, online collaboration, consultation apps, you name it!