Monthly Archives July 2011

Screenr: Show & Tell Made Simple

dogbertIT Screenr: Show & Tell Made SimplePerhaps you’re a bit nicer than Dogbert, but that doesn’t mean that helping people through technical problems is easy. Screenr has just the solution to your woes – whether it’s explaining to your mom how to change her Facebook privacy settings to conducting user testing on your new web app. With its easy to use screen-casting solution, Screenr allows you to create short videos to share over the web to aid learning, collaboration and problem solving.

We interviewed Mike Olivieri, Director of Web Engineering at Screenr to get his take on making collaboration and learning on the web easier.

Tell us a little about Screenr and what inspired this application.

screenr logo Screenr: Show & Tell Made Simple

After the launch of Screenr.com we found that many users, including our team, were creating screencasts for customer support purposes. We wanted to provide businesses with an easy way to privately share ideas and problems. With Screenr Business you can easily make screencasts part of any workflow. Many customers are using the service as part of their software development process (QA people can record the problem) and as a tool to share knowledge with teammates.

Which Infochimps API do you use and how does it integrate with Screenr?
We use the Geolocation API as part of our analytics feature. We track both where a screencast was recorded from and where a user views it from. Here is a quick screencast showing it in the app.

What have you loved about working with the Infochimps API?
Integrating the API into Screenr Business was super easy. With the simple API and clean data model provided by infochimps, we were able to add geolocation in just a few lines of code. And since we started using it, we never have to worry about it, it just works!

What advice do you have for aspiring app builders and fellow web developers out there?
Leverage APIs like Infochimp and Screenr Business to help get your app out faster by focusing on the problem your app solves, not the underlying technical ones.

Introducing… The App Gallery

Did you stumble on our site and say to yourself “Okay, so you have all this data, but what can I do with it?”  Whether you’re a data nerd developer looking to see what others have built on our datasets and APIs or just a curious chimp looking for how to make sense of it – we’ve got the right place for you.

Introducing… The App Gallery.

appgallery Introducing... The App Gallery

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New Developer Contest: Twilio + Infochimps

It’s a special day today for many of our readers. In addition to celebrating America’s Independence day, we want to celebrate data. I know that sounds crazy, but put Will Smith on mute for a minute and give us a chance.

Not too long ago, we didn’t have access to data. It existed, but it wasn’t really available. It was either shared on a one-off basis, or hidden somewhere in the deep corners of the Internet. Now,  you can have access to everything from all the reported UFO sightings to all the free WiFi spots in the nation.

So for this special day, we’re running a special contest with our friends at Twilio. What interesting applications could you create with our data? Perhaps a phone-powered UFO Mad Libs game? Or an SMS rolodex of social media profiles?  Be creative and show us what you could do!

It wouldn’t be a special contest, if there wasn’t a special prize. The winner of this developer contest will receive:

  • $100 in Twilio credit
  • $100 in Infochimps credit
  • A collection of swag from Twilio and Infochimps
  • All four books from the pioneer of data visualization, Edward Tufte

courses bookcovers New Developer Contest: Twilio + Infochimps

Entries must be submitted by 11:59pm PT on Sunday July 10th. Entries can be submitted here.

How To Get Involved

Entries to the contest can be submitted here.

Twilio runs weekly developer contests.  Check out more of them here.

If you need any help or want to bounce ideas off Twilio developers, join them on their forums or drop a note to help@twilio.com.  Want to reach a chimp?  Try connecting with us over UserVoice or send us some bananas at help@infochimps.com.

Summify: Top News from Your Friends

summify done Summify: Top News from Your FriendsWouldn’t it be amazing to see those words in your Facebook News Feed, Twitter stream or Google Reader? To reach the holy grail of inbox zero with all the news stories and links coming in from all your social networks?

summify Summify: Top News from Your FriendsKeeping up with the folks you’re following on Twitter, your Facebook friends and all the blogs you read can be a daunting task (for some of us, an extremely daunting task). Summify, created by a team of two Romanian hackers/entrepreneurs, Mircea Paşoi and Cristian Strat, aims to ease the woe of information overload. Integrated with Infochimps’ TrstRank and StrongLinks APIs, Summify chooses the top stories from each of your social networks and sends them to you in a daily digest accessible via email, their website or your iPhone.

We interviewed Mircea, co-founder of Summify to get his take on finding the signal in the noise.

For our readers who aren’t familiar with your service, how would you describe Summify?
Summify makes daily summaries of your social news. If you only have time to read 5-10 stories each day, we do a really good job at picking them based on social data like retweets, likes, shares and Infochimps data.

What inspired this project?
The project started from a personal need – we’re very busy so it’s hard to keep up with all this information being shared on social networks, but at the same time we want to be on top of the news. We also figured there’s only a handful of stories that you really need to know to stay informed through out the day, so we focused on finding those really good stories.

You’ve had quite a history of interesting projects together (with Cristian) from building the biggest Romanian community of CompSci geeks to a job search engine for the Romanian job market – what drives you two to choose the projects that you do?
We’re really driven by two factors: if it’s a problem that we have and that nobody is really solving well and if there’s a big technical challenge where our skills can make a difference. We really want to make products that delight and amaze users, so it’s really important for us to be passionate about the problem and the solution.

How do you integrate Infochimps APIs with Summify?
We’re using both the Trstrank API and the Stronglinks APIs for ranking Twitter users. Trstrank helps us figure out globally how important a Twitter user is, and Stronglinks is used to make sure we pick stories from people with whom you have a strong connection. All of this data is mashed up in our ranking pipeline, together with a dozen other signals, to pick the best stories possible.

What have you loved about working with the Infochimps API?
First of all, it’s amazing that someone has put in the effort to build these APIs! It would have taken us a lot of engineering effort to create similar functionality, instead we can just focus on our core competency – ranking. The API has been really easy to integrate into our applications and it’s very stable and fast.

What words of inspiration do you have for aspiring hackers and coders out there?
Make sure you’re passionate about what you’re building, and everything else will follow!