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  • By Jonathan Gottfried
    Build Your Own Lockitron With Twilio, Arduino, and Node.js Jon Gottfried

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    This tutorial is based on a workshop I gave at the Makerland conference in Poland. It will teach you how to wirelessly control a deadbolt lock without damaging or modifying the lock itself. We will be using an Arduino Uno, a servo, and Node.js to make it possible for you to lock and unlock your door via SMS. This is inspired by the amazing Twilio-powered Lockitron device which thankfully is not held together by cardboard and duct tape.

    Step 1: Setup

    Parts
    1. A lock
    2. Duct tape + Cardboard
    3. Servo motor (I used the HS-322HD)
    4. Arduino Uno + Programming Cable

    Prepare Your System
    1. Download and install the Arduino IDE from http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software.
    2. Install node.js from http://nodejs.org/
    3. Install the ngrok utility from https://ngrok.com/download

    We will be using the Arduino IDE ...

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  • By Jonathan Gottfried
    Building Screen Pops With Twilio Client and FullContact API Jon Gottfried

    Screen Pops
     

    Screen Pops are a way of displaying contextual information to an agent about any incoming call so that they can provide more relevant support to the caller. They are one of the most powerful features of a software-powered voice communication system. They let your agent learn about the customer they are servicing as soon as the phone rings, look up an anonymous caller so that they can prioritize the importance of their call, or simply forward the call to the most relevant representative before the caller even has to ask. In this tutorial we are going to build a layer on top of our Twilio Client Quickstart for Node.jsthat automatically looks up the name and photo of any incoming caller using the FullContact API. FullContact is a powerful tool that allows you to get additional data about a user based on only a single piece of information such ...

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  • By Jonathan Gottfried
    Part Three: Verify Phone Numbers With Node.js Using Twilio SMS, Express and Socket.io Jon Gottfried

    Every problem you solve as a web application developer requires a very particular set of tools. Tools that have been acquired over a very long career.

    Node.js is one of the latest frameworks to become a popular addition to the modern web stack. It allows you to easily build lightweight, event-driven applications that can handle a large amount of concurrent I/O.

    We have already helped you build phone verification systems to help secure your PHP and Ruby systems, but now you can use the same techniques to secure your brand new Node.js applications so that you can be sure that the user you are communicating with is always the expected one. Any time that you are interacting with a user via their phone number, you will need a way to confirm their identity. Confirming that a user owns the phone number they provided to your service helps ...

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  • By Jonathan Gottfried
    Part 2: Using Twilio SMS with Sinatra for Ruby and Datamapper To Build A Phone Verification System Jon Gottfried

    About a year ago, we published an update to our phone verification tutorial to teach you how to keep your users safe and prevent fraud when building applications in PHP. Now you can learn how to employ the same security and anti-spam techniques in Ruby using the elegant Sinatra framework. (update: we also have a tutorial on how to build SMS phone verification into your Rails app).

    For any application that interacts with phones, you will need to be able to verify a user’s phone number to prevent fraud, spam and mistakes when entering numbers. One of the methods of verifying a number is by using an automated phone call and prompting the user to enter a code. However, since we already covered that method of verification in our previous PHP phone verification post, today we are going to verify the user’s number using an SMS message.

    In ...

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  • By Jonathan Gottfried
    Resurrecting Google SMS Search Using Twilio logo

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    Twilio Google SMSLike many of you, I was sad to hear on Friday that Google decided to shut down their service that let you search via SMS. Luckily, a basic version of the service is not difficult to create on your own using Twilio SMS and Google’s Custom Search API!

    This is a very bare-bones implementation, but it should provide a decent framework for you to expand it with additional filters and more intelligent queries.

    We are going to use Sinatra (my favorite lightweight Ruby web framework), the google-api-client gem, Heroku, and Twilio-Ruby to deploy a basic Google SMS app.

    Setting up Custom Search

    To begin, we need to go over to the Google API Console and create a new application. Once you have created the application, make sure to enable the Google Custom Search Service, then head to the API Access tab and get ...

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  • By Jonathan Gottfried
    Using Google Glass, Twilio, Ruby, and Sinatra to Send and Receive SMS Messages logo

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    jonglassMyself and other developers have been giddy with glee at the recent release of Google Glass, one of the first largely available wearable computing platforms. After the Glass Foundry hackathons in January, I couldn’t wait to start building awesome applications such as GlassTweet with the Mirror API and helping others do the same.

    Today, I’d like to debut the first tutorial on building Twilio applications for Google Glass, where you will learn how to receive SMS messages via a Twilio phone number on your Google glass and how to respond to them using the Glass voice commands.

    Glass can send and receive SMS by default via the MyGlass Android app. However, I often use Twilio phone numbers for people I would not be comfortable giving my real phone number to. I wanted to be able to receive SMS just through my Glass ...

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  • By Jonathan Gottfried
    Build a Twilio Hard Phone with SIP from Twilio, Raspberry Pi, Asterisk, FreePBX, and the Obihai OBi100 logo

    This post used the Dial and SIP TwiML verbs and the Twilio Message Rest API

    If you have worked with Twilio before, you have surely heard that sweet, sweet ring of your phone many times. But today, we are entering uncharted territory – you are going to learn how to make a phone ring without it even being connected to a traditional phone network! All you need are some simple pieces of hardware and that old landline phone that got shoved into the back of your closet years ago.

    Twilio Hard Phone

    Now, you may have seen our previous Arduino-focused tutorials on building your own Twilio Robot and automating your home with Twilio SMS but today we are going to try something new and use the amazing miniature computer called Raspberry Pi.

    Getting Started

    First things first, we need some parts. You will need to get a Raspberry Pi, an Obihai ...

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  • By Jonathan Gottfried
    Interview with SmartThings: How a Faulty Pipe Unlocked The Internet of Things logo

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    SmartThings CTO Jeff Hagins

    How can the internet help when you’re halfway to work and you realize you didn’t lock up your apartment? What about when your dog runs away, or you leave all the lights in your house on? SmartThings is working to unlock the Internet of Things and make everyday things like your house, your car, and the lights in your office easily accessible and controllable. And as of yesterday, they closed their $3 million seed round with investments from SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, and CrunchFund among many others.

    SmartThings uses custom built “magic hubs” so everyday things can automatically connect to the internet as well as their cloud platform. You can use the SmartApps application to connect with and control your SmartThings. The platform will also be open to developers and makers to create new functions, hardware and apps ...

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  • By Jonathan Gottfried
    Rutgers Students Hack Together at HackRU logo
    Jonathan Maltz

    This is a guest post written by Jonathan Maltz. Jonathan is a junior at Rutgers University majoring in Computer Science. When he’s not doing his best to see all 50 states, you can find him travelling to hackathons up and down the east coast with the Rutgers hackathon crew.

    If you’re familiar with the east-coast student hackathon scene, you probably know about the two  biggest events that happen each semester: PennApps and HackNY.  While these two events are huge,  they’re not the alpha and omega of the student scene.  Nestled squarely in between New York and Philadelphia, students at Rutgers University hosted their own student-run competition, showcasing the deep hacker culture that has been slowly growing in central New Jersey.

    Focusing On The Education

    The organizers of the event,  Undergraduate Student Alliance of Computer Scientists (USACS) cut their teeth at east-coast hackathons. They knew one ...

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  • By Jonathan Gottfried
    Get Started with Twilio Voice: Record Caller’s Voice Screencast logo

    In the fourth installment of Twilio’s Voice Quickstart Series, we introduce you to the verb.

    This walkthrough shows you how to set up an interactive IVR so your caller can be connected to another number, as demonstrated in the previous screencast, or record a message that will be played back to them. When your caller records a message it will be hosted in a php doc and played back to them using a recording url.

    View the docs for the video here and watch previous screencast covering  to connect your caller to a second person here.

    Revisit Twilio Voice Screencasts
    Get Started with Twilio Voice: Say a Message & Greet Caller By Name Quickstart Screencast

    Get Started with Twilio Voice: Play MP3 For Caller ScreenCast

    Get Started with Twilio Voice: Connect Call to Second Person Screencast

    Twilio SMS Quickstart Docs

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