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  • By Keith Casey
    Making Your Inbox Intelligent with Context.IO and Twilio keith-casey-lo-res

    Email is broken. We get too much of it. We get irrelevant stuff. Reply-all is the default and CC is the norm. Even worse, smart phones constantly interrupt our day with every single message with almost no intelligence involved. How do we sort through the email and make sure we get the important information in a timely manner in a way we can use? Recently I discovered Context.io API and saw a light at the end of the tunnel.

    In brief, Context.io is an API for your email inbox. After creating an account and synchronizing it to your account, you can retrieve any email, sort through them by date, sending, content, or a variety of other things. More importantly, you can create webhooks to trigger events as things occur within your inbox. Just like Twilio, they abstract the complicated details away under a much simpler interface. More importantly ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    The Pronunciation Challenge KeithCasey

    Text to Speech is hard. When TTS works well and pronounces everything correctly, no one cares. When you mispronounce common words – or worse names – you can annoy or even offend your customers. As humans, we have it quite a bit easier. We can understand the context and know when to break the normal pronunciation rules.

    While our man/woman voice is good the vast majority of the time, the new Alice Text to Speech (TTS) voice gives us a new tool to improve your customer’s experience. Not only does she add 26 dialects to the mix, but she’s just plain better.

    Of course, the important question is: “how much better?”

    Let’s find out by comparing them head to head in three scenarios: acronyms, heteronyms, and the VoIP/Text to Speech testing standards known as “Harvard sentences.”

    Pronouncing Abbreviations and Acronyms

    There are numerous types of acronyms, but ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    Getting Started with Twilio and Google App Engine for PHP Keith Casey PHP

    This is a syndicated blog post by Twilio Developer Evangelist, Keith Casey, originally published on Google App Engine’s blog.  Keith shows you how to use Twilio with Google App Engine on the PHP runtime.

    I’ve wanted to explore Google App Engine for years. Between its SLA, automatic scaling, and queuing system, it has always been compelling. Unfortunately, since my Python skills are somewhere between “Hello World” and “OMG What did I just do!?” I decided to save myself the embarrassment. When Google announced PHP support for App Engine, I was both ecstatic and intrigued about what might be possible. To get something running in just a few minutes, I decided to use our Twilio PHP helper.

    When experimenting with a new Platform as a Service, there are nuances of which you should be aware like dealing with a virtualized file system and needing a separate service for email ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    Building Beyond Google Voice With Twilio: Working Hours, Whitelists and Blacklists dkc

    You can download this entire application from Github.

    I have a confession.The number on my business cards is not a Twilio number–it’s for Google voice.

    I’ve used Google Voice for forwarding and voicemail and it’s served me well but I wanted to add more awesome features like whitelisting, black listing, transcribing voice mail, and managing lists via SMS. That’s when Twilio fit into the picture.

    I’ll show you how I used Twilio to get fine grained control over who calls me when. At any time, I’m interacting with customers, event organizers, and partners who need to reach me outside business hours. But, there are a bunch of people who may not need to reach me at 11pm on a Wednesday.

    When setting these features up, three concepts stood out: working hours, whitelists, and blacklists.

    At first pass, that seemed complex, so I ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    This Week Twilio takes Chicago with Text Messages and Pizza logo

    We love Chicago and we don’t get to give the city as much attention as we’d like. But every so often, an entire series of events line up to let us visit the Chicago area to enjoy the only city with real deep dish pizza, connect with developers, and generally get to know the community better.

    Jon Gottfried
    Jon is on the left.

    Starting tomorrow, May 15th, Twilio’s Jon Gottfried will be visiting Code Academy and the Chicago Node.js Meetup. Code Academy is a beginner-focused programming school that teaches students to build web applications with Ruby on Rails. He is running a workshop for their current classes on how to add voice and SMS support to a Rails application and how to build an awesome game of Telephone with Twilio and Rails.. Though the current classes are full, you can still apply to join their next Web Design ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    Connecting all with VoIP Drupal and Twilio logo

    Leo BurdThis post comes to us via Leo Burd, PhD. Leo serves as a researcher for MIT’s Center for Civic Media where he is working to solve issues around digital divide, social engagement, and civic empowerment. To reach that goal, he began exploring and building innovative phone, web, and mapping applications for use here and abroad. Along the way, this led to the creation of VoIP Drupal which he shares with us today.

    Are you working with communities that do not have easy access to the Internet? Would you like to provide your clients with automated phone access to their orders and personal information? How about organizing a Web, phone and SMS campaign in your neighborhood?

    Developed by the MIT Center for Civic Media, VoIP Drupal is a versatile open source communications toolkit that combines the power of Twilio with Drupal web sites. It is used to build hybrid applications ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    DrupalCon Hits Denver for a Module-Fueled Good Time logo

    DrupalLast week Drupal enthusiasts from around the world came together in Denver for DrupalCon. My second time around with this event, I always enjoy the “Birds of a Feature” or BoF sessions that allow for a variety of topics from core development to theming to DrupalChix.  The conference overall is a valuable experience with the Drupal community, below is just a sample of the awesome events from the weekend.

    Dries Buytaert, founder of DrupalTo start, a big announcement of the Drupal 8 architecture changes. In the last few years, Dries Buytaert (founder of Drupal) and a number of other core developers saw the underlying system as both a strength and weakness. The strength was its flexibility and ease of extensibility as evidenced by the thousands of modules. The weakness comes from implied knowledge required to extend the system well. Combine those two pieces and you end up with a talent pool that’s way ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    How to Build Phone-based Two-Factor Authentication With Twilio logo

     Security is one of the most frustratingly vital and complex things we have to deal with in application development. On one side, we have make sure our information is protected against corruption and unauthorized access while at the same time, we need to make sure the right people have access to the right data at the right time. Failure in either direction will cause annoyance and frustration at the best of times.

    While there are a variety of approaches you can take to secure the information, the first step is securing the user account itself. Two-factor authentication is the most common approach. Generally, you can use a password generating device like an RSA token but unfortunately, most people don’t have them but almost everyone has a cell phone. It is simple to set up this type of identity verification, but powerful enough that companies such as Intuit built its ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    Manage Your Call Recordings with the REST API Under the hood of the REST API
    Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usnavy/

    When we talk about our API, sometimes we use the term “REST” without describing what it actually means. When we look under the hood, we find a lots of moving pieces that fit together to make everything work as described.

    Realistically, to people who just use Twilio on a day to day basis, those details are not important. The key part developers should understand is “nouns and verbs.”

    Four HTTP Verbs Drive REST APIs

    The four HTTP verbs that drive REST APIs are POST, GET, PUT, and DELETE. The POST and GET verbs and are well-understood by modern web developers because we use them to create and retrieve our nouns. Less common but just as important is PUT. Ideally, we use it to update our nouns. The fourth verb – DELETE – will delete our noun but is rarely used. Within the Twilio API, we ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    HubAustin: South Austin's First Coworking Space logo

    “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to rebuild the professional bands which have connected them with one another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the multiplying and empowering station to which the Laws of Metcalfe and of Conway entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the reconnection.”

    HubAustin LogoWhile numerous coworking spaces have launched all over the world, one in particular strikes a special tone in these circles: HubAustin.

    Our Story

    At Starutp Weekend Austin #2 in February 2011, Kyle Simpson pitched a South Austin coworking space and sparked interest from Toyin Akinmusuru. Austin already had five coworking spaces spread throughout the city from downtown into far north, so a potential market was there, but it wasn’t clear there was a gap. Around SXSW in March ...

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