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  • By Keith Casey
    Flash Valet: Simplify your evening with SMS logo

    Flash Valet LogoWhen I first heard about Flash Valet, I didn’t get it.

    Why would someone send an SMS to get their car? Is that five minutes of waiting really that big of a deal? Is it really worth the effort?

    Since they’re Austin-based, I stopped by to try to understand better. The problem and vision they laid out made so much sense. And I’m proud to say they didn’t convince just me – last week they convinced the audience at Startup Camp Comms 4 and won the pitch contest taking nearly 50% of the vote!

    How Flash Valet Works

    For the customer, there are two frustrating parts about using a valet service:

    First, you have to wait outside in the (choose: heat, rain, cold, meteor shower, snow). If you’re lucky, it’s a few minutes. If you have bad timing, it could be quite a while. They ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    Learn Soft Skills at Day Camp 4 Developers logo

    Whether it’s an API Hackday, any Startup Weekend worldwide, the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon, or our own recent TwilioCon Hackathon, there are some common threads:

    Before a single line of code is written, individuals need to negotiate a goal. Once there’s a goal, the team creates a plan and divides the work. Throughout the project, you have to manage scope against a fixed deadline with team members of unknown skills.

    By any standard it’s a challenge, but the aspect that makes a group successful isn’t their code – it’s the soft skills.

    What to expect at Day Camp 4 Developers

    Cal Evans & his polar bearTowards that goal, my good friend and colleague Cal Evans (pictured right) has put together the third Day Camp 4 Developers (DC4D) this Saturday, October 1st with the sole goal of teaching Project Management skills. We won’t cover abstract concepts like “resource leveling” or CMM/CMMI ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    Testing the Infinite Monkey Theorem at Austin's API Hackday logo

    Austin's API Hackday Supplies

    Austin recently hosted its first API Hackday which closed out the jam-packed and almost overwhelming week that was Austin Startup Week.

    This time around, we partnered with Hackday regulars Mashery & SendGrid and Austin-locals Infochimps & Hoovers to see what the teams could create. This time around, we started the morning with fantastic cold brew coffee with four times the caffeine of normal coffee. It’s amazing how fast some people can type.

    There were three projects that really stuck out as creative:

    The Application Trail

    First, we had “The Application Trail” which is a simple app built to solve the problem of “I’m getting close to a town but I don’t know where the hotels are or their prices.” In particular, their idea was for someone hiking the Appalachian Trail but through creative use of Infochimp’s Geo API and Mashery’s access, it would work anywhere ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    No rest for the weary at RESTfest 2011 logo

    One of the best things about working with Twilio is that we find out about great events all over the place that don’t hit the mainstream. One of those events was RESTfest 2011.

    Nerd Merit Badge: Open Source

    The goal is to put a bunch of the people designing, building, and using REST-based(-like)(-ful) systems in one place and trade ideas, problems, stories, and code. Excitement and passion don’t begin to describe it.

    Unlike some conferences that are heavy on the concepts or the sales pitches and light on practical, this one is almost all practical. In fact, on the first day, anyone who built a working client or server based on the ALPS microblogging specification was awarded the coveted Nerd Merit Badge: Open Source Contributor.

    The other unique aspect about RESTfest is the format. There were regular hour long presentations and 30 minute demos but the fun part was Saturday ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    Twilio and Subversion: Have Phone, Will Deploy logo

    Shawn CampbellA few weeks ago, I heard from Shawn Campbell that he was having problems using Twilio with Subversion. Initially, I thought he meant how he was storing and managing his source code, but I quickly figured out how wrong I was.

    He had one of the most common problems out there: he works with a number of teams, so he has to deploy a lot of different code to a lot of different servers. Since deployment requires logging in, navigating to the proper directory, and running updates, it can be time consuming and disruptive.

    So Shawn came up with a new solution: call the server and it deploys for him.

    While he’s since developed a Version 3 (using Twilio Client no less!), I talked to him just after Version 2 was complete, so that’s what we’ll cover here.

    Before we dive into the code, the most ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    Austin Lone Star Ruby Conference: A Stranger in a Strange Land logo

    Lone Star Ruby ConferenceThis week I have the privilege of representing Twilio at the Lone Star Ruby Conference in Austin on August 11-13, 2011. In addition to the opening night reception, there will be a hack space set up to let people see, use, and explore the APIs and even try out Twilio Client live.

    As a PHPer who hasn’t touched Ruby (or Rails) in production since mid 2008, this will be a new and interesting experience for me. While I’ve been out of that community, their passion for MVC, Unit Testing, and related concepts have impacted the web development world in great ways. With respect to those points, there are four sessions that spark my interest above the rest:

    Mattt ThompsonLance VaughnFirst, the opening day tutorial “From Zero to Rails 3” from Mattt Thompson and Lance Vaughn seems like a good starting point to get up to date. There are some interesting ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    Portland API Hack Day Recap logo

    Portland API Hack Day's colorful donutsLast week, among the caffeine-laden ruins of OSCON 2011, a number of geeks came together in a not-so-secret meeting at Urban Airship called API Hack Day. Powered by coffee, colorful donuts, tacos, coffee, pizza, and other tasty beverages, a number of champions rose from the ashes to demonstrate their prowess and creativity with some of the best APIs in the land.

    Three stood above the rest.

    This is their story.

    The second runner up was “Visual Resume” from Tantek Çelik and Erin Jo Richey. It combined LinkedIn data with a Gantt-chart like visualization layer to create this:

    Visual Resume

    As a project management guy, the Gantt charts makes quite a bit of sense and has visual appeal. During their presentation, they described their eventual desire to tie together information from Lanyrd, etc. to link the displayed milestones to events and presentation slides. I’m looking forward to the next version already.

    Lookzi DataAs ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    Upcoming Events: Dallas, Chicago, and Milwaukee logo

    While this is pretty short notice, we have a trio of events that may be of interest.

    Dallas Drupal DaysFirst, this weekend July 8-9, I am attending Dallas Drupal Days to talk on a pair of subjects. The first is the new VoIP Drupal module for Drupal 6. Here’s the synopsis:

    We are building a highly innovative framework to integrate Drupal sites with touchtone phones and Internet-telephony systems to provide Drupal users with the ability to, among other things:

    * Record, send and receive audio messages
    * Organize phone-based polls
    * Send meeting reminders
    * Broadcast emergency announcements
    * And much more!

    VoIP Drupal will change the way you interact with Drupal, your phone and the web!

    My only role in the module so far is a code review and fielding support requests for the lead developer, but the potential is huge.

    Next, I’m giving a session “Drupal on Windows” with a specific focus on ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    TechCocktail Startup Mixology D.C. Recap logo

    A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend TechCocktail’s Startup Mixology Conference in Washington, DC. The conference is a single track event focused on putting the people “who do” together with the people “who want to do.” It ends up being an interesting blend of business types, lawyers, accountants, technologists, bloggers, and developers. The thread that ties them all together are startups.

    My mission on this trip was to speak with existing customers like Zaarly and Uber, chat with a few potential customers, and generally be supportive of the people and startups in and around the city. There were three particular sessions that stood out for me:

    Mixology: Peter Corbett on CommunityFirst, was Peter Corbett of iStrategy Labs. iStrategy is a design, consulting, and strategy shop that is effectively one of the pillars of the DC technology community. He shared his experience of building the company as a part of – as ...

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  • By Keith Casey
    Introducing Keith Casey, Austin by way of PHP logo

    Hi, I’m Keith Casey and I’m the newest Developer Evangelist at Twilio. The first 90% of my job is to get good tools into the hands of good developers so they can build great things.

    I’ve been a PHPer for years so I understand what that community needs from a variety of angles. I know that every project, framework, and company has their own priorities, goals, and perspective on things. My goal is to make sure that our planning, features, and tools takes all of those things into consideration.

    I’m based in the “The Live Music Capital of the World” known as Austin, TX. While we’re known for the chaos that is SXSW, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Just below the surface, we have startups like Gowalla, Chaotic Moon, and Infochimps pushing the bounds of mobile and Big Data while the technology ...

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