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  • By Marcos Placona
    Handling your business calls and texts like a... boss! boss-mode.jpg

    I dread the idea of having ever to change my phone number. Be it because I'm getting spammed, or because someone thinks it's a good idea to call me during the night every night for the...rest...of...my...life. I'd much rather throw away all my business cards with a  disposable phone number than to dispose of my real phone number which I had for 15 years now.

    To make sure we never have to dispose of our real number, today we are going to look at how to provision new phone numbers that you can give out to people or put on your business cards without leaving the Twilio Console.

    Our tools

    • A Twilio account - you can get one for free here
    • (optional) A picture frame - because you're going to want to put your picture up looking like a boss when you finish this.

    Handling text messages

    The ...

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  • By Marcos Placona
    My grandma didn’t know what to wear anymore s1f2u5nt1hu83asPxcpjrcwdVpCHBScbQOFHBhQ5O-Iv3BhOF8vA3AZX4ir46GwdAKMhaWPo28DMW0Swj8J4n3H8pMz_a7JUNwy-mhn-ps-phYbDJ8JmDx59veovYSg0bouMVRaY

    Last time I visited my grandma, she was quite –rightfully– upset with the fact that one of the telephone services she’s been using for decades had been disabled without notice.

    Her daily routine for the past few decades has been to dial a number provided by her phone company every morning and be greeted with that day’s weather forecast. Said service would give her just enough to know what to wear and whether to bring an umbrella or not so she could get on with her day.

    The millennial inside me very quickly came up with the “I’ll just get her an Amazon Echo” solution, but the idea fell flat when I realised her house doesn’t have WiFi. Even if it did, I would be effectively volunteering for eternal family support on that device.

    So I took a step back and decided to build her the ...

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  • By Marcos Placona
    Send an SMS Message with Kotlin in 30 Seconds Send an SMS Message with Kotlin in 30 Seconds

    You’re building a Kotlin app, and you need to send SMS messages. What if I said you can get it done in 30 seconds with the Twilio API? Here’s a video showing you how quick it is to send an SMS message with Kotlin and the Twilio API.

    Video: How To Send SMS with Kotlin in 30 Seconds

    But you can’t copy and paste from a video, so here’s all the code you will need. Or you can just get it from this repository.

    Add the Twilio helper library for Java to your Gradle or Maven file.

    compile group: "com.twilio.sdk", name: "twilio", version: "7.17.+"
    

    Initialise the Twilio REST Client passing your Account SID and Auth Token, which are available on the Twilio Console.

    import com.twilio.Twilio
    
    fun main(args:Array<String>){
        Twilio.init(
                System.getenv("TWILIO_ACCOUNT_SID"),
                System.getenv("TWILIO_AUTH_TOKEN")
        )
    }
    

    You ...

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  • By Marcos Placona
    Building Serverless Functions with Kotlin jWT30xQgLqFc2WFqSOWrmycygF7CrUC_lDvWpyiL4U5hS_ge31Rq-LeQnHAGopIBfr7mTmD5FK3NzcLUjO1InWwfEOJAQPY9zEpr7B1To4ztuIyV021RWsrV6HqhtTkUTBNEmu-

    Serverless functions are great especially when used as backend for mobile apps. A while ago I wrote a blog post showing you how to Send an SMS message from Android and always wanted to change its backend application to not only use Kotlin, but also be a serverless function.

    Having a backend is important because we’re using an API and while Twilio is a REST API and you could make an HTTP request to it directly, you would need to store your Twilio credentials inside your app. This is not secure because an attacker can extract your account credentials very easily from it.

    Let’s look at how to change our backend to be a serverless function that is hosted on IBM’s Cloud Function.

    Our tools

    • I will be using IntelliJ IDEA with the Gradle Plugin for the code but feel free to use your preferred IDE as ...
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  • By Marcos Placona
    My SIGNAL London 2017 Schedule SIGNAL London 2017

    In just under a week we will be hosting SIGNAL London for the second time with even more talks, hands-on learning, live demos and the first ever European $BASH.

    Every single one of the talks at SIGNAL London has been carefully selected, here’s the full schedule. But if I were to choose, these are the talks that I’m personally most excited about:

    [11:15] Sharpening my tools

    We all know how important 2FA is to keep all your logins and data secure. With most 2FA being done via SMS messages, hackers a few months ago managed to use an exploit on the SS7 Network to hack a bank. In his session, B. Byrne will talk about this vulnerability and ways to improve an SMS integration to make it work best for 2FA.

    [11:55] Serverless is all the rage

    Back at SIGNAL SF 2017, we announced Functions that ...

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  • By Marcos Placona
    How to build Alexa skills with Kotlin bin-colour

    My local council operates on a fortnightly basis where they collect household waste one week, and recycling and garden waste the following. All I have to do is make sure I roll the correct wheelie bin once a week to a designated place so they can come and collect.

    I want to emphasise the word “correct” here since for household it’s the black bin, and for recycling and garden waste the orange and green bins, and I’ve lost count of how many times I came back home to find I’ve rolled the wrong bin colour for that week.

    To solve that I decided to create an Alexa skill that I can just ask which the correct colour for that week is. My local council offers a pdf file that tells me the bin colour of each week, so every odd week is orange and green, and every ...

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  • By Marcos Placona
    Building a fully featured burner phone with Kotlin jYjvOBIKVWapsjbGMKuRHIqddPnzLAwytYMbrrkySu6wr-zX4Ym_wCq6M7fSMhui3HHR-5FTsUAV35LUaIDqLbXV6l_KXq_Ts2nSM2Ks-P6Emq5jM057wTeXuQiheuJYDgFWCx8v

    You walk into your favourite coffee shop and today they ask you if you’d like to register for a loyalty card. All they need is your name and phone number.

    On the way back you stop for groceries and the cashier asks if you’d like to enter a prize draw. All they need is your name and phone number.

    It’s finally time to put that lawn mower you’ve not used in years on Craigslist but at the end of the ad, it asks you to enter your phone number so buyers can contact you directly.

    messages.gif

    You need a burner phone!

    Let’s look at how we can use Kotlin and Twilio to build and deploy a burner phone application so that we can use multiple phone numbers for these situations. If you just want to download the code you can have a look at this repo ...

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  • By Marcos Placona
    Build a smart doorbell with Twilio and Android Things smart-doorbell

    Working from home and being an avid Marilyn Manson fan means I usually miss out when someone’s knocking on my door. We have a doorbell but it’s not nearly as effective as the noise cancelling capabilities on my headphones.

    My headphone is paired to my phone which still means I will miss someone at the door, but never any calls. How about we build a smart doorbell that rings my phone when someone’s at the door?

    giphy.gif

    We will use Node.js to create a backend so we can interact with Twilio and build an Android application that will run on a Raspberry Pi and will serve as our smart doorbell.

    What we’ll need

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  • By Marcos Placona
    Send and Receive SMS messages with Kotlin aKa6oBT_BZo9m6oFFZifuN22qSbA6Xp6Sd0KpDYo1aqghh0I0qsLch7I8sAmox-J4bEca3tPi3XtPWjb_6CjYTCPdlJdcBIHIIbtXyrs7MKqLy_TNvWiMYJ9De3zBZgE5meXwSh5-1

    Kotlin is the new type-inferred hotness in the world of JVM languages giving you a single unified language for building Android, server-side and even JavaScript apps. If you’re a Java developer then giving Kotlin a spin is simple.

    Video: How to Send and Receive SMS messages with Kotlin

    But you can’t copy the code from the video, so you can download it from here or just follow along below:

    Getting started with Kotlin on the Server

    We’ll be using IntelliJ and Gradle for dependency management throughout this article. With a few extra steps you should also be able to use a different IDE and dependency manager.

    In IntelliJ create a new Gradle project and add Kotlin (Java) as the library.


    We will call this project TwilioKotlin and choose a package structure for our project. I usually use my own reversed domain as follows:


    In “Project Name” leave ...

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  • By Marcos Placona
    Build a Magic: The Gathering SMS price checker with Twilio and .NET CORE Build a Magic: The Gathering SMS price checker with Twilio and .NET CORE

    I have been a Magic: The Gathering player for many years now and during my travels I always enjoy partaking in local drafts.

    Most Magic stores require the player to be a member in order to let them use their wifi. Because I usually only ever go to stores I don’t have a membership, I always have to rely on my flakey phone’s data to buy or trade cards when I don’t know their price.

    I wish there was a way I could get card prices without having to rely on my phone’s internet. Let’s build an app to do just that using Twilio and .NET CORE.

    You can download the source code here if you don’t want to go through all the steps. Or just try it out by texting a card name to:

    UK: +44 1543 MAGIC5 ( +44 1543 624425)
    US: +1 ...

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