Hacking Pixel Art on Twilio’s SIGNAL Conference Video Wall with Ruby and 23,000 Text Messages

Hackpack in front of SIGNAL video wall

In May, Twilio set up a massive 40-foot video wall for their SIGNAL conference and handed out hackable wireless badges to every attendee. Once you activated your badge by placing it in one of the podiums in front of the display, you could send commands to a short code that would affect your personal block on the video wall. As attendees began activating their badges, you could… Read More

Validate Ruby objects with Active Model Validations

In the world of Rails and Active Record, validating data and storing it in a database is easy. If you’d ever built a simple site that stores data in a Google Spreadsheet then you’d quickly learn that users can enter anything (or nothing). In this post we’ll see how to validate input using part of Active Record: ActiveModel::Validations. Spreadsheets can be databases too In my last post… Read More

Create a landing page with Sinatra, Google Spreadsheets, and Ruby

In my career I’ve been tasked with building landing pages to capture user interest in a product or application. We’d want details from potential users, such as their name, and email address and phone number to contact them when the app was ready. You could choose to use a Google Form but you’re left with a page that looks like a Google Form then. As I showed… Read More

You Can Text Yelp To Find Food Faster, Or Build The App Yourself In Ruby


It’s SXSW season. The phrase “is there WiFI here?” is likely being uttered as you read this, and will be uttered every 1.3 seconds for the remainder of SXSW. When there’s no WiFi and you’re hangry, your friend, 3G, is there for you. It’ll help you find a spot to take a breather, grab some food, and recharge. Armed with a 3G connection, and a Twilio… Read More

Google Spreadsheets and Ruby

Sometimes you don’t need a database. Maybe you’re building a prototype or a simple internal application. Using a Google Spreadsheet can be quicker and easier to set up and get going with. In this tutorial we’ll use Hiroshi Ichikawa’s google_drive Ruby gem to read, write and delete data from a Google Spreadsheet with just a few lines of code. Accessing your Spreadsheet First you’ll need a spreadsheet to… Read More

Search for and buy Twilio phone numbers with Ruby

You’re in a hurry and you need a new phone number! All you have is your Twilio Account SID, Auth Token and a command line with Ruby installed. What do you do? Don’t worry, just grab your keyboard, open your terminal and you’ll have that new number in no time. Let’s buy a phone number Make sure you have the twilio-ruby gem installed. This will make things a lot… Read More

Curing the Post MAGFest Blues with Twilio, Ruby, Sinatra and SEGA music


MAGFest is a video game music festival with just about everything fun that you can imagine: a giant arcade, amazing video game cover bands, tons of nerdy merchandise and a fantastic community. Going back to normal life can be a bit of a bummer after partying with some best friends you only see a few times a year. Based on a suggestion from my pals at theshizz, I built a phone-based… Read More

Hitchhiker’s Guide to Twilio Programmable Voice


The Programmable Voice Guide is jam packed with volumes of amazing information about Twilio Programmable Voice.  In this post I’m going to introduce you to three topics that are personal favorites: Getting input during a call, Recording calls and Modifying in-progress calls Let’s go! Gather Input Phone calls don’t have to be a one-way conversation and the Guide can show you how. By using the <Gather> TwiML verb you can… Read More

Send SMS messages like emails in Rails with Textris

The Twilio Ruby helper library makes sending SMS messages with Ruby really easy. In fact, it’s as simple as:

But in the context of a web application this just isn’t very “Rails” is it? Are we mixing views and controllers? Where’s the separation of concerns? What about localisation? If you’ve thought this, or even if you’re just interested in better ways to send SMS messages in your… Read More