Tag: Andrew Moore

A Slice of Silicon Hills Talks App Deployment with SocialREST

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

47404760-c3da-410f-a36a-64718dabbac4_120While most iOS app developers want to incorporate social media in on their new apps, the process is easier said than done. Facebook, Twitter and other platforms often have their own code – which developers may or may not be familiar with. That’s where SocialREST comes in.
This four-member Geekdom startup has created a Facebook code library that can greatly reduce the workload of the developer — both in integrating with Facebook and in adding specific Facebook functionalities. When developers put their apps on Facebook through SocialREST’s cloud service, they can use simple code shortcuts to access complex Facebook functions such as searching for friends.
Additionally, SocialREST protects their client’s apps from being affected by changes in the Facebook API. Because the startup acts as a middleman, they can handle all such changes on their end — saving clients the headache of having to go back and re-write code for all their deployed apps.
SocialREST is also putting the finishing touches on their Facebook analytics service. This will give developers a dashboard that shows all their apps’ social interactions and conversion rates – or how often a user downloads the app following a social interaction. The dashboard will also give developers all the information a Facebook login can provide, such as user profile information. According to Selby, this will help developers better plan out their social media strategy for their current app and any additional apps they create.
In the future, SocialREST plans to expand their service to Twitter, Google+, and other social sites.

A Slice of Silicon Hills Interviews the Amazing JellyBean

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

e86bef25-d120-4e7f-bd5e-aae916500596_640x360Has your internet ever gone down? Of course it has. To fix it, you probably had to “power cycle” your modem and router – which essentially means turning them off and on in the right order. Depending on where all the wires connect, this can be a real pain.
The Amazing JellyBean fully automates this process with the press of a single button. Created by former Time Warner Cable technician Jim Pyle, the device plugs into both your modem and router and restarts everything in the correct order to get your internet back up. According to Pyle, 80 percent of all connection problems can be fixed by power cycling the modem and router. Pyle has also completed a Bluetooth compatible prototype with the help of Biplab Pal from India. Using the Bluetooth connectivity, users will be able to activate the JellyBean with their phone without ever leaving their computer.
Pyle is funding the first round of production with a Kickstarter campaign that raised $13,968. This will fund the development of the first of 2000 Amazing JellyBeans, which Pyle will sell by partnering with startup friendly retailers.

Full disclosure: The Amazing JellyBean is an advertiser with Silicon Hills News.

A Slice of Silicon Hills Rocks Out with Rockify

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

28aef08a-f7de-4504-987d-a21ade66c477_244Do you like music videos? Do you miss old MTV? If you do, then you’ll probably like Rockify. Created by Joel Korpi, the Rockify platform is designed to present music videos in a better format than other sites on the web. But there’s a twist, Korpi has created a complex algorithm that uses social media to identify what music videos users like — and more importantly – what they will like in the future.
To make this work, users log into Rockify with either Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or yahoo. The Rockify algorithm will then take in all the social data available from the primary user and the user’s friends, family, and connections, to find out what music the user will want to see. The platform also learns what you like as you interact with it. According to Korpi, Rockify can reliably find music that users are guaranteed to enjoy after about 80 hours of use.
Based in Austin, Rockify is taking full advantage of both Austin City Limits and SXSW. The startup is currently in the process of re-launching their ACL specific app and has a channel on its platform dedicated to SXSW. Rockify currently has a library of around 400,000 music videos which are indexed from YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, and many others. It is also hosting exclusive ACL content.
The startup is currently in its second round of funding and is looking for entertainment oriented investors that can help the platform gain traction.

A Slice of Silicon Hills Features BudgetDoc

Reporter with Silicon Hills News
96a2728c-b8d1-4fe0-957c-01539bfe12d1_793Do you want a doctor?
Do you want to bypass the hassle of insurance claims and pay cash up front?
Then BudgetDoc wants to make your life easier by creating a network of doctors willing to give discounts to patients that pay cash up front.
Dr. Megan R. Williams Khmelev, Yevgeniy V. Khmelev, Gopinath Khandavalli, and Oliver Jensen founded BudgetDoc.
The site allows users to research doctors and the prices each doctor offers for services, as well as compare doctors and their ratings to find the best healthcare option. Users can also contact physicians though the site if they have any questions on additional prices and services.
The BudgetDoc network already has around 30 healthcare providers including doctors, dentists, chiropractors, and lab services – most of which are located in the San Antonio area. All providers are vetted through the Texas Medical Board. BudgetDoc is free, but requires users to sign up to use the site.

A Slice of Silicon Hills Features Austin-based MakerSquare

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

fb2398bd-1bea-4481-9fc9-4328d1432848_488Great tech startups need great developers – especially developers that are fluent in the latest coding languages used on the web. Unfortunately, the only way for companies to get such developers is to train them in house, or hope to find someone who has learned them on their own.
This week we talk to MakerSquare – a company created to address this problem by providing a 10-week training course that covers languages and skills that today’s tech companies need.
Based in Austin, MakerSquare has been working with several Austin companies to create a custom developer course. Students that graduate will have all the skills needed to be hired by these companies.
“The point of the course is two sided”, says Education Architect Harsh Patel. “One: To get people who want to get into web development into programming.. ..and Two: It helps companies in Austin find a lot of tech talent that they need. Because a lot of companies need web developer talent right now, but there’s just not enough.”
The intensive 10-week course is largely project based with students working alone, in groups, and with mentors from Austin tech companies. The training includes Ruby on Rails, JavaScript frameworks like jQuery and backbone.js, HTML5, and CSS3.
The first course will start on June 10 and can hold 24 – 28 students. The application process is still open. Applicants who do not make the first course may be placed in subsequent courses. MakerSquare plans to hold the first few courses back to back and hopes to be able to offer them more frequently this fall.
In order to be chosen for the program, applicants must demonstrate both a record of accomplishment and a drive to succeed.
“We look for people who have shown success in something else previously, whether it is technical-related or not,” says Patel.
Upon completion of the course, MakerSquare will help the graduates get internships, apprenticeships, or full time positions in tech companies across the nation. The current list of hiring partners includes uShip, Crushpath, PeopleAdmin, and others.
To apply for the developer training course, join as a hiring partner, or participate as a mentor in the program; go to Makersquare.

Austin-based StoryPress Lets People Record Their Stories

2a2184a0-370d-4e90-b936-5dfa152f3ec9_640x360This week Slice of Silicon Hills News Host Andrew Moore interviews StoryPress founder Michael Davis about his new iPad app for creating and saving family history through audio stories.

“StoryPress is trying to change the way that family history is preserved and passed down from generation to generation by making it fun and easy to record stories with you own voice,” Davis said.

Davis got the idea from his grandmother. A year and a half ago she had just received an iPad, and was looking for a recording application to record personal stories. None of the available applications were satisfactory – simply providing her with a big MP3 file which she had no idea how incorporate into something bigger. Davis created StoryPress to fill this need.

“Not only do we have the right interface to make it fun and easy, but we came up with the prompts so it’s not intimidating,” Davis said.

The StoryPress app can essentially interview its users by giving them a series of prompts grouped together in topic modules. After choosing one of the modules, users simply respond to each prompt given. When they are done, StoryPress automatically ties all the narration segments together into one audio book. If users feel the prompts are too constricting, they may also do a simple self recorded narration.

The current version app – launched last December — allows users to create audio books with custom book covers images, but future versions will allow users to add pictures and other media.

“The goal is to make it a real multimedia experience where the user can add pictures, background music, videos, and have the story live on one permanent URL,” Davis said.

Future versions of the app will also provide stock photos of iconic American imagines through several eras, as well as musical accompaniments, which users can purchase and add to their audio books.

Users will be able to create their first five stories for free, but will have to pay a yearly cloud storage cost of $49 of they want to create more. If users want a more tangible copy of their audio books, they can also order CD versions from StoryPress for a fee.

StoryPress has seen 4000 downloads so far, and they will be kickstarter April 1 to access more funding. StoryPress will be releasing an Android tablet in mid April.

UMeTime Featured on A Slice of Silicon Hills

imgres-18UMeTime, which has signed up more than 120 businesses in Austin to use its hyperlocal deal app, is featured this week on Slice of Silicon Hills News.
In this episode of Slice of Silicon Hills News, Host Andrew Moore interviews Dan McKernan with UMeTime about a new way to connect businesses with customers. UMeTime allows businesses to create and market their own discounted deals as wells as blast out three hour specials to nearby customers with the UMeTime app. The startup was created by four close friends from California who recently moved to Austin for its startup friendly climate. The hospitality in Austin and Texas have been incredibly helpful to the young company, which launched its app four weeks ago, McKernan said. Silicon Hills News did this Q&A with one of the founders a few weeks ago.
The company plans to launch in five to ten more university markets in Texas by the end of the year.

Kirpeep’s SXSW Swag Challenge Featured on A Slice of Silicon Hills

c6766a5f-1d99-4582-a5df-afa3325716fd_61 Kirpeep’s Leticia Barrientos, vice president of outreach, talks with Slice of Silicon Hills Host Andrew Moore about the startup’s plans for South by Southwest this weekend.
The company, based at Geekdom, is having a swag challenge at SXSW. More than 5,000 people signed up for the challenge, which quickly sold out, Barrientos said. They have established a waitlist. To find out more, the startup will based at Free Lunch Friday’s Rig at SXSW at 604 East 7th Street in Austin.
Kirpeep is an online marketplace that allows people to exchange, buy or sell goods and services. For more on the company, please read this profile on the company.

Disclosure: Kirpeep is an advertiser with Silicon Hills News. And Geekdom is a sponsor.

A Slice of Silicon Hills Featuring Wimbo Music

Silicon Hills News Reporter Andrew Moore interviews Wimbo Music’s Chief Technical Officer Greg Cerveny in the first episode of Slice of Silicon Hills. The show is recorded and produced at the Silver Fox Studios at Geekdom in downtown San Antonio.
If you’re interested in being on a future show, please send us an e-mail. The goal of the show is to shine a spotlight on Austin and San Antonio technology companies and entrepreneurs and those visiting the area to participate in local incubators.

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