Francisco

Setting disruptors to stun – keynote at HTML5 Devcon in San Francisco

I just got off stage at the HTML5 Developer conference in San Francisco, California. The massive ballroom was packed with folk and my task was to set the mood for the day and be inspiring. Turns out it seems it worked well.

The abstract I submitted was this:

When the web came around it shook the foundation of IT at that time. World wide distribution independent of platform and environment? People allowed to write code without having a degree, a beard or suspenders? Unthinkable! Now we are the mainstream and the pendulum swings the other way – we are the disruption target and we lose our users to closed, specialised environments. Or do we? There is nothing stopping you from dazzling audiences with web technologies – all you need to do is to get back some of the excitement we felt when we fought the machine. In this keynote Chris Heilmann will show how you can get your web mojo back and reach a market of millions of new users that will be available to you this year. All you need to do is to give your web apps more love and stop trying to copy what you cannot deliver.

Here are the materials of the talk – and I will release the notes in a cleaner fashion later.

The slides are on the web and a screencast on YouTube. This is a raw screencast recorded on stage, so the sound quality is not the best. There was a video recording and you should soon be able to see that online.

Here are the links I talk about:

View full post on Christian Heilmann

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Report from San Francisco Gigabit Hack Days with US Ignite

This past weekend, the Internet Archive played host to a crew of futurist hackers for the San Francisco Gigabit Hack Days.

The two-day event, organized by Mozilla and the City of San Francisco, was a space for hackers and civic innovators to do some experiments around the potential of community fiber and gigabit networks.

Kick-off

The event kicked off Saturday morning with words from Ben Moskowitz and Will Barkis of Mozilla, followed by the Archive’s founder Brewster Kahle. Brewster talked a bit about how the Archive was imagined and built as a “temple to the Internet.”

San Francisco’s Chief Innovation Officer, Jay Nath, talked about the growing practice of hackdays in the city and the untapped potential of the City’s community broadband network. The SF community broadband network is a 1Gbps network that provides Internet access for a wide range of community sites within San Francisco—including public housing sites, public libraries, city buildings and more.

These partners are eager to engage with developers to use the network as a testbed for high bandwidth applications, so we quickly broke off to brainstorm possible hacks.

Among the proposals: an app to aggregate and analyze campaign ads from battleground states; apps to distribute crisis response; local community archives; 3D teleconferencing for education and medicine; “macro-visualization” of video, and fast repositories of 3D content. Read on for more details.

Hacking

Ralf Muehlen, network engineer, community broadband instigator, and all-around handyman at the Archive prepared for the event in a few very cool ways—unspooling many meters of gigabit ethernet cable for hackers, and provisioning a special “10Gbps desktop.”

The 10Gbps desktop in action

 

The 10Gbps desktop was a server rack with an industrial strength network card, connected to raw fiber and running Ubuntu. While not a very sensible test machine, the 10Gbps desktop was an awesome way to stress the limits of networks, hardware, and software clients. Video hackers Kate Hudson, Michael Dale, and Jan Gerber created a video wall experiment to simultaneously load 100 videos from the Internet Archive, weighing in at about 5Mbps each. On this machine, unsurprisingly, the main bottleneck was the graphics card. Casual testing revealed that Firefox does a pretty good job of caching and loading tons of media where other browsers choked or crashed, though its codec support is not as broad, making these kinds of experiments difficult.

Demos

Here are some of the results of the event:

Macro-visualization of video

Kate Hudson, Michael Dale, and Jan Gerber created an app that queues the most popular stories on Google News and generates a video wall.

The wall is created by searching the Archive’s video collection by captions and finding matches. Imagined as a way of analyzing different types of coverage around the same issue, the app has a nice bonus feature: real-time webcam chat, in browser, using WebRTC. If two users are hovered over the same video, they’re dropped into an instant video chat room, ChatRoulette-style.

The demo uses some special capabilities of the Archive and can’t be tested at home just yet, but we’re looking to get the code online as soon as possible.

Scalable 3D content delivery

As Jeff Terrace writes in his post-event blog: “3D models can be quite big. Games usually ship a big DVD full of content or make you download several gigabytes worth of content before you can start playing… [by] contrast, putting 3D applications on the web demands low-latency start times.”

Jeff and Henrik Bennetsen, who work on federated 3D repositories, wanted to showcase the types of applications that can be built with online 3D repositories and fast connections. So they hacked an “import” button into ThreeFab, the three.js scene editor.

Using Jeff’s hack, users can load models asynchronously in the background directly from repositories like Open3DHub (CORS headers are required for security reasons). The models are seamlessly loaded from across the web and added into the current scene.

This made for an awesome and thought-provoking line of inquiry—what kind of apps and economies can we imagine using 3D modeling, manipulation, and printing across fast networks? Can 3D applications be as distributed as typical web applications tend to be?

Bonus: as a result of the weekend, the Internet Archive is working on enabling CORS headers for its own content, so hopefully we will be able to load 3D/WebGL content directly from the Archive soon.

3D videoconferencing using point cloud streams

XB PointStream loads data from Radiohead's House of Cards music video

Andor Salga, author of an excellent JS library called XB PointStream, wanted to see if fast networks could enable 3D videoconferencing.

Point clouds are 3D objects represented through volumetric points rather than mesh polygons. They’re interesting to graphics professionals for a number of reasons—for one, they can have very, very high-resolution and appear very life-like.

Interestingly, sensor arrays like the low-cost Microsoft Kinect can be used to generate point cloud meshes on the cheap, by taking steroscopic “depth images” along with infrared. (It may sound far out, but it’s the basis for a whole new wave of motion-controlled videogames).

Using Kinect sensors and WebGL, it should be possible to create a 3D videoconferencing system on the cheap. Users on either end would be able to pan around a 3D model of a person they’re connected to, almost like a hologram.

This type of 3D video conferencing would be able to communicate depth information in a way that traditional video calls can’t. Additionally, these kinds of meetings could be recorded, then played back with camera interaction, allowing users to get different perspectives of the meetings. Just imagine the applications in the health and education sectors.

For his hack, Andor and a few others wanted to prototype a virtual classroom that would—for instance—enable scientists at San Francisco’s Exploratoreum to teach kids at community sites connected to San Francisco’s community broadband network.

After looking at a few different ways of connecting the Kinect to the browser, it appeared that startup Zigfu offers the best available option: a browser plugin that provides an API to Kinect hardware. San-Francisco native Amir Hirsch, founder of Zigfu, caught word of the event and came by to help. The plan was to use Websockets to sync the data between two users of this theoretical system. The team didn’t get a chance to complete the prototype by the end of the weekend, but will keep hacking.

Point clouds are typically very large data sets. Especially if they are dynamic, a huge amount of data must transfer from one system to another very quickly. Without very fast networks, this kind of application would not be possible.

Other hacks

Overall, this was a fantastic event for enabling the Internet Archive to become a neighborhood cloud for San Francisco, experimenting on the sharp edges of the internet, and building community in SF. A real highlight was to see 16-year-old Kevin Gil from BAVC’s Open Source track lead a group of teenaged hackers in creating an all-new campaign ad uploader interface for the Archive—quite impressive for any weekend hack, let alone one by a team of young webmakers.

From left: Ralf Muehlen, Tim Pozar, and Mike McCarthy, the minds behind San Francisco's community broadband network

Thank everyone for spending time with us on a beautiful SF weekend, and see you next time!

Get Involved

If you’re interested in the future of web applications, fast networks, and the Internet generally, check out Mozilla Ignite.

Now through the end of summer, you can submit ideas for “apps from the future” that use edge web technologies and fast networks. The best ideas will earn awards from a $15k prize pool.

Starting in September, you can apply into the Mozilla Ignite apps challenge, with $485,000 in prizes for apps that demonstrate the potential of fast networks.

Check out the site, follow us @mozillaignite, and let us know where you see the web going in the next 10 years!

View full post on Mozilla Hacks – the Web developer blog

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Web Developer – Successful Advertising Company – $140K – SoMa, San Francisco

CA-San Francisco, Are you a PHP developer who is looking to push their career to the next level? Are you interested in working with a company that is on the cusp of new age advertising? My client is a successful and established advertising company, that has some of the world’s biggest brands as their clients. They are looking for a savvy back-end PHP developer to join their engineering team to build outstanding, at View full post on Monster Job Search Results jt:(Web Developer)

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QA Test Engineer and Operations Specialist – San Francisco

Google , unknown
Job description: …to grow their businesses through cutting edge technologies and marketing strategies. Our team consists of sharp, analytical minds and…e.g., GM, McDonald's, Disney), on the leading web properties (e.g., YouTube, NY Times and Yahoo!). Our… View full post on Dice.com – Web Marketing

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Appcelerator Announces First-Ever CODESTRONG Developer Conference in San Francisco, September 18-20

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. Appcelerator, the leading mobile cloud platform for rapidly developing native mobile, desktop, and tablet applications using web technologies, today announced it will host its first developer conference. Dubbed CODESTRONG, Appcelerators inaugural developer conference will take place in San Francisco at the Intercontinental…

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SaaS Sales Specialist – San Francisco, CA

Dell San Francisco, CA
Job description: …of our full suite of applications     * Forecast sales activity and revenue achievement in salesforce.com, while creating satisfied customers     * Perform on- line demos of our product via web technologies and web-based presentations… View full post on Dice.com – Web Application

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