Hack and frogs

stories from a frog eater in the tech world

My Tech Spring Break in Miami

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I might not be the typical college kid… For my first Spring Break in the US, 3 years ago while I was exchanging at St. Olaf College, I took all the money I could have spent on booze to go visit San Francisco. I took two weeks in SF to discover the tech scene. Instead of getting drunk and experiencing a part of American culture, I found an internship and stared my startup life.

I just realized that I almost did the same thing this year. After riding the StartupBus and enjoying a crazy SXSW, I spent a week in Miami to check out their startup scene.

If “Miami” and “startup” are words that you would not put together, you should definitely change your mind. There is a tech scene in south Florida, and all the elements are falling to place to become a successful hub for South West US and Latin America.

The beach a block away from my hostel

I want to take the opportunity with this blog post to showcase some of the great startups I met there.


One of the biggest players of the local community, Senzari, has a team working on a new product they just launched: MusicGraph. MusicGraph is at the core of their other product, WahWah radio.

It’s a graph API (just like Facebook graph) around music. One of the most interesting features of the API is the recommendation engine. You could integrate in your app something as powerful as the Spotify recommendation engine just by calling the API. They also provide you all the social information of an artist. If you are building a service around music, you definitively should check what MusicGraph is doing. MusicGraph


During my first hackathon ever, back in 2011, I built an app using the awesome Face.com API. They later got acquired by Facebook and the facial recognition API seat was empty for a while, until Kairos came into the game. The API is the second product they launched after Kairos TimeClock, an iPad-base timeclock that uses facial recognition to identify employees. Possibilities are end-less, retailers could build loyalty programs, photo apps could use it to identify people… It’s simple and easy to hack, take a look at Kairos, an alumni of NewME accelerator, a residential technology startup accelerator for businesses led by underrepresented groups (African-Americans, Latinos, & Women) in the technology industry.


I found Flomio on Angelist and I had a chance to meet one of their founders, Richard Grundy. They build tools and apps around NFC. For example, they help event organizers with NFC enabled wristbands. As soon as the wristband is registered and tagged to the readers in the venue, organizers could see who is “checking in” where and get analytics about their events. They also built a photo booth where it identifies people using the wristband and then posts the picture on the social network.

Could you image that they also raised $96,000 on Kickstarter to create the first NFC reader for iOS devices, Flojack out of Miami. We sat for almost an hour and talked about their vision and the difficulties of building a hardware startup in Miami. I am definitively looking forward for more to come from this team.

Not to mention Flomio is a Techstars alumni.


I met the Muzik team at SXSW during Slashathon that we sponsored with 3scale. They built the first hackable headphones, and it’s just amazing ! The well designed bluetooth headphones are a concentration of high technology. It has a touch gesture surface so you can swipe to control volume and go through your playlist. 4 hotkeys could be programmed, like sending a tweet, it even has a accelerometer and proximity sensor to detect when you put the headset on your neck and pauses your music.

It’s been 2 weeks that I am using them everyday and I love it. They sync perfectly with Spotify on my Android phone. I am really excited to see what people could build with Muzik headphones. Feel free to take a look to the Muzik SDK.

There are a lot more interesting startups in Miami, just scroll down the list on AngelList and you will be amazed.

In another article I will tell you more about the first MIA Music Summit HackDay that was sponsored by 3scale.

Are you are building a startup in Miami? Tell me about it and I would love to take a look :)

Thanks to Kristine my awesome coworker for proof reading this article :)

Use Google Spreasheet and Firebase as Backend for Your Site

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Recently at 3scale, we had to re-build our customer page to make it more dynamic and easy to maintain. For now it was a classic Wordpress post, with html code in it. Really hard to maintain anytime we had to add a new customer or change its information.

As I was in charge of the project, I immediately thought about all the magic stuff I played around in Meteor. Stuff like dynamic view update when data changes in database and Handlebar Templating. But part of the requirements was to build something using Wordpress without using any iframe. Meteor apps were out of the game…

At that time an article about using Google Spreadsheet as a backend-system got a bit of hype, so we decided to try that. It has the advantage no not neccesitate any coding experience from the person maintaining the spreadsheet, perfect for this project.

To make the page dynamic and reactive we added Handlebar-like templating and Firebase support. In this article I want to walk you through a step-by-step tiny project so you could also use what’ve done.

Project idea

I am running a great conference soon : MemeCon, a conference about memes. I built a nice one-page website and want my assistant to update the agenda easily.

We let people submit they paper proposal using a Google form, and approved them manually so they could be added on the site.

What you need

  • a single page website, I personally used a great template found on StartBootrap.com
  • a Google Form and the response spreadsheet
  • a Zapier account (Free tier is enough for the demo)
  • a Firebase account (Free tier is enough for the demo)

Google Spreadsheet setup

On Google side, once you have configure the form you want, go to the corresponding response sheet (click View Responses).

There we will add a column named Accepted. If a submission is Accepted we will put YES in this column. To make it easier to maintain, let’s setup cells so it will only accept YES or NO as values.

Go to Data>Validation menu. In Criteriat select From list items and put YES, NO in the field and click OK. Once you have done that, you can copy the cell to all the column.

We should be done with Google Spreadsheet.


Firebase is an amazing tool to build realtime applications and share the data with all the concurrent users. Here we are going to use it as a fasta backend infrastructure accesible in Javascript. We will only store accepted talks on Firebase.

Once your Firebase is activated, you will need to create an app. Your app will be accessible at YOURAPP.firebaseIO.com. Click your app name to access Firebase dashboard, called the Forge. That’s where you will your data getting created in real-time. You can also create and modify data manually.

Imagine the data stored as a tree, with roots and leafs. To organize our dataset we want to create a talks root. The best way is to great it under main root and add an empty leaf that you will delete after. To add or delete a node, hover on its name and either click + to add a child node or to delete the node and its child.

You should have something like this at this point.


We are done with Firebase configuration now.


To export data from Google Spreadsheet to Firebase I was too lazy to code and work with Google Webhooks so I found that Zapier will be a good intermediate to do that for me. If you are familiar with IFFT it’s a similar product with more options.

What the Zap will do: everytime a row in the spreadsheet it will add/update a record in Firebase.

  1. Make a new Zap
  2. Select Google Doc for the left service, with Updated Spreadsheet Row as a trigger.
  3. Select Firebase for the right service, with Update/set record ID as a trigger your should have something like this : images
  4. On step 2 and 3 of the Zap creation, you will have to log on your Google and Firebase accounts, that should be pretty straight forward
  5. On step 4, you select the spreasheet and the sheet where the responses are
  6. We add a custom filter on Accepted column so text matches exactly YES to have only accepted submissions
  7. At step 5 you setup the path as /talks/authorname/ so talks will be listed by their authorname under talks node fields to store part let you choose which information you want to store. It’s also useful to rename column name. Mine looks like this images
  8. You can test and name your Zap.

Your test should pass and add a record to Firebase. Check on the Firebase forge to see if it worked. A common problem is that Firebase does not like variable names with special character, and Google Spreadsheet column names are usually called gsx$columnname.

One solution,is to rename columns in the Fields to store part as described here

Website setup

Now that our data are stored on Firebase, we need to get them and display them on the page.


As we are using a static HTML file we can’t use any Handlebar or Moustache templating system that need Node to precompile templates.

Instead I used a solution called Markup.js. Include it in your project like you will do with any other javascript file.

Somewhere in your page, where you want to display submissions add this piece of code

<div id="talks-list"></div>

Then add the end of the file add :

<script id="talks-list-template" type="text/template">
          <div class="featurette" id="{{authorname}}">
            <img class="featurette-image img-circle img-responsive pull-left" src="{{imageurl}}" style="width: 200px;height:200px;">
            <h3 class="">{{title}}
                <span class="text-muted">by <a href="http://twitter.com/{{twitter}}">{{name}}</a></span>
            <p class="lead">
            <h4><span class="text-info">{{time}}</span></h4>

First line initiate a template named talks-list-template

the {{talks}} ..{{/talks}} block corresponds to a forEach loop on an array talks, in this block each call to another “ THING will be related to the current object in the forEach loop.

For example, by calling {{authorname}} we get the authorame of the current talk oject contained in talks array.

Now we have to pass to this template the corresponding talks object.

Getting data

Add Firebase SDK to your project <script type='text/javascript' src='https://cdn.firebase.com/js/client/1.0.2/firebase.js'></script>

        talks_array =[];
        var talksDB = new Firebase('https://YOURAPP.firebaseio.com/talks');
        talksDB.once('value', function(snapshot) {
          if(snapshot.val() === null) {
            alert('Error reading snapshot');
          } else {
            $.each(snapshot.val(), function(key,talk) {
            talks_array = _.sortBy(talks_array,function(t){return t.time});
            var template = document.getElementById("talks-list-template").firstChild.textContent;
            var context = {
                talks: talks_array,
            $("#talks-list").html(Mark.up(template, context));
  1. We initiate the talksDB object we the data available at https://YOURAPP.firebaseio.com/talks
  2. We read the data once. in the case of a realtime app you will use on instead
  3. Loop over the data to create an array
  4. (optional)Sort the array by date (need underscorejs)
  5. Search for template talks-list-template, initiate talks array with the one just created.
  6. Apply in the div with id talks-list the template.


To try if your app is working well follow these steps: 1. submit info on your Google Form. 2. accept one submit 3. Run Zapier’s Zap manually 4. Check that the talk is added in Firebase Forge 5. Load your static html file

You should see your talk proposal listed. In production you will only need to update the Google Spreadsheet to update your website.

What could be improve

Zapier and Webhooks

If you are less lazy than myself you can find a way to go hover Zapier and hook google spreasheet directly to Firebase. Also, Zapier zaps are run every 15minutes on free tier, so it takes 15minutes to actually update your website. But if you run the zap manually it’s instant.


By default you Firebase data are readable and writable by anybody. To change that you can go to http://YOURAPP.firebaseio.com in the Security tab and change ".write": true to ".write": false. Zapier will still be able to write into it, but not random users navigating on your website. More about Firebase Security

Host your whole app on Firebase

Recently Firebase launched a beta program to host static apps directly on their platform. Check the Documentation to learn more.

It might be a great way to deploy prototype, and gets all the perks of Firebase speed.

Webfaction to Host Your App

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Webhosting to be a giant mess with thousands of actors 10 years ago, you would have spend hours to find the perfect hosting company. If you did not want to go to the big guys like 1&1 or OVH and pay a three-figures bill to have basic features you really had few options…

Now, it’s over, hosting is cool again with a lot of new players in the game. I just found a new one that I have not heard of before and it look legit.

To be honest, I really did not take care of my personal hosting for the last years. Once I found a deal to get unlimited hosting for $50/year, on pronethosting, everything worked fine. At that time I only needed PHP and MySQL with FTP access to run my blog. Then they got acquired by another hosting company CoolHandle, and increased their price, to $100 a year. It was still fine with me. But recently I had couple of problem (DNS changes without notice, access to dashboard,…). After 5 years, I am ready to move and find a professional company to host my site for a decent price.

WebFaction seems to be ideal for that.

Who is WebFaction

The worst you want to do with your code is to give it to an untrust person. WebFaction was created in 2003 under the name python-hosting.com, they used to host only Python applications and got quite popular in the community. They were hosting thousands of open-source python projects, and years after years kept improving their offer. They added SVN repo hosting, Django support and many other stuff.

Python-hosting is now WebFaction and they claim to host 250 000 apps, with datacenters in US, Europe and Asia. Ruby and PHP apps can now be hosted on their platform. Everything cool could be done there :)

For Developers by Developers

Developers tend to wish to have control of their machine. And WebFaction team totally understood that, they come from the same world as their customers.

I used to be super lazy, and scared of SSH. At that time, I would have had prefered FTP with a visual interface over SSH in a shell. I found myself safe whenever I had to deal with cPanel dashboard instead of configuring manually each services…

Now, that I gained experience in development and ops, I definitively prefer to have control on machines.

WebFaction suits definitively this need. If you deal with cloud computing on everyday job you won’t be lost, you are surrounded by a environement you already know. It’s one of the best shared hosting provider with the last up-to-date software.

Their simple dashboard lets you setup the high-level features to manage emails, domains or databases. The rest could be done directly in a shell on a SSH session. You are the master onboard. And for only $8.50 a month, that’s the best you could expect ! Even cheaper than Amazon EC2 or Heroku !

Unfortunately I could not quit my actual hoster, until this summer. But I will definitively start my future projects on WebFaction.

If you are not confident paying without testing they even have a trial tier.

I am looking for hearing from your experience using WebFaction. Happy Coding !

I Am a Buspreneur - Day 1

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WoW! Just wow ! i just get back from the crazy SXSW, or for those who don’t know: “the Las Vegas of startup world”. It’s been an amazing experience from Day 1 till the end. I can’t wait to tell you about what happened ;)

The StartupBus

As you may have read in my previous post I took the StartupBus to go to Austin. We left San Francisco, CA on Tuesday in the early morning to arrive Austin, TX on Friday evening.

Day 1

We were all supposed to meet at the StartupHouse at 6 am to pack our stuff and start the journey to Austin. I had a really time to wake up, I barely spelt the weekend before, I was at another hackathon where we’ve build a tip planner called EasyMapr. Apparently some other Buspreneurs attended the same Hackathon, so we were all on the same page in terms of hours of sleep. But ready to rock !

Josh, our conductor organized hackathons and a launch party the week before our departure but I was not able to attend. So I did not know anybody. It’s part of the magic of the StartupBus adventure ;)

While we were meeting each other prior to departure we were surrounded by cameras from TechCrunch and another special guest : Mr. Robert Scoble in person.

For those who don’t’ know Robert Scoble, he is working for Rackspace (a hosting company) and helps startups to get traction thanks to interviews and blog posts on his high-traffic Blog. He is sometimes solicited to be a judge or an advisor during startup competitions. He was on the bus with us until we stopped in Santa Monica. It was a chance for us to have him onboard to receive quick feedbacks about what we were building.

We had a long way to ride to Austin, but thanks to the sponsor of the Sillicon Valley bus, Elance we had a nice breakfast at their place. We also met Buspreneurs from the Stanford bus. On our way to Elance we all present ourselves in the bus. I was really impressed by the variety of skillsets and by all the talented people. Most of my Buspreneurs fellows were working in a startup or already create one/many. It was also a nice international crowd with several Australians, a German and a French (myself).

After our nice breakfast it was time for us to ride to Los Angeles. As soon as we get onboard we started the pitch session.

Everybody had 1min to explain his project and vision. I think that we all pitched something. They were ideas like a StartTrek alarm clock that gives you a summary of your day in the morning, or a website to create your own cereals and many others.

I pitched the idea for a Taxi-sharing service, where people can split the taxi bill by sharing a cab with somebody that’s going somewhere around the place you are going to. Like most of us I was not strongly attached to my idea and I was very open to work on someone else project.

At the end of the pitches (~40 pitches) we stopped to form groups and start working.

Most of the groups were formed pretty quickly, and 6 projects really emerged after the stop.

StartupBus Silicon Valley projects:

Beeliner - Find which events the people you want to meet are attending Cerealize - Your custom cereals delivered at your door. Expensiev - Expenses tracking for freelancers Gaggle - mobile app that filters your social feeds to only people you care about in that instan HipType - Dynamic content for iBooks Author, analytics and social media integration Kinetic.ly - Tools for motion analysis

As soon as we went back on the bus we were all ready to brainstorm and work on our on projects. By the end of the day we had to stop in Santa Monica to do quick Customer validation survey on the street, so we better have a good idea of our product by that time.

I joined to the team Cerealize because I was very excited by the quick brainstorm we had when we were forming teams. I did not know before that cereals were a big deal in America. That helped me to understand to full potential of this project, much bigger than what I thought during the pitch session.

The video of the first day thanks to John from TechCrunch

I Am on a Bus!

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To be honest I am not yet on the Bus, it’s just a matter of time now. In 6 hours I will be seating on THE bus, THE StartupBus departing from San Francisco to go to Austin for SXSWi. I think I have not realized yet that I will part of this crazy adventure.

For those who have not heard of StartupBus and SXSWi before let me try to explain.


Helds in Austin Texas, SXSW is a global festival. SXSW stands for South by SouthWest and the little i is for interactive. It started in 1987 as a music festival and then they add music and more recently an interactive track for emerging new technology stuff. It happens every year in Austin and it is always bigger and bigger in terms of number of attendees and performances :)

From a tech point of view it is the place to be if you are part of this world. During 4 days, all the most important guys on earth that are building the Web/App/Mobile world will be there. Either by being speaking in one of the many panels of the official track or by throwing other events in the city.

It is the place to go for grown startups who want to promote their product and new features but for sure it is really the place to be for new startup that need traction and press.

I think that all the web entrepreneurs in the world have a “SXSW Launch plan” in their mind. There is a lot of competitions to get the attention of the early-adopters techie attendees, and only few happy ending stories. Examples ? in 2007 Twitter get a lot of early traction event if they did not launch there, Foursquare launched a SXSWi in 2009 or FoodSpotting in 2010.

This year everybody will be looking around for the next big thing. And for short period the most popular pickup line will be “I was using blabla before it was cool at SXSW”. Early adopters have a though life ;)

I planned to install at least a dozen of new apps on my ipad, and sign up to a bunch of other websites. I heard so many thing about this festival, I am really excited about it. For a wannabe entrepreneur its all the fairy that I kid could have in Disneyland.

And to add more fun and WOWness to this adventure I will be joining the Silicon Valley StartupBus.

The idea of the StartupBus started with a friend joke between Australian guys : roadtrip to SF with friend with the challenge of building a startup in the same time. The first StartupBus trip went to SF to Austin in 2010 on a bus with wifi. At Austin six projects were pitched to local investors. In 2011 Chicago, Clevevand, NYC and Miami joined the movement. For 2012 11 buses will travel across US and Mexico to get to Austin with entrepreneurs on board.

Or should I say Buspreneurs :) Buspreneurs are a mix of business guys and coders who have cool ideas about ways to make the world better.

They all have 3-4 days to make those ideas real project and viable businesses. When buses arrive in Austin it is time to meet other Buspreneurs, the next two days will be semi-finals and finals between all the buses. I just know the basic elevator pitch about the StartupBus, the rest will be the experience itself and I will find about it pretty soon :)

As a hacker and a Hackathon addict I am really excited. It’s all about building a real business and not only a hack to have fun with a cool API.

I am sure I will learn a lot of stuff from the people that I will meet during this trip.

Let’s get started ! Few hours away to a big step to the unknown ;)

PS: get ready to get spammed on your Twitter Timeline with #sxsw if you are not there tweet with #notatsxsw ;)

PSS: check http://startupbus.com as often as you can ;)

How to Create a Startup Webpage in Less Than 1 Hour - Part 2

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Last weekend I attended my 3rd Startup Weekend but this time I was part of the facilitators. This one was focused on Mobile and was held at the AT&T Foundry (awesome building !!).


After being a part of DitchTheTourBus project in November 2010 during Startup Weekend Twin Cities and attenting the Mega SW in Mountain View, CA couple of months ago; I decided to help and join the SW bay team to make these events happen.

It’s a really interesting experience to be on the other side. You can help teams to go on the right path and be focused on key points. My ultimate goal is to bring Startup Weekend in the East part of France, where there is (beside of Strasbourg) a lack of this kind of events.

So during the weekend I tried my best to help teams, especially teams that did not have enough time to work on app to demo or to build a website. I shared with them couple of wireframing tools like Balsamiq, Mockingbird or Mockflow.

But I also tried to make the part 2 of a previous article I wrote on my blog couple of months ago.

This article should help StartupWeekend teams but also small startups to create an easy nice-looking website/launch page in less than an hour. You can find the first part of the article about which tools we are going to use here : create a startup webpage in less than 1 hour - tools

The second part is contains in this screencast that shows all the different steps to create your launch page.

Check it out :) And let me know what you think about it, feel free to ask any questions in the comment section :)

HOWTO - Create a landing page for your Startup ! from Nicolas Grenie on Vimeo.

Big shout out to Amed and John who are the main organizators of SW in the Bay, also to AT&T guys, SW attendees, and other facilitators ! :)

I <3 APIs!

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Give me an A ! Give me a P ! Give me an I ! API power !!

If that sounds like a cheerleader’s song, it’s totally on purpose. “API” is the new buzzworld in the tech world, with lot of fans and gurus. And you better join them now, if you don’t want to be left behind.

What is an API ?

API stands for ”Application programming interface” which means in a more understandable English : A hook to access a company’s data/website/technology and use it in your own application. A good way to not re-invent the wheel and to sync up with other services.

Who provide APIs?

As a website you want to have as much user as you can because users means business and money (not only, we agree :P) . If you have an API you will let others create their own applications on top of yours based on the datas you are willing to share.

For example you can use Facebook Connect platform and let your users authenticate themself throw they Facebook identity. On your side it is simpler, you get all the data directly from Facebook, no more boring form asking basic informations. From a user perspective it also easier and very smooth, one account to rule them all.

Big players on API :



Google Map




Why APIs are that big ?

Nowadays you could not think about creating an innovative startup without using somebody’s else API. As we said before you do not need to re-invent the wheel, somebody else did it before you. It saves you time, money and let you focus on bigger challenges.

You need a video-chat system ? use OpenTok. You need to send SMS ? use Twilio. And so on… It no more “there is an app for that” but ”there is an API for that”.

APIs are a good way to share/sell your technology and your data with others and make revenues out of it.

How to find the right API ?

With this growing market there is a lot of places to find the API that meets your needs. You check APIs providers like Mashery or 3Scale, they help companies to maintain their API documention and servers. There are also API directories like ProgrammableWeb or Mashape. There is alo Apigee where you can debug APIs in a console.

Now that you know a bit more about APIs, it’s time to code ;)

Go to hackathons and meet engineers that are building those awesome stuff.

Disable Comment Box on Facebook Like Button

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Having a website is cool, having a social website is better :) SEO is not the only way to drive traffic to your website anymore, you need a social presence to get more people coming on your site. If are looking for an easy way to make your website social you can use services like AddThis, with a small line of javascript, your users will be able to share your website on main social networks.

That’s super easy but you might be the kind of person who likes to manage everything and want to code your own stuff.

Implementing a like button is also super simple go on this page http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like/

And get the code you need to implement to have a nice-looking Like button :)

Recently Facebook add a comment functionality but you may want to disable it. Add these few lines of CSS and the comment box won’t show up :

  position: absolute;

.fb_edge_widget_with_comment span.fb_edge_comment_widget iframe.fb_ltr {
  display: none !important;

Now you have old-style like button without a comment box :) Have fun “hacking” Facebook :)

In Hackathon We Trust

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Spread the word : Geeks are not living in caves anymore !! Or at least they going out from their caves to see the sunlight once in a while for a specific occasion. Something in between a computer science class, a LAN party, a crazy scientist lab and a networking event.

If you are part of the geek crowd you understood that I was talking about Hackathons.

For those who don’t know what what is it, let’s make it easy :

Hackathon = Hack + athon = Hack marathon

Hack ? Wooo… like Hackers ? Cracking credit card, launching NASA spaceship or changing traffic lights ?

No, nothing like that. It is about Hacking but in a good way. People are building awesome products to solve problems or just for the fun of programming.

This kind of events is very tech oriented, so if you are not a programmer it could be hard to attend. People are coming to work on their projects or to build new stuff during the event depends on the kind of event.

Since I moved to San Francisco I already attend to two different Hackathons. The first one was the HAPIHack weekend organized by OpenTok at their place. The principle was to create an application using at least one API from the sponsors. At the end of weekend, teams presented their work and a winner per API was designate to win the prize.

During this HAPIHack I work with a Spanish mate (Ignacio) on an application called FaceRate. FaceRate lets you take a picture of yourself to express your thought about a content (Video, Picture, text…), it is more powerful and meaningful than just a “like” or a “+1”.

We used Embed.ly API to display a content (215 types of content available), OpenTok API to take the picture and Face.com API to analyse your facial expression.

If you would like to try a live demo it’s here (might be a bit buggy) : http://facerate.cloudfoundry.com/

The googledoc prez :

And the Github repository if you want to fork it. FaceRate on Github

It was a really nice adventure to work on a new project with somebody I did not know before. He initiate me to Play framework that uses Java to build web applications and we were able to win two prizes, an Apple TV from embed.ly and a JamBox from Face.com.

Hackathons are really a good time to meet people like you (coders), talk about technique, learn new APIs and tech stuff, be efficient (you need a result by the end of the weekend)…


This weekend I attend to the SuperHappyDevHouse at the HackerDojo in Mountain View, it was an afternoon+night Hackathon but without competitions or prizes. It was just for the sick of being with others instead of coding in your cave or at a coffee shop.

Special mentions to Localno.de that lets you share your localhost application easily (helpful in dev mode) and to for a 100% HTML5 amazing tower defense game.


Hackathons are the new trend around here with at least one every week. It a signs that tech people also need their events to meet others of their kind, so open your eyes more are coming ! Companies also need Hackathons where rockstars (#buzzword) developers will be able to see the limit of the API or ask for new features. And Hackers can help APIs providers in their development process.

So if you are a coder or a student who is learning Computer Science you should definetly attend to the next Hackathon around you, meet others geeks, eat pizza and code :)

PS : companies love if you hacked their API before applying for a job

Next Hackathons in the Valley :

10-11 Sept. Techcrunch Disrupt Hackathon

10-11 Sept. Cleanweb Hackathon about energy and environment

In Paris and other cities :

17 Sept. Global Foursquare API Hackathon

Unfortunately this post was not reviewed by a English native speaker, so if you read something grammatically chocking please send me an email me @@ nicolasgrenie.com

Students, 3 Reasons Why You Should Attend Web 2.0 Expo NYC in Fall (65% Discount)

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I came to San Francisco for the first time last Christmas with my family for Christmas break. We did a lot of tourist stuff, but being in family of professors interested by technology, science and programming, you cannot avoid the “Tech tour” of the Bay. So we visited downtown Palo Alto, Stanford University, Berkeley and San Francisco SOMA…

It is kind of a dream come true when you recognized the logo/name of a product you use everyday. At that time I was not looking for an internship yet, but was very excited by the concentration of startups and high-tech companies. At the end of our journey I was sure that I want to come back in SF.

And I came back :) Last march I came for a week, to attend the Web 2.0 Expo. It was during my Spring break, and instead of getting drunk with hot babes in Cancun I decided to push myself to attend this professionnal conference. I was already interested and curious about the new startupmania, social media, SoMoLo (#buzzword :D) scene but I had to see it to be sure that I want to be part of it.


Attending the Web 2.0 Expo was the best decision I have made, because now I am interning in the Engineering team of ifeelgoods.com (winner of Web2.0 Expo Startup Showcase 2011) and I have a larger vision of what’s happening on the Web.

In October there will be the Web 2.0 Expo NY and I would like to share with you guys 3 reasons why you should attend, specially if you are student.

1. Trending topics and trending people

Talks, sessions and workshop are about what is happening now in the Internet world. You will hear experts in their domain about their experience. They are people who are making the Internet of today. I remember for example an interisting panel about pivoting with Kevin Systrom (founder of Instagram), it was just couple of weeks after their raised $7M.

The crowd of attendees is also made of great people, for example I’ve met the VP products of ICQ, engineers from Viadeo or someone from UberMedia. You will be impressed by the quality of these people and their availability. It’s a chance for you and your business !

2. Not only g33ks, not only bu$ine$$

You might be studying Computer Science or Business and really love that, but please stop being a nerd in your own field ! Go out and meet others, understand what others are doing. If you are the kind of kind who can understand and talk with both sides, you earn points on a resume pile.

Web 2.0 is great opportunity to understand the other side, you can attend sessions in Technical track or Business track and go back and forth between the two. Plus, sessions are very understandable even if you do not have a PhD in Computer Science or Business. No reason to be close-minded !

3. You learn more in one week than in a year of school

Kind of an evidence : it is too recent to be taught in schools.

I am wondering which kind of prof will be able to tell you more on OpenGraph, Ruby on Rails, or mobile devices economy than people who are using/making this technology everyday. You learn few things in school, but don’t forget that you have to learn the rest by yourself ;)

By attending this kind of conference you also prove to others that you are more than a basic good student. During social events (usually more than one every day) you will be able to improve your communication skills, work on your personal elevator pitch, and build your network.

Career fairs are something awful for students and not really a good place to show to recruiters your personality : you are just one student out of the 1000 others who stopped at their booth during the day. During conferences, there are few students, you are the exception, for once :) .

Beside talks you also have many other events in the city related or not with the Expo, plus some companies in the Expo hall, don’t miss that ;)

I am sure Web2.0 NY does not have the same “taste” because it is not in the Valley, but it still a great conference with interesting sessions and people. And I bet NYC is a nice city too, even if I never been…

For students you can have a 65% discount so it’s very interesting if you live in a hostel and take a low-cost flight, it might be cheaper than visit your parents or going to Cancun ;) Code: webny11fts

For others you can have a 20% off with this code : WEBNY11RF9

Enjoy !

Unfortunately this post was not reviewed by a English native speaker, so if you read something grammatically chocking please send me an email me @@ nicolasgrenie.com