2
September 18, 2013

Fun with Spotify Apps: Skip any song by Pitbull

no-barking

Introducing “No Barking!” my first Spotify App. Instead of having to press next whenever Mr. Worldwide comes on, the App just skips ahead to the next track. I’ll be submitting the application to the Spotify App Finder, but I have a feeling they won’t be as enthused about the whole “skip Pitbull” idea as I am. So, in the meantime, you can download the development bundle and load it on your own computer.

Download on GitHub

You’ll have to turn on “Developer Mode” for your account. Here are the quick directions for getting this app installed in Spotify:

  1. Sign up for a developer account on Spotify
  2. Open Terminal, mkdir ~/Spotify
  3. cd ~/Spotify
  4. git clone git://github.com/brianshaffer/skip-pitbull-on-spotify.git
  5. Download the latest version of Spotify
  6. Open Spotify and type “spotify:app:bad-dog” in the search bar (restart Spotify completely in case it doesn’t find the App at first)

BEWARE: If you get too close it’ll bark at you.

0
August 2, 2013

Record phone calls, from any device

Record Phone Calls

There have been many times that I wish I had been able to record a phone call. Negotiations, complex customer service requests, the last conversation with my grandpa before he died – all things I wish I could have saved. I’ve searched for iPhone apps to do this, but Apple doesn’t let developers touch and tweak the Phone application.

So I created SecureSpeak.com. It’s a way to record phone calls by doing a 3-way call – you, the person you want to call, and the recording phone line. After you hang up, an mp3 of the recording is emailed to you. Super. Simple.

There are similar apps out there, but all of them require you to know ahead of time that you want to record the call. The way SecureSpeak is designed, you can conference in the recording line at any time during a call, and not have to record 10 minutes of pleasantries before getting to the core of the conversation.

The ones for iOS are mostly VOIP, and depending on your data signal, can lead to some pretty low quality recordings. This system purely uses the phone waves, and leads to higher quality and more reliable calls.

So check out the site and look at how to record phone calls. Starting plans are just $14.99/month, and is worth every penny when you can present concrete evidence in a sticky situation.

1
June 20, 2011

Mobile Time Tracking using Twilio and Freshbooks

I use Freshbooks to manage all of my invoicing. I manage projects, log hours, and it allows me to keep a careful track of my business. I’m lucky enough to be connect to the internet when I’m working, but for some companies working out in the field, keeping track of hours has been mostly done on pencil and paper.

I built an application integrating Twilio and Freshbooks to solve this problem. Watch the video below to see my Twilio and Freshbooks time tracking system.

How it works

Since you can only submit a completed time log to FreshBooks, the initial clock in call is stored in a database on a separate server. When the user calls back to clock out, it compares the clock out time with the saved clock in time, and then totals up the hours worked. After we know how many hours were worked, the full time log gets submitted to FreshBooks.

Altogether, I mashed up a few different technologies, including:

  • Twilio Voice API
  • Twilio Transcription API
  • FreshBooks API
  • PHP
  • MySQL

If you’re interested in using this for your company, shoot me a message and I’d be happy to set it up for you, or let you license out the code.

4
May 20, 2011

Twilio Syntax Auto-Complete Mode for Coda

I love Twilio‘s markup language, TwiML. It’s intuitive and easy to understand. Still, whenever I’m developing I have to keep the Twilio documentation page open to know all the verbs and attributes of the language. To save time, I created my very own mode plugin for Coda so that as I’m typing, it automatically completes the Twilio commands and shows me all the available attributes. So, without further adue, download Twilio.mode and install it in Coda.

Install instructions:

  1. Download Twilio.mode.zip
  2. Unzip it
  3. Copy the new Twilio.mode folder to: ~/Library/Application Support/Coda/Modes
  4. Reboot Coda, and under Text > Syntax Mode you’ll see Twilio

If you liked this plugin, you should probably follow me on Twitter. I’m always giving away little scripts like this. Note: It’s also available on github.

2
April 4, 2011

Mobile Mad Libs

The team over at Twilio was running a contest to create a game using their amazing voice and SMS developer platform this week, and I just submitted my entry. The game? Mobile Mad Libs. It’s a word game for those long road trips where you can’t (safely) play Angry Birds on your iPhone, but still want to keep your mind active.

Try it for free! Dial 718-569-7938.

3
January 17, 2011

Crack Masterlock Combinations

Master Lock

This past weekend I created a site that makes it easy to retrieve your forgotten Masterlock combination. If you were to manually attempt every combination, you would have to go through 64,000 combinations. This site uses a known masterlock algorithm to bring the possibilities down to just 80. Not bad?

Check it out:

FindCombination.com

So why did you REALLY do this Brian?

I wanted to learn jQuery. I’ve found that it’s easiest to learn something new when you have an end goal in mind. Your brain figures out how to fill in the cracks and actually apply the information you’re taking in. I highly suggest this method of learning. It’s worked well for me with PHP, MySQL, HTML & CSS, SEO, and Affiliate Marketing.

0
December 20, 2010

Local Site Lease

Most small businesses are reluctant to sign up for SEO services. They really don’t know what it is, it’s hard to prove ROI, and typically have a pushy sales force repping it. I’ve seen way too many charlatans armed with meta tags sell overpriced and over promised services. Hell, I probably get two calls a week from firms trying to sell me (a guy who writes about SEO) services, guaranteeing me high rankings for whatever terms I want.

Rent Local Websites

There had to be a better way to sell SEO. A way that had instant gratification, traction, and clear ROI. I started Local Site Lease in early 2009 to do just this. We optimized tons of local domains for the catering, landscaping, and snow removal industries, pushing them to the first pages for targeted searches. Throw in some link building, a nice WYSIWYG editor, and we’ve got a recipe for success. Companies then rent a site for their geographic area and industry that already had high rankings and Google juice.

We’re actually looking for a motivated developer to work on upgrading our old system (wow, I’m calling it old and it’s only been two years since it launched) with some of the new bells and whistles to hook in automated link building. If you’re that person, shoot me an email with some of your experience.