Apps World Hackfest and

Apps World just wrapped up a two day conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The conference showcased startups to larger companies who develop mobile apps. The conference started with a keynote with Wosniak.


He shared his experience and knowledge of mobile and the experiences people have using technology.

Wozniak shared a story about an issue he had with his satellite radio the other day. He had to wait over the weekend to get an answer to what was wrong. In the end, there was a conflict with the subscription in another car. He said the user comes first. Making the experience for the user the best is really important.

He also talked about privacy, where he was very open to what he was doing when he was younger. Today, he said everyone knows everything about everyone. Telling something like his favorite color just to his wife isn’t possible anymore. Back in the day, sending a letter by the post office meant sealing an envelope and the contents within. If it didn’t look opened at the other end, you could assume no one else saw the contents. With email, it is much harder to know if someone hasn’t viewed it during transit.

He predicted the Internet of Things will become more prevalent. All your appliances in your house will be controllable from mobile devices. Will there be standards between them? Will there be a language that they can communicate to each other with? He would like to see a common standard evolve. He would love to see things that have vision, which can look around a room and map it.

An audience member asked Wozniak about the patent wars going on between the mobile leaders. He proposed a solution, that licensing deals could be formed, where each leader could use the other’s technology without fear of being sued. He is for the small innovator, who can be limited in what can be done for fear of violating a patent. He is for companies who hold patents to receive fair compensation for their patent, but not to reap huge rewards for just having the idea first.


A two day hackathon around both TV apps and normal apps was held during the conference. Over 75 hackers hacked against APIs provided by LG, Alphonso, Gracenote, Nuance (makers of the Dragon NaturalSpeaking), Bitcasa, Zeebox, and Zencoder.


Lunch was ham and turkey sandwiches, and vegetarian wraps. Surprisingly, they had also had ice tea. Much healthier than other hackathons filled with energy drinks and pizza.


The first day ended with an afterparty at the Infusion Lounge and idle minds.


Day two went by very quickly as new ideas came up and our prototype envolved into is a new way to rate a television show. Most rating systems rate the whole show. What if there was an interactive way to rate parts of a television show? The idea is pretty basic, but it can provide finite precision on what parts of a show the audience really likes and which parts may not be engaging at all.

LikeTV starts off by listening to the show you’re watching. We used the Alphonso service.

Once we know what show you’re watching, LikeTV can group you with other viewers. As you watch a show, tap on the thumbs up button when you like something you see. We didn’t have time to add a gauge (something we thought of last minute) that could show the hotness level based on how active viewers are.


Not satisfied with just a mobile app, we also created a mobile web version. Each like is sent to LikeTV using PubNub. The tally of likes is then sent to each televison and displayed on an overlay in the bottom right corner.


But even a mobile phone is cumbersome. For the lazy couch potato, reaching over to get your phone is quite laborious. So we looked to the Pebble on our wrist. Pressing a button on the side of the Pebble, it sends your “vote” through the phone and to LikeTV. If we made it any easier to rate, we would probably have to read your mind.


The votes are sent via PubNub, a platform that offers an easy way to communicate data between devices. We also used the Zeebox API to get tweets about the episode you’re watching. LikeTV will show periodic tweets.

LikeTV is a great way to collect how viewers feel about minute parts of the show, not just the overall show. This data can help TV producers make more engaging content, and it can give advertisers a better understanding of who is watching your ads. Like in the Super Bowl, capturing this conversation and the emotion of what viewers are watching can be a immense value to advertisers.

After all the hacks were presented, the judges got to work determining the best uses of the APIs.


Our team was honored to place first in the television track awarded by Alphonso.


The APIs at this hackathon were interesting to work with. A few of them overlapped each other, making it hard to pick just one. It was hard to incorporate some of the APIs around our initial idea, which we eventually scraped for

Being able to recognize a show automatically is something that Alphonso can really excel at. There are many other scenarios that can be solved by listening to the show being watched.

Giving you real time information about what you’re watching can make a more engaging audience. Zeebox had a number of APIs to help with that engagement. Some television shows are just a waste of time. But if you can find rich content about the location the show is taking place in, maybe television can finally be educational.