Thursday, June 30, 2011

Better Know a CloudSpoker - Kevin Swiggum

This is this first installment of our new monthly series where we interview CloudSpokes members and see what makes them tick. And, yes, the title is a blatant ripoff of Stephen Colbert.

Kevin Swiggum graciously to volunteered to be our first victim CloudSpoker. He talks about how he got started in the business and provides some insights on learning new technologies.

Make sure you also watch to see how Kevin handles my question that involves Halle Berry, Old Spice and the clapper.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mobile is HOT! iOS Lead Management Winner for Salesforce.com

Acerbetti picks up a quick $750 with his first CloudSpokes entry and win for our iOS Lead Managements challenge.

The challenge was to build a simple iOS app with only one purpose -- get new leads as fast as possible into salesforce.com. You can watch the video below but in a nutshell here's the application. After the user has been verified with the OAuth protocol, the app will show the page to enter all the information required for the new lead to be created in salesforce.com. Each row is clickable and is opens a page where the user can enter free text or pick a value. Once all the informations are entered in the form, the user can press the save button and the app first will check for the required fields, if they are populated, the new lead is sent to saleforce.com.

If the operation is succesfull, the app will ask to attach a photo for the lead. The user can choose to resize the picture or send the full size. When the upload is done, the app will clean the form and it's ready to save another lead.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Infographic - the First 100 Days

Earlier this month, we announced that CloudSpokes tipped past 10,000 community members. This milestone was recorded after 100 days of being live so we made an infographic to serve as our public check-up. Click the image for a larger view:


We're thrilled with this momentum and have high hopes for it to continue at this rate. Thank you all for joining and being a part of this new community.  If there's anything we can do to better your experience, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Monday, June 27, 2011

CloudSpokes Weekly - 06/20/11

Guest blogger, Romin Irani, made a recent suggestion to us that we consider putting together a weekly recap of the last week's Cloud news. We're all for promoting great ideas surfaced by the community (thanks Romin!) so we thought we'd give it a go.

This new series of weekly blog posts will be focused on the interesting nuggets of cloud information we come across during the week. This is by no means a capture of all the great things happening in this fast moving world, but it’s also not an auto-digest (paper.li) of random stories either. We hope this helps us all keep tabs on what’s going on in our industry.

During the week, should you come across a post worthy of being noted here, simply tweet it with the hashtag -  #spokesweekly  - and we'll add it to the recap!!



  • @infoweek - Your Company's Next Secret Weapon: Cloud APIs
    • Getting well-designed and well-managed application programming interfaces into the marketplace for developers to use may be just as important as having a corporate website, agreed a panel at the cloud-oriented Structure 2011 show Thursday in San Francisco
  • @gigastacey - Why cloud, not PC, drives chip innovations
    • This is a significant shift, because it means general purpose CPUs designed for general purpose machines don’t always make sense. Thus, companies such as SeaMicro, Tilera and others are confident they can deliver specialized hardware that is optimized for specific workloads, generally by reducing power or by boosting speeds. None of them think Intel’s commodity servers will ever go away entirely, but all argue those boxes shouldn’t be the only ones in data center racks anymore
  • @kevinctofel - Sorry HTML 5, mobile apps are used more than the web
    • "[T]he fragmentation issue in mobile only gets worse with each year with new devices, different implementations and operating systems, the cost of rolling out an app across multiple devices around the world can increase exponentially. As such, the browser provides the prospect of being the great unifier so you can truly design once and run everywhere (where the browser is available). For the simple apps that are less interactive and require less multimedia capability, like the popular social networking and news/weather apps, browser provides the perfect avenue to maximize impact with least amount of development."
  • @windowsazure - Announcing Free Ingress for all Windows Azure Customers
    • Today we’re pleased to announce a change in pricing for the Windows Azure platform that will provide significant cost savings for customers whose cloud applications experience substantial inbound traffic, and customers interested in migrating large quantities of existing data to the cloud. For billing periods that begin on or after July 1, 2011, all inbound data transfers for both peak and off-peak times will be free
  • @jasonkincaid - Card.io’s SDK Makes Entering Credit Card Info Easy As Taking A Snapshot
    • Card.io is a new startup making its public debut today that’s looking to make lives easier for developers and users alike — by making inputting your credit card information as easy as holding your card in front of your phone’s camera for a few seconds
  • @wesnolte - Slides from the Cloud Computing World Forum

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tongal - The Winner!!

Well, our countdown is done and the time has come to announce our winner from our Tongal contest!

This was definitely a tough call to make, given the talent in the four submissions we received. But the overall winner, submitted by Jimmy Ahlander, just seemed to have all the perfect elements, aligned in a wonderful format.  Jimmy's professional website can be found here.

Also as you'll see, we now have an official mascot that we can use and already have more than a few plans for Clyde, Jimmy's fantastic narrator.

Clyde Fabreze
Crowdsourcing this video contest with Tongal really couldn't have turned out better for the CloudSpokes team.  We were able to put together a list of basic requirements, work with many different flavors of creative artists, and eventually choose the results we wanted.

So go ahead and click Clyde above, or head over directly to www.cloudspokes.com to check out the big winner.  Congrats to Jimmy, and all of the finalists - we couldn't be more impressed!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tongal - The Second Finalist (getting close!)

Continuing with our posts this week regarding our video contest with Tongal, we're excited to unveil the second out of the four finalist videos - this is the last video we're going to reveal before we show off the big winner! The fourth finalist (4) was revealed on Tuesday, the third finalist (3) on Wednesday, the second finalist today (2),

and tomorrow... !!

Sean Clark slayed us with his submission - it's absolutely hilarious and was a huge favorite after the first round of viewings. The "Mad Men" styling with the dry humor almost took the cake in the competition, which was fiercely contested between all four finalists. It takes serious talent to pull off humor and yet still explain all the core elements, congrats Sean!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tongal - The Third Finalist

Continuing on our post from yesterday regarding our video contest with Tongal, we're excited to post the third out of the four finalist videos!

This submission was from Micah Gardner. We loved the title ("The Sky is your Internet"), the way Micah showed the single person view, and the way he quickly highlighted all the major features of the community.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tongal - "where the best ideas find the best filmmakers"

Here at CloudSpokes, we're obviously a huge fan of the crowdsourcing model, and like to stay in-touch and keep tabs on some of our favorite crowdsourcing teams. One of them is Tongal. Tongal bridges the gap between creative people around the world and the businesses that need them. A brilliant concept, if we do say so ourselves...

Tongal uses crowdsourcing to help generate content (instructional video, ads, music videos, print campaigns, slogans etc.) by connecting businesses and organizations with creative people around the world.  Their platform serves as a place for all to participate in the creative process, and encourages a grassroots approach to marketing.

That's why we kicked off our own video contest a few weeks ago with the the amazing team behind the scenes at Tongal. Our goal - create a great video explaining CloudSpokes - quite simple. The task at hand - actually explaining CloudSpokes / Cloud / Crowdsourcing / Developer Community & Marketplace in under 60 seconds - not quite as simple!

You can therefore imagine our excitement at seeing the initial results of this contest as the final phases draw near. We are absolutely thrilled with the results, and hope you'll appreciate the creativity and simple brilliance the top animators brought to the project to elegantly help us explain CloudSpokes. We chose four finalists from the pitch submissions, and then picked one winner from the four finalists. We'll be posting the three finalists here on the blog this week, and then launching the final video on www.CloudSpokes.com to help new users learn more.

Our first video finalist is Jung Been Kim's submission from Los Angeles, CA:

We'll be posting the other three top videos to the blog this week, so stay tuned!

For more information about Tongal, check out the video that they themselves use to help explain their own platform:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tweet! Chat! Quack????


So you maybe tweeting and chatting but are you quacking? Thanks to the first place submission from chriswoolcott we are now Quacking!


We had two great submissions for our Twitter to Chatter for Force.com challenge. First place went to chriswoolcott and a close second went to joeyqchan who had a great name for his app too, TwitBook. joeyqchan actually won the Facebook to Chatter challenge and submitted a combined app for both challenges. JeffDOnTheMic wrote up a great blog post covering the submission.


What really made chriswoolcott's submission standout (besides the great name) was his implementation of using a public twitter feed. Setting up a public twitter feed is easy to do and allows the application to make one out going call instead of several different calls to each twitter account. Check out the video I made using chriswoolcott's submission below.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Crowdsourcing

Chris O Davies
Guest Blogger: Chris O Davies

Prior to Jeff's departure to London for a brief but well deserved vacation, he asked if I would be interested in writing a blog for CloudSpokes focusing on how the crowd can be utilized in unique in various ways using TeachMeSalesforce as an example.

The massive growth of Cloud Computing is undeniable and Salesforce.com has clearly been the leader in this paradigm shift. One of the interesting things about Salesforce's success is that it's partially driven and extended by a very large, loyal, and vocal community base. This community of power users, sysadmins, and developers have all individually helped drive the changes that have evolved Salesforce since it's initial launch, and have banded together on Twitter and other social platforms to help each other defeat challenges and grow in their respective knowledge.

However, this community information is largely disconnected and unavailable for a new user to find; the answers to many common questions being scattered around a number of community blogs. TeachMeSalesforce was launched as a means to use the community to help correct a problem exacerbated by the fact that Salesforce has a massive and quite vocal community! Ironic, huh? And all it took was a simple launch on WordPress. TeachMeSalesforce has multiple editors in one space providing the pivotal information (best practices, sample code, and configuration tips) needed to be successful.

TeachMeSalesforce is an example of using crowdsourcing to tap into different skill sets in order to come up with many solutions for Force.com users, and the community is doing this by asking everyone in the community that is vocal about Salesforce to post their existing and new recipes on the site. It brings a huge advantage to users and developers. Users benefit from having different solutions in one location and an online library to visit each time they need to learn something new. Developers benefit by collaborating and learning from other contributors.

Crowdsourcing in this manner serves as a great way for everyone to learn from each others' skill sets and improve their skills to better assist clients in their future projects. Every participant walks out of this type of crowdsourcing event better than before. Much like how TeachMeSalesforce strengthens the community involved, I am certain that every CloudSpokes participant learns from each challenge they embark upon.

From experience I know there are so many users and developers out there who have solved the same problems over and over again. TeachMeSalesforce asks: why not share these types of solutions with the community in a single, easy-to-find location? Hopefully, combining what you have learned on TeachMeSalesforce you can sign up to CloudSpokes and start completing challenges that can help you win some valuable prizes. A win-win of sorts for everyone involved.

Follow us!
@teachmesfdc

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Winner - Customer Portal Dashboard with Google Chart Tools

Salesforce.com dashboard components are a great way to graphically represent data. However, even though reports are available to Customer Portal users, dashboards components are (sadly) not. We thought we'd run a challenge to create one or a series of Visualforce components that could be used to mimic a salesforce.com dashboard in the Customer Portal.

Well, we did just that and corycowgill totally crushed it taking home $750. Check out both of his videos below demoing not only the final solution but the Apex and Visualforce Component as well. Awesome stuff!!

Dashboard Demo - Larger version

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Code Deep Dive - Larger version

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

CloudSpokes reaches 10,000 members!!

{this post is obviously in binary - if you can't read it as is, google might help you find a converter...}


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Type-Ahead/Auto-Complete Visualforce Component Winner

Another winners announcement! This time for our Type-Ahead/Auto-Complete Visualforce Component challenge.

Using a salesforce.com lookup is sometimes a tedious process. You have to click the button, wait for the window to open, type in your search criteria, hit the search button, click the link of the record you want and then wait for the window to close. That’s a lot of work for most users. We wanted a spiffy-new-jquery-powered Visualforce component that we could drop onto a Visualforce page, configure and then do the work for us.

Kenji776fractastical and mfullmore came through for us with great submissions. We only awarded 1st and 2nd place for this challenge and the judges scored Kenji77 and fractastical with the same results (100%). Therefore, since Kenji776 submitted his code first, he comes out on top with $400 while fractastical take home $200.

Kenjii776's entry is below but you may want to view it full size here. Awesome job and we look forward to more jQuery submissions from everyone!

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Creating an Unmanaged Package for a Salesforce Challenge

As we receive more and more salesforce.com challenge submissions, the task of installing, running and removing code from an org is becoming very resource intensive. We will be changing requirements for our salesforce.com challenges to require the submission of an unmanaged package. You'll still need to zip up your source code but you'll also need to provide the URL for the installation package.

This helps not only us but submitters for a number of reasons:

  1. Submitters often forget to include part of their code (custom objects, Apex classes, etc.) and using an unmanaged often catches most of the dependencies.
  2. Allows reviewers to be able to easily install submissions if they don't have ANT installed or are not familiar with ANT. Some reviewers may look at functional instead of technical aspects of the submission.
  3. Allows us to easily uninstall the code so that we can reuse an org for multiple submissions.
If you are not familiar with creating an unmanaged package, here's a short video that will get you started.

Facebook to Chatter Winner

Our Facebook to Chatter challenge recently ended and the results are in. We had 12 participants and are awarding 1st and 2nd places.  Joeyqchan took first place and techtrekker came in second, earning $1250 and $500 respectively.

Here's the video that joeyqchan submitted with his code.

Click to view

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ruby Social Network Status Updater saves you time. Now write more code!

With all of the social media platforms available it's becoming a tedious task to tell the world that your cat made a funny face or that you are having toast for breakfast this morning. As a public service, we decided to launch a contest to make it easy to post one message to multiple networks. To make it even more fun, we decided to do it in Ruby.

The requirements for our Ruby Social Network Status Updater challenge were simple. Write a small Rails or Sinatra app that allows the user to update their status on Chatter, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook (any 3). Use OAuth to authorize access to the services and allow the users to choose which networks to send their updates to.

We had five great submissions that met all of the requirements so we decided to bump up the prize money (just because it's Friday). We didn't specify a hosting platform but everyone chose Heroku. Mbleigh and raygao finished with the exact same score and each take home first prize money ($750 each). However, since raygao submitted earlier, the scoring engine ranked higher.

Mbleigh's Bullhorn submission is visually appealing and extremely slick. You can try it for yourself at http://bullhorn.heroku.com.


Raygao's Chouette Social app is the only one of the bunch that included integration with salesforce.com Chatter. Raygao also allows users to change their background and display feeds from their social networks. You can run his application at https://chouette-social.heroku.com.



Third place, and $400, went to gregr with his submission. I actually think his was my favorite of the group. It was very clean and easy to use. His application is located at http://strong-fire-859.heroku.com



Fractastical came in fourth ($200) while kzer95 came rounded out the top 5 ($100). Great job by everyone and we look forward to more Ruby submissions!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Google App Engine Image Storage Winners

We had four really good submissions for our Google App Engine Image Storage challenge. The challenge was to write an app that stores and serves images using the Blobstore and Images APIs. We want to use this app to store images for CloudSpokes and then serve dynamically defined sizes (i.e., thumbnails) using the Images API.

Mural took first place ($1000) with a submission that not only met but blew away the requirements with REST services and an Ajax UI baked in. Eadlam and Romin tied for second and we decided to give them both $500 instead of splitting the cash. Romin did his usual awesome work and this was the first submission by eadlam. He actually wrote a really clean Python implementation of the app. An finally, acorv finished third.

Make sure you check out the short video below for full details. Please note that in the video I stated (incorrectly) that tryluck finished third when in actuality it was acorv.