Google Summer of Code 2017

We are very happy to again be one of the organisations selected for Google Summer of Code (GSoC)!

Last year we had two students working on Matrix-projects over the summer – you can read the retrospective here – and now we are again offering students to work on Matrix as part of GSoC! Currently we are in the stage where students can propose interesting project ideas to any of the open source organisations picked by Google. Of course, we encourage students to get in touch with us and discuss their ideas before writing their application – please come say hi in the #gsoc:matrix.org room!

We are very eager to see what ideas students come up with. We have added our own ideas here, but students are expected to do some research and come up with their own ideas for projects. We have also written down some general tips on what to include in the application.

Applications can be submitted from March 20th, so there’s still plenty of time to have a play with Matrix and come up with a cool project idea!

Good luck!

TADHack Global 2016

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TADHack Global 2016 was held across 30+ different locations last weekend. The goal in the TADHack is to create a hack over the weekend, using one or more of the APIs provided by the sponsors – of which Matrix is one.

Over 2600 people participated, and over 150 hacks were created! I think it’s safe to say that TADHack Global 2016 was a great success!

The Matrix team were on location in Shoreditch, London, where we helped people with their hacks (while also keeping an eye on the online TADHack Matrix room to help remote entries).

Several teams used Matrix in their hack, both in London and elsewhere:

In Lisbon, Luis Tonicha and Tiago Dias created “Athos”: a bot for shopping assistance. The bot accepts various queries which it tries to answer using Carrefour’s API. The team also created a Telestax bridge, so you can send the queries via SMS! This hack won the Lisbon location prize! Watch their presentation here.

A team in Moscow did a hack using Matrix, where they created a kind of MUD in Matrix. Unfortunately, the presentation is not currently available.

Yelly was a remote entry by Fikri Fırat, Utku Yavuz, and Barış Erbil. It is a voice message based chat application inspired by the nature of shouting as a way of communication. See their presentation here.

In Kiev, Ukraine, the DataArt team (Artem Malykhin, Pavlina Bevz, Igor Maximenko, and Eugene Grachev) created a hack called “Web conference for Smart TV”: an app for Smart TVs for VoIP conferencing. See the presentation here.

Over in Chicago, Sergio Gil, Caterina Lazaro, and Anup Mohan created “Little Endian Kitchen”: Shopping management for your kitchen. The idea was to have a webcam in your fridge that can check which items are “missing” (e.g. which ones need replacing) and even provide a VoIP stream so you can check yourself (even using VR-goggles!) – see the presentation here.

In Berlin, there were quite a few hacks. One of these was called “Clipboard Monkey” and was made by Tim Unkrig, Tammo Behrends, Markus Kerschkewicz. This team created a decentralized, universal and fully encrypted clipboard using Matrix. See the full presentation here. We awarded this hack one of the two global prizes of a MacBook Air! They were also joint winners of the Berlin location prize – well done!

Finally, in London we had several teams working on Matrix hacks. There was the “Moodlight” hack by Astrid de Gasté, Ryan Lintott, Tomas Zezula, Istvan Hoffer, and Jing Chan. The team created a sentiment analysis bot connecting Riot/Matrix to Philips Hue, and analysing the comments in a room using a Social Sentiment Analysis library – blue light for positive comments and red for less positive chat. Watch the presentation here. This hack won the London Location Prize!

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Also in London, there was Immanuel Baskaran’s “Hangouts Bridge” hack, which bridged Matrix to Google Hangouts! Presentation here. In classic “dangerous demo” fashion, Google Hangouts experienced an outage just when the demo was happening. We awarded this hack the Special Matrix Prize – congrats Immanuel!

“Matrix of Things” by Matt Williams, and Yin Yee Kan won the other Matrix global prize, which was a MacBook Air. They created a minimal Matrix client on a ESPB266 micro controller, and added a proximity sensor feature to Riot so that two different devices can notice when they are in close proximity. See the presentation and demo here!

Congrats to all the participants – we hope you had a lot of fun! The full list of winners is available over on the TADHack blog.

And if the hackathon has inspired you to hack on Matrix, please come chat to us in #matrix-dev or the TADHack Matrix room!

Vector Android now also on F-Droid

Vector Vector Android has been added to the F-Droid catalogue. F-Droid is an installable catalogue of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) applications for the Android platform. Many people have asked or requested Vector to be added to F-Droid, so we are happy to be able to announce its inclusion.

In order to meet the requirements for F-Droid, the build is not using GCM (Google Cloud Messaging) for notifications – instead it will keep syncing in the background. If you find that the ongoing background sync is using too much battery, you can add a delay or change the timeout of the sync – or even disable background sync completely – in the settings page.

Finally, if you have feedback on any of the Vector clients, there is #vector-feedback:matrix.org.

Next up: the first Decentralized Web Summit

The original promise of the Internet was to be an interoperable platform for distributing data. However, we have since increasingly seen our data fragmented and trapped in a number of proprietary silos. Matrix hopes to fix this by being a federated, open standard for data exchange that any service can use.

The Decentralized Web Summit is a meetup for anyone interested in building the Decentralized Web, which aims to make the Web open, secure and free of censorship by distributing data, processing, and hosting across millions of computers around the world, with no centralized control. It takes place at the Internet Archive, San Francisco, CA on Wednesday June 8 and Thursday June 9, 2016.

Matrix will be represented at the event, and we hope to also host a workshop or a talk about Matrix.

The meetup has a Slack room set up for pre-meetup conversations – you can also access this room via Matrix: #decentralizedweb-general:matrix.org

We are looking forward to interesting people and interesting conversations at the first Decentralized Web Summit!

Kamailio World 2016

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Last week I went to Kamailio World 2016 in Berlin to meet fellow VoIP-developers and tell them all about Matrix. It’s a fairly small conference, which is actually quite nice as it means you get to talk to almost everyone. A lot of people were interested in Matrix – both new and familiar faces – in fact, some of them heard about Matrix a year ago at Kamailio World 2015 and were interested in hearing what progress we’ve made since.

As always, Matrix participated in James Body’s dangerous demos session – and I also gave a 30min talk on Matrix and recent updates to a full room on the first day of the conference.

Several people mentioned that Matrix could be interesting to their project, either as a glue between services, or for adding text-based chat to VoIP apps. I hope to see some of you in Matrix at some point – please join us in #matrix:matrix.org and say hi! It’s also a good place to ask questions and discuss how Matrix can work with your project. Auf Wiedersehen!