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ACTIVE returns from SXSW

If you've never been to SXSW, then you are definitely missing out. This conference combines original music, independent films, and emerging technologies to foster an environment that encourages collaboration and growth. The ACTIVE Network team had the pleasure of attending SXSWi to demo our technology within the Circus Mashimus lounge, hosted by Mashery. The 'Interactive' portion of the SXSW conference brings together geeks from all walks of life to spread ideas and hobnob with innovators in the technology industry. For 5 days, we showcased our technology platform and spoke with over 900 people about our APIs. Overall, it was a great learning experience. Some of the highlights from our time at the conference:

SXSW Convention Center crowding to see ACTIVE Network teamACTIVE Network team busy talking tech at the Circus Mashimus lounge at SXSW

The convention center was teeming with people just about everyday, which kept us busy in the Circus Mashimus lounge. Approximately 9000+ attendees visited the Circus Mashimus lounge (16% were developers), roughly 10% were exposed to the ACTIVE Network technology platform and APIs through direct conversation. Many were surprised that they had access to such a large directory of events and activities via our APIs, as well as the database for 97% of the state and national parks within the US and Canada. 

CouchCachet team (Brian Fountain & Justin Isaf) with ACTIVE Network API Evangelist Jarred Doss

We had two of our API users stop by our demo pod to showcase their apps and demo how easy it is to integrate the ACTIVE APIs. The team that built CouchCachet (Harlie Levine, Brian Fountain, & Justin Isaf) hung out at the ACTIVE demo pod to show off thier award-winning app. Cunningly, this app allows you to be the person that you want everyone to think that you are online. By mashing up the Foursqaure API and the ACTIVE API, this app won the Mashery prize at the recent Foursqaure Hackathon by allowing users to check-in at thier house, spend a lazy day catching up on Downton Abbey, while the app checks you in at various hot spots around town... Later, sending you a list of activities via the ACTIVE API, in case you want to get off the couch. If you're interested in fooling some friends, check it out: http://www.couchcachet.com/.

Jeff Linwood stopped by to show off his RV Trip Planner app that he built in a day at the HackDay hackathon in Dallas, TX. His app also won the Mashery prize at this event for his clever use of the ACTIVE Campgrounds API to help his retired friends plan thier RV trips and check out campgrounds in the local area.

We also gave away lots of swag to excited SouthBy attendees! If you came by to check our API demo pod, you may have walked away with a nice new tshirt, some stickers, and great ideas for a new app!  We quickly ran out of this popular shirt and noticed attendees wearing them a couple days later during the event. If you were a lucky raffle winner, you may have been hooked up with some premium backpacks to carry your hacker gear.

Some of the most valuable experiences were at the after-parties where everyone is mingling. Startups are pitching on every street corner and making use of every interaction to promote their brand/idea that you are bound to run into someone that you can work with. We definitely walked away with some conversations that we will be continuing back in the office. All in all, we had a successful trip to Austin with the purpose of exposing our ACTIVE Access API program to the tech community as a whole.

Did you attend SXSW Interactive this year? If so, let us know how it went for you. We'd love to share your story with the community. Leave a comment below.

Plancast API open to developers!

Plancast has made its data easily available so developers can create interesting apps, mashups, and analysis. As a result, we’ve decided to collect information to help us understand the API’s usage and plan for the future of the API. We want to cultivate relationships with our third-party developers and provide improved documentation and developer support. Simultaneously, we see the need to track the API’s growth so we make sure we can scale with the demand.

With that in mind, we are partnering with Mashery to use their API management solution. Mashery will help us migrate the Plancast API to its proxy infrastructure so we can measure call volumes and make the API scale better. On February 22nd, 2013, we cutover to Mashery’s servers. To end users, this cutover had no visible impact.

Three weeks following the cutover, the Plancast API will also launch within the ACTIVE Access developer portal (http://developer.active.com/) on  on March 15th, 2013, where developers can register and publish their apps, find documentation and IO Docs, and participate in a forum with ACTIVE Network team.

The API will eventually require developers to adopt access keys to use the API. We will move through this transition cautiously with clear cut goals in mind: 1) not break existing applications and uses of the API and 2) ensure uninterrupted service of any applications. We will not mandate use of access keys at the outset and will give developers ample time (on the order of months) to bake access keys into applications. We will share more as we iron out the details.

To recap, On February 22nd, 2013, all API calls will be routed through Mashery’s proxy servers but there will be no impact to existing applications. The migration should be completely transparent. Please continue using the API as you were. If for any reason, your application is adversely impacted, let us know at PlancastSupport@activenetwork.com or http://plancast.com/about/contact and we will look into it immediately.

The developer portal offers improved documentation including IO Docs, a forum for developers to ask questions, identify bugs, and make API requests. In addition to this, we’d like developers to start registering their applications and use an API key. As with any API, we’d like to prevent abuse, allocate and scale resources more efficiently, and potentially offer custom endpoints of the Plancast API in the future. Our target date to have all Plancast applications use access keys is August 1st, 2013 — approximately six months from now. To get there in the least intrusive (to your application) and effective manner, here is our migration plan:

Access Keys Required From August 1, 2013

Unregistered (using no access key) Applications Throttling

Starting  February 22nd, 2013, all unregistered calls will fall under the ‘Unregistered’ bucket. A rate limit of 100K calls per hour will be instituted on this bucket. This means the sum total of all calls in this bucket will be capped, not per application. This rate limit will decrease by 15K calls/hour for every month thereafter.

Essentially on  February 22nd, 2013, the aggregate call volume for all unregistered apps is capped at 100K/hour. On 3/1, this will be capped at 85K/hour, on 4/1 to 70K/hour, and so forth until August 1st, when this limit will effectively drop to 0.

What happens if my app hits the rate ceiling? If a call from your unregistered app is made once the aggregate cap (across all apps) is reached for the hour, your app will receive a 403 response as shown below.

This application has exceeded the hourly rate limit. API calls are being made without an access key. Your application must start using access keys by August 1, 2013 in order to continue using the API. Please register for free at http://developer.active.com/member/register and start using access keys to avoid being rate limited. More details at http://developer.active.com/.

If you start seeing failures in your app, please check your server logs for this message. To protect against this, simply register for a key (see the section below) and use it in every call.

Registered Applications

If you register your existing (or new) application and start appending the access key in every call to the API, you will _not_ be throttled/rate limited. We therefore highly encourage you to register as soon as possible to create your developer account and start using keys. Registration is free.

The API calls will remain the same except that you will need to append the access key in every call. Example below:

·         http://api.amp.active.com/v3/user/signin.json?api_key=(your_acess_key)

Summary Of Changes

To summarize, these are the changes coming to the Plancast API

  • On August 1st, 2013, required use of access key for every endpoint and application
  • Unregistered applications to be throttled at aggregate call volume of 100K calls/hour, progressively degraded by 15K calls/month, and effectively dropping to 0 on 8/1/2013
  • No rate limiting for registered applications

Still Reading? Start Hacking!

Here is a quick start guide to the developer portal and to help you build your application using a Plancast API key:

Register http://developer.active.com/member/register


Interactive IO Docshttp://developer.active.com/io-docs

Developer Forumhttp://developer.active.com/forum

We value our developer community and have thought about this API launch carefully. If you have any feedback, please comment it in the forum and we’ll keep the discussion going there.

Check Out the New ACTIVE Access Resource Library

With all the advice out there on growing your business, it can be tricky at times to distinguish the Michael Dells of the world from the Michael Scotts. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’ve got your back.

Whether you want to build knowledge of the basics or master more advanced techniques, you’ll want to check out the ACTIVE Access Resource Library. We’ve put together a list of some trusted learning resources around Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, and General Marketing. Under each category, you’ll find books and blogs that should help point you in the right direction.

SEO: Find everything from free downloadable resources like the “Beginner’s Guide to SEO” or read up on more advanced techniques in books like, The Art of SEO.

SEM: Get SEM-savvy with The SEM Blog, Search Engine People, or follow some of these other top-rated blogs from industry experts.

PPC: Learn how to successfully utilize PPC advertising in your marketing campaign with Winning Results with Google AdWords or tune in to the latest tricks and time-saving tools with video lessons and more on the Certified Knowledge blog.

General Marketing: Stay up-to-date on the latest marketing news and insight from Econsultancy's The Daily Pulse, or start from scratch with the tips and tactics outlined in the free eBook, The Ultimate How-to Marketing Guide.

We’ll continue to grow this library, so check in regularly to see what’s new.


Do you have a favorite book or blog on these topics? Share it below!

Image source: creativeclass.com

5 Reasons to Check out the ACTIVE Booth at SXSW

It’s that time of year again, where the frost starts to melt, flora and fauna resurface, and the creative community takes Austin by storm for the annual South by Southwest Conference and Festival. Having inspired a slew of nicknames, SXSW Interactive is fondly referred to as “spring break for geeks,” “nerd prom” or taking a “nerdcation”. Call it what you want, but the best and brightest in the industry will be there, and you should be too.

ACTIVE Network has teamed up with Mashery, and will be in the Circus Mashimus lounge to demo our APIs and provide a sneak preview of the new ACTIVE.com website. Make sure to pay us a visit - here's why:

1.) Overview of our Developer Portal: Get personally escorted through ACTIVE Access, our developer hub for API documentation, embeddable widgets, affiliate resources, and more.

2.) Check out our App Showcase: See what other developers have built by integrating our Activity Search, Campgrounds, and Golf Tee Times API.

3.) New ACTIVE.com Sneak Peek: Get an exclusive first look at the new site! It offers a more visually appealing and intuitive user experience, enhanced search technology, and boasts a wealth of consumer, organizer, and branding benefits.

4.) Partner Demos: Hear first-hand how some of our partners have hacked the ACTIVE APIs to create award-winning apps.

5.) Win Cool Stuff: Enter your info for a chance to secure some sweet prizes. Learn more here: http://developer.active.com/giveaway.

How can you prepare for the panels, parties and more? There is a ton of advice out there on making the most of your SXSW Interactive experience. Check out these eight tips from BeyondThe.Biz to help you stay focused, fed and blister-free. As the blog emphasizes, if you don’t already have a Plancast account, do it now. It will get you plugged in to all the official and unofficial event happenings, including the POWER UP! Morning Run hosted by ACTIVE. Come sweat out the remnants of the evening’s festivities on Friday and Saturday morning (March 8th and 9th) at 8am. Yes, it’s an early wake-up call, but a great start to the day, a chance to mingle with folks like Dennis Crowley, CEO and Co-founder at FourSquare, plus you’ll score some killer swag!

Any SXSW vets out there? The best part of SXSW Interactive is ________. Fill-in-the-blank with a comment below!

Image Source: Plancast.com

How does entrepreneurship affect your personal life?

Finding work-life balance is a struggle shared by many, but a seemingly impossible pursuit in the demanding world of startups. While there is a wealth of information out there on writing business plans and raising money, there’s one very important side of entrepreneurship that is often overlooked; how it affects your personal life. If you’re an independent developer or looking to launch your own company, Startup Life, is a must-own.

Co-authored by Brad Feld and his wife, Amy Batchelor, the book extends beyond the business side of startups and addresses the human toll of the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Feld, a Colorado-based entrepreneur turned-venture capitalist, delivers a strikingly candid account of the “destructive nature that the all-consuming and at times narcissistic entrepreneur journey can place on your personal relationship.” The stress, travel, and odd hours can place immense strain on relationships – particularly with spouses or significant others. The couple digs deep into their own struggles and successes, as well as sharing the stories of about 20 other entrepreneurial couples. They offer rich insights on how to manage your life amidst the pressures and unpredictability and tactics for coping with the inevitable ups and downs that come with the territory.

While this topic may not take the forefront of the tech community discussions, it’s an invaluable read nonetheless because “nothing you do at your startup and no amount of financial success will ever make you truly happy unless you manage to learn how to build meaningful and fulfilling personal relationships.”

How has entrepreneurship affected your personal life? What struggles or successes have you encountered? Share in the comments below!


Content Source: Mark Suster, Both Sides of the Table
Image Source: www.davidgcohen.com

Life Fitness Unveils its Open Data Platform

As the first of the year fades in the rearview, most New Year’s resolutions have already been tossed out the window. For many, these 2013 goals involve making more health-conscious choices, whether it’s to shed a few pounds or tackle that first triathlon. With that said, there has been a lot of movement at the corner of health and technology – literally. In 2012, we saw the emergence of popular activity-tracking gadgets like FitBit and the Nike+ FuelBand. In addition to the influx of wearable technology, the health space has also been home to the rise of web-based and mobile apps like RunKeeper, MapMyFitness, and Fitocracy. The running theme (pun intended) – who can create the most engaging and interactive exercise experience that allows users to reach their goals?

In January, Life Fitness announced the launch of its open data platform, making it the first fitness equipment manufacturer to give developers access to its “workout data, workout presets (e.g. age, weight, settings, etc.), and realtime data” via APIs. LFopen will promote app development around their equipment through two APIs – a mobile API for Apple and Android devices as well as a website API. Two apps already utilizing the APIs include Runtastic and Wahoo Fitness, both of which “allow users to track and analyze workouts as well as share progress with friends.”

With health and fitness trends becoming the focus of more and more companies, developers have an opportunity to help connect people with a multitude of ways to stay fit. ACTIVE Access is changing the future of activity by enabling API integration with the most up-to-date, accurate and comprehensive activity directory available, which can ultimately lead to some life-changing apps.

Strike while the iron is hot and start hacking the ACTIVE APIs: Register for Developer Keys

New to APIs? Get Schooled for Free at Codecademy

Forget the piano lessons; your mom was the only one who thought you were a virtuoso. Learn to code instead. The team of hackers at Codecademy walks newbies and skilled developers alike through interactive lessons in various computing and web languages, and just recently launched its program for APIs. The course covers basic API concepts and teaches you how to build real-life apps using APIs from Youtube, NPR, Bitly, SoundCloud, Parse and more. Best of all – it’s free!

What you’ll learn:

How to use APIs
Get up-to-speed on the API basics – requests, responses, data formats, status codes, and more. After completing this course, you’ll be prepared to take on any of the following API lessons.

National Public Radio
Pull text, photos, and audio from NPR by using the APIs that power all of their web and mobile apps.

Shorten and share links on the fly and grab detailed traffic stats with Bitly’s API.

Sunlight Labs
Learn how to make requests to the Capitol Words API and gain access to U.S. government transcripts.

Love cute kittens? Who doesn’t? Use this API to get your paws on some adorable kitten placeholder images of any size.

Starting off in web development can be daunting, but Codecademy breaks down the barrier by using “gamification and online tools for making learning both fun and installation-hassle free.” Not only is this a valuable resource for those not privy to programming, but also a great way for the more savvy to stay up-to-date on new APIs. Experienced developers can build their reputation by signing up as instructors or contributing course content on a programming topic of their choice.

Check out all of their programs here: http://www.codecademy.com/

Know of other good resources on APIs? Drop us a comment below!

Content Source: Ajay Ohri, ProgrammableWeb

Image Source: jeremybonney.wordpress.com

Got Something to Tell the World? Four Benefits of Guest Blogging

Like Chinese takeout, knowledge was meant to be shared. Do you have a great tech-related story or experience that you’re itching to tell? Submitting a guest post is a great opportunity to share ideas and gain exposure. Whether it’s a challenge faced, lesson learned, or recent success, let the ACTIVE Access Developer Blog make you famous (well, maybe not famous, but at least you’ll get quality backlinks). Here are four ways guest blogging can benefit you:

  1. Share Your Ideas: Educate and inspire others by getting your message out instantly to an audience in your niche. Offer up insights on trending topics in the tech world, communicate your current challenges, or simply stock up on karma by relaying tricks of the trade.
  2. Extend Your Reach: Publishing attention-grabbing content is a powerful way to increase your exposure and grow your brand. By posting on other blogs, you can transcend the boundaries of your comfort zone and reach an entirely new audience.
  3. Develop Your Authority: Particularly knowledgeable about launching a product? A wiz at mobile app development?  The more readers are exposed to your work, the more they will start to identify your name as a credible source of information.
  4. Get Quality Traffic: Including backlinks in your post is a cost-effective tactic for driving targeted traffic to your site. By tapping into our subscriber base of 1200+ developers and followers, you’ll be able to drive interest in your online content and start to build a following of your own.

Whether you’re a seasoned blogger, or just diving into the exciting world of guest posting, we’re eager to hear from you. Ready to submit a post? Here’s how:

Email developer.support@ACTIVEnetwork.com with the following:

•    Your post (min. of 200 words in a Word doc, Notepad, or body of an email)
•    Include a short bio (1 to 2 sentences) and link to your blog or website (if applicable)
•    Add a headshot or relevant image (optional)

Got a topic you’d like to hear about? Leave a comment and let us know!

Image Source: marketing-expert.blogspot.com

How to create your developer account and apply for API keys

This video walks you through the process of creating a developer account on ACTIVE Access (developer.active.com). It also explains how to apply for API keys and explore the API documentation. You can also learn how to sync your developer account with your affiliate account in order to earn commission from transactions that occur from your API implementation.

Watch the video and then get started with creating your developer account.

CouchCachet wins 'best app' using Mashery API network with Active API at Foursquare Hackathon 2013

A couple weeks ago,  on January 5th, developers and designers came togther in NYC to build some amazing hacks using the Foursquare API and other APIs within the Mashery API Network. A team of 3 developers came together to create CouchCachet, which won the title of 'Best App' for using an API from the Mashery API Network. As it turns out, they used the ACTIVE ACtivity Search API. 

We've seen that the ACTIVE APIs can be used within applications to provide events and activities alongside other content to drive engagement with users. If you have an application that is designed to help connect people with things they love, want and need to do, then the ACTIVE APIs would be a great match.


"CouchCachet allows you to pretend you have a life by checking you in around town while you're still at home.  We then send you a follow up email the next day which contains suggestions for real activities you may want to try doing.  We used your ACTIVE API to populate this email.  It was super easy to use (thanks!) and helped us win the NYC Mashery prize... and were featured in PandoDaily"

- Harlie (CouchCachet app developer)

If you create an app using one of the ACTIVE APIs, you will get the chance to be featured within our developer portal, ACTIVE Access, and our developer newsletter sent out to over 1100+ peers in the developer community.On top of that, you're likely to get some recognition and coverage in other media outlets - like PandoDaily, for example. Start building your reputation by developing something innovative with our APIs.

We'd like to showcase your app in our App Gallery.  Submit your apps to be featured:

Submit App Here 

CouchCachet developer team accepting the award
for 'Best App using APIs from Mashery API Network'

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