Phone/webapp written in ploy to appear more popular

That title’s not really fair to [Evan], but he did write a cellphone tetris game that causes your handset to automatically telephone him if you win. He’s using two applications that we’re not very familiar with, Twilio and Tornado. The former handles control input from the cellphone via their simple API. The latter is a web server and web framework that runs the actual game.

If you’re interested in how he put the two together you can poke around in the code. If you really don’t care about how it is done, you might just want to win the game, automatically giving [Evan] a call, running up his wireless bill in the process.

Help us add some value to this article by leaving a comment.  We’d like to know how Twilio compares to Google Voice which doesn’t seem to have a published API (but there is some work in that area). We also think web-based cell phone interactivity, already popular in hacks, is just beginning to build some steam. What are the tools you use to make cellphone interfaces easier and quicker to implement?

Comments

  1. Anders says:

    Why would his wireless bill be affected by people calling him?

  2. MS3FGX says:

    I am guessing you don’t own a cell phone?

    You are charged by the minutes used, regardless of who placed the call (except in plans with unlimited minutes in-network or during certain time periods, obviously).

  3. kirov says:

    if he is using twilio I imagine he has some kind of unlimited plan for minutes.

    If you get redirected to his personal number however he would lose minutes but I can’t imagine he would stay on the phone very long.

    The delay is somewhat noticible – although between routing the user’s call, processing by twilio, exporting of data to his server and reporting that back to the user it is to be expected.

  4. Mikey says:

    “if he is using twilio I imagine he has some kind of unlimited plan for minutes.”

    That plan doesn’t exist for any carrier that I know of — not in the us — and not 24/7 at least. There are a lot of things you can do though like calls a certain hours don’t count, calls in network don’t count, etc…

  5. plan9 says:

    @lolcake

    Clever girl…

  6. kirov says:

    @mikey:

    actually almost every cell phone carrier has an unlimited plan, though they are usually quite expensive ($100 a month for that service alone). It has been around for quite a while.

    however it may be that twilio (and those types of services) do not have unlimited plans and that is what you are trying to say.

  7. i lost says:

    >you might just want to win the game, automatically
    >just want to win the game
    >the game
    I see what you did thar.

  8. Josh says:

    The post above mine makes zero sense…. And yes, almost every carrier has an unlimited plan.

  9. Thom says:

    Twilio is seriously really cool

  10. icebrain says:

    @MS3FGX:

    Only in the US. We Europeans have never paid to receive calls.

  11. anonymous says:

    US Cellular includes free incoming calls and texts on its calling plans.

  12. Shadyman says:

    It would be funny/scary if he coded in someone *else’s* number.

  13. EvenShadier says:

    …or a phonesex/cellphone # code/international number/etc.

  14. Will says:

    Wait, in the US they pay to *receive* calls?

  15. astroboy says:

    Yes, in the US, (on some plans), you pay to *receive* calls and *receive* texts.

  16. Drakkim says:

    There’s also a couple projects to make a Google Voice API for PHP.

    http://github.com/aaronpk/Google-Voice-PHP-API

    http://github.com/tylerhall/google-voice-dialer

  17. Mike Szczys says:

    @Will

    Yes, we pay to receive calls, which isn’t such a big deal. You can tell who’s calling you so if you don’t want to waste minutes you don’t answer.

    What I hate is that we pay to receive text messages. This is because I don’t pay $5 a month for a texting plan as email is free and ubiquitous. Every time someone sends me a text message I’m charged $0.15 and have no choice in the matter. I’m waiting for my refund check as the result of a large class-action suit on the matter.

    While I’m on this rant (and of topic, sorry), this reminds me of years ago when I had a land-line. They wanted to CHARGE me to block long distance calling. That’s like going to McDonalds and paying a penalty for not buying fries with your hamburger.

  18. Julian says:

    @josh
    yes it does.
    you’re clearly not playing.
    and i lost too.

  19. Anon says:

    @Josh Welcome to the internet, you must be new here! Check out losethegame.net for some cool info! Also most (big contract) carriers have an unlimited talk/text/data plan for $69 /month now to try to compete with T-mobile’s new $49 /month unlimited.

  20. Anon says:

    Damn I forgot to say I lost the game. (sorry for dp)

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